For Wiccans, Druids, Norse and Germanic pagans, this sabbat is called Ostara, although some Druids prefer the name Alban Eilir, while Slavic Rodnovery celebrates Komoeditsa and Mara. There are some distinctions between the customs, but the energy and nature of this sabbat remain the same throughout many different pagan paths. We celebrate the spring equinox and life returning to Earth. Traditionally, Ostara falls on March 21st, while the astrological date is when the Sun is at 0° of Aries marking the vernal equinox. For more about sabbats in general and to read about the pagan Wheel of the Year, check out Pagan Sabbats.
Slavs all around the world celebrate vernal equinox as Komoeditsa or Mara, depending on which country they are in. Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus have Komoetisa and focus on the Bear God and attracting countless fortunes into their lives. They celebrate the end of winter and leave food offerings to the Bear God in the woods. Balkan Slavs have Mara, an equivalent of goddess Ēostre which is present in Germanic, Norse, and Anglo-Saxon pagan paths. The energy of Mara and Eostre is pretty much the same. Mara is a young, playful woman, still a girl, who is growing into a full Goddess as the life on Earth grows along with Her.
Aban Eilir means Light of the Earth. It is one of the names for Ostara in modern Druid traditions. On this day, light and darkness are in balance, with light rising. The plant that symbolizes this sabbat in Druidry and is therefore often planted is the shamrock that represents Triquetra, one of the oldest symbols of spirituality. It is a symbol made of three triangles which represent the circle between life and death. Celts believed that everything in this world came in threes: life, death, and rebirth; triple Goddess; past, present, and future; earth, sea, and sky…
On this sabbat, Wiccans, Druids, Norse pagans, and Germanic pagans all come together to celebrate the Goddess they all love and share, the Goddess of Spring that comes from the East, the Goddess Eostre or Ostara. No other pagan Goddess has such a strong following in the pagan world and across so many different cultures. No other Goddess brings so much love, youth, glory, and joy to people, for she brings life back to Earth. Every symbol that you will find in Christian Easter is Ostara‘s symbol, from eggs to resurrection and everything in between. And while many Christians might wonder why they paint the eggs on their holiday, we know. Oh, we know.
One of the great legends of Goddess Eostre is when she found a wounded bird in the woods. Its wings were frozen, and it could not fly. It was dying. To save the bird's life, the Goddess transformed the bird into a rabbit but still left it the ability to lay eggs. So now the creature was no longer a bird - it was a rabbit - but still laid eggs like birds do. To thank the Goddess for its new life, the rabbit laid some eggs and then painted them with flowers, nectar, and herbs. The creature then presented such eggs to Eostre as a gift and an offering which She accepted and found to be an amazing and colorful gift. This is one of the main reasons why birds, eggs, flowers, and rabbits are symbols of this sabbat. The meaning of this story and message it brings is how Eostre is a goddess of transformation. She gives new life but in such a glorious way. The new life is better, more special, unique, and full of joy. She could have just saved the bird's life, but no. That would be going to the past and letting the bird be what it was before. Instead, she made a unique creature never to be seen before. She created new life from the old one. She made it evolve. It is said that everything that Eostre touches, blooms with new vibrant energy, and where She walks, flowers begin to grow from the soil. Eostre is the spring itself. She is its divine personification.
Energy and meaning
Ostara is a vernal equinox when the sun rises directly in the east and sets directly in the west. We celebrate the rejuvenation of the Earth, fertility, and growth. Life is renewed and everything is vibrant with the new energy of spring. While the sabbat is more shifted to the celebration of Goddess, the God is also present. It is said that the God and Goddess actually meet on this sabbat. Pan or Horned God is just as young and full of energy as Eostre is. As a fire festival, on Ostara we recognize the growing of Sun’s energy. We celebrate new life and renewal, but rituals and spells are often focused on the balance between extremes. Spring is neither cold winter nor hot summer. It is in perfect balance and harmony between hot and cold, just as it marks the balance between the Sun God and Earth Goddess.
Life returns to Earth.
Life was born on Yule, and we were given a promise on Imbolc how it was growing and would soon come back to Earth. Now it is finally here, and what a wonderful life it is indeed. It is much warmer outside, the birds are singing with more joy, and there are flowers in bloom everywhere we turn. The grass is soft and inviting us to walk on it, and the Sun wants to warm our skin. Everything seems playful and has a child-like energy that just wants to have fun and rejoice in everything that is to be experienced.
