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March 18, 2019
Image by Maxfield Parrish c. 1916
This year’s spring equinox and Ostara arrive on March 20, for the northern hemisphere the same day as the Libra Supermoon, and offers an opportunity for getting into the spring spirit. Ostara occurs between Imbolc and Beltane as the middle spring festival and representing the Goddess in her fullest Maiden expression. As the sun moves north over the celestial equator creating equal parts day and night while also marking a solar milestone into warmth.
With spring we welcome greener days ahead while plants seem to wake up from their winter slumber with emerging buds and blossoms as symbols of new growth. The energies are more active as animals and humans seem to awaken into more activity, and even the bees return to their pollination cycle. While we have not yet arrived at the heat of Summer, instead we can enjoy the balanced energies of Equinox as the Sun seems to suspend in time.
In Northern European traditions, spring was celebrated with Ostara--also known as Eostre--a goddess of fertility and dawn. She was often accompanied with a rabbit or basket of eggs. One Germanic story recounts Ostara finding a bird dying from the cold and changed it into a rabbit to keep warm- so it seems she liked birds and bunnies, and we can see where the name and many Easter traditions came from! Eggs have become a perfect symbol for springtime and new beginnings, though the folklore tale of the spring equinox being the only day of the year where you can balance an egg on its end turns out to be false (though that hasn’t stopped me from trying a few times). :P
However, Ostara herself is also shrouded in mysterious folklore as she is technically only mentioned once in writings by a monk during the 7th century A.C.E. Some scholars even think he may have made her up. Because of this, there is debate among scholars about whether Ostara was traditionally celebrated or if it is a more modern neo-Pagan holiday.
Wiccan mythology may not have worshipped Ostara at all, but Druids and ancient Eastern European cultures painted eggs and had symbols of the rabbit for fertility. And without a doubt spring has been an important turning point for many cultures and religions. In fact, Hindu Holi, Jewish Purim, Sikh Hola Mohalla, and Christian Easter all occur around the same time as Ostara and the Vernal Equinox.
Everyday ritual recommendations to celebrate Ostara or simply get into the Spring Spirit:
Rebecca Farrar of Wild Witch of the West has her M.A. in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness, and has worked with many renowned astrologists and cosmologists. Read her bio here, and catch more of her work on Witch of the West.
Read more on astrology, horoscopes, occultism, magick & ritual on our blog, Esoteric Insights!
October 10, 2019
October 03, 2019
Hecate (or Hekate, and pronounced “he-KAH-tay” or “he-KAH-tee”) has many titles, most notably the Torchbearer, Goddess of the Underworld, and the Keeper of the Keys of the Universe. A relationship with her is one that confronts and engages with the darkness that resides in us all, rather than ignore or reject it. Hecate is present in the Under, Middle, and Upper worlds, so her ability to transition between these realms indicates she is a powerful force for change. Hecate is an ancient goddess with a modern tradition. Modern Hekatean Witchcraft emphasizes her role in modernity, and puts less stress on the particularities of rituals and ceremonies so that practitioners may interpret their relationship in a modern, personal way, so that everyone’s practice is at their strongest. As far as sobriquets go, the Goddess of the Underworld is about as cool as they come. Along with her connection to the serpent, her power is connotative of what is popularly considered to be evil and nefarious in mainstream religion, but a relationship with Hecate underscores the necessity of dark with light, life with death...