The Wheel is turning and a new beginning is upon us. Outside in my front garden the hyacinths have finally started pressing up through the soil, one of my favorite nods to spring’s approach. The spring equinox sparks the beginning of a new astrological year, and Aries the ram bursts from his slumber and with him brings new life and a fresh start. In Pagan culture many will be celebrating this day as Ostara. The energy of this time is one to harness.
The Spring Equinox
Each year at the two vernal equinoxes, the Sun is above the equator as the Earth faces the Sun head-on, and we experience 24 hours of equal day and night. In the Northern Hemisphere March 20th marks the spring equinox, while in the Southern Hemisphere the autumn equinox will take place. EarthSky has a cool little animation if you’re interested in the visual representation.
Spring energy is all about new life forms; after the equinox we experience longer and longer daytime hours, and the sun's life-giving energy brings new growth, the end of hibernation, and a natural boost in energy.
During the last days in the dreamy realm of Pisces, the Sun’s energy is like those last moments of deep, vivid dreaming right before you wake up. You may feel groggy and heavy-footed, or catch yourself staring off in random thought. Slowly drifting into a trance-like state, eyes heavy, but transfixed on something, and yet nothing at all. And just as suddenly as you drifted…BAM! Aries charges us back into our awareness.
As the first sign in the Zodiac, Aries says, “I am” and embodies our sense of self-identity. He’s the spark of an idea, the one to take charge, the first to explore. The Sun is exalted in Aries, which means its energy is not only welcome, it’s praised and adored. They share a lot of common ground, Sun & Aries, and their combined forces bring forth that spark of life that is Springtime.
Of all the Cardinal signs, Aries is the star pupil--he is the epitome of initiation. You can use this energy to break through all kinds of blockages; blocks to Aries are like a brick wall to the Kool-Aid Man. This energy wastes no time over-thinking, this is complete and total trust in your intuition at a moment’s notice--our very basic instinct. Now is the time to go with your gut.
Because the equinox brings us equal day and night in a 24-hour period, Ostara is all about tapping into and celebrating harmony and balance. This is a lovely time for balancing productivity, recreation, and rest. So depending on how you feel about mornings, you could knock out everything you’d like to accomplish in the first few hours after you wake up, so that the rest of the day can be spent at leisure. Or maybe a slow, easy morning is more beneficial to you, and then later in the afternoon you can take advantage of your natural energy boost. Or maybe you’ve been working nonstop for some time now, and so for you balance might mean taking the whole day to devote time to other things you’re normally not able to do; like housework, self-care, socializing, hobbies, errands or shopping.
Named after Eostre, Germanic goddess of spring, Ostara celebrates the rebirth and renewal that springtime brings. I like offerings that represent the cycle of life, death, and rebirth; like a bowl of seeds, a live plant or flower, and some dried flowers/plants. If there’s snow outside, I’ll gather some in a chalice for my altar as a way of honoring the winter melting into spring, then I’ll use it to water my plants.
Foods that are associated with Ostara are baby veggies like baby carrots, baby spinach, spring onions, sprouts or microgreens of any kind (so easy to grow your own!), and edible flowers. Eggs are used in cuisine and in arts and crafts—yes, this is where egg-dyeing comes from! Baking and cooking are amazing ways to honor any time of year because you can incorporate seasonal ingredients. Milk and honey are also special to springtime. You can substitute any milk you like, and make sure you try and get locally, ethically sourced honey! Then add to your tea, coffee, and breads.
Spend some time researching deities or beings that resonate with you and are associated with spring, fertility, and rebirth. You don’t have to be devoted to a god or goddess to give them offerings during a celebration (or any ritual for that matter). It can simply be a display of your thanks for their gifts this time of year. Now is a lovely time for sowing seeds (literal and figurative) and so showing your gratitude will only benefit your results and harvest.
As with any seasonal celebration, this is a great way to connect with your Craft. I love being festive and participating in sabbats and holidays. It's a fun reason to decorate my house, spruce up my altar, and change up my spiritual routine. Like having a fun reason to dress up! (Says the Leo rising, lol.) But celebrating any holiday should never feel forced or obligatory; if I forget, if I don't have time, or if a day just flat out doesn't resonate with me, I don't participate. And that's okay! Honor your spiritual pride in ways that fit your wants and needs. Spend time with family or friends, or spend time with Self.
Above all, practice gratitude. No matter your path, gratitude practice is in the fibers of spirituality. In witchcraft, we may or may not practice a religion, but we all partake in the divine energy exchange known as manifestation. And gratitude is an integral part of this sacred practice.
Below is a list of 25 ideas of ways to celebrate and honor spring!
How To Spring Forward Like A Witch
Start to plan/prep for your indoor or outdoor garden.
Adopt a new plant baby or start your own seeds!
Use vegetable scraps to grow your own plants.
Spend time with the plant babies you do have! Talk with them and thank them.
Bake bread (traditionally Hot Cross Buns, I encourage you to follow a recipe you love, are drawn to, and/or fits what’s already in your pantry!) Repeat a mantra or your intention while mixing/kneading.
Cook with spring veggies like baby carrots, baby spinach, sprouts, and microgreens
Boil eggs and decorate/dye them using homemade dyes.
While you’re at it, try these other unique egg decorating ideas.
Create a flower chain using fresh flowers from your local market, or your garden or backyard if they’re blooming!
Press flowers in your Book of Shadows, your journal, or any book to preserve their energy and Ostara blessings.
Decorate your home and altar with fresh, dried, or artificial flowers, and hard-boiled or artificial eggs, and butterflies.
Do a morning yoga flow (sunrise is associated with spring)
Give offerings to your ancestors and deities: flowers, eggs, butterflies, bulbs/seeds, herbs, crystals, tea, wine, water (snow or rain water would be amazing!), any special foods you bake/cook, candies, the options are endless!
Take a bath to wash away the old (think spring cleaning!) and emerge new and cleansed; and while you're at it, add salts, fresh flowers or herbs to your bath water.
Make spring wreaths with seasonal items (ethically sourced) from your area or local store.
Go for a walk or hike.
Use chalk to draw sigils on your door, driveway, or porch.
Create an Ostara or spring jar; fill a jar with salt, dirt, seeds, dried flower buds and herbs (rose, jasmine, rosemary, basil, parsley, chives, celery seed), and crystals.
Meditate and practice grounding.
Intuitively arrange crystals (quartz, amazonite, aquamarine, agate, serpentine) in your plants or as a grid on your altar to manifest rebirth and renewal.
Research safe DIY bird feeders and put them out.
Watch the sunrise.
Spring cleaning: physically and spiritually cleanse your home--don't forget the sneaky little nooks & crannies!
Reflect on how much you've grown.
Pull from your tarot deck and focus on new beginnings.