Ostara, The Spring Equinox

PaganGreen Paganism and Witchcraft

Time: From sunset on or about 20 March for three days (from sunset on or about 21 September in the
southern hemisphere)
Focus: The triumph of light over darkness, resurrection, new beginnings and opportunities; spring
cleaning and casting out what is no longer of worth; fertility and conception, the winds of change.
At the spring equinox, the Sun rises precisely in the East and sets precisely in the West, giving exactly
12 hours of daylight and so heralds the longer days and shorter nights. As is so often the case, myth
and religion are intertwined in the sources of their festivals that share the same dates. In the old Celtic
tradition, Lugh, the god of light overcame his twin, the god of darkness, and at Easter, the Christian
spring festival most closely associated with the spring equinox, the resurrection of Christ is associated
with the restoration of light to the world.
The first eggs of spring were painted and offered on the shrine of Eostre, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of
the spring. Her Norse counterpart was Ostara, the maiden aspect of Frigg, the Mother Goddess, to
whom the hare was sacred (this is the origin of the Easter rabbit). At the spring equinox, bonfires were
lit and the corn dolly of the previous harvest (or in Christian times a Judas figure) was burned on the
Easter fires. The ashes were scattered on the field for fertility.
Wake at dawn on Equinox morn or Easter Sunday and, it is said, you can see the Sun or in the
Christian tradition, angels, dancing in a stream or river. The Green Man is another central figure that
features in rituals at this time in southern and eastern Europe and especially among Romany
communities. The Green Man, or Green George, as he is sometimes known, was the spirit of plants,
trees and vegetables, fruit and vegetation, the male spring deity, consort of the Earth Mother and an
early forerunner of both Robin Hood and St George.
The Mother Goddess in her maiden aspect mated with the ascended Sun God or, in popular folk
tradition the Green Man, so that the conceived infant would be reborn as the new Sun at the next
winter solstice, thus ensuring the Wheel of the Year continued to turn. In the Christian church, 25
March is the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary when Gabriel told her she was with
The energies of this festival are good for cleansing the seas and air of pollution, for new peace-making
initiatives of all kinds, for beginning reforestation and regeneration projects, the reclamation of
wildlife habitats and work to restore the indigenous trees and wildlife to an area. They will also support
major attitude changes towards international, national and local issues.
On a personal level, this is the time for clearing emotional and spiritual clutter and wiping the slate
clean; for life changes, new beginnings, sowing the seeds for new projects that will bear fruit in the
future, for herb gardening, for all matters of fertility and for putting new ideas into practice. Matters
concerning children and young people and new flowering love are specially favoured.
Candle colours: Yellow and green for the clear light from the East and the budding vegetation
Symbols: Eggs, any spring flowers or leaves in bud, a pot of sprouting seeds, pottery or china rabbits,
Crystals: Aquamarine, jade, tourmaline, fluorite
Flowers, herbs, oils and incenses: Celandine, cinquefoil, crocus, daffodil, honeysuckle, primroses,
sage, tansy, thyme and violets
A Spring Equinox Cleaning Ritual
Use this ritual to welcome the winds of positive change. You can perform it on any of the three days of
the rising equinox energies that precede the equinox. Alternatively, it can be adapted for cleansing
away negativity and sorrows at any time. I give an alternative version in my book Psychic Protection
Lifts the Spirit.
You can join with family or friends in a communal spring cleaning of a collective living area or
workspace. Alternatively, you can use it alone to help you to clear out not only physical clutter but also
emotional and spiritual stagnation in those areas of your life and relationships that would benefit from
the winds of change.
This spell is another that I performed on TV and though it involved a lot of laughter and dancing – as
all good rituals should – many deep sorrows and anxieties were anonymously placed in the cauldron.
Our ancestors probably took such folk magick a lot less seriously and so were able to tune into the
natural joyous energies of the season.
Begin your ritual in the morning. Open the windows and doors of the place in which you are carrying
out the ritual. Alternatively, work in a yard or on a patio.
* Place your cauldron – a large pot, wide-necked vase or jug will do – on the floor.
* Each of those taking part in the ritual should now write or draw on a piece of paper a representation
of every redundant issue or bar to happiness and fulfilment that they wish to blow away on the winds
of change.
* Draw a cross through the words or image, then tear it into pieces and drop it in the pot, saying:
It is done, it is gone, no more to trouble me. Banished be.
* When all the papers are in the cauldron, you (or the whole group) tip the paper into the centre of the
floor and scatter dried lavender on top, chanting:
Out with sorrow, out with pain, joyous things alone remain.
* Then take your broom, a traditional besom if possible, and hold it horizontally. If you are working
with others, everyone should take the brush-head of the person to their right and the broom-handle of
the person to the left, holding them horizontally at a comfortable height for all of you.
* Dance nine times deosil round the paper and lavender, swirling faster and faster, and chanting:
Three times three, the power I / we raise,
Bringing with it happier days.
* Then sweep the paper and lavender out of the back door. If you are working out of doors, sweep it
through out of the back gate into a gutter (you can clear up afterwards). As you sweep, say:
Dust to dust, away you must. New life bring, welcome spring.
* After the ritual is over, try to leave enough time in the remainder of your day to go to the top of a
hill. Take a kite (made from a biodegradable fabric if possible) and in your mind, tie any lingering
doubts, fears and concerns to the kite’s tail and let it fly away. If you don’t have a kite, use a feather for
each of your worries and throw them into the air. Hopefully, a child will find the kite, cleansed by the
winds, and it will bring joy.
I know of a group of women who carried out a similar sweeping spell in the warehouse where they
worked, using wood shavings for the negativity, and then swept out right through the yard into the
packing bins which were later taken away by lorry. They commented that afterwards everyone was
much more energetic and positive and the internal fighting and backbiting, which had been quite
serious, melted away.
A Ritual To Wash Away Negativity
Infusions can be made, using lemon, peppermint, pine or tea tree oil, to wash away negative feelings.
Use 12 drops of essential oil to a bucket of hot water. Alternatively, add two peppermint tea bags to a
cup of boiling water and leave to infuse for five minutes. Use your essential oil infusion to scrub or
mop floors, yards, balconies, doorsteps or patios.
* Work in circles widdershins, saying:
One for joy, two for gladness,
Three and four to banish sadness,
Five and six flee useless anger,
Seven, eight, nine, linger no longer.
Nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one,
Darker days now begone.
* Alternatively, strain and use the cooled peppermint liquid to sprinkle around rooms, to inject the
freshness of spring emotionally and spiritually.
* Afterwards, place a vase of spring flowers, growing daffodils or hyacinth bulbs on a table in the
centre of the room to increase the life force.

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