The occasion of the Spring Equinox is celebrated around the world by a pagan festival called Ostara (also known as Eostre).
The festival marks the midpoint between darkest winter and the height of summer which takes place on March 20th or 21st each year in the Northern Hemisphere and around September 23rd if you are in the Southern Hemisphere. It is at this time that the hours of sunlight are in perfect balance with the hours moonlight before the days continue to get longer as we head towards the summer.
Ostara celebrates fertility and the readiness to grow, which can be seen all around us at this time in the colours of the seasonal flowers such as Crocus, bright sunny Daffodils and the vividly coloured Tulips among other beautiful blooms.
It is thought that the name Ostara may have come from the German word for “east” (ost) and was connected to the Anglo-Saxon Goddess Eostre by Jacob Grimm in his Deutsche Mythologie. Jacob is one of the famous brothers of the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales.
The Goddess Eostre is celebrated as the bringer of sunlight and balance between night and daytime hours and represents the spring and new beginnings. She’s a powerful lady to call on if you want to increase your fruitfulness, fertility or if you want help to embark on new ventures and ideas.
There are two widely regarded symbols associated with Ostara and the Goddess Eostre, both of which were later adopted by Christianity and are still seen today during Easter:
The hare is a major symbol for fertility and abundance as the hare is able to conceive while pregnant. Over the centuries the symbol of the hare at Eostre (Ostara) has morphed into the Easter Bunny who brings eggs to children on Easter morning, the Christian day of rebirth and resurrection.
The Celts believed that the Goddess Eostre’s favourite animal and spirit guide was the hare. Representing love, fertility and growth, the hare was also associated with the moon, dawn and Easter, death, redemption and resurrection. Legend has it that Eostre changed into a hare at the full moon.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that the date for Easter changes each year. That always baffled me as a kid. Actually, the date is chosen to correspond with the first Sunday following the full moon after the March Equinox and occurs on different dates around the world since western churches use the Gregorian calendar, while eastern churches use the Julian calendar. How interesting and cool that Easter’s timing is governed by the phases of the moon. How pagan is that?
The egg (and indeed all seeds) contains ‘all potential’, full of promise and new life. It symbolises the rebirth of nature, the fertility of the Earth and all creation.
Exchanging eggs is an ancient custom celebrated by many cultures around the world. The tradition of painting hard-boiled eggs during spring time pre-dates Christianity, its thousands of years old. I used to love decorating our eggs as a kid but who wants a boiled egg nowadays when you can have chocolate eggs?
Talking of chocolate eggs, here’s a fun thing you can do with yours. Ever thought about doing a chocolate reading?
I always do this with my Kinder Surprise eggs. I do this with fortune cookies too but in honour of the Spring Equinox why not try a chocolate egg reading?
To do a reading you will need a regular Kinder Surprise egg. Hold it in your hand and think of a question or area in your life where you want some guidance. Ask your question, make sure it’s an open question, ie not one where the answer would be a ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
Unwrap your egg and open your gift to reveal your answer … which is the toy! As you enjoy the chocolate and build the toy, think about what the toy is and how it relates to your question. You’re going to need a bit of imagination for this, but as every good mystic will tell you, your intuition is strongly connected to your imagination. Go for it!
I did this the other night, and asked which direction my career would take me. I’ve been thinking about getting back into art and have a few ideas for creative projects I’m throwing around in my mind.
I opened my egg and found a bright orange goofy looking rabbit. Each of its paws has a coloured pencil tip, two orange and two blue, plus a base to stand him up in.
So, what did I have here?
A rabbit (abundance, fertile mind, new creative ideas, success ventures, an opportune time to make changes). The bunny being a symbol of Spring, might this be a good time to start my projects? The crayon arms and legs, perhaps a reference to drawing and art? Well, I’ll take that!
The colours are complementary on the colour wheel, orange and blue, so there’s balance. I’m taking that as a positive sign. It’s all in the interpretation after all!
Since the toy rabbit itself is so orange, I searched for the symbolic meaning of the colour orange and found:
“Orange is associated with meanings of joy, warmth, heat, sunshine, enthusiasm, creativity, success, encouragement, change, determination, health, stimulation, happiness, fun, enjoyment, balance, freedom, expression, and fascination.”
What will your chocolate egg tell you?
Until next time!