Ostara / Spring Equinox

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Sabbats 

The Wheel of the Year includes 8 Pagan Sabbats:

  1. Samhain: October 31
  2. Yule: December 21
  3. Imbolc: February 2
  4. Ostara: March 21
  5. Beltane: May 1
  6. Litha: June 21
  7. Lammas: August 1
  8. Mabon: September 21

Ostara, also known as the Spring Equinox, is between 19-22 March, depending on earth’s orbit of the sun. On the spring and fall equinoxes, day and night are of equal length.

Ostara is observed as a time to mark the coming of spring and the fertility of the land. The earth is beginning to show signs of rebirth and renewal. This holiday celebrates the seasons’ changes from dark, cold winter to brightening spring.

This holiday celebrates the Spring Maiden and Horned God, who represent the new spring season and the festive enjoyment of nature. Ostara, or Eostra, is an Anglo-Saxon goddess who represents dawn. This is where Christians got the name Easter. As a spring goddess, she oversees the budding plants and burgeoning fertility of the earth. Other portrayals or personifications of this holiday is the Green Man and Mother Earth.

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Eostre’s Eggs and the Legend of the Easter Bunny

As told by Edain McCoy in his book, Ostara: Customs, Spells & Rituals for the Rites of Spring.

“The Anglo-Saxons hailed Eostre as the Goddess of Spring, the Greening Earth, and Fertility. Her name means “moving with the waxing sun.” Around the time of her festival, on the day when light and dark are equal, the local animals began giving birth or going into their sexually receptive cycles, named “estrus periods” after the goddess. From the fiercest to the most humble, the woodland animals – who also worshipped and loved Eostre – would play in the warmth of spring light and feast on the new vegetation Eostre provided.

One of Eostre’s devotees was a small hare who wished very much to give a gift to his goddess, but he didn’t know what he could possibly offer that would be of any value to her. Then one day while foraging, the hare came across a fresh egg, a very prized commodity indeed. The little hare wanted very badly to eat the egg, as it had been a long time since he’d feasted on anything finer than dry grasses. Before he could take a bite of his prize, he realized this egg might make the perfect gift for Eostre. But, he pondered, Eostre could have all the eggs she wanted, anytime she wanted them. She was a goddess, a creator, the embodiment of Life itself. Giving her just any egg would never do. How, he wondered, could he make this egg a fit offering for his goddess?

The little hare took the egg home and pondered how to make it as beautiful and new as Eostre made the world each spring. He began to decorate the egg. He pained it in the hues of Eostre’s spring woods and placed upon the shell symbols sacred to Eostre. When he felt he could not make the egg any more beautiful, he took it to Eostre and offered it to her.

Eostre was so pleased by the little hare’s sacrifice of his egg to her, and by the manner in which he decorated it for her, that she wanted everyone – especially children who are themselves symbols of new life – to enjoy these representations of her bounty. Since that Ostara day long ago, the descendants of that hare have taken up the task of delivering decorated eggs to the world’s children at spring. They are called Eostre’s Bunnies or, more commonly, the Easter Bunny.” (pgs 3-4)

Ostara Symbolism

  1. Fertility, new life, rebirth, new beginnings
  2. Life, death, and rebirth
  3. Spring
  4. Flowers, plants, seeds, new buds
  5. Fresh foods, such as sprouts and dandelion greens
  6. Some choose to participate in a fasting to remove the toxins from winter
  7. Spring cleaning
  8. Green Man and Mother Earth
  9. Horned God and Spring Maiden
  10. Balance
  11. Eggs

Eggs play a very large symbolic role in Ostara, being the vessel to symbolize life, death, and rebirth.

Decorate your altar with some of the symbols of the coming spring season, such as decorated eggs, flowers, feathers, seeds, earth, and wine.

In ritual, we must also offer a sacrifice to our deities and thank them for the coming spring. We have made it through winter and life is beginning to start anew. Popular items to offer as sacrifice include wine, food, flowers, herbs, eggs, and whatever you feel is right to offer. In German and Scandinavian lands, the tradition of offering eggs to the Goddess in exchange for blessings or wishes was a common spring practice.

Ostara Ideas:

Decorating Eggs & Egg Hunt

Eggs are one of the most prominent symbols for Ostara, so it is only expected that we would use eggs in our celebrations. I’m sure many of you have decorated eggs at some point in your lives and maybe even hidden them for a great egg hunt! With the rise of Christianity, Pagans had to hide their practices since they were considered a capital offense. Therefore, the offerings to the Goddess had to be hidden where only she could find them. This is how the egg hunt began.

