When does the new year begin? For me Spring Equinox/Ostara has always felt more like a beginning than any other time of year. Growing up in Wisconsin, you could SEE signs of life returning, the buds on the trees, the flowers starting to bloom and sunlight along with its warmth, after a long, cold winter. You could also HEAR life returning, through the singing of the birds migrating back from the south. With newness all around me it seemed like a perfect time to recognize a new year beginning. As any good witch knows, it really is another day in a continuous cycle, with no beginning and no end. However, we do pause to honor this day because it does have significance in the cycle. A day of balance, equal day and night, from this moment the light begins to win the battle over darkness.
This Ostara falls during the waxing moon, a time when we can call in things we want to grow, like the moon growing with light to its fullness. Ostara is named for the Germanic Goddess of fertility and nature, the Spring Maiden. We can call on her work with us at this time, when she is so present in the world around us.
Here are some ideas for celebrating Ostara to connect with your inner witch:
At Ostara we can take a moment to plant seeds both physical and figurative. Seeds that we will nourish and nurture as we watch them grow. If you are planting physical seeds, which I highly recommend, think about what you are hoping to grow in your life as you plant them. Planting the seeds can serve as your ritual and intention. If you want to just plant ideas that is fine too. Sit, close your eyes and see those ideas spring to life. Visualization is an important tool in manifestation. If you can see it, you can believe it and if you believe it, you can make it happen.
Spring Cleaning, if you don’t have time to actually clean your home on this day you can at least take time for an energetic cleansing. Use a smudge of dried plants to cleanse the energy of your space. I recommend looking up your ancestry and using plants that would have been used by them as a way of honoring and connecting to them. For example, in my ancestry I’ve learned that mugwort would have been used as a smudge, incense or just as an important plant to the people of the land. For that reason, I choose to work with mugwort for my cleansing. I know white sage (salvia apiana) is the most common smudge used today but the plant is also be over harvested for that purpose. There are many other plants you can use instead: mugwort, rosemary, lavender, juniper, cedar and many more. As you smudge, hold the intention of clearing any negative energy , make sure that you have a door or window open so that the energy has a place to go and as it leaves your space ask that the energy be transmuted so that you don’t send negative energy out.
Spring Cleaning can also be done on ourselves, both our physical and energetic bodies. Just like cleaning our space, we wouldn’t wait to do this only once a year but Ostara can serve as a reminder if you haven’t done it in a while. A bath is a great way to purify both the physical and energetic body at the same time. I recommend adding herbs & flowers to the bath to help in cleansing & purifying. Here are some herbs known for their purification properties: Peppermint, Rosemary, Lavender and Chamomile. You can add all or make a combination of herbs easily available to you, even adding just one will help amplify the cleansing ritual.
We should also consider doing the same for our internal body and as witches, who doesn’t love making a magic potion?! This can be as easy as a cup of tea or crafting your own syrup. For tea you can work with herbs that you enjoy to create your own combination or keep it simple with a single herbal tea. Remember to give gratitude to the plants & water that make up the tea and to consider how these plants work and affect your own body. Some nourishing & abundant plant allies are nettle, oat straw and dandelion. An infusion made with these herbs would be an amazing gift to give your body. To make this infusion, combine 1-2 teaspoons of plant material for every cup of water. Bring to boil, simmer 10-15 min, strain and enjoy.
To make this infusion into a syrup. Put the infusion in the refrigerator over night. In the morning you can strain, reheat the infusion with equal amount honey to liquid and enjoy. It should keep in the refrigerator for up to a month.
I choose to create an altar for each Sabbath. Creating an altar allows for me to hold sacred space and to have a visual representation of gratitude and honor for the cycles. My altar includes something representing each of the elements of creation: fire, water, earth, air and spirit. I also consider my ancestry and what would have been a symbol for them at this time of year. As I light the candle on the altar I give thanks and gratitude to the Goddess and ask that she work with me for my highest good.
Ostara Blessings! May the seeds you plant allow for your highest good.