An Herbal Blend for Ostara

Happy almost Spring Equinox! In all of your sabat preparations, there are so many herbs to work with this time of year: daffodil, sandalwood, tulip, rose, hyacinth, lilies, and geranium.  It’s the sabat of flowers, Continue reading

Advertisements

Ostara Myths

Ostara is a holiday about rebirth, new growth, courtship, and fertility.  In the Wheel of the Year allegory, the God and the Goddess are romancing and getting to know each other as romantic partners.  They’re in the first date stage of their relationship.  The land is becoming green again, and snow is turning to rain.  There are a number of myths that correspond with Ostara that are perfect to incorporate into ritual or to share with your children.

Eostre, the sabat’s namesake, is a Germanic goddess of Spring, rebirth, and fertility.  One myth that strongly ties to the season is Eostre and the Egg.  A hare came across a perfect egg one day and wanted to give it to his Goddess.  But he was worried that the meager offering wouldn’t be enough.  So he gathered plants and herbs and dyed the egg the colors of the sunrise.  The hare gave it to Eostre, who was enchanted by the gift.  She charged the hare with sharing this art with the world.

Also, the myth of Persephone and Demeter is appropriate for both Ostara and Mabon.  While the Homeric Hymn to Demeter is the primary source for this story, there are a lot of great retellings.  Starhawk’s version, which can be found in Circle Round, is a particular favorite of mine.

As the God is a young man, myths that deal with trickster gods are appropriate for this sabat.  Hermes, Loki, and Coyote are all possible candidates to honor during ritual.  A favorite story for this holiday is Hermes’s First Day, during which he discovered the lyre and stole Apollo’s cows.  Check out a classical mythology book for the full tale.

© Ariadne Woods

Are All Sabats Created Equal?

Most witches, Wiccans, and Pagans follow the Eight Great Celtic Sabat model (although there are thousands of other traditions.  Read The Grandmother of Time by Z. Budapest and The Pagan Book of Days by Nigel Pennick for more information).  The benefit about following the natural world is the major holidays are nicely spaced throughout the year.  Getting bummed after Yule? Imbolc is right around the corner.  We are constantly celebrating life and the Earth and our faith.

Yet, I have found that try as I may to celebrate every holiday, I have noticed a pattern about how I approach the Wheel of the Year:

  • Yule: Christmas (a very important day in my family) is a few days away and since that’s such a high stress holiday I am too wiped to stay up with the Goddess as she births the God.
  • Imbolc: Very informal celebration.  This year I had my friends over for mead.
  • Ostara: I always seem to forget about it.
  • Beltane: One of my favorites, but it always falls on finals or reading days.  I do make an effort to do some sort of ritual, though.
  • Litha: I go to a local farm festival with my mom every year and go home for a late night ritual.  One of the best days of the year.
  • Lammas: So. Much. Baking.  Always a laid back holiday.
  • Mabon: I adore Mabon.  Never miss it.
  • Samhain: I celebrate it, but I always seem burnt out due to a variety of reasons.

I do not treat them all with the same amount of pomp and circumstance.  I mean, it’s not practical for me.  I have school, work, family, friends, boyfriend, extra curricular activities, taking care of myself, etc.  The prep time is not always there.

What ultimately drives celebratory worship is the connection to particular times of the year.  For me, I feel at home in summer and fall holidays.  They speak to my soul in such an empowering way, which is what matters the most about sabat celebrations.  That connection is key because that is what allows the worshiper to benefit spiritually from the ritual.

© Ariadne Woods

Ostara Recipes

Ostara is one of my favorite Pagan holidays.  It’s a time of newness and growth.  In the last few days, it has been getting warmer, the first flowers have bloomed, and the earth is starting to smell lively again.  Take advantage of this feeling of the season in your meals and feasts.

  • Herb-y Egg Scramble: Eggs are an essential symbol of rebirth and Ostara, so they are highly appropriate to the season.  My favorite way is the following: Beat the appropriate amount of eggs with a little milk, salt, pepper, and herbs.  My favorite combination is fresh chives, thyme, and parsley.  Cook as you would a usual batch of scrambled eggs.  After plating them, sprinkle with cheese.
  • Milkshakes: Forget Shamrock Shakes.  Grab a blender and make your own at home.  Experiment with combinations of ice creams, syrups, and fresh fruit.
  • Spring Salads: Leafy greens are a nice way to bring that fresh spring feeling to your table.  Try arugula for a peppery taste, crisp butter lettuce, or traditional spring mix.  Dress the greens with homemade dressing or a new bottle from the grocery store.  Never made a dressing before?  Try this Lavender-Honey Mustard dressing (You will need to scroll down a little the direct link goes to the wrong place).
  • Pancakes, Crepes, or Pannenkoeken: These can be made for every meal and occasion.  To make them seasonal, think about the fillers and toppings.  Try honey butter on pancakes or farmer’s market cheese baked in some pannenkoeken.
  • Mead: My local pub labels this on the menu as the “Drink of the Gods.”  This honey drink is perfect for ritual or just as an evening drink.

© Ariadne Woods