Ostara, also known as the Spring Equinox and the Vernal Equinox arrives on March 20th this year and coincides with a full moon. The equinox is significant because it’s the time when night and day are of equal length and a time to celebrate balance in all things. Our Celtic, Anglo-Saxon and Germanic ancestors would celebrate the arrival of Spring’s arrival many different ways, much as we do today. As it is with most ancient celebrations, there are no surviving documents or specific rituals. Likewise, there is no physical evidence of specific Ostara ceremonies or rituals, but we do know that there are sacred sites scattered all over the ancient world which clearly show our ancestors observed the Equinoxes and Solstices.
Modern pagans gather on Ostara to celebrate fertility, to ask for prayers from the Goddess for good weather during planting, and to interact with nature as it comes to bloom. Ostara is seen as a time when the fertile energy of the Earth once again awakens. This is also the time of the Maiden as well as the time that the Green Man appears. In the medieval times, the hare (rabbit) was a major fertility symbol and in March, they were reproducing and seemed to be everywhere, which is how they came to symbolize this Sabbat.
This ritual is designed for a group and intended to be performed outdoors with a central bonfire or fire pit.
What you’ll need to prepare for this ritual (as written)
Alter with green cloth
Quarter Candles (4 total) in these colors – Red (South,) Yellow (East,) Green (North,) and Blue (West)
Goddess Candle – Large White Candle (I use a three wick candle for the Goddess)
Bunch of Fresh Daffodils on the alter for luck
A new or unused besom (broom)
An essential oil for anointing (one important to the besom owner)
A staff that hasn’t been used
Fresh Eggs (at least one per participant)
Small bowl or cup
Sacred Drinking Vessel filled with equal amounts of fresh milk and honey
Any portion of the ritual that is bracketed with <> refers to instructions and should not be spoken aloud.
<Opening Statement – A call to action for the participants to stop talking, gather, and prepare to begin the ritual>
“Let it be called, let it be cast, our sacred circle of the present and past; a meeting place, a spiritual space, where we welcome all from the human race”
Join Us as We Call the Quarters
Whispering winds from the East; bless us with your essence of intuition and learning; as we join tonight to usher out the Winter and welcome the Spring, we ask for calm breezes filled with the sweetness of blooms, buds, and the sound of nature emerging from hibernation <light yellow candle>
Great flames of the South; bless us with understanding that this is a time of purification and change; as we gather on this night and all nights throughout the year, we ask for complete cleansing of that which we commit to your purification fires <light red candle>
Eternal waters of the West; the source of both love and fertility; speak to us through your never-ending source of sharing, giving, and replenishment; we hold your three forms in the highest regard, and take comfort in your cleansing abilities <light blue candle>
To the North we seek the guidance of Great Mother Danu, creator and steward of the Earth; the birthplace of all life and the source of grounding, stability, and balance; our sense are awakened as life emerges from the dormant soil, that which was faded once again grows green and lush, and the forests are filled with game, insects, and offspring of all shape and size <light green candle>
Great Goddess, we stand gathered on this night of perfect balance; a community of sharing, caring, and stewardship of the lands; we call upon to you to join and honor us as we fellowship and celebrate the arrival of Spring. We offer our eternal thanks for the blessings which we shall enjoy as we plow our first field, sow our first seed, see new life emerge and grow closer to one another. <light white goddess candle>
Hail Great Goddess and Welcome to All Who Have Gathered!
Tonight we enjoy both the dawning of Springtime and the esoteric light of the Full Worm Moon. The Druids held a great reverence for the full moon during the Spring Equinox month, and when one fell on Ostara, it was a symbol of great changes to come. Our celebration tonight is focused on cleansing, releasing, fertility, and growth in all aspects of our individual and collective lives; Physical Growth of our youth, our livestock, our crops, and our herbs; Spiritual Growth so that we may see our truest selves, find peace in times of trouble, and release the darkness that creeps in our lives unexpectedly; and Emotional Growth to make us more compassionate, more caring, and better able to communicate with those who are in need of healing.
Our celebration of Ostara, or Eostre or Eastre, originates from the Anglo-Saxon Goddess of spring and dawn whose legacy is symbolized by the hare and the egg. Ostara was a fertility Goddess and a Goddess of female purity. She, like the Celtic Green Man, were the lords and ladies of nature; the Kings and Queens of the forests and the fields. As we return to the ancient ways, our understanding of the Great Wheel continues to grow. Tonight we honor nature both in ceremony and practice.
Music of Ostara
We open tonight’s ritual with a piece from a quartet called Sowulo; amazing viking-inspired folk music takes you on a magickal inner journey where you can feel the hearts of all your ancestors beating in unison with yours and known that you never stand alone in this world.
The Besom and the Staff
Springtime is the best time for women to get a new besom and for men to get a new staff. Ostara is a perfect night for consecrating and naming those new items. Both are powerful tools used in magick, rituals, and other ceremonies and each should be named appropriately as one would name a familiar. Tonight we shall honor this long-lost tradition by performing a consecration.