The search for eggs also has a deeper metaphysical meaning in many cultures. The hunt represents the soul’s eternal quest for life renewed so that it may have the opportunity to perfect itself and reach a union with the deities.

It is best to decorate eggs with herbs and nature since that is how the eggs were decorated before commercial, chemical dyes. Pick herbs that have properties themselves that will attract your desire.

The symbolic image of the egg is almost as important as its organic aspect, so don’t overlook using “eggs” crafted from wood, foam, or plastic.

Get creative! You can use nontoxic watercolor or acrylic paints (or make your own dyes), decorate with symbols, trinkets, feathers, sequins, beads, and more! If you are keeping the egg for yourself to celebrate the season, add aspects to the egg which will magnify the powers and energies you are trying to manifest in your life. If you are giving the egg(s) to someone else or a deity, decorate with pieces that personalize it for the person you are offering it to.

Bear in mind that there is no wrong way to decorate your Ostara eggs. If they appeal to you as symbols of the season, that’s all that matters.

Seed Packet Greeting Cards

This holiday is all about new life and rebirth, so it would be a lovely craft to gift to loved ones. Simply gather seeds in a small bag and put them in a decorated card. While preparing the gifts, make sure to put positive energy into the seeds and card.

Ritual to Bring Spring’s Blessings to Your Home

As written by Edain McCoy in his book, Ostara: Customs, Spells & Rituals for the Rites of Spring.

Early in the morning on a sunny spring day, take several pastel ribbons of your desired color (see properties of certain colors here).

Take items to a window or outside to a patio or balcony. Stand there and allow the spring breeze to envelop you. Hold out your arms and embrace it. Offer a greeting, such as:

Welcome, Spring!

Welcome are your balmy breezes.

Welcome, deities and nature spirits of spring.

I welcome spring’s blessings of new life,

Growth, love, partnership, and

The promise of bounty to come. 

Consider which specific blessings associated with the coming of spring you want to receive. Write these on the ribbons with a marker. Attach the ribbons from a post, windowsill, and/or wind chimes.

Finish the spell offering of thanks to the spring wind:

Warm spring wind who blows my way,

Bringing blessings on this sun-filled day;

To all the spirits who in spring winds dwell,

Thank you for this successful spell.

Allow the window to remain open for as long as you can while the breeze captures your wishes on the ribbons and blows them into your home.

Eggs of Intention
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Give thought to what new habits and energies you are welcoming into your life this new birth of spring. This year I’m working on self-love and continuing to bring positivity and happiness into my life. Think about what you need to focus on to better your life. Write your intentions on a hard-boiled egg. Feel free to decorate as explained above. Meditate on your intentions and visualize yourself bringing these things into your life. Place the egg(s) on the altar before, during, and after your Ostara ritual. The next day, take the egg and bury it in soil, placing seeds on top. As the plant grows, realize these intentions growing in your life. Each time you see the plant, take a moment to concentrate on the positive energy your are putting into making these intentions come true.

Other Craft and Activity Ideas:

  1. Magical crystal Ostara eggs
  2. Snake wreath
  3. Mini greenhouse
  4. Ostara tree

Food!! 

As with most celebrations and festivals,there is feasting! Food items made with eggs, honey, and milk are liberally consumed during Ostara. These are the traditional foods of these holidays due to their availability to our ancestors in the spring and summer months.

Some ideas on food items for your Ostara celebrations:

  1. Egg Nog
  2. Quiche
  3. Hard-boiled Eggs
  4. Deviled Eggs
  5. Cookies and cakes are popular food items for any holiday

REMEMBER!!! Don’t throw those egg shells away! Yourself, your friends, and/or your family put great time and loving energy into decorating these egg shells and they hold great magic. Use them in your garden. Keep larger chunks to use as a candle holder (see below).

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References:

McCoy, Edain. Ostara: Customs, Spells & Rituals for the Rites of Spring. 

