The Sabbat named Oestara may already be so familiar to you, having already celebrated Easter on so many occasions.
A LITTLE BIT OF BACKGROUND
Ostara is an Anglo-Saxon Goddess who is symbolised by the egg (the origin of our chocolate Easter eggs) and the Hare (which somewhere along the line traded places with the ever popular Easter bunny!), and the word 'oestrogen' is a female hormone. Both are associated with fertility and 'new birth'. The worship of the Goddess Ostara (and various variations of her) dates back thousands of years, pre-Christianity, and is most certainly the origin of todays Easter celebrations.
Oestara is also known as the Spring Equinox - a time of year when day and night are of equal length, and the Earth is striving for balance. As we wander around our local area, and indeed, even in our own gardens, we can begin to notice the first signs of spring. Buds are appearing on the trees, Daffodils and Crocus are popping up everywhere, the birds are nesting, and if you are lucky enough to live in a rural or semi-rural area, you will start to see the baby lambs, calves and foals coming into the world! The earth is casting off the 'dead' of the Winter time, and re-awakening to the possibilities of the new life and fertile months to come!
Just as the Spring Equinox is a time for balance within the land, so we seek to find balance within ourselves! It's time to re-awaken to the possibilities within you. Shake off the slouchy, uninspired feeling that the colder months can often invoke in us and get yourself prepared for the warmer weather and some outdoor activities.
WAYS IN WHICH YOU CAN MARK THE SABBAT
- IT'S TIME TO THROW OFF YOUR OLD WAY OF THINKING. GET RID OF OLD HABITS, THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS WHICH ARE NO LONGER SERVING YOU. TAKE ON BOARD NEW IDEAS AND THOUGHTS.
- SEEK TO FIND BALANCE WITHIN YOURSELF.
- SEEK SELF ACCEPTANCE
- TRY TO STOP DWELLING ON THE 'NEGATIVE' SO MUCH, IF THAT IS WHAT YOU USUALLY DO.
- LEARN A LITTLE ABOUT PLANTS AND HERBS AND HOW THEY HAVE BEEN AND STILL ARE USED TRADITIONALLY AS REMEDIES. SEEK TO INCREASE ON THIS KNOWLEDGE WITH TIME, AS A BASIC KNOW-HOW WITH HERBS IS PART OF A WITCHES' HERITAGE. THERE ARE PLENTY OF GOOD BOOKS ON THE SUBJECT OR YOU COULD SEEK OUT A HERBALIST WHO MAY BE WILLING TO TEACH YOU.
- AS THE 'CASTING OUT OF THE OLD' SEEMS TO BE IN KEEPING WITH THIS PARTICULAR SABBAT, THIS MAY BE WHERE THE WHOLE 'SPRING CLEANING' HABIT ORIGINATES FROM. LONGER DAYS WITH INCREASED DAYLIGHT HOURS CERTAINLY ENCOURAGES THE FEELING OF WANTING TO GIVE THE HOUSE A GOOD TIDY UP AND CLEAN OUT THE RUBBISH!
A MOMENT AT THE ALTAR
This ritual is best performed outside. You can create a beautiful little altar for yourself on a tree stump, a wall, or even just an old scarf spread out on the floor will suffice. Add a couple of candles, one for the Goddess, one for the God, some crystals of choice (to represent the fire element), a little bowl of water (obviously for the water element), and a little bowl of salt (for earth) and a feather (for air). Gather some big-ish leaves that have fallen to the ground, and write on each one something that you would like to rid yourself of. Also, think of something you would like to plant, and go out and get some seeds. Keep in mind that you may have to choose to plant something that is appropriate for the type of climate you reside in, but your local garden centre will advise you of your best options! Locate a nice spot where you can dig yourself a hole, both for the burial of leaves and the planting of the seeds.
- Call upon the elements of Air, Fire, Water and Earth.
- Visualize the Goddess and the God, lighting each of their representing candles, and ask them to be present at your ritual.
- Place the dead leaves which you have written on into the hole you made, and ask the Goddess and the God, either aloud or mentally, to assist you in ridding yourself of the things which you wish to let go of.
- Place the seedlings into the hole and ask the Goddess and the God to bless them and help them grow strong from the remains of the old. Visualize the seeds as the things you wish to attain as they are growing.
- Take a moment to absorb all this.
- Thank the elements for attending your ritual.
- Thank the Goddess and the God for attending your ritual.
- Give thanks for the help you have received.
- Make sure to extinguish all candles and leave no rubbish outside.
- Make sure to tend to your seeds carefully. Keep them watered and protected from frosts and nurture them as you nurture your new intentions, dreams and plans.
As I have mentioned before in previous posts, it is always a good idea after a ritual to make yourself something to eat and drink. This will 'ground' you back to earth. Throw a few crumbs for the birds.
Although the Christian Easter celebrations are not quite due for another few weeks, I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a wonderful and happy Easter, and try not to make yourself sick with the chocolate eggs!