The besom should have it’s name carved somewhere along the staff and never be used until consecrated. Hold the broom at arms length and anoint it with an oil which you personally hold sacred. Repeat this incantation while keeping your eyes focused on the moon:
Besom of branch and cord now tied.
Serve as my companion and my guide.
On solid shaft by full moon light
Protect my home through day and night
Open realms beyond space and time
My soul among the clouds will climb
All my magick is now applied
Besom of branch and cord now tied
In consecration I pledge my oath
Spiritual, emotional, and personal growth
For every door, this is my key
As I will, so mote it be!
Likewise, a staff must also be given a proper title. History speaks of great deeds performed with a staff and it speaks volumes of the person wielding it and the process of engaging with a new staff before consecration should not be taken lightly. As with the besom, the owner should carve the name of their staff somewhere along it’s length and take care to not touch the ground with the base of the staff until it’s consecrated. If it’s a purchased staff, lay it on one side on the earth and pour sacred water along it’s length; bring it to the ceremony in a horizontal position.
To consecrate, turn the staff vertical and say these words:
Ancient history in the time of Bards
Lengths of wood, both stout and hard
Charged with power, life, and light
Blessings sought on a full moon night
Masculine energy with self-control
Vision and strength in this chosen pole
A symbol small, but power large
Now a sacred staff I hereby charge
For every door, this is my key
As I will, so mote it be!
Once the incantation is spoken, bring the bottom tip strongly to the ground in a single striking motion to complete the consecration.
Honey & Milk Blessing
Honey and milk both speak of fertility and nurturing. Milk represents life itself and honey represents eternity because it lasts forever. We are so blessed to have access to such wonderful things; courtesy of Mother Earth. Even though we can’t see it, we must realize that the Earth and her resources aren’t infinite. Our supply of fresh water is always under assault from chemical dumping, human pollution, and toxic run-offs. Our forests are being cut down to make way for more industry and our farmlands are being sold off for town homes. Our air is thick with the smog of factories and the pollutants of pesticides and unnecessary chemicals. And yet despite the daily assault, somehow the planet continues to heal and provide for us.
Such an unselfish act in a human being would likely be rewarded with jewels and money, but when it’s our planet, those acts are unrecognized and if they are noticed, quickly forgotten. Most humans have forgotten or simply don’t care that our planet is the only one we have and that it’s the responsibility of each and every one of us to make sure conditions don’t worsen.
Tonight, we offer our most humble prayers and blessings to Earth; our Mother. This cup contains milk and honey, and we’ll pass it around the circle for each person to add the other ingredients; a healthy dose of love, a few spoons full of kindness and compassion, a sprinkle of caring, and enough caring and willingness to commit to cleaning up anytime and anywhere we can.
<pass the cup around the circle for each person to add their own thoughts and prayers over it>
Begat in the times of the great unknown came a fertile and glorious planet
Trees, flowers, foodstuffs, and animals were in great and luxurious abundance
Fresh winds spilled cool air across the sun-drenched plains and rocky mountains
All things, both living and solid, shared in the collective energies of the realm
Perfection was without word, beauty had not yet been described, and all was peaceful
Woman and man were born of the great oak tree and presented with this splendor
All things were perfect and present while humanity took hold and rapidly flourished
Resources were not hoarded, trees not felled for profit, and water not brokered of bartered for
That which was available to one, was in fact available for all – none were excluded or shunned
Humanity was an extension of the great circle of life and balance and collectivism were guides
Some men grew unsettled, perhaps their minds were infiltrated and their conscious weakened
Greed, savagery, and forgetfulness grew unchecked and the land showed signs of suffering
Water became fouled, soil stripped of nutrients, and the air filled with acrid pollutants
Generations came and the turmoil grew stronger and stronger as each day passed into the next
Fewer and fewer stewards remained and thoughts that all might be lost prevailed
Then, without warning, one day passed – a day which was nondescript and without date or name
When the great happening led to a great shift across the planet; as if a light was suddenly lit
Women and men turned inward in thought and shook free from the shackles of darkness
Returning to the old ways; the ways of those who shared in the collective energies of the realm
A daunting task indeed lay ahead, but as each day passed, another candle was lit and shining
Each light a beacon for another light, and still another as bodies were drawn together
One by one they came looking for those who share the same ancient vision of life
Not one man, but every man now speaks for the trees, the winds, the skies, and the rain
Not one woman, but every woman; every maiden, mother, and crone, speaks for life
There is a strength in numbers and through a chorus of voices the word is being spread
Hear us oh great Goddess, our words are our power and we humbly offer them to you
For we that have been given so much, shall in turn give back to ensure our future
With milk and honey and our greatest good, we offer our blessings and commitment
<pour the sacred libation onto the earth and allow several minutes of silence for meditation>
Daffodils are known to open doorways to light and positive energy between our physical world and the magickal world of the faeries. These lovely flowers represent all the things that we associate with Ostara; fertility, springtime, rebirth, and renewal. According to ancient beliefs, a single daffodil given to an individual will bring bad luck not only to the receiver, but to the giver as well, so never hand anyone a single flower. It’s also believed that the first person to spot a daffodil in the spring will have amazingly good luck that year.
We are going to walk around the circle and bless each person with this bunch of daffodils.
