Ostara 2020 – Seasons Change and So Do We

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In 2020, Ostara (also called the spring or vernal equinox) falls on Thursday, March 19, which is earlier than it’s been in more than 100 years.  Usually Ostara falls on the 20th or 21st, but this year it happens on the 19th for all United States time zones, making it the earliest Spring arrival since 1896.

To some people, the equinox is just another day, but in the pagan world, Ostara is significant because it’s the time when we celebrate balance in all things; including ourselves. Our Celtic, Anglo-Saxon and Germanic ancestors would celebrate the arrival of Spring’s arrival many different ways.  Also as it is with most ancient ceremonies, there are no surviving documents on how, when, and where the celebrations would have taken place.  We cannot identify a traditional Ostara ritual, but the surviving evidence found in sacred sites across Europe show our ancestors observed both the Equinoxes and Solstices.

Tonight we gather to celebrate the changing season, and officially welcome Spring to our world.  Some will ask the Goddess for fertility, others seek good weather during planting, and still others will ask for strength to make changes in their own lives.  Historically, Ostara is seen as a time when the dormant fertile energy of the Earth starts to move and breathe new life into everything around it.  For those who follow the Triple-Goddess structure, this is the time of the Maiden.

 

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)
Sacred Drinking Vessel filled with equal amounts of fresh milk and honey
Bunch of spring flowers (daffodils or something equal)
Sachet of assorted seeds

Any portion of the ritual that is bracketed with <> refers to instructions and should not be spoken aloud.

The Ritual

<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, this sacred circle of both present and past; a meeting place, a spiritual space, where we welcome all from the human race”

Join Us as We Call the Ostara 2020 Quarters

East

In the East we look to the dawning of a new day; the direction from which the sun rises and light floods over the land.  We seek guidance from the spirits of Air and listen patiently to the wind for their responses.  As we welcome spring we also welcome warm breezes, sunny skies, and the opportunity to once again till the lands and gather from the forests. <light yellow candle>

South

From the South we continue to enjoy the benefits of fire; flames that originate from the great forges of creation.  We call upon the spirits of Fire to teach us how to master that which is uncertain and to direct us to work, live, and share within our means.  As we stand on this great day of balance we ask for the strength to make positive changes in our lives and commit to living a better life. <light red candle>

West

The West gives us a seemingly endless source of water; ponds, lakes, streams, and the mighty oceans of the world that never seem to age, but continuously move across the world.  Great spirits of Water inspire us to always move ahead, and if the pathway before us becomes blocked, to find a way around, across, or through it.  <light blue candle>

North

And finally we look to the North, the direction of Earth.  Our lives are only possible because of the many blessing allotted to each of us by the Great Mother.  And as we age, our appreciation for the energies from the world of the living, grows exponentially.  Today on this day of balance and equality, we see the pathways for new life to emerge and eagerly await the transformation of that which was faded to once again become green and lush. <light green candle>

Great Goddess; we are humbly gathered on this night of equality, to offer our collective thanks, but also to continue to learn and grow within our community.  We call upon to you to join us in fellowship as we offer praises for the long-awaited arrival of Spring.  We shall not forget your protection in each seed we plant, each field we till, and each new life we usher into the world from our flocks and our own families.  <light white goddess candle>

Hail Great Goddess and Welcome to All Who Have Gathered on this Ostara night!

Ostara

Introduction

Tonight we gather to share space with one another on this glorious day of complete balance.  Tomorrow much of tonight will be forgotten as we move into the next phase of the turning wheel, but tonight we celebrate.  Our theme is ‘seasons change and so do we’ as this holiday presents each and every one of us with a new opportunity to change our lives for the better.  There is no better time than right now to step up, grow up, or rise to a new level of vibration.

Our celebration of Ostara (Eostre or Eastre) originates from the Anglo-Saxon/Germanic Goddess of spring and the dawn whose legacy is symbolized by the hare and the egg.  Ostara was a fertility Goddess and a Goddess of female purity.  She is the first warm spring winds, the birds that return, and the first buds on the trees.  She is the energy that awakens the soil, prompts the animals to bring new life into the world, and brings light into the dark spaces.  She is a fertile young maiden who dances like no one is watching, sings while skipping through the forest, and gives fresh cut flowers to all who cross her path.  She is magick, she is wonderment, and most importantly, she is life!

Tonight, as we marvel in the changing seasons, we will be focused on blessings.  We ask that everyone focuses their energy and fill their minds with happy peaceful thoughts.

Music of Ostara

We open tonight’s ritual with a beautiful song called Von den Elben [Of the Elves] by Faun, one of the best medieval German Folk bands in the world.  Their music is often associated with pagan rituals as it invokes deep and passionate feelings about all things tied to family, the world, and the land.

What Does Spring Bring?

The coming of Spring is wonderful.  It’s a time of natural magick and we should pay attention to it with open eyes, a careful ear, and nary a whisper from our mouths.  The temperatures are slowly rising and the last remnants of the winter snow piles are melting away; leaving nothing but a small pile of sticks, stones, and other debris.  Garden bulbs are breaking through the surface of the ever-softening soil; each tiny green shoot is another reminder of the beauty of nature.  The small branches of the trees are filled with tiny buds, each waiting anxiously to burst forth with a new leaf.  The sounds of chirping birds, tiny insects, and all sorts of life can be heard in every direction.  Larger animals are coming down from the highlands to graze and explore, now that the snow is gone.  Early rains fill the air with the sweet scent of promise and hope.  The once-frozen ground eagerly awaits the moisture, as do the dormant seeds of perennials.  Some of the early medicinal plants and herbs are already a few inches tall and they thrive as the sun stays high in the sky for a bit longer each day.

