Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring Celebrations!!! =^^=

Spring! It's finally here! A beautiful and colorful season. A time for planting and celebrating the warm fresh air after the long, cold winter. Gorgeous flowers and vegetation begin to bloom and animals come out from their long sleeps to shake out their furs. It is a time for celebrating the rebirth of the world, and the new life and hope that it brings. It truly begins on the Spring Equinox (Ostara, The Vernal Equinox, Lady Day) when the days and nights become of equal length. Which just so happens to be today! However, there are many celebrations and a number of Goddess' and Gods connected to the coming of spring!

Asasa Ya  (Ashanti) is an Earth Mother Goddess who is celebrated along side Nayame, a Sky God, in celebration of new life and rain in a festival known as The Festival of Durbar.

Flora (Roman) this Goddess had her own festival known as Floralia, which took place from Late April to Early May. Offerings of Honey and Milk are generally given to this Goddess. The God Attis is also associated with spring, and his blood is said to be the source of the first Violets.

Osiris/ Asari (Egyptian) Through his association with new life after death, he was associated with the different cycles of nature, particularly with the annual flooding of the Nile and the vegetation through his connections with Orion and Sirius at the beginning of the year.

Freya/ Freyja (Norse) Goddess of Love, Beauty, Fertility and War, she is said to love music, spring, flowers and in particularly Faeries. She is known as the Patron Goddess of Crops and Birth. Freya is said to divide the slain warriors with Oden, half going to her Palace (Folkvang) and the other to Valhalla. Women also go to her Hall (Sessrumnir). She is said to abandon the Earth during the cold months, only to return in the spring to restore life and beauty to nature.

Eostre/ Eastre (Western Germanic) whose namesake is the root of our present day springtime celebration of Ostara. Her name derives from Proto-Germanic ' Austro ', meaning "to Shine". Which is closely related to the reconstructed name of Hausos, a Goddess of the Dawn. It has been suggested that Eostre's lights, as goddess of the Dawn, where delivered by rabbits/ or hares.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Spring Equinox/Ostara

The Spring Equinox!
Also known as Ostara, Lady day, Egg day, and Alban Eiler, which means "Light of the Earth".
This Festival  is celebrated between March 19th and March 22nd.
     On this day the hours of light and dark become equal again as the do on the Mabon/ Autumnal Equinox.
After this day the hours of light will grow longer and longer bringing with it a renewal of life to the Earth. This is a great time to begin planning and planting your gardens!
  Many cultures celebrate the returning of Spring during this time of year each encompassing various expressions of life and fertility.
     For Wiccan's this as a time of renewal and rebirth. A time to commune with the God and Goddess and our connection to them within our natural world. It is a time to restore balance, both spiritually and physically.
     The Goddess Eostre was the Saxon version of the Germanic Goddess Ostara. Her feast begins on the first full moon following the Vernal or Spring Equinox.
     A popular legend of Eostre tells of her finding a bird late in the winter. Laying helpless and wounded on the ground Eostre saves the bird's life by transforming it into a hare. However, the transformation was not complete, The creature took on the appearance of the hare but still held the ability to lay eggs. The hare, most grateful for her kindness would decorate the eggs and leave them as gifts for Eostre each year.
Easter eggs anyone?
     The English monk and historian Bede recorded that the Goddess Eostre's name was adopted in England for the Christian holiday of Easter, which is celebrated on the Sunday after the full moon following the Vernal or Spring equinox.
      Eostre is the Goddess of dawn and was often depicted  as a young woman surrounded by light, budding trees and flowers.
     Ostara is a celebration of light and balance. Often times houses were cleared out to restore the home's balance. It is said that if you drink from a spring at dawn at this time, it would restore balance and health to the body!

Ostara Altar Ideas:
Place a pale green altar cloth on your altar and drape some pastel colored scarves over it.
Add A Pentagram in the middle. 
Around the Pentagram place pastel votive candles, (yellow, and pink, ect...) at the four cardinal directions.
A silver candle for the Goddess and a gold candle for the God, placed at the top of your altar. 
Your chalice should contain milk and honey. 
Add a basket of decorated eggs, a ladybug and a caterpillar and a small ceramic rabbit. 
Place some spring flowers around your altar.

~Shine Boldly~
~Mary & Renee~