Table of correspondences
|Symbolism||Resurrection, fertility, balance, renewal, youth, new life, new love, spring|
|Colors||Green, yellow, violet, pastel colors|
|Gods||Pan, Adonis, Osiris, Mithras, Cernunnos, Green Man, Thot|
|Goddesses||Eostare, Freya, Gaia, Isis, Persephone, The Muses, Mara, Vesna, Aphrodite|
|Herbs and incense||Daffodil, clover, tulips, violets, all spring flowers, magnolia, lily, strawberry|
|Animals||Rabbits, chicks, butterflies, birds|
|Crystals||Aquamarine, amethyst, moonstone, rose quartz, peridot, moss agate, sunstone|
|Food and drink||Eggs, dandelion tea, honey, leafy green vegetables, sprouts, sweet bread, chocolate|
|Decorations||Painted eggs, potted plants, flowers, floral wreaths, crystals|
|Customs||Painting eggs, drinking dandelion tea, picking flowers, crafts, cooking, collecting a jar of rainwater and washing hands and feet in it, walking barefoot on grass, meditation of grounding, playing games|
|Names||Ostara, Alban Eilir, Mara|
As Ostara is approaching, so too my energy rises. I feel the child inside me becoming more eager to come out and play in the Sun. Everything is growing and flowering, and everything is becoming visible. What once was just an idea, now begins to show its form in magnificent colors. There is so much to do, so much to see, so much to create, and so much to experience. There is so much dance that wishes to be danced and so many songs that want to be sung. Words want to flow, and the spirit wants to fly.
I need the Sun, always did. I don’t mind the cold winter as long as there is Sun in the sky and not just clouds and rain, but this previous winter had no colors, had no snow. It was gray and depressing. I noticed how the older I get, the more attuned with natural cycles I become. This means that my physical, emotional, spiritual, mental, and energy part want to hibernate during winter. I want to be left alone and just sleep. I prefer to stay away from social events and crowds because it somehow feels unnatural to me. This is the time for solitude and rest. But as the spark of life and new energy was lit on Imbolc, now it grows into a fire inside me on Ostara. Now I am ready to come out and play.
My hand-crafted birdhouse is coming along nicely. I was completely out of my comfort zone with electric tools and found the hammer, rasp, and painting it more to my liking. As soon as I finish with that project, my balcony garden is next on the list. Oh, how I am looking forward to playing with herbs and vegetables again!
Meadow blooms in glorious colors,
and all birds are eager to sing.
Everything in Nature rejoices
in welcoming back the Spring.
With feet on green grass
and hair full of flowers,
let me smile at life.
Let me dance for hours.
For we are the sculptors
of our own unique clay.
It’s time to flourish and grow.
It’s time to play.
And so the wheel has turned once again. Onwards with love and joy! Onwards with dance and games! Rejoice and celebrate Spring!
The best way to explain what activities you should perform is to tell you to celebrate life and be happy. This may include different things to different people, but do try to have at least one activity connected with nature. Go for a walk and try to, at least for a little, stand barefoot on the grass. Since this is a festival of renewal and creating something new, cooking is a good way to go. Sing and smile, dance and jump. Play with your friends and try to remember some of your favorite games you played as a child. Pick flowers and decorate eggs. Rejoice in life, and life will rejoice in you. Do not forget to have lots and lots and lots of fun and then some more fun.
- Paint and decorate eggs
- Cook dishes with eggs
- Collect dandelion flowers and make tea from them
- Honor the deities
- Meditate and perform a grounding exercise
- Sing and dance
- Make floral wreaths
- Walk barefoot on grass
- Collect rain in a jar and wash your hands and feet with it
- Play games with your friends
Enjoy the music from some of my favorite pagan artists Lisa Thiel, Celtic Woman, Alice Di Micele, and Faun. May they inspire you and bring you joy on this sabbat.
– cover image made with photo by Степан Галагаев on Unsplash
– first Photo by Francesco De Tommaso on Unsplash
– second Photo by Janine Meuche on Unsplash
– third Photo by Jenny Marvin on Unsplash
– fourth Photo by Daniel Jericó on Unsplash
– fifth Photo by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash
Merry meet, and merry part, and merry meet again my dear pagan soul. Rejoice in life, and life will rejoice in you. May God and Goddess bless you in everything you do and spirit guides follow you wherever you go.
In love and light,