Ostara 2023

Ostara 2023

Spring is finally here! It’s Ostara!

It is hard for me to talk about Ostara without mentioning the Christian holy day of Easter, because Ostara/Eastre much like Yule, is one of the festivals that really intertwines with a Christian holy day.  So let's just get that out of the way first. 

The Christian holiday Easter was conceived as a holy celebration in the second century, yet Eastre (pronounced Easter) the pagan festival predates christian times and has a non religious side. The ancients celebrated the return of spring with a huge festival on the Vernal Equinox and through the month of April. Ostar Manod = Easter month was actually the name of the month of April on their calendar. When second century christian missionaries encountered these pagan celebrations, they were very cunning in how they tried to convert them to christianity. It could mean death for newly converted christians to observe the christian holy days at times that did not coincide with the already existing celebrations, so they spread their religious message throughout the populations by allowing them to continue to celebrate the pagan festivals, and slowly over time in a more christian manner. The pagan festival of Eastre occurred around the same time of year that christians observed the resurrection of the Christ, so it made sense for them to alter the pagan festival itself to make it a christian celebration as converts were slowly won over and the name Eastre was eventually changed to its modern spelling of Easter. 

There is not a lot written in history about how early pagans celebrated this festival in ancient times or if they honored this goddess Ostre until about the 8th century when Saint Bede wrote of these festivals honoring her. By the 19th century she played a much larger role in Germanic mythology and she was added to German literature, paintings, and stories. In the 19th century Jacob Grimm, one of the famous Grimm brothers who was fascinated with German mythology, featured a lot of this mythology and folklore in his book of nursery rhymes and fairy tales. He wrote… 

Ostara, Eástre seems therefore to have been the divinity of the radiant dawn, of upspringing light, a spectacle that brings joy and blessing, whose meaning could be easily adapted by the resurrection-day of the Christian's God. Bonfires were lighted at Easter and according to popular belief of long standing, the moment the sun rises on Easter Sunday morning, he gives three joyful leaps, he dances for joy ... Water drawn on the Easter morning is, like that at Christmas, holy and healing ... here also heathen notions seems to have grafted themselves on great Christian festivals. Maidens clothed in white, who at Easter, at the season of returning spring, show themselves in clefts of the rock and on mountains, are suggestive of the ancient goddess. 1835 Deutsche Mythologie, Jacob Grimm

This concept of Ostara and the folklore presented by Jacob Grimm had much influence on how it was celebrated and how it is still celebrated by modern pagans today.

The sabbat of Ostara is the 4th sabbat on the Neo pagan or Wiccan wheel of the year and it coincides with the astrological event of the Spring Equinox when the day and the night are equal in balance. In Wicca, the growing daylight is evidence of the God moving from child toward maturity. Likewise, the Earth becomes warmer and more fertile as the Goddess is coming into her full power and is in her Maiden form. 

Here in Minnesota where I live we still have a lot of snow, and it's hard to imagine that spring is really here, but the spring equinox means that the winter has now come to an end. I get a burst of energy at this time of the year and excitement for the coming spring weather and all the growth and potential that it brings. We will soon be planting our seeds and the earth will once again be green with life! It is a time of renewal, rebirth, and fertility.

In hopes that it might give you some inspiration, here are some ideas for how you too can celebrate this beautiful holiday. 

Do some spring cleaning!

I like to do this at my home, and other places that I spend so much time in such as my office, my car, and even my computer. I energetically clean my spaces as well with each of the Sabbats. Opening the windows and freshening things up, sending all the stale energy out and replacing it with the cool crisp spring air.

I can’t start planting outdoors yet but I like to bring the spring inside by filling vases with flowers and starting some seedlings inside to later plant out in the garden. If you live in an area where you can plant, starting to prepare your garden is a wonderful way to celebrate the season, getting your hands in the soil and breathing in the fresh scent of the newly uncovered earth. 

I love to decorate my home with symbols of the Sabbat. Putting out all my bunnies and baskets to hold eggs and treats make my home feel very festive. Decorating eggs in bright colors or spring pastels is something I have done since childhood. One of the stories of Ostre is that she came upon a bird whose wings were frozen and it could not fly. She saved it by turning the bird into a rabbit and once a year it would lay eggs. Hares or rabbits and eggs are symbols of fertility and very much present during Ostara.


I dress my altar to reflect the sabbat. I can keep it simple or go all out with symbols of spring. Some years I take egg shells and fill them with dirt and then I plant seeds in them, hoping that by Easter (yes, I observe that holy day as well) they will be sprouting representing the new life that spring brings. I have also turned egg shells into candles by adding a wick and some wax and setting them about the altar.

Hold a ritual to mark the sabbat. If weather permits, maybe you could set up your altar and have a ritual outside. What a treat that would be! Make a crown of springtime flowers to wear for the occasion. Ritual doesn’t need to be complicated to be special and meaningful. Even lighting just a candle can be enough if that is what you are called to do. 

Have a bonfire or maybe cook a springtime feast outdoors on a grill. For me it’s all about the food! Personally, I like to keep it simple. I usually have to work on a sabbat so coming home and preparing a bunch of complicated foods is not something that I enjoy, but if I have the day of the sabbat off I might put in some extra effort and make something sensational! Some of the foods associated with this spring holiday are lamb, rabbit, ham, eggs, creamy soups, cheeses, and seasonal vegetables and fruits. I will probably opt for a lovely quiche with cheese and asparagus. Maybe some cute little fruit tarts that I can prepare in advance. 

Do some magic! Plant some springtime intentions that could include purification, growth, transition, motivation, balance, positivity, fertility, birth, or good fortune.

Get out in nature! It has been a long winter and for so many of us we have been stuck indoors for many months now. It is finally time to get back outside and enjoy the earth as she gets warmer and greener. Enjoy the light that has been shadowed from us for so long. Going for a walk, even if it is still a bit chilly, is something I love to do. It is like the earth is finally waking up and it is time for me to do the same. The time for winter rest is over.

There are so many ways to celebrate the sabbat Ostara and the spring equinox. However you choose to celebrate, I hope it brings you joy. 

Happy Ostara! Happy Spring Equinox! Happy Easter! It is a new beginning and there is nothing more beautiful!

Until next time enjoy life's blessings, practice gratitude, and be good to yourself and others.

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