We gather here again, at the threshold of a new beginning, as we unfurl from our Winter retreat collecting the seeds from last year's harvest to sow beneath the warming sun. Spring is the season of renewal, fertility and hope, when the earth awakens from her dreaming to birth her dream-seeds into being and create anew.
Ostara was traditionally regarded as the official first day of Spring, marking the beginning of the planting season and renewal of nature after winter. By now the first blooms are adorning the world with colour again, and nature knows about complementary colours... Look outside in the gardens and verges and see the perfectly coordinated yellows and vibrant blues, violets and purples. Drink in the colours like medicine, they are! Get even closer and give them a sniff. The scent of flowers are some of the highest vibrations on the earth, and these are the frequencies we want to be resonating with right now. Anything that uplifts you, inspires you, stirs you awake, and raises your vibration to one of appreciation, wonder, love and gratitude will ensure you are supporting your system in the most effective and powerful way.
Eostar is named after the Goddess Eostar, Eostre or Ostara, a Germanic Goddess of fertility and Spring. This time is also associated with Persephone as she returns form the Underworld to be reunited with her mother Demeter, Greek Goddess of the grain and harvest. The central theme of this time is rebirth, as nature is renewed by the returning light and warmth and our animal friends are busy mating and birthing their young. The egg is such a potent symbol at this time because it contains all the potential and promise of new life, yet what will emerge is still unknown. Like an acorn, within which is the blueprint of the fully grown oak tree, can we sense the potential within the seeds we are sowing at this time - in the prayers, intentions and thoughts we are vibrating with?
An Equinox is the moment in time when the Sun stands directly above the equator and day and night are of equal length. When light and dark are equal it is an opportunity for us to consider balance in our lives and what we might need to address to ensure that we are tending equally to all aspects of our life - physical, emotional, mental, spiritual. Is there balance between our inner and outer worlds?
The hare is strongly connected to Eostar as a representative of the Goddess (cue the Easter bunny...). She is associated with the moon and intuition, and also the East, the direction of the sunrise and new beginnings. These qualities endow her with a unique blend of medicine that we can attune to with our intention, simply asking for the hare to guide you in your life, perhaps visualising her in your meditation or before you go to sleep at night and asking her for help. She brings the excitement of rebirth, fertile abundance and the willingness to release as each creative cycle comes to and end. What do you need to release before you begin this next cycle of outward growth?
There is still time to clear away any metaphorical brambles or weeds that might impede the full-flourishing of your dream-seeds, creating more space for them to grow. This might involve a thorough spring clean of home, garden, body and mind, throwing away all the unwanted things collected during over winter, be they physical things, bad habits or states of mind. It's also a good time to change your furniture around, get a haircut, fast, or start a new practice, to reflect the changes in the outside world.
As the days begin to get longer the energy shifts to our outward growth and expression, gathering all the strength and inspiration we garnered over winter to propel us forward on our creative paths. The natural world seems to shift so quickly from the delicate beginnings of spring at Imbolc to the full-force of green abundance at Beltane. Eostar is the festival in-between that invites us to pause again, to connect with our intention and ask ourselves - What are we creating in our lives? We can use the potential and fertility of this time to create opportunities for positive change in ourselves and the world. By coming in to balance within ourselves we naturally rest in our heart-space, ensuring our actions come from a place of love and ripple out in to the world spreading goodwill.
― Rainer Maria Rilke
In the Celtic tradition the tree connected with the Spring Equinox is the Alder, a tree of great nobility and strength, used throughout the ages to make foundations and stilts for building purposes. It actually strengthens in water, being found on river verges and wetlands, but also has strong connections with fire, being prized by blacksmiths for the quality and heat of its charcoal. It has numerous uses and healing properties, and by spending time with one, or connecting with its spirit in our imagination, we can draw upon its strength as the spiritual warrior of the tree clans. We can learn how to become more resilient, find our inner resourcefulness and be adaptable to our surroundings. We can become the foundations for a new world to be build upon.
