In 2023, the spring equinox, known across the civilized world as Ostara, falls on March 20th. All things will be in balance and the day and night will be equal at 3:24 PM, MST. It will be a great day for celebration, brought to life by an Ostara ritual. The energy of the universe will be quite amazing that day, powered in part by a rapidly waning moon. The new Pink Moon peaks the very next day at 11:23 AM, MST.
Ostara is one of the eight pagan Sabbats in the Great Wheel of the Year, with it’s origins in Celtic, Anglo-Saxon and Germanic practices. Although no one is exactly certain how our ancestors would celebrate Ostara, most agree that the event was focused on fertility and the beginning of spring, which meant the opportunity to plant new crops. Most were farmers and herdsmen, who based their lives on the seasons. We are certain, by evidence across Western Europe that there were many sacred places; some with stone circles or altars. These places show evidence that our ancestors observed both the Equinoxes and Solstices. The most famous being Stonehenge and Newgrange
Modern day pagans perform their Ostara ritual in many ways, but mostly focus on fertility rites, welcoming spring, celebrating the Maiden stage of the Goddess. It is when the Horned God is reborn once again, resurrected to wed the Maiden Goddess. It is a time of balance, hope, new life, rebirth, and new beginnings, all of which are integrated into many celebrations.
Preparing for the 2023 Ostara Ritual
This is a family friendly ritual written for a small to medium sized group. As it is tied directly to spring and new life, it should be performed outdoors, with a generous bonfire and plenty of flowers, color, and revelry.
What you’ll need to prepare for this Ostara ritual (as written)
Alter with yellow cloth – decorated with spring flowers, colors, or other symbols of Spring
Quarter Candles (4 total) in these colors – Red (South), Yellow (East), Green (North), and Blue (West)
Maiden Goddess Candle – Large White Candle
A chalice of sacred water, a candle which can be safely held above someone (in a holder is a good idea), a smudging wand of your preference , and a loam mixture to signify the soil of Mother Earth (sand, dirt, salt, charcoal, etc. (whatever is available))
Assorted seeds and bulbs in a small basket (ask your guests to bring their own to add and take home with them, to carry the blessing)
Assorted small color candles in spring colors
This ritual has cues throughout for the ritual leader to use. Anything bracketed with <> refers to instructional steps and should not be spoken aloud.
Let it be called! Let it be cast! This sacred circle of both present and past! From north to south and east to west, every soul a welcome guest!
The sacred sprits which bind the universe together have been honored at rituals since the dawn of the human race. Join me in welcoming them to our circle!
As we look to the East, our hearts are filled with the warming thoughts of the rising sun and the great feeling of peace brought about by the dawning of a new day. Our liveliness swells as the spirits of Air dance and mingle around each and every gathered soul. As the days grow longer, our longings grow stronger, for the forest is whispering and the trees are waiting. This day signals the return of the Maiden and the hope, renewal, and comfort that she brings. <light yellow candle>
Now to the South, where visions of the sun, high in the sky, fill us with an unseen warming comfort. The great spirits of Fire are never far from our hearts and the many gifts that they provide us with. For centuries, our ancestors have passed the sacred lessons of flame from elder to child, so that our race shall retain the gift, but also the lessons. On this day of equality, we are reminded of the lesson of balance that fire so willingly shares; the gift that offers both creation and destruction. <light red candle>
Our gaze now turns to the West, filling our minds with the melting snow and dripping ice. The great spirits of Water are demonstrating the great seasonal change that we feel happening all around us. Each falling drop and its accompanying splash sings a magical melody of something that can only be called miraculous. In motion, in transformation, or still and silent, water anchors us to the understanding of abundance and the need to conserve. <light blue candle>
Turning to the North, we cannot help but feel the vast and untamed energy of the spirits of Earth. For as Spring is sprung, the land is awakened and the miracle of nature is erupting from every hill and in every valley. The Maiden Goddess has touched the ground and engaged the hibernating energy to wake from it’s long rest and bring color, freshness, and wonderment to the land once again. The fertile bellies and swollen seed pods are about to bring the new beginning we’ve longer for over the months of cold and ice. By branch, stem, hoof, or wing, the world will soon be awash in movement, life, and magick. <light green candle>
The Maiden Goddess
Ostara is the time of new beginnings. On this day of balance, symmetry, and equality, we are at the top of the great mountain, ready to cascade downward into the great seasonal change of Spring. We use this time to validate our beliefs, see that all things have a rightful place in the world, and all things matter. The great wheel of time keeps turning, and the cycle of the Goddess renews. We call upon her to join us in our circle, to share her youthful energy with our willing hearts, and to wrap us in her immense majesty. <light Goddess candle>
A Glorious welcome! Our Ostara ritual awaits!