“Ostara (Spring Equinox)” by Religion Facts

“Ostara 2014: Facts and Traditions Of The Wiccan Spring Equinox Celebration” by The Huffington Post

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Colors and their Meanings

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White

  • Celestial beings, Clairvoyance
  • Higher-self
  • Enlightenment, Truth, Purity
  • Protection against negativity, Healing, Purification, Consecration
  • General Work and Blessings, All-purpose color

Silver

  • Moon
  • Femininity
  • Rebirth, Reincarnation
  • Emotional stability
  • Intuition, Inner Self
  • Psychic ability/workings, Dreams, Psychicism
  • Cycles
  • Neutralizing negativity

Yellow

  • Air Element
  • Travel
  • Knowledge, Mental Powers, Mental Clarity, Intellectual Pursuits
  • Vitality
  • Change, Progress
  • Communication
  • Confidence
  • Cheerfulness, Joy
  • Creativity
  • Solar Plexus
  • Sun

Orange

  • Good Luck, Fortune, Success, Prosperity, Goal Achievement, Abundance, Willpower, Personal Desires, Drive
  • Charm
  • Kindness
  • Encouragement, Optimism
  • Sun, Solar Powers
  • Attraction
  • Friendship
  • Naval chakra

Brown

  • Earth Element
  • Conversation, Communication
  • Household Protection
  • Finding the Lost
  • Material Increase
  • Solid Relationships
  • Helps the inner self connect to the rhythms and energies of the Earth; Balance, Stability, Grounding
  • Animal Magic
  • Stone Magic

Copper

  • Love, Passion
  • Friendship
  • Promotion, Competition, Determination
  • Strength

Gold

  • Sun, Solar Dieties
  • Summer
  • Masculinity
  • Confidence
  • Creativity
  • Perfection
  • Success, Luxury, Power, Wealth, Employment
  • Overcoming Addiction and/or Negativity

Turquoise

  • Change
  • Insight
  • Originality
  • Renewal
  • Brotherhood
  • Humanity

Blue

  • Air and Water Elements, Sea and Sky
  • Peace, Tranquility, Calmness
  • Truth, Wisdom, Justice, Counsel, Guidance, Sincerity, Devotion
  • Dreams, Visions, Third Eye, Sleep, Astral Projection
  • Healing
  • Empathy, Sympathy
  • Fidelity, Unity

Green

  • Earth and Water Elements, Nature
  • Fertility, Growth, Rejuvenation
  • Healing
  • Harmony, Balance
  • Hope
  • Home
  • Animals
  • Prosperity, Money, Abundance
  • Spring and Summer
  • Personal Appearance
  • Neutralize difficult situations; Calming
  • Heart Chakra
  • Great for all spells involving love

Violet/Purple

  • Spirits, Angels, Divination, Prophecy, Psychic Abilities, Third Eye, Boosts Magical Powers, Intense Spirituality, Metaphysical, Dreams, Deep Sleep, Communication with higher-level beings, Uncovering past lives
  • Healing of serious illness
  • Crown Chakra

Red

  • Fire Element
  • Love, Passion, Sexuality, Potency, Attraction, Vitality, Desire, Lust
  • War, Willpower, Determination, Aggression, Independence, Competition, Speed, Courage
  • Health
  • Blood, Cycle of Life, Death and Rebirth
  • Represents the womb blood of the Mother Goddess from which all things are born

Pink

  • Life Purpose, Life Path
  • Love, Affection
  • Spring
  • Household Peace

Black

  • Earth Element
  • Underworld
  • Banishing Evil, Protection, Breaking away from addiction, Breaking Hexes, Exorcisms, Absorbs and Dispels Negative Influences
  • Deep Meditation, Exploring the Subconscious, Mysteries, Voids, Crone Goddess
  • Healing, Curing Illness

References:

McCoy, Edain. Ostara: Customs, Spells & Rituals for the Rites of Spring. 

Skin Health

healthy-faceBefore I moved to Ohio, I had not experienced the magnitude of dry skin that accompanies the frigid winters of the Midwest. My knuckles and wrists especially get so incredibly dry, that sometimes they will crack and bleed if I do not apply some type of moisturizer. So let’s talk about some ways to keep those dry spells at bay, especially during extreme cold.

Coconut Oil

One of my favorite ways to keep my skin hydrated during cold months is Coconut Oil. I like to create my own moisturizing mixture with coconut oil as my base, along with caster oil, olive oil, vitamin e oil, and essential oil. I keep this mixture in the glass container of a long ago burned and cleaned Bath and Body Works candle. Keep the lid!

Moisturizing Lotion

I don’t measure my ingredients because I just keep mixing until it is to my desired consistency. Start off with about half a cup of coconut oil, a tablespoon both of castor oil and olive oil, teaspoon of vitamin e oil, and about 3-4 drops of your chosen essential oil. See below for different properties of essential oils. Mix the concoction until you get your desired consistency and smell.

