What is Ostara?

*NOTE* I’m posting twice this week kiddos, but don’t get used to it. I only post twice a week every once in a while. I forgot what day it was again and this post has to be this week. Doi. My bad. 😉

 

I’m a thief.

Okay, not the way you’re thinking.

But I take pieces and parts of things I like or enjoy and use them in a way that suits me. I’m not talking about anything tangible here. I’m not going to steal part of your stereo system or a tire off your convertible.

I take pieces of research and sew them together into something I like, something I can use. And considering that I’m a mutt and I like research, I take pieces of my nationalities and embed them in my life.

You’ve been warned. Mwahahahaaha! (okay, I’ll stop now)

 

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In case you didn’t know, Ostara is the Celtic equivalent of the first day of Spring. Some consider it a celebration, some consider it simply observed by the Celts. No one can agree on whether or not the Celts celebrated eight or four festivals throughout the year, but we know they observed the different seasons and moon phases. But I digress.

It was Ostara last Thursday.

And like I said, I take pieces from everything. When it comes to the Celtic Festivals, I like to strip it down to its’ base meaning, find the lesson or theme it’s trying to teach.

Ostara is mainly a celebration of the coming life to the world, the beginning of Spring, new plant life and animals peeking out into the sunshine. It is a time of new growth, of renewal, inside and out.

 

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Humans are weird. We’re a species of repetition, schedules and traditions. And I say weird because when I say, “repetition”, I mean knock ourselves over the head with a club over and over again so we remember to remember something important.

We have to remind ourselves of things so that we don’t let the importance fade. The sun turns red for three weeks and people are out of their minds panicking. Three years after the fact? Eh. It’s not so amazing.

Are you freaking kidding me? How do we do this? We constantly downplay the amazing-ness of things because the shock value or feeling of imminence has passed.

This is why Celtic Festivals make a lot of sense to me.

If you’ve looked into all of them, you’ll see a pattern. Death, rebirth. Darkness, light. Letting go of the old and negativity weighing us down, begin anew with positive goals. Nature dies, nature grows. We let things die and we plant new seeds.

See where I’m going here? Constant reminders, all year long.

We, as humans, forget. And a thrilling festival reminds us with its myths and symbolism, fire lit ghost stories and practices of grandeur.

 

hare

hare

bunny

bunny

 

BUNNIES DON’T LAY EGGS

Ostara practices morphed into Easter, the celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection.

So how did we get bunnies and eggs out of this?

Bunnies: no, they don’t lay eggs.

Fertility is a form of rebirth, duh. You’re going to give birth if you’re fertile. And fertile land yields an abundance of nature. With Ostara, the hare was a symbol of fertility in European countries. But bunnies are cuter so that’s normally what you see.

Why? Well let’s think. Do we all know a popular phrase revolving around bunnies and the overwhelming amount of babies? Yeah. And it’s true. About this time bunnies are making more bunnies and running free like little zombies of birth…er, you get my point.

Eggs:  Also huge signs of fertility. Easter egg hunts are a big smack of symbolism. Go find the hiding fertility. In this case, we’re talking the rebirth of nature and the liveliness she gives us now, the new life and growth. Don’t worry, you’re not telling your children to go find hidden babies.

I like the red egg symbolism when it comes to the egg thing; red symbolizing the blood of Christ. *shrug* I’m a horror and fantasy writer. I like me my stark symbols.

 

LOTS OF FOOD

Before winter, you would salt and cure meat for the winter months. And that’s all you had. If you were poor, you didn’t eat much at all throughout winter, so once Spring hit, people were once again able to kill animals and eat fresh meat. Also kept during the winter were vegetable roots. Spring brought the vegetables they needed, with the vitamins and healthy stuff in it the human body needed to not get all jacked up.

I’d say that’s a pretty big reason to celebrate. Because, seriously, FOOD!

 

800px-Belarusian_Easter_Eggs

I’m definitely doing red eggs this year 😀

 

SNAKES TOO

In Mexico, the Mayans celebrated “The Return of the Sun Serpent” on Ostara.

“El Castillo” is an important ceremonial pyramid there. And on the first day of spring, it appears that a great serpent descends from the top of the pyramid, from the sky down to the earth. This shadow snake is a symbol of the coming of spring and sunlight. It’s caused by the setting of the sun casting shadows which look like a snake, slithering down the pyramid and it only happens on the Spring Equinox.

Pretty cool, right?

Snakes are also popular when talking about the revitalized nature of Springtime. They come out of winter hibernation. Plus, the shedding of a snake’s skin has always symbolized renewal.

 

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FIND YOUR BALANCE

Ostara is a time to find your footing and bring new life to your own world.

On the Spring Equinox, the day and night stand equal. Perfect balance.

Take a look at what is balanced in your life. Or are you lacking in that area? If you are, figure out a way to remedy this and work towards it. Nothing major, just a little bit at a time. Unless you’re able to stick to major changes done all at once. Then by all means, go for it.

Is your work and home life balanced? Your emotions and physical body? Do you balance doing those things which you must out of responsibility and those things which purely bring you joy? Are your relationships balanced, or do you need to breathe new life into them (remember, if this is so, you’ll both need to work on that one, not just you)?

 

Beautiful tulip on bright yellow background.

 

Don’t worry if you fall off the wagon, there’s another festival in the future that will remind you. That doesn’t, however, mean don’t bother trying.

Go take a ten minute walk. Get some sunshine. Plant a garden or maybe just one new plant. Bring something new into your life, even if its only the way you think or work towards something. List the things you’re grateful for, like the beauty Spring brings. What inspires you?

Imagine yourself emerging from Winter’s sleep, into the newness of Spring’s sunlight and abundance.

What do you love about Spring?

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4 Comments

Filed under The Odd Bit

4 responses to “What is Ostara?

  1. Jae

    I love Spring. My favorite kind of weather, there are blossoms on trees all over the place and of course the best part of all: tulips. I LURV tulips. I would plan to visit the Netherlands for the sole purpose of seeing all the lovely tulips.

    Great informative post on Ostara. Some I knew, some I didn’t. And no worries about blog posts lacking. I’ve been notorious lately for ignoring my blog. Too much chaos and I don’t want the blog to become a whine outlet. So I end up posting nothing, lol.

    But I guess that leaves me time to read your blog instead. 😉

    • Ah, thanks. I like tulips too, especially the dark ones and the all white ones.
      Chaos? Well that’s not good. I’d wondered what you were up to. I hope you’re doing well, even amongst the chaos. 😉

  2. Fascinating post, Daphne! I’d never heard of Ostara. I’m not so much a spring and renewal and all that stuff type. I’m more of a *Fall! Oooh, Halloween is coming!* type. ;-D There’s something about the crisp, cool air & early sunsets that energize me.

    I used to be into spring, though. Used to grow veggies in the backyard & was into nature photography. These days, writing fascinates me, and reading really good books inspires me.

    • You are speaking my language!
      Halloween (which is Samhain where Celtic Holidays are concerned, I might do a post on it) is my favorite time of year and the best holiday in existence. I love the colors and the drop into darkness and all that.

      I’m just not a fan of Winter’s rain and uber cold weather. I only enjoy Spring so much because it brings sunshine and my baby jade plant stops getting moody.

      Oh yes, reading and writing, something that never gets old or annoying, regardless of the season. 😉

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