Introduction to Ostara
The celebration of spring is likely the oldest practice in human history, and not localized in any single region or culture. The Sabbat called Ostara (also known as Eostre or Eastre) originates from the Anglo-Saxon/Germanic Goddess Eostre, whose legacy is symbolized by the hare and the egg. She is associated with fertility, spring, flowers, and many of the other elements associated with season. She also represents the Maiden aspect of the triple Goddess, being young, pure, beautiful and filled with life. The notion of a triple Goddess, or the Goddess having three forms, has been identified in ancient Roman, Welsh, Greek, and Celtic histories, which collectively have been drawn upon by modern day pagans to develop their own unique systems and beliefs.
Music Selection for Ostara 2023
Why music you ask? Why not? For as long as humans have walked this earth, they have found that music and rhythm connects them to the energy of the earth and the energy of one another. Music raises energy, awakens something within each and every one of us, and puts it on full and glorious display. For our Ostara ritual this year, our feature piece is called ‘Ostara’, by the group Moonloom, featuring the beautiful vocals of Arina Yurevna Bormusova.
The Many Elements of Ostara
Ostara is a celebration of Spring and the dormant energy stored in the Earth returning with all it’s glory. It’s the beginning of the annual growing cycle, thus appropriately called the time of the Maiden Goddess. After a long winter, especially one with heavy snow and cold temperatures, everyone is ready to get outside, get warm, and enjoy the natural world once again. Key icons of Spring are flowers, buds and shoots, seeds, eggs, baby lambs, chicks, and other forms of new life. From a wider standpoint, it symbolizes rebirth, renewal, and new opportunities. Whether you look at the traditional symbols or the themes of Ostara, it boils down to connecting with nature and starting off the new cycle of growth with a positive outlook.
Rebirthing and Renewal
Ostara is about new beginnings. We cannot be physically reborn, but we can be reborn spiritually. To do this, we’ll go through a guided meditation then immediately into a elemental-based rebirthing ritual. It’s similar to a cleaning ritual, but doesn’t focus on shedding negativity, instead working on gathering positive energy into our sphere and emerging as a higher version of our previous self. Focus on opening yourself to fresh positive energy. Clear out the cobwebs and set aside your inner defenses. You are safe within the circle and surrounded by the protective power of the universe. Settle into a deep state of relaxation, and set your intentions on gathering the energy of Mother Earth. Our guided meditation will begin shortly, so get relaxed and ready to meet the new version of you!
<Give everyone time to relax and prepare themselves for rebirth – once everyone seems relaxed, slowly begin speaking the guided meditation>
The Equinox…Springtime…the season of hope and new life…a new beginning…when light and day meet in perfect harmony…renewal…balance…harmony…perfection…
What lies dormant is dormant no more…The energy is moving…Mother Earth is whispering…It is a time of awakening
A new beginning…life everlasting…the great wheel turning…a time for birthing
The darkness ending…old wounds mending…will unbending…power ascending
The universe is nursing…you are deserving…no reversing…a joyous rebirthing
<Be silent for a minute or more, let the words sink in, the concept play out, the energy rise>
Do you wish to rise up from the ashes of your past and start life anew?
<Once the answer is affirmative, walk the circle and sprinkle loam mixture on each person while saying the following>
Ground yourself and connect with the earth, now and evermore!
Do you wish to fill your being with the wisdom of your ancestors?
<Once the answer is affirmative, walk the circle and smudge each person fully, while saying the following>
Surrender your fears to the air! Open your heart and your mind to the wisdom of the ancestors!
Do you wish to reach a higher plain, a better version of your past self, and unlock the wisdom of enlightenment?
<Once the answer is affirmative, walk the circle and hold the candle above their head while saying the following>
Focus on the fire, and the light shall be your guide!
Do you seek renewal, reawakening, rejuvenation, and revival!
<Once the answer is affirmative, walk the circle and sprinkle sacred water on each person’s head while saying the following>
The water of life will carry you into the world! Embrace the new version of yourself and be reborn!
Blessing of the Seeds
The seed is the single most recognizable symbol of life. Within it’s small body, there is a new life waiting to burst forth under the right condition. It’s magickal and filled with energy. As the newly reborn, we understand that fragility of the seed. There is a need to trust that someone else will be there to make sure the seed has the right amount of soil, sunlight, and water. Just as we, the newly reborn, need to trust in the universe to position us to grow in a safe and pure environment. We are the seeds. The seeds are a reflection of us. As they grow, we grow.
