Ostara (Eostre) is the celebration of the Spring Equinox. This is the first time of the year when days and nights are of equal length (the other being Mabon - the Autumn Equinox). Ostara marks the move between the dark half of the year and the light. Starting at Ostara days will steadily grow in length and light until the Summer Solstice at Litha Midsummer - the longest day of the year.
Ostara is the festival of birth and new beginnings. Traditionally it would celebrate the birthing of the Spring lambs. It marks the start of the growing season, the planting of seeds and the beginnings of new life. In times of old a Pagan would be entering the months of hard work, preparing the earth, sowing the crops and rearing baby animals. Ostara marks the end of the resting months - as the sunlight increases so do the working hours and with them the work that has to be done.
Pagans of modern times may not work as closely with the land as their ancestors did and as a result their workload is spread more evenly across the year. But for modern Pagans Ostara still has an energy about it. It is a time to put plans in place, and to replace inertia with action.
It is also a time to celebrate the promise of the coming Summer.
Ostara is the second of the three fire festivals and the elements of flames and heat can be seen in the Sabbat's association with passion and fertility. The Ostara hare (the precurser to the Easter bunny of popular culture) is a fecund symbol of life renewing itself. The link with fertility is however perhaps most heavily symbolised through the egg. Decorated eggs were traditionally given as gifts at Ostara, a gift offering the blessing of prosperity and new beginnings to the recipient.
For witches both of old and modern times, Ostara is a time of balance, a time to work magic that require a balance of light and dark magic. It is also a good time to start magic that requires time to strengthen and grow as it will benefit from the steadily growing power of the
sun. The overtones of fertility also make this an ideal time of year to work magic in relation to conception or child birth.
As the wheel of the year turns, the Goddess becomes pregnant with the child of the Sun God. She will give birth to the new Sun God at Yule.
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