Sunday, November 11, 2012
Ostara rituals and Rites
The year is in perfect balance between light and darkness. Ostara also marks the first day of true Spring. The God is now a green youth and the Goddess is in her maiden aspect. Their courtship dance begins.
A new of beginnings, action, planting and spells for future gains. A time to go out for nature walks, celebrating the renewed life. Seeds are blessed for future plantings.
Spring egg hunts have origins in many lands. Some think that the egg hunt was symbolic of our ancestors, who would search for birds nests in early Spring. The eggs in them provided much needed fresh protein to add to the diet after a long, lean winter. Of course, egg hunts also have origins in India and China, where they were tied to the Karmic belief that we must each find our own path in each new life. Egg hunts became popular in the United States thanks to Abraham Lincoln, who, in 1862, invited children form the Washington D.C. area to hunt for eggs on the White House lawn. This tradition continues even today.
Eggs were buried by the Teutons to infuse the Earth with the life-giving properties of the egg. They were planted in fields, flower beds, window boxes and even animal barns for fertility. People would eat eggs in order to gain from the life-giving benefits of the egg.
The Teutons believed it was very bad luck to wear your spring clothes before Ostara. They would secretly work all winter on beautiful new clothing for the Ostara celebration. This is where the tradition of having new, fancy clothes for Easter morning came from. It is also the origin of the 'Easter parade' to show off the new, beautiful clothing you now have.
One activity is to go out to a field and collect wild flowers, or go to a florist and buy a couple that appeal. Take them home and look up their meanings. The flowers chosen reflect your thoughts and emotions.
Other activities can include: Light a fire in the circle during your Ostra rite, or light the fire in a cauldron place a lit green candle in a dish full of moist earth, let it burn down and then bury the remainders (except the dish) Plant some seeds in pots or in your garden Dye or paint eggs with pagan/wiccan symbols on them and God/Goddess signs Fill up a dish with green yellow candies and leave them out for everyone to enjoy
The correct day is the first full moon after the equinox. The reason for this was because the goddess Eostre was highly interwoven with lunar lore.
Spring Equinox Sabbat
Begin by casting a circle about nine feet in diameter, using white chalk
or paint. Erect an altar in the center of the circle facing north. Place
a candle of the appropriate Sabbat colour on the middle of the altar. To
the right (east) of the candle, place a censer of the appropriate Sabbat
incense or a thurible containing a hot charcoal block whereupon sage can
be burned. To the left (west) of the candle, place a bowl or hard-boiled
eggs decorated with runes, fertility designs, and other magickal
symbols. Before the candle (south), place a consecrated athame and a
consecrated ceremonial sword.
After sprinkling a bit of salt on the circle to purify it take the
ceremonial sword and trace the circle in a clockwise motion, starting in
the east. As you trace the circle, say:
Blessed be this sabbat circle
In the divine name of Ostara
Ancient goddess of fertility and spring
In her sacred name
And under her protection
Is the sabbat rite now begun.
Return the sword to the altar, and then light the candle and incense.
Take the athame in your right hand and kneel before the altar with the
blade of the athame held over your heart, and say:
Blessed be the fertilty goddess,
Blessed be her springtime rite.
Blessed be the sun god king,
Blessed be his sacred light.
Place the blade of the athame over the Third Eyes region of your
forehead, and say:
The sun has crossed the celestrial equator,
Giving sun and moon equal hours.
Goddess spring is reborn at last,
Her beauty give life
To the trees and flowers.
Blessed be the divine green goddess
She is the creatress of all living things.
Blessed be the lord of the greenwood.
To goddess and god
This song I sing.
Awaken one, awaken all
And hear the voice of the goddess call.
Blessed be our hother earth,
May she be filled with peace,
Magick, and love.
The goddess breathes life.
The goddess gives life.
The goddess is life.
She reigns supreme.
So mote it be!
End the rite by putting out the candle and uncasting the circle with the
ceremonial sword in a counter-clockwise motion.
The eggs may be eaten as part of a Spring Equinox Sabbat feast and the
shells cast into an open fire or buried in the ground as an offering to
the Earth Mother.
Incense for the God of Spring
Source: Ostara by Edain McCoy
You will need a heat-resistant bowl or censor and some matches and charcoal blocks specifically made to burn incense. Don’t be tempted to use the charcoal chunks used for outdoor grilling as these contain chemical accelerants to help the coals burn fast and hot. In enclosed spaces the fumes can be toxic and they do nothing to add to the magick or atmosphere of Ostara rituals.
