Happy Spring Equinox everyone!
My step-dad is Iranian, so I recognize that March 20th is also Nowruz. Nowruz is the Persian New Years and is the BIGGEST holiday in Iranian. This New Years is based off of the Zodiac, with March 20th being the last day of Pisces. It is a very old Pagan holiday that is still celebrated. I was planning on doing a Haftseen table, but couldn’t get it together in time. Oh well, next year!
Ostara is also a very old Pagan holiday. The Goddess that oversees this holiday is named Eostre (pronounced “Estra”, rhymes with “extra”). Sadly, not much is known about this Goddess. One story that has survived is that one day Eostre was going for a walk in the forest and she came across a badly injured bird. In order to save the bird, she turned her into a rabbit. The rabbit retained the ability to lay eggs and gave the eggs to Eostre as a gift of thanks.
Some traditions still live on today. The words estrogen and Easter both derive from Eostre. In Pagan tradition, children would roll eggs through the fields in order to bring fertility to the crops. When I was a child, there was an Easter tradition called an “egg race” where the children would each roll an egg through a field using a spoon. I would have never guessed that this was something that children had been doing for centuries, but it did make me think that when trying to discover some of these ancient traditions, clues can be found in modern ways of celebrating.
Since so little is known of Eostre, I decided to try to make contact with her. I had some doubts I would be able to, but she connected readily. She appeared as a youthful young woman. I would describe her as energetic, optimistic, and playful. Since she appeared younger than me, I expressed that perhaps I was no longer in a stage of life where she was active in my life. Eostre disagreed, explaining that she was a very active Goddess. She explained that she rules over all new endeavors, especially those where it requires a lot of work to be put in without seeing results for a long time. So this would include not just gardening, but also higher education, starting a new career, writing a book, etc. She provides the energy, faith, and optimism to keep going when there are no immediate rewards or even guarantee of eventual reward.
I asked her to reveal to me how her holiday should be celebrated and how to honor her. She explained that ways of celebrating the Spring Equinox has always been in flux and changing with each generation. We should feel free to create new traditions that make sense for the changing world we live in. This is something I am going to keep in mind as the wheel of the year progresses. If you are interested in making contact with a Divinity, I did make a video explaining the process for doing that.
For the Equinox, we see themes of both balancing and increasing. To celebrate, I made a hearty Spring salad and crostini. I later had hot cross buns paired with a floral tea. Hot cross buns are traditional during this time, with the cross on the top representing the Equinox itself.
Don’t forget to leave some as offering for the Fae! Leaving little cakes for the garden sprites is a traditional offering, so the hot cross buns definitely work here.
Lastly, I gathered up some bundles of wildflowers and attached wishes to them for the Spring. These were then burned in my hearth as offerings to Eostre.
I am definitely open to widening tradition in future years and adding more to these holidays as the years go on. If you have any Ostara traditions, please share in a comment below!