I apply this mixture to my whole body and not only does it moisturize those hands, it has so many more amazing properties! See what all the ingredients have to offer…

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Castor Oil

Castor oil is one of my all-time favorite things EVER! It is my Jack-of-all-Trades for skin care. At night before going to sleep, I like to get a drop (seriously, less is more) and massage it over my eyelids to aid in peaceful sleep. Make sure not to get it in your eyes, though! While I’m there, I give my eyelashes a good dousing too, which encourages their growth. Don’t forget to get under the eyes too! My reasons are twofold: it helps with under-eye bags and I have a tiny skintag that is attempting to form about an inch under one of my eyes; I am determined that will not happen. Castor oil is supposed to get rid of skin tags over time, so we shall see. If you want thick eyebrows, go ahead and rub your oily index fingers over them too.

Castor oil is wonderful for skin health. Utilizing castor oil in the above-recipe will aid in stretch mark and cellulite reduction, hair growth, and moisturizing the skin while not clogging the pores. Another reason I love castor oil to pieces is that it is highly detoxifying for the liver, especially if you place a heating pad or hot towel on top of your stomach after rubbing castor oil or the above-mixture on.

2ad40199be54acda879e3bf588d8b347*Caution: I’ve heard that the stains are impossible to remove if you get them on sheets or clothes. I have not really had this problem, but I don’t mind stains, so maybe I just don’t notice.

Vitamin E Oil

I purchased the vitamin e oil supplement pills from Amazon, and they arrived in tiny pill form. I was hoping for the larger pills, but must have gotten the wrong size. Trust me, you want the larger ones because it takes quite a few of the tiny pills to get the amount you want in the mixture.

Essential Oils

Lavender

Lavender EO wins the prize for best EO for the skin. Not only is it calming and relaxing both mentally and physically, it is a wonderful oil for all types of skin conditions. It may be used to cleanse cuts, bites, stings, bruises, rashes, and many skin irritations. This EO even eases burns!! For our needs, lavender is perfect for dry or chapped skin, including lips. This EO is also great for easing headaches and migraines.

Peppermint

This EO will help to soothe itchy skin as well as reduce inflammation and keep away headaches.

Cedarwood

Cedwarwood is great for dry skin, eczema, psoriasis, and/or dandruff.

Find out more on how to use essential oils here!

Find out where to buy essential oils here!

Above are the oils I used in my detox bath last to help with skin issues and to ease some stress and tension.  
Olive Oil

Olive oil is a wonderful ingredient to add to any moisturizing mixture. More on olive oil later!

Oatmeal Bath

Another way to help combat dry skin is an oatmeal bath. Blend or use a food processor to get the oats down to a powder consistency. Move to a glass bowl for mixing, or straight to your bath.

Regardless of the need I may have when taking a hot bath, I have a few items I always add. The hot water will cause your skin’s pores to open, allowing the release of any built-up toxins. You may aid this process with some ingredients such as Epsom salt for detoxification and aching muscles, baking soda to neutralize any toxins being released so your body does not reabsorb them, and peroxide to aid in riding the body of toxins as well as being wonderful for the immune system.

For dry skin, add the oatmeal to the bath along with whole, almond, or coconut milk if you have it. I also like to add coconut oil in some way so I will either add a small chunk or take in my mixture from above and use that while I’m in there. Adding these extras to your bath will also help other areas of your body that may need it, such as your hair.

I would be careful dry brushing if your skin is very dry because it is brittle at the moment and may easily be broken open.

References:

“101 Uses for Everyday Oils Kit” by Young Living Independent Distributor

“Essential Oils Pocket Reference” by Life Science Publishing

“Everything You Need to Know About… Castor Oil” by MyHealthyLifeNow.

Some thoughts on Cinnamon

A great post on all the benefits of cinnamon, including mind, body, and spirit. Includes ways to use cinnamon as a weight management tool as well as in spiritual use.

Make Today Great






Castor Oil

Castor oil is one of my all-time favorite things EVER! It is my Jack-of-all-Trades for skin care.

At night before going to sleep, I like to get a drop (seriously, less is more) and massage it over my eyelids to aid in peaceful sleep. Make sure not to get it in your eyes, though! While I’m there, I give my eyelashes a good dousing too, which encourages their growth. Don’t forget to get under the eyes! My reasons are twofold: it helps with under-eye bags and I have a tiny skintag that is attempting to form about an inch under one of my eyes; I am determined that will not happen. Castor oil is supposed to get rid of skin tags over time, so we shall see. If you want thick eyebrows, go ahead and rub your oily index fingers over them too.

