As Winter draws to a close, the wheel turns and the leaves once again return to the birch trees, there is a beautiful equilibrium before the Light of the Earth ('Alban Eilir') begins to once again defeat the dark.
The feminine and masculine, inner and outer, dark and light; all at balance.
We celebrate resurrection and renewal, as Goddess of the Dawn and Spring, Eostre (Ostara, Eastre), awakens. She brings with her rebirth and new life, taking the form of the nocturnal hare. We honour this Germanic Anglo-Saxon Goddess through April and on this turning of the wheel.
Ideas to celebrate Ostara:
*Carefully and mindfully gather a small selection of spring flowers and either press them or arrange them on your altar. Be sure to give thanks - and provide them with water if you follow the latter - to the Earth and the plants.
*Light a green candle for the Earth as she warms and reemerges, or yellow for the Sun.
*Open up your journal and reflect on your Imbolc desires, or write yourself some goals for the coming, warmer months.
*Anoint yourself with fiery herbs and oils (I love using 'Sun Oil' by Star Ametrine)
*Allow your creativity to rise and use this increasing energy to dive into some new (or old) projects.
*Light a fire (or candle) at dawn on Ostara to protect the crops and bring in the warmth.
*Plant your herb garden - whether it's on a balcony, in a garden, on an allotment or a pot or two in your home.
Magickal Herb Garden:
Here are just a few of my favourite herbs to plant and use:
Rosemary (masculine, ruled by the Sun, fire element) - often associated with cleansing and purification, used to drive away nightmares and to aid memory and receiving of knowledge.
Lavender (masculine, ruled by Mercury, air element) - sleep inducing and brings peace (I hang some above our bed), used to attract love and in a bath aids purification.
Sage (masculine, ruled by Jupiter, water element) - it is good luck to have sage planted in your garden by someone other than yourself (but not vital), associated with wisdom and healing.
Thyme (feminine, ruled by Venus, water element) - burned in temples by the Greeks for its purification properties, increases psychic powers and good health.
Calendula (masculine, ruled by the Sun, fire element) - calendula is a wonderful skin tonic as it is antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, the flowers symbolise love.
Grab yourself a pen and paper, find a quiet space and get ready for some gentle reflection and manifestation. Don't overthink it, take a few breaths and write what comes.
-What have you been wanting to do, but have not yet found time for? (for example a job around the house, a workshop, a new creative outlet)
-What is holding you back? How can you take steps to overcome these barriers?
-What personal growth do you feel would benefit you right now? Or what can you feel already growing?
-How can you ensure you nurture this growth?
-If you were a seed, what conditions would best benefit your growth? Love? Peace? Excitement? Adventure?
-Write a list of things that stunt your growth and how you can release them.
-Write a list of things that excite you and make you feel full of life.
Whatever you choose to do at this time, remember you are always growing and evolving. Your branches may feel bare at times, but new life is always stirring within you.
Now is your time to bloom and shine.
Cunninghams Encyclopedia of Magickal Herbs, (2nd ed, 2018), Scott Cunningham, Llewellyn Publications.
The Goddess Oracle, (2006), Amy Sophia Marashinsky, Element Books.
Wicca - a modern guide to witchcraft and magick, (2018), Harmony Nice, Orion Books.