OSTARA – THE SPRING EQUINOX
Spring has finally arrived! March has roared in like a lion, and if we’re really lucky, it will roll out like a lamb. Meanwhile, on or around the 21st of the month, we have Ostara to celebrate. It’s the time of the vernal equinox of you live in the Northern Hemisphere, and it’s a true marker that Spring has come. There are many different ways you can celebrate this Sabbat, depending on your tradition. First, you might want to read up on: Ostara History
Spring Folklore and Customs
Spring is a time of rebirth and renewal as the earth comes back to life. Why not celebrate the themes of the season with a little bit of spring magic?
From Egg-Laying Bunnies to Mad March Hares
Spring equinox is a time for fertility and sowing seeds, and so nature’s fertility goes a little crazy. The rabbit — for good reason — is often associated with fertility magic and sexual energy.
So how did we get the notion that a rabbit comes around and lays colored eggs in the spring? The character of the “Easter bunny” first appeared in 16th-century German writings, which said that if well-behaved children built a nest out of their caps or bonnets, they would be rewarded with colored eggs. This legend became part of American folklore in the 18th century, when German immigrants settled in the eastern U.S.
In medieval societies in Europe, the March hare was viewed as a major fertility symbol — this is a specific species of rabbit that is nocturnal most of the year, but in March when mating season begins, there are bunnies everywhere all day long. The female of the species is superfecund and can conceive a second litter while still pregnant with a first. As if that wasn’t enough, the males tend to get frustrated when rebuffed by their mates (go figure) and bounce around erratically when discouraged.
Ever hear the phrase “mad as a March hare”? There’s a reason for that — this is the time of year when rabbits tend to go a bit bonkers. Although the phrase itself is often attributed to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland adventures, it actually appears much earlier. A similar expression is found in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, in the Friar’s Tale:
For though this man were wild as is a hare,
To tell his evil deeds I will not spare.
Later, it appears in both the writings of Sir Thomas More, and in a 16th-century book of proverbs.
So how can you channel this frantic, fertile energy into a magical working? Let’s look at some possible uses for some of that “mad March hare” energy in magic.
- Fertility rituals: place a rabbit skin under your bed to bring fertility and abundance to your sexual activities. If you’re opposed to the use of real fur, use some other symbol of the rabbit that you’re more comfortable with.
- The obvious one — a rabbit’s foot is said to bring good luck to those who carry it, although one might argue that it’s not so lucky for the rabbit.
- To bring yourself boundless energy, carry a talisman engraved or painted with a rabbit’s image.
- If you have wild rabbits or hares that live in your yard, leave them an offering of lettuce, shredded carrots, cabbage, or other fresh greens. In some magical traditions, the wild rabbit is associated with the deities of spring.
- Rabbits and hares are able to go to ground quickly if in danger. Add a few rabbit hairs to a witch bottle for protection magic.
- In some legends, rabbits and hares are the messengers of the underworld — after all, they come and go out of the earth as they please. If you’re doing a meditation that involves an underworld journey, call upon the rabbit to be your guide.
Correspondences: Spring Flower Magic
As spring arrives, our gardens begin to bud and eventually bloom. For hundreds of years, the plants that we grow have been used in magic. Flowers in particular are often connected with a variety of magical uses. Now that spring is here, keep an eye out for some of these flowers around you, and consider the different magical applications they might have.
- Crocus: This flower is one of the first you’ll see in the spring, and it’s often associated with newly blooming love. The crocus is also known to enhance visions and bring about intuitive dreams.
- Daffodil: The bright petals of the daffodil are typically found in shades of white, yellow or even pale orange. This flower is associated with love and fertility — place fresh ones in your home to bring about abundance. Wear this flower close to your heart to draw love and luck.
- Dandelion: The leaf of the dandelion is used for healing, purificaiton, and ritual cleansing. To bring positive change about, plant dandelions in the northwest corner of your property. The bright yellow flowers can be used in divination, or placed in a sachet to draw good energy your way.
- Echinacea: Also called purple coneflower, this garden mainstay adds a little bit of magical “oomph” to charmes and sachets. Use it for prosperity related workings. Burn the dried flowers in incense, and use on your altar during ritual as an offering to deities.
- Goldenseal: This sunny yellow flower is often found growing in the wild, alongside roads and in fields. Use it in money spells, or for business dealings. Work it into charms connected to matters of financial gain or legal issues.
- Hibiscus: This lusty flower incites passion — use it to attract love or lust, or for prophetic dreams about your lover. Burn in incense, or carry in a sachet to bring love your way.
- Hyacinth: This flower was named for Hyakinthos, a Greek divine hero who was beloved by Apollo, so it’s sometimes considered the patron herb of homosexual men. Hyacinth is also known to promote peaceful sleep, and guards against nightmares. Carry in an amulet to help heal a broken heart or to ease grief when a loved one dies.
- Lily: The Easter lily or Tiger lily is associated with all kinds of Spring connections — fertility, rebirth, renewal and abundance.
- Narcissus: Named for another Greek figure, the Narcissus helps promote polarity and harmony. Its calming vibrations bring about tranquility and inner peace.
- Tulip: The tulip appears in many different colors and varieties, but is typically connected to prosperity. You can use the different colored variations in color magic — use a dark strain such as Queen of the Night for full moon rituals, or bright red flowers for love magic.
- Violet: In Roman myth, the first violet sprung from the spilled blood of the god Attis, who killed himself for Cybele, the mother goddess. However, today the violet is associated with tranquility and peace. The leaf offers protection from evil, and can be sewn into a pillow or sachet for a new baby. Carry the petals with you to bring about luck and enhance nighttime magic.
Important: Remember that some plants can be toxic to pets. Before you plant or pick any of these, be sure to check to make sure it won’t be harmful to your furry companions. A great resource to check is on the ASPCA website at Toxic & Non-Toxic Plants.
Although for Wiccans and Pagans this time of year is known as Ostara, many other cultures and belief systems embrace the Spring Equinox as a time of celebration. Learn about some of the many holidays and festivals held around the world. Read Full Article.
Article Excerpts By Patti Wigington
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