Castor oil is wonderful for skin health. Utilizing castor oil in the below-recipe will aid in stretch mark and cellulite reduction, hair growth, and moisturizing the skin while not clogging the pores. Another reason I love castor oil to pieces is that it is highly detoxifying for the liver, especially if you place a heating pad or hot towel on top of your stomach after rubbing castor oil or the below-mixture on.

One of my favorite ways to keep my skin hydrated during cold months is Coconut Oil. I like to create my own moisturizing mixture with coconut oil as my base, along with castor oil, olive oil, vitamin e oil, and essential oil. I keep this mixture in the glass container of a long ago burned and cleaned Bath and Body Works candle. Keep the lid!

Moisturizing SerumIMG_3070

I don’t measure my ingredients because I just keep mixing until it is to my desired consistency. Start off with about half a cup of coconut oil, a tablespoon both of castor oil and olive oil, teaspoon of vitamin e oil, and about 3-4 drops of your chosen essential oil. Choose your essential oil based on your need. Mix the concoction until you get your desired consistency and smell.

I apply this mixture to my whole body and not only does it moisturize those hands, it has so many more amazing properties!

Ways to Use Castor Oil

1. Sleep Aid: rub a tiny drop of castor oil on your eyelids (be careful to keep out of eyes!) to bring about deep relaxation.

2. Eyelash Serum: replace castor oil and vitamin e oil in a clean and empty mascara bottle; use daily to encourage eyelash growth. Another easy way to do this is to get a small amount of your finger and rub your finger over your lashes.

3. Eyebrow Growth: if you want to grow thicker eyebrows, rub a small drop into eyebrows.

4. Hair Growth: massage castor oil into roots** to promote hair growth. Use the recipe above for added benefits. This will also help with hair loss and baldness.

5. Reduce Split Ends: apply a small amount of castor oil or the Moisturizing Serum above to split ends to help seal and discourage split ends.

6. Scars: apply a mixture of castor oil and vitamin e oil (or the serum recipe above) to scars

7. Under-Eye Bags: to relieve swollen, puffy eyes and to ease under-eye bags, rub a drop under eyes using finger

8. Mole, Wart, & Skintag Remover: apply castor oil using q tip or cotton ball directly to mole or wart. Put a band aid on top to keep castor oil in place. Apply twice daily for best results.

9. Stretch Marks: apply serum recipe above, or create your own moisturizing serum using any mixture of oils! Apply to stretch marks daily.

10. Holy Detox Heaven!!!: I’m all about detoxification!! “The main component of castor oil produces significant pain relieving and anti-inflammatory effects and is easily transmitted through the skins surface and into lymphatic circulation supporting detoxification pathways in the body” (My Healthy Life Now).

There are many ways people advise doing this, and most people use a castor oil pack. I tried a slightly different method because I wanted to preserve my castor oil. Apply castor oil to stomach… it is very thick, and may be hard to apply to a large area… use a mixture such as the serum recipe above. I then put an old hand towel over my stomach, making sure to cover as much of the area with the serum applied as possible. Then put a heating pad on top. There are a variety of timeframes people advise… I do it for about 30 minutes and that’s all I can normally do. This method also cleanses and detoxifies the liver.

Another great way that castor oil aids in detoxification is as a colon cleanse, removing any backed up waste in your system. It also works as a fast-acting laxative, so be careful! Mix a small amount in a juice that will aid in camouflaging its taste. I have not yet had to use castor oil as a laxative, but I hear that the taste is vile.

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11. Cracked or Dry Heels: apply moisturizing serum to dry or cracked heels to moisturize and heal.

12. Wrinkles: as with many examples above, castor oil is a wonder oil for skin health. Apply a small drop to wrinkles daily to tighten and smooth skin.

13. Acne: after cleaning your face (best at night), make sure your pores are open (through heat such as a steam treatment or warm water). Apply castor oil to skin and allow to stay overnight*.

14. Face Cleanser: use a mixture of olive oil, castor oil, and essential oil to cleanse your face. This mixture removes the dirty oils on your face and replaces it with clean, healing oils. Find out more here! 

If you notice, most of the methods I have described for the use of castor oil are very small amounts. It should last for quite a while. A little goes a long way.

If you have any additional ideas on how to use castor oil, please comment below!! 344dcad22b66df2af243c65740a8d4c2

*Caution: I’ve heard that castor oil stains are impossible to remove if you get them on sheets or clothes. I have not really had this problem, but I don’t mind stains, so maybe I just don’t notice.

**Caution: I have read that castor oil, when applied to roots, can darken hair slightly.

References:

My Healthy Life Now Blog