With so many blessings provided to us by nature, it’s nearly impossible to offer thanks for each and every one.  But nevertheless, we shall try anyway; for gratitude is something we can never share enough.  Our first is a Milk & Honey Blessing.

Ostara

Milk & Honey Blessing

Our first blessing is of Honey and Milk, because 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.  Yet, many humans take the bounty of nature for granted; some even abuse our greatest resource with harmful practices such as strip mining, irresponsible logging, poaching, and intentionally starting fires or polluting groundwater.

As citizens of nature, we can help Mother Earth to heal from these transgressions.  We can conserve, contribute, and clean-up things whenever and wherever we can.  There is an endless need for doing more and using less, as the life of our planet depends on it.  Our time is important, but so is our energy, so tonight we shall give it freely.

<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>

Spring Flower Blessing

Our second blessing of the night is magickal and is meant to focus our energy to open the doorways between our physical world and world of the faeries.  Fresh Spring flowers represent all the things that we associate with Ostara; fertility, springtime, rebirth, and renewal.  This blessing is for the individual; to serve as a reminder that real change is up to each one of us and that waiting for someone else to step up holds no value.

<the leader should walk the inner ring of the circle and touch each person on the right shoulder, the left shoulder, and then the top of their head with the bunch of fresh spring flowers – 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
Blessed Be!

Seed Blessing

Our third and final blessing is for the seeds.  Our ancestors would gather seeds from their crops in the late summer and fall, and carefully dry and preserve them for planting the following year.  Seeds in those days were treated like gold, because they were not always in ready-supply.  In our modern world, many of us simply stop at our local store and pick up a few packages each spring; not really thinking about their value.

Seeds are life waiting to be coaxed into food.  They are magickal.  They are amazing.

<Ritual Leader should present the sachet of seeds to the gathering – hold it high above and recite the following>

As the days grow long and the air warm
The light half of the year is upon us
We summon the power of Mother Nature
Awaken the sleepers and charge them
Hold them tightly in the dark earth
Feed them and bathe them in sunlight
Support the tender shoots as they rise
Send warm rains and light winds
Care for them as you care for me
For as they grow, so shall we
Now and forever, Blessed Be!

A Story of Eostre

Long ago, when the world was less populated and the Gods and Goddesses walked free through the lands, humans would interact with different deities.  On the first day of spring each year, the baby animals and little children gather in the great meadow to celebrate the season with the Goddess Ostara.  Each would bring her a small gift or offering in exchange for her blessing in the coming year.  On one of those years, a young rabbit was preparing to make the great journey from his hole, deep in the woods, to the great meadow.  But, being a creature of the earth, the rabbit knew that a rabbit had no possessions worthy enough to present to a Goddess.  So, the hare went into the forest to search the nooks and crannies of the landscape, hoping that something worthy to present to a Goddess would emerge.

While on his quest, that same young rabbit came upon a fresh egg.  Moments before the hare was about to enjoy it as a meal, he was hit with the realization that this egg would make a fine offering to the Goddess, especially since it was a true representation of springtime.  And yet after a few minutes of thought, he realized the egg was no different than any other egg and unimpressive.  So, being the creative rabbit that he was, 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.

The rabbit gathered skins from onions, juice from beets, red cabbage, grape and blueberry juice along with cold spring water to create a pallet of amazing colors.  He took fibers from dried plants to apply the colors and flowers and greenery to weave around the base of the egg.  After several days of work, he beamed at the finished egg and started on the journey.

On the first day of Spring, all the little children and forest creatures were gathered, each taking a turn to approach the Goddess.  When it was his turn, the hare humbly approached with reverence and awe.  He kept his head down and presented the now brightly colored egg to the Goddess.  She beamed at the beautiful egg; smiling down upon the rabbit, who looked up lovingly while overwhelmed with relief.  The Goddess was so moved that she wanted everyone gathered to feel the same elated feeling and proclaimed colored eggs for all the little ones.

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

Great Spirits of the North – as we prepare to once again put crops in the ground, we once again ask for warm air, ample rain and a bountiful harvest.  In the great cycle of life, we embrace our role as a caretaker of the planet and pledge to do our part to preserve it. <extinguish green candle>

Great Spirits of the West – as we leave this circle, we leave with the vision of clean rivers and lakes teeming with life.  We shall not forget that water is life and without it, we too shall disappear from existence.  We leave committed to conserve and preserve our water supply. <extinguish blue candle>

Great Spirits of the South – as the smoke of the great fire gently wafts high above, we are reminded that fire presents a great danger to our natural world.  We leave tonight with the understanding that we are responsible for that which we set in motion and will do everything we can to prevent unnecessary destruction. <extinguish red candle>

Great Spirits of 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.  The Wheel has turned as it always turns, and we must turn with it.  <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”

“Huzzah!”

Recommended Reading

If you are pagan and regularly practice sabbats or full moon rituals, I invite you to review the complete library of rituals and ceremonies at this link.

The 2020 Pagan Calendar can be accessed here.

Our complete magick archives can be accessed at this link.

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