Ostara’s Spring: Celebrating the Little Bit of Pagan in All of Us
BY: Debra Moffitt
The name of this Pagan goddess is connected to one of the most sacred Christian holidays. Ostara's (Eostra's) or the traditional Easter festival was transferred to the celebration of Christ's resurrection to incorporate the Christian meaning of Easter after Anglo-Saxons and Germans converted to Christianity. This merging between “pagan” and Christian festivals occurred throughout Europe, and remnants of it, like the Easter eggs, remain visible to this day in both European and American cultures. The “pagan” cultures didn’t deny divinity; they simply celebrated it in a way that was more closely connected to the earth and Nature in forms like Ostara who became a deity they worshiped as they saw her powers manifest every spring.
The symbols that surround Ostara include eggs, rabbits and spring flowers which speak of the fertility and new life she brings. The egg, especially, has always been a sacred sign of fecundity. Eggs carried the power of becoming, of creation. Some ancient legends believed that the Earth was hatched from an egg, and of course eggs abound in birds’ nests at this time of year. They became natural associations with fertility, birthing and creation. The egg or lingam is still much revered and often placed on altars in Hindu culture. Rabbits, too, were associated with the spring festivals because of their great fertility. They produce a large number of offspring and breed many times during the season.
Modern Pagans celebrate Ostara with feasting and fun. It’s a joyous celebration that may be combined with rituals to promote balance, plant new seeds both literally and figuratively, and prepare for a wonderful new season of rebirth. Even if you’re not Pagan, everyone can enjoy the ancients rites and rituals of spring that connect us both to the earth and to our possibilities to grow spiritually. You may want to get some soil and plant seeds for lettuce; prepare a kitchen herb garden or bring some potted plants into the house. Bringing in spring colors will help you to connect with spring energy and move you into a place where you begin to tap into the energy of renewal. Colors like lilac, pastel pinks similar to the cherry blossoms and bright tulip colors will add touches of freshness to interior spaces. In ancient times, when planting took priority as a way to sustain a community, clearing away debris and weeds was an important step before spring planting. What needs to be cleared from your house and life to bring in that essential balance so that the seeds you long to plant can grow? This is an ideal time to take a moment to contemplate what needs to be brought into balance in your life.