Light the incense charcoal and on top of them, toss a combination of any of the following dried and crushed herbs:
A BRIEF OSTARA RITUAL
Ostara is the celebration of the rebirth of spring and thusly, the rebirth of life. Keep that in mind when performing this ritual, it will make it a lot more powerful.
Cast the circle
Fill your cauldron about 3/4 to the top with water and let a few white flowers (daises or lilies work well) float on top
Invoke the gods
Turn to the north ad say the following or similar:
"Goddess and Mother! Hear me this day; the time has come to shed your Wintery body and be born to the light and beauty of Spring! No longer does the earth sleep with you as it's ever watchful guardian, for the time of the shining maiden has come again."
Close your eyes and visualize the sun as it reaches it's final point on the far side of the Earth. See the days getting longer and longer.
No face the South and say the following or similar:
"God and Father! You have grown strong by the loving and nurturing hand of the Goddess. Now it is time for you to help the plants grow and to take your rightful place as the Green Man. Blessed be!"
Meditate on the Gods' new place in the wheel of the year.
Slowly stir the water in the cauldron and watch as the flowers slowly begin to spin. Stare into the water and see the rebirth of life in spring.
Thank the gods.
Close the circle.
A BRIEF OSTARA RITE
Cast the Circle in the desired manner.
Have ready a potted plant or one that you can set into the ground in your garden.
Address the Goddess with thanks, love and dedication.
May I listen for and hear you,
May I look for and see you,
May I reach for and touch you,
May I wait for and find you.
Teach me what I need to know, and what I am now ready to know.
Your blessings are abundant, bless me abundantly.
Thank the spirits of the quarters and center, and also the
Goddess and God. Ask them to go if they must but stay if they
will. Bid them all Hail and Farewell. Open the circle. The circle
is open but never broken.
The ritual is ended.
Place the plant in a prominent place so you can watch its
Lilies - These beautiful flowers were a symbol of life in Greece and
Rome. During the Ostara season, young men would give a lily to the young
woman they were courting. If the young woman accepted the lily, the
couple were considered engaged (much like accepting a diamond ring from
a young man in today's society).
Lambs - This fluffly little mammal is an eternal symbol of Ostara, and
was sacred to virtually all the virgin goddesses of Europe, the Middle
East and North Africa. The symbol was so ingrained in the mindset of the
people of that region that it was carried over into the spring religious
rituals of the Jewish Passover and Christian Easter.
Robins - One of the very first birds to be seen in the Spring, robins
are a sure sign of the fact that warm weather has indeed returned.
Bees - These busy little laborers re dormant during the winter. Because
of this, the sighting of bees is another sure sign of Spring. They were
also considered by the Ancient peoples to be messengers of the Gods and
were sacred to many Spring and Sun Goddesses around the world.
Honey - The color of the sun, this amber liquid is, of course, made
through the laborious efforts of the honeybee. With their established
role as messengers to the Gods, the honey they produced was considered
ambrosia to the Gods.
Faeries - Because of their ability to bring blessings to your gardens,
protect your home, and look after your animals, it is beneficial to draw
faeries to your life. Springtime is the quinessential season to begin
drawing the fae again. You want to be sure to leave succulent libations
or pretty little gifts for them. Some ideas for libations or gifts
are... honey, fresh milk, bread, lilacs, primrose blossoms, cowslip,
fresh berries, dandelion wine, honeysuckle, pussywillows, ale, or shiny
Equal-armed Crosses - These crossesrepresent the turning points of the
year, the solstices and equinoxes and are often referred to as 'Sun
Wheels'. They come in many forms such as God's eyes, Celtic crosses,
Shamrocks, Brigid's crosses, 4-leaved clovers, crossroads, etc.
Spring egg hunts have origins in many lands. Some think that the egg
hunt was symbolic of our ancestors, who would search for birds nests in
early Spring. The eggs in them provided much needed fresh protein to add
to the diet after a long, lean winter. Of course, egg hunts also have
origins in India and China, where they were tied to the Karmic belief
that we must each find our own path in each new life. Egg hunts became
popular in the United States thanks to Abraham Lincoln, who, in 1862,
invited children form the Washington D.C. area to hunt for eggs on the
White House lawn. This tradition continues even today.
Eggs were buried by the Teutons to infuse the Earth with the
life-giving properties of the egg. They were planted in fields, flower
beds, window boxes and even animal barns for fertility. People would eat
eggs in order to gain from the life-giving benefits of the egg.
The Teutons believed it was very bad luck to wear your spring clothes
before Ostara. They would secretly work all winter on beautiful new
clothing for the Ostara celebration. This is where the tradition of
having new, fancy clothes for Easter morning came from. It is also the
origin of the 'Easter parade' to show off the new, beautiful clothing
you now have.