<Gather all the seeds and put them on the altar of in the center of the circle and ask everyone to gather around. The goal is for each person to have a hand or finger touching the basket.>
Alone, we are spokes in the great wheel! But together, we are the great wheel! On this first day of our new lives and the first day of the new cycle, we act as one! I call upon each of you to channel your energy forth into the collective. To share that fresh spark of renewal! To offer some of your lifeforce! We are all one with the universe! We wield the power of the thousands of lifetimes of our ancestors and the past versions of ourselves! Bring forth that power and infuse it into these seeds! Make that connection from the grounding energy of Mother Earth to the seeds, so that when the seeds are planted, she will feel the connection and bond with them. Create the great circle of life and give your blessings to its continuance!
<Have a moment of silence to allow for the complete energy transfer>
The Colors of Magick
<Distribute colored candles to everyone for the closing. As leader, light your candle from the Goddess candle, and begin speaking as you pass the flame to the closest person who will pass it to the next and so on, until everyone has a lit candle>
The many colors of springtime are represented by the candles. Yellow, red, pink, green, blue, white, and violet are but a few of the wonderful sights Springtime has to offer. The flame passes from one to the next, symbolizing the great and unyielding connection found in the natural world. Our circle now illuminated represents the sun! As we close the circle we do so with the light of hope and renewal. Each direction, air, fire, water, and earth, are integral for our existence. We shine our light of togetherness, unity, and trust toward the spirits as we bid them farewell!
Closing our Ostara Circle
Join me once again and turn your gaze to the North. For as we have so graciously engaged with the spirits of the Earth, we are filled with a great sense of hope; for us, for the land, and for our fellow citizen of this world. The spark of life has been ignited once again and our vision of the world around us has been cleansed of the grey coloration of winter and replaced with a broad spectrum of color, movement, and magick. As we say farewell to the Earth spirits, we must remember that they are always with us, always watching over us, nudging when necessary through signs and moments of picturesque beauty. We thank them for their presence in this circle on this Ostara day. <extinguish green candle>
Now look to the West for a second time and allow the great spirits of Water to wash over your entire being. Feel the spiritual cleansing as that which no longer serves you is stripped away in a great wave of energy. The Spring Equinox is a time of renewal, a time of rebirth, and a time when the actions of the past can be permanently left in the past, along with their anchor chains. Leave this circle free, reborn, and ready to boldly step forward into the first day of the rest of your life. The water of life is a shared energy source that binds the universe and those around us, together. Embrace it and rise to your greatest and highest self. <extinguish blue candle>
In the South, we are forever indebted to the great spirits of Fire, for the many gifts that they have bestowed on us. As the great wheel turns and Spring brings the land to a heightened sense of life, the warming will come as a welcome blessing. All things and all creatures will stretch out as far as possible to get closer to the source of that warmth. As we depart with light hearts, clearer visions, and the step of our youth, we offer praises and thanks, knowing and trusting that our days will be filled with joy and our spirits with comfort. <extinguish red candle>
Now to the East, and the understanding that the new day has dawned, the sun has risen and hangs in the sky, spilling forth the message of renewal, fertility, and growth for one and for all. For on this day of great balance, we are without worry, without fear, and without the weight those things which seem to fill our daily lives. The great spirits of Air will always be at our side, guiding us when needed, and carrying the messages of our ancestors. We may leave, but we’re not actually gone. In every circle we leave some of our energy to await the next generation of the faithful, so that like the torch bearers of our ancestors, that which matters, will never be lost. <extinguish yellow candle>
We bow our heads, not in servitude, but in gratitude. Side by side we have walked through life with the Goddess. We are blessed, given direction, and offered advice, but never forced to bow down. We live in harmony with the natural world, sharing our precious energy for planting and receiving precious energy in return with the reaping. We can only hope to rise to our highest self, to be the light that shines to others, and give freely to our fellow human being as the Goddess gives so freely to us. As we leave this sacred space, we leave with a sense of great and powerful days in our future! <extinguish Goddess Candle>
“The circle is open but never broken”
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 Gypsy Thread 2023 Pagan Calendar can be accessed here – it includes full moons, new moons, astrological information, and significant pagan celebrations from many different beliefs.
Most of the Christian holidays have their roots in ancient pagan practices. If you want to learn more about the Pagan Origins of Easter, visit this link, (The article includes a wonderful children’s story)
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