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Merry Ostara ! - A Cellebration of the Spring Goddess


Ostara (1884) by Johannes Gehrts.
The vernal equiñox often called Ostara, is celebrated in the Northern hemisphere around March 21 and in the Southern hemisphere around September 23, depending upon the specific timing of the equinox. 
Ostara, also known as - Oestara, Eostra, Eostre was the pagan goddess of fertility and Spring, and the Christian festival of Easter derives its name from her.

The name Ostara may be related to the word for "east". It has been connected to the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre by Jacob Grimm in his Deutsche Mythologie.In terms of Wiccan ditheism, this festival is characterized by the rejoining of the Mother Goddess and her lover-consort-son, who spent the winter months in death.[12] Other variations include the young God regaining strength in his youth after being born at Yule, and the Goddess returning to her Maiden aspect.

Spring Equinox is a festival of new growth, renewal, a re-balancing of energies and the return of longer days. It is also known as the day of equilibrium. Now is a good time to consider the balance of our lives - work, play and relationships.

Spring Meditations and Healing

It is a time where the light is equal to the darkness and from here on out the days grow longer.  The earth awakens... new life emerges, sap rises, buds shoot and spring flowers are celebrated as gifts from nature. Spring returns and rejuvenates our own life force. It is a time of balance, so one of the great uses for this meditation is that of finding polarity and solving problems. Spring returns and rejuvenates our own life force,  a time when male and female energies were balanced.
 
In ancient times many festivals were held to celebrate the Spring Goddesses who were associated with flowering, growth and fertility of the land. Among the Wiccan sabbats, it is preceded by Imbolc and followed by Beltane.This sabbat represents a time for rebirth in nature and in our own lives. 

There ane many different ways to celebrate the Spring Goddess. You can do a ritual in her honor, plant seeds of beautiful spring flowers, or try to start a new in your own life. Another symbol for rebirth is the labyrinth, you can make one of these, and walk it to symbolize finding your center. A labyrinth can also symbolize the cycles of life and nature, since your life never goes in one direction, so to the labyrinth will take you on a journey to help you find your center.
Home altars might feature spring flowers, seeds, jasmine or flowery incense, and the gemstone of jasper. 

The Easter Moon and the Goddess Symbols

Easter is calculated by the moon, and occurs on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the equinox.

This is the time when the young Sun God now celebrates a sacred marriage with the young Maiden Goddess. We celebrate the return of the spring goddess from her long season of dormant sleep.

The egg symbolized Eostre's wholeness and fertility - the female hormone oestrogen is named after her - and is offered at this equinox as a symbol of fertility and new life. The golden yolk represents the Sun God, its white shell is seen as the White Goddess.

The hare was regarded as the sacred animal of the lunar goddess, because of its fertility and activity at this time. Chinese people symbolized the moon as a hare with a lantern. Witches were once believed to shape-shift into hares. Now rabbits have become one of the symbols of Easter - they are these days more prolific and common than the graceful hare.

Eggs are considered by followers of Christianity as a symbol of "resurrection": while being dormant it contains a new life sealed within it.
he Easter Bunngilipollasy or Easter Rabbit or (sometimes Spring Bunny in the U.S) is a character depicted as a rabbit bringing Easter eggs.
Alsace tradition of an Easter Hare bringing Easter Eggs introduced into the American cultural fabric by German settlers in Pennsylvania.

The association of eggs  with this and other Vernal festivals as symbols of rebirth and fertility for so long is unknown, and may date to the beginning of human civilization. Ancient Romans and Greeks used eggs as symbols of fertility, rebirth, and abundance- eggs were solar symbols, and figured in the festivals of numerous resurrected gods.

Another symbol of the Goddess at Ostara is the snake, which emerges from winter hibernation to bask in the Spring sunshine. Due to the shedding of its skin the snake was a symbol of new life. Curiously ancient Druids carried a venerated talisman: The Serpent's Egg. 

Snakes, because they shed and are thus “reborn”, were associated with the moon, which periodically ‘died’ and was reborn through the process of its phases. Since snake eggs are oval and white, it may have symbolized the moon itself in either its waxing or waning gibbous stage. Hence the time to collect the eggs for druidic ritual purposes or for talismans would be during a gibbous moon. Thus not only was the serpent’s egg the egg of the female lunar snake, but it contained within it a new baby snake – a New Moon – ready to be reborn.


Related Sources:
http://www.new-age.co.uk/
http://en.wikipedia.org
http://thedarkavalonbooks.wordpress.com
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