Happy Ostara! Ostara is the Earth holiday that celebrates the Vernal Equinox when the light of day and night are equal. Ostara makes the hopes and intentions of Imbolc manifest into action with new signs of life and fertility including new green growth and flowers blossoming. Ostara takes us fully out of the fertile darkness into the bright spring sunshine, and from Ostara until the next Earth holiday, Beltaine, we enjoy the increasing light and new life stirring. Beltaine (May 1st) has much lore of sexual coupling in the forest, but Ostara too is a celebration of pagan fertility when the Sun God joined with the Maiden Goddess and a child was conceived. This pagan tradition was adopted by Christianity as the Feast of the Annunciation, also celebrated on the Vernal equinox. Technically Ostara was celebrated on the Vernal equinox, but is often grouped with Easter celebrations, the first Sunday after the full moon after the equinox, as Easter has appropriated many of the Ostara traditions. These rituals were so important to ancient cultures that Christianity fought for centuries about the date of the observance of Easter (and thus the Ostara traditions). These concerns highlight the deep memory that celebrating the return of the Sun was also linked to the lunar calendar. The Sun God joining with the Moon Maiden created new life and turned the wheel of time, preserving the coordination of lunar and solar rhythms for the ongoing fertility of life on earth.
Foods associated with Ostara are: leafy greens and herbs, dairy, nuts, flowers, and sprouts. Ostara flowers are daffodils, jonquils, woodruff, violet, gorse, olive, peony, iris, narcissus, and all spring flowers. At this time of year I'm eating more roots like dandelion, burdock, and turmeric roots to support spring clearing through the liver and kidneys and anti-inflammation. I use lots of greens and mushrooms, nettles, spring onions and garlic, all of which make great spring rissotto, and other recipes whole grains and lots of greens. My traditional baking around Ostara includes dill onion bread and honey walnut raisin cake, which started with a high school independent project where I delved into the traditions surrounding my love of pysanky, Ukrainian egg decoration.
Any Ostara or Easter celebration is not complete without eggs! It’s well known that the egg represents fertility, new beginnings, and spring, but Ukrainian folklore talks of how decorating eggs strengthens the circle of love, envisioned as people holding hands around Earth. The more eggs made, the stronger the circle of love became and the harder it was for the evil monsters to break into the circle of love. Ukrainian pysanky design had a complex visual code of symbols colors to make decorated eggs with specific intentions of protection and blessing. Wishing you lots of peace and love and a very happy Ostara cycle! Below I'm posting a great egg of light meditation from Joan Borysenko.
Joan Borysenko's audio of this meditation is lovely, and available when you sign up for her list:
This meditation is from:
Joan Borysenko, Ph.D., Practical paths to wholeness in the real world
The Egg of Light Healing Exercise
One of the most ancient forms of healing and concentration consists of imagining yourself in the center of an egg of Divine Light. Sit quietly with eyes closed and imagine a great star of loving, living light above you. Feel streams of light washing over you and invite it to enter the top of your head and wash down through your body like a river washes through the sand on its bottom, carrying away any fatigue, fear, disease or negativity. As all the darkness washes out of the bottoms of your feet imagine that it is taken in by Mother Earth and turned to compost. Spend a little extra time washing any part of the body where there is tension, pain or disease. Let the light wash clean the boundaries of your heart, revealing the inner light which is your own true essence. Let that heartlight shine more and more brightly, filling your cells and tissues and then extending beyond your body- three feet above and below you and on all sides until you feel as if you are sitting in an egg of healing, protective light. Affirm that all positive thoughts and prayers from others will penetrate the egg and reach you, but all negative influences will bounce back off the egg and a blessing be returned to their sender. Affirm that all your own positive thoughts will reach through to others, and all negative thoughts will bounce back off the inner shell of the egg and a blessing of compassion will return to awaken your heart to love.
Meditate any way you choose for a few minutes, or enter the egg of light. Then repeat these blessings first for yourself, then for your loved ones, then for those you are in conflict with, and then for the world. I like to imagine the star of light from the exercise above expanding into a circle of light into which I call those to be blessed by name, imagining them as fully as possible. Here are the blessings: May I be at peace, May my heart remain open, May I awaken to the light of my own true nature, May I be healed, May I be a source of healing for all beings. See a circle of Divine Light. Invite your loved ones into it, calling them by name. See them in as much detail as possible, imagining the loving light shining down on them and washing through them, revealing the light within their own hearts. Then bless them: May you be at peace, May your heart remain open, May you awaken to the light of your own true nature, May you be healed, May you be a source of healing for all beings. Next, think of those people who you hold in judgment, and to whom you are ready to begin extending forgiveness. Place them in a circle of light, and see the light washing away all their negativity, just as it did for you and your loved ones. Bless them: May you be at peace, May your heart remain open, May you awaken to the light of your own true nature, May you be healed, May you be a source of healing for all beings. See our beautiful planet as it appears from outer space, a delicate jewel hanging in the starry vastness. Imagine the earth surrounded by light- the green continents, the blue waters, the white polar caps. The twoleggeds and four-leggeds, the fish that swim, the birds that fly, those that creep and crawl. Earth is a place of opposites. Day and night, good and evil, up and down, male and female. Be spacious enough to hold it all as you offer these blessings: May there be peace on earth, May the hearts of all people be open to themselves and to each other, May all people awaken to the light of their own true nature, May all creation be blessed and be a blessing to All That Is.