There are eight Sabbats through the year, celebrating the turning of the wheel of the year and the change of the seasons. The eight Sabbats consists of four solar holidays and four cross-quarter days, marking the shift from one season to the next. The four solar holidays of the year are Ostara – Spring Equinox, Mabon – Autumnal Equinox, Yule – Winter Solstice, and Litha – Summer Solstice. The four pagan cross-quarter holidays are Samhain, which is also considered the witches new year, Imbolc, Beltane and Lughnasadh.
Ostara – Spring Equinox, March 21st/22nd
Season + Element: Spring and the element of air
Incense: Jasmine, Rose and Strawberry
Stones: Amethyst, rose quartz, moonstone, red jasper, bloodstone.
Food: Sprouts, eggs, banana bread, honey cake, milk, dairy foods, lamb, roasted ham.
Decorations: Yellow Disk or Wheel, Colored Egg’s, Hare Decorations and Spring Flowers
Colors: Light green, lemon yellow and pale pink
Tarot: The suit of swords
Deities: Eostre, Ostara, Diana, Pan, Demeter, Freyja.
Chakra: Anahata – Heart Chakra
Corresponding Moon: First Quarter Moon – symbolizing practice, feedback and building your foundation.
Just like Octobers Samhain (Halloween) and Decembers Yule (Christmas), Ostara (Easter) has been translated in to modern day Christianity. Ostara is, however, an ancient celebration and honoring of the Anglo-Saxon and Germanic goddess of fertility, Ēostre or Ostara. The spring goddess represents new dawn and new life, and blesses seeds for planting, overseeing the fertility of the earth, symbolizing new growth, and newborn animals.
Ostara annually falls on the date of the spring equinox, marks the changing of the seasons from the dark winter to the light spring. At the time of the spring equinox, day and night are of equal length, making it a time to celebrate balance and equilibrium. As of this, it is a good time to balance out your own life as well, using this time to free yourself and let go of things which hinder your progress, focusing on gaining what you may have lost and to gain the qualities you wish to have.
Ostara is also considered a magical day and a time for play and childish wonder. The goddess is traditionally represented by gifts, treats and decoration associated with the new light of birth, such aspainted eggs, rabbits, basket of flowers and sweets. It’s time to bring out your inner child!
Rituals & Activities
Special activities to be done around Ostara is planting seeds or maybe start your own magical herb garden. This is also a good day to just spend time out in the earths beautiful nature. Taking a long walk with no intent other than reflecting on the magic and wonders surrounding you. Find a peaceful place to meditate, and root yourself to the earth, grounding and balancing yourself with every breath – making the breaths as long and deep as possible and of equal length representing the equilibrium of night and day.
Food also plays an important role at Ostara. Fresh vegetables and leafy greens like dandelion greens, nettles and asparagus, diary food, flowers, sprouts and nuts. However, there are also believed that fasting at the Equinox is very healthy and magical. It is said to clear away all the toxins stored over winter, when we eat heavier foods to keep warm. Eliminate all the “poisons” food from your diets for a few days (including sugar, caffeine, alcohol, red meats, dairy products and refined foods), and eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Ostara ritual from About Religion:
For this ritual, you’ll want to decorate your altar with symbols of the season. Think about all the colors you see in nature at this time of year — bright daffodils, crocuses, plump tulips, green shoots — and incorporate them into your altar. This is also a time of fertility in the natural world — the egg is the perfect representation of this aspect of the season. Symbols of young animals such as lambs, chicks, and calves are also great altar adornments for Ostara.
In addition, you’ll need the following:
Perform this ritual outside if at all possible, in the early morning as the sun rises. It’s spring, so it may be a bit chilly, but it’s a good time to reconnect with the earth. If your tradition normally requires you to cast a circle, do so now.
- Three candles — one yellow, one green, and one purple
- A bowl of milk
- A small bowl of honey or sugar
Begin by taking a moment to focus on the air around you. Inhale deeply, and see if you can smell the change in the seasons. Depending on where you live, the air may have an earthy aroma, or a rainy one, or even smell like green grass. Sense the shift in energy as the Wheel of the Year has turned. Light the green candle, to symbolize the blossoming earth. As you light it, say:
The Wheel of the Year turns once more,
and the vernal equinox arrives.
Light and dark are equal,
and the soil begins to change.
The earth awakes from its slumber,
and new life springs forth once more.
Next, light the yellow candle, representing the sun. As you do so, say:
The sun draws ever closer to us,
greeting the earth with its welcoming rays.
Light and dark are equal,
and the sky fills with light and warmth.
The sun warms the land beneath our feet,
and gives life to all in its path.
Finally, light the purple candle. This one represents the Divine in our lives — whether you call it a god or a goddess, whether you identify it by name or simply as a universal life force, this is the candle which stands for all the things we do not know, all those things we cannot understand, but that are the sacred in our daily lives. As you light this candle, focus on the Divine around and within you. Say:
Spring has come! For this, we are thankful!
The Divine is present all around,
in the cool fall of a rain storm,
in the tiny buds of a flower,
in the down of a newborn chick,
in the fertile fields waiting to be planted,
in the sky above us,
and in the earth below us.
We thank the universe* for all it has to offer us,
and are so blessed to be alive on this day.
Welcome, life! Welcome, light! Welcome, spring!
Take a moment and meditate on the three flames before you and what they symbolize. Consider your own place within these three things — the earth, the sun, and the Divine. How do you fit into the grand scheme of things? How do you find balance between light and dark in your own life?
Finally, blend the milk and honey together, mixing gently. Pour it onto the ground around your altar space as an offering to the earth**. As you do, you may wish to say something like:
I make this offering to the earth,
As thanks for the many blessings I have received,
And those I shall some day receive.
Once you have made your offering, stand for a minute facing your altar. Feel the cool earth beneath your feet, and the sun on your face. Take in every sensation of this moment, and know that you are in a perfect place of balance between light and dark, winter and summer, warmth and cold — a time of polarity and harmony.
When you are ready, end the ritual.
Renew your altar
As the season change, it is time to renew and redo our seasonal altar. Burn seasonal incense, and add candles, stones and seasonal flowers to your sacred space to honor the Sabbat. Use your imagination and follow your gut. What feels right for you and your altar around this time?
Taking time to journal and contemplate
As always, the Sabbats are times of reflection. Life is busy, and these days are all opportunities for us to stop, breathe and check in with ourselves. Just like the earth goes through seasons, and the moon through her cycles, we do too. So on these special days of the year; take time to honor where the earth – our beloved pachamama – is in her cycle, and take time to honor where you are too.
- Which parts of yourself has been dormant through the winter?
- Which parts of yourself are awakening at this time?
- What types of seeds do you want to plant in your life this spring?