Using thin twigs, willow or reeds make a small nest, weaving it together with love as you reflect (and share, if doing this with others) on what truly nourishes you. Adorn it with moss, lichen, feathers or whatever you feel to. Look online at how to blow eggs so you can use them for decoration, and prepare one or two as instructed so you can beautify them with paint, gold pen or glitter. Focus your intention on what you want to birth in your life and create in the world as you decorate them. Place your eggs in your nest and pledge to nourish yourself in ways you reflected on earlier, so your eggs may thrive. Place somewhere visible, on your altar or windowsill as a reminder to nourish yourself and focus your energy on what you want to manifest.
A lovely one to do as a family. Reflect on all that you are grateful for in your life and in the world. Gather some natural objects, foods, spices and any other biodegradable items that represent what you are thankful for - be playful with this and use your imagination! Light a candle, call in your ancestors to bear witness, and state your intention to honour and feed our Mama Earth with your offerings. Lay out a few sheets of biodegradable paper on top of each other, gather your items, and begin creating a mandala - starting from the centre outwards - with each thing you place representing something you are grateful for. ie. broccoli for the trees, corn for abundance, a rose to represent beauty, a snail shell symbolising home. Say aloud what you are grateful for. When it is complete wrap it together, and ceremonially prepare a hole in the garden or somewhere special to you, where you can bury this offering to feed the earth with your love and gratitude.
Gift yourself a day to fast from food and clear out your system to prepare for the renewal of spring. Set your intention the night before, dedicating yourself to a day of deep listening to your body. Start the day with some hot water and lemon, being really present with the feeling of each sip. Include some lovely self-care practices in your day such as deep breathing, self-massage and gentle yoga - coming back to your body and listening to its signals. Give yourself a good energetic clearing with some smudge, incense or herbs, visualising all the stagnant energy leaving your system. Spent time in silence, quietening your mind. And finish the day with a ritual bath, adding some Epsom salts, allowing the salty water to draw out all the toxins from your body, and disappear down the drain.
Dedicate some time to opening the pathways for you to connect with you intuition, to listen to your dreams and even receive a vision. Either out in Nature or at home. Turn off all devices. Refrain from food. Create a circle with your intention or use scarves, making it big enough for you to lie-down in. Acknowledge the directions and the sacred space this circle represents. Decide on how long your quest will be - several hours if you can. Call in your guides, helpers and ancestors, ask for their help as you undertake this quest. Set your intention - whatever feels most alive and resonant for you - and prepare to sit within this circle. You might ask for clarity, direction or some medicine. Sit and listen. Pay attention to your thoughts and what arises in your body. When the time is up share your gratitude. Journal on any insights that came through and watch for any more that arise in the coming days.
Gather some seeds to sow in pots or directly in to the soil. With each seed, state your prayer, wish or dream that you want to grow. Put the seed in your mouth if it's not too small or blow on it, and then place it in the soil, giving thanks to the earth for her holding and support. Water gently and give thanks to the water for its vitality and life-force. Call forth the Sun to bless your seeds with warmth and light to help them grow, and share your gratitude once more. Tend to these seeds with love and watch them grow with joy!
Indulge your senses by getting some essential oils, some of your favourites, and some fresh revitalising ones like lemon, grapefruit and orange. Light a candle and fill an empty spray bottle with some filtered water, leaving a little space at the top. Connect to your heart and ask it to help guide you in creating a scent that will uplift/support/cleanse. Sniff away, adding drops of oil to the spray bottle until you have your own unique spring scent to spray around your house, to clear the air, to rouse you from lethargy or give you a boost.
Arrange a time with some close friends or members of your community to share your dreams and support one another in nurturing these seeds over the coming months. Make it a sacred space, with an altar adorned with objects you have all gathered that reflect the energy of Spring, including seeds, eggs and flowers. Take it in turns to share the vision of your future, tuning in to your imaginal realm and creating a picture of the life you wish to create. Really feel it and know it in your bones, doing the same when you are listening to others.
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