- Also Ostara pronounced OH-star-ah
- Also known as Rites of Spring, Eostra’s Day, Vernal Equinox and Lady Day.
- 19th – 21st March (Northern Hemisphere)
- 20th – 23rd September (Southern Hemisphere)
- 0 degrees Aries
- new possibilities
Spring Equinox is the first of the solar festivals in calendar, marking the point at which the hours of daylight and hours of darkness are equal in length. From this point onward the days will becoming progressively longer and (in theory) warmer as the solar cycle progresses towards the Summer Solstice.
For life on earth this is an important moment given that it marks the final passing of winter and the start of the growing season. The winter thaw begins in earnest, rivers swell and the emergence of new life into the form of green glass spring flowers and newborn animals of the field and forest is clearly in evidence. Gardens can be planted out and preparations made for the year ahead.
It is a pivotal point at which darkness and light stand equal and it is this fact that gives the festival it’s primary theme of balance. Weather becomes more changeable, chopping between winter and spring in equal measure. It’s other themes of new beginnings and fertility are also evident in the emergence of new life from the dark damp soils of winter. Contemplation on matters of balance and polarity are forefront, particularly as the God and Goddess grow further into their reborn power.
The Goddess, in her guise of the fertility Earth Maiden is filled with great potential, filled with anticipation of accepting the seed of the Sun God. In some traditions it is during the Vernal Equinox that she becomes impregnated with his future incarnations to be born at the Winter Solstice / Yule. In other traditions she is preparing herself in readiness for the God to reach maturity at Beltane so they can participate in the Great Rite beside the bale-fire.
The themes of the equinox are of renew and beginnings and nothing screams ‘new starts louder than spring cleaning. This isn’t just about throwing out the junk and hoardings we accumulated over the course of the year and throwing out the detritus of winter on a mundane level, it also applies to our spiritual home environment as well also pliers our own physical and spiritual self.
Household Purification “Ritual”
Clean your house from top to bottom. If you are wanting to do a mass de-clutter do this first and tackle the cleaning separately.
If you can dry dust try and collect a little pile of dust and floor sweepings and put them to one side. If, like me, you can’t dry dust you can still get your floor sweepings for step four but use a magical wash such as 4 Thieves (link) on the relevant surfaces.
Cleanse your house on a magical level. There are a couple of ways to achieve this, carrying a purification incense (NOT Sage!) from room to room or the old trick of chasing an onion or two around with your broom, getting in to every corner or your rooms in order to soak up the negative energy are two methods which will give you leavings for step four. This isn’t entirely necessary so also consider using the sound of a bell (link) or the LBRP for this purpose.
Step Three (optional)
You may also want to consider performing a personal cleansing ritual again, and of course there are many types to choose from including egg cleansing (link). If you use a method that transfers and impurity or negativity from yourself to another object chose your method with care and retain the object in question for step four. Otherwise salt water washes in the shower are straight forward and effective with or without visualisation.
Has anyone spotted the pattern yet? Yes, everything that I have described here is consistent with a standard Heketean Deipnon ritual in which the rubbish of mundane and spiritual life are offered to Hekate at a crossroads, or similarly liminal space, during the dark moon.
All of the processes described above belong to a wider western magical tradition so one does not need to perform them solely in the name of Hekate or only during the dark moon. If there are particular Gods and goddesses you wish to invoke at deposition you should feel free to do so.
In the case of this spring time purification I would recommend that you should offer the remnants of your mundane and magical household cleaning to the earth for transformation into new life and new beginnings. If the place your offer these items to is somewhere you know there will be growth later in the year so much the better, so long as it on the edge of or away from your property.
As soon as you return home you will need to reestablish your household wards in whatever way you see fit. Long standing protections like charms and hidden items don’t necessarily need anything doing to them, unless it is your practice to maintain them at regular intervals, but wards and protections on an astral level should be immediately renewed and reinforced through any method you see fit.
One thing I haven’t covered in my preamble is Ostara/Easter as a celebration. In part it is because the (miss)information that floats around around the this time of is extensive and a future post in its own right.
In short, there is of course a link between the Vernal Equinox and the Christian/Commercial celebration of Easter. You will be surrounded by all sorts of craft ideas and activities to do with rabbits, chicks and eggs and it is perfectly okay to get involved it these prepackaged activities.
For eggample, eggs are a perfect example of new beginnings and a great medium to work with across all ages. As ever it is not so much the activity but what you talk about whilst undertaking it which makes the magic.
- Colouring sheets
- Egg painting
- Egg dying
- Egg garlands
You don’t need to buy special kits for dying eggs, you can achieve the same results with things you find lying around your kitchen cupboards.