<the leader should touch each person on the right shoulder, the left shoulder, and then the top of their head – once everyone has been touched, then ask everyone to join hands and say the following prayer>
May the blessing of the light be with you always,
The sun shall shine upon you and warm you heart,
Your eyes shall shine like the stars above,
Ample rain will fall often upon your fields,
Your children will grow as the plants and trees,
Love will find you and hold you tightly
And your spirit will blossom like a daffodil
Full Moon Cleansing
Each month, we gather to perform a full moon cleansing ritual; however since this month’s Full Worm Moon falls on Ostara, we’ll be adding a uniqueness that completes the cleansing process using the symbology of Ostara.
The first full moon of March was called the Worm Moon by the Native Americans. Other cultures called the March full moon the Magpie Moon, Crow Moon, Lenten Moon, Crust Moon, Chaste Moon, Sugar Moon, and Sap Moon; all for different reasons, but collectively marking the return of springtime to the land.
Our current full moon is in Libra, marking the beginning of a new cycle. Starting today, we should begin to experience a strong feeling of peace and tranquility washing over us. This moon carries a strong balancing energy; it can neutralize a negative environment through the creation of an unseen healing and harmonious curtain that surrounds us all.
Tonight we will be using eggs to perform a personal cleansing for each individual who wishes to engage. Eggs were used in ancient ritual practices because they are very absorbent but also because they signify new life and fertility. With a full moon on Ostara, this is perfectly appropriate. We will use the eggs to remove and eliminate spiritual debris and negative energy, then further test to determine if we’ve succeeded or if we have additional work to do.
<Ritual leader should ask everyone to form a line, carefully keeping inside the circle, and approach individually>
<Using a natural egg (from a farm or your own chickens) – pass the egg around each person’s body as if you were smudging them with sage. This should be done in silence as the ritual leader needs to concentrate on drawing the negative energy away from the individual and into the egg. Once the entire body has been passed over, including the soles of the feet, ask the person to exhale on the egg>
Negativity be gone, I banish thee!
<crack the egg in a bowl or dish for examination – if you see blood or a double yolk, then further cleaning is needed, however if the egg looks normal, then hand the bowl to the person and have them meditate over it before dumping the egg into the bonfire to be consumed by the flames>
<Once everyone has taken their turn, have the group join hands and state the following>
We’ve chosen to release that which no longer serves our needs. We understand that negativity can enter our lives at any time and without understanding and cleansing, it can destroy everything we’ve worked for. Releasing is only half of the process and we must not forget to fill those empty spaces with love, laughter, healing, and hope. As it is tonight, is shall be tomorrow and beyond. So Mote It Be!
A Story of Eostre
Before we close the circle, I’d like to share a short story; one that might help some of you understand the symbolism of Ostara and how it became part of our culture today.
On the first day of spring each year, animals and children would come to the great meadow to celebrate with the Goddess Ostara to bring her gifts and offerings. No one is sure when, but on one of those years, a young rabbit was preparing to make the great journey. Being a creature of the earth, the rabbit had no possessions worthy enough to present to a Goddess, but the hare would not dare to insult the Goddess by arriving empty-handed and went to the forest to find something suitable.
While on his quest, the young rabbit came upon a fresh egg and was about to enjoy it as a meal, when he was hit with the realization that the egg would make a fine offering to the Goddess since it was a true representation of springtime. But, because the egg was no different than any other egg, the young rabbit decided to take it home to decorate it first. He wanted it to be special and worthy of offering to the Goddess.
On the first day of Spring, all the creatures were gathered, each taking a turn to approach the Goddess. When it was his turn, the hare humbly approached with reverence and awe, and presented the now brightly colored egg to the Goddess. She beamed at the beautiful egg; smiling down upon the rabbit, who was overwhelmed with relief. In fact, she was so happy that she wanted everyone to have one, so they could feel the same joy she was feeling.
She also saw the unselfish and gentle soul of the rabbit by presenting her with the egg rather than eating it, so she rewarded him and his entire species with a new life, of sorts. From that day forward, rabbits would have the job of creating and delivering decorated eggs to children and animals across the land on the morning of the great festival of the spring.
Closing the circle
All eyes look to the North – as we share our final moments together tonight, take with you visions of plentiful crops, fresh fruit and vegetables, and life itself <extinguish green candle>
All eyes look to the West – as we leave this place, take with you the willingness to care for our water table; keep it clean and safe, so that life in the future shall enjoy the same benefits as life in the present <extinguish blue candle>
All eyes look to the South – as the smoke of the cleaning flames still linger in the air, remember that the empty spaces we’ve made in our spirits need to be filled with things that serve us and improve our lives <extinguish red candle>
All eyes look to the East – as we once again come full circle, we must never forget that balance, harmony, and community are the basis for creation, sharing, and love <extinguish yellow candle>
Great Goddess, we have been blessed in so many ways; the fertile earth that awaits the new seeds; the warmth of the nurturing sun; refreshing cool, clean water; and the fellowship of those around us. Thank you for your wisdom and love. Thank you for sharing this night with us in our sacred space. <extinguish Goddess Candle>
“The circle is open but never broken”