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Spring Equinox, Alban Eiler, Ostara - festival of creativity and new beginnings

Happy Alban Eiler, Ostara or the Spring Equinox, the festival of creativity, fertility and new beginnings.

SPRING EQUINIOX


Happy Alban Eiler, Ostara or the Spring Equinox, the festival of creativity, fertility and new beginnings.

Spring Equinox falls around the 20th March each year, in the Northern hemisphere, or around 22nd September in the Southern hemisphere.

Focus: Fertility and positive life changes, new beginnings and opportunities , for new flowering love, for initiating creative ventures, travel, house moves, clearing what is no longer needed in your life; anything to do with conception and pregnancy, children and young people, mothers, for healing, Spring cleaning and casting out what is no longer of worth, welcoming the winds of change; rituals to cleanse the seas and air of pollution, for new peace-making initiatives of all kinds , also to encourage major attitude changes towards international, national and local issues.

Key words: Initiation, signs of growth

Element: Air

The Cycle of the Year: The Maiden Goddess opens the doors of Spring and mates with the young virile triumphal Horned and wild woodland God to conceive the child of light who will be born on the Mid Winter Solstice the following December.

The Light and Dark brothers fight and the Light twin kills his brother, so henceforward the days will be longer than the night. The Dark twin descends to the Underworld or the womb of the mother, like the seeds planted in the earth, to await rebirth.

Angel: Raphael, Archangel of the Dawn, the East, the Spring and of healing. He carries a golden vial of medicine, with a traveller’s staff, food to nourish travellers and is dressed in the colours of early morning sunlight, with a beautiful green healing ray emanating from his halo

Symbols: Eggs, especially painted ones, feathers, spring flowers or leaves a sprouting pot of seeds, pottery rabbits and birds, feathers and anything made of dough or clay

Animal: Hare

Tree: Birch

Incenses, flowers and herbs: Celandine, cinquefoil, crocus, daffodil, honeysuckle, hyacinth, lemon, primroses, sage, tansy and thyme and violets.

Candle Colours: Yellow and green

Crystals: Sparkling yellow crystals, such as citrine, golden beryl and rutilated quartz, also chrysoprase and aventurine.

Celebrating the Spring Equinox in the modern world

Celtic tradition

Alban Eiler means in Gaelic the Light of the Earth that returns after the winter from the Otherworld and also rises from the earth to cause the growth of plants.

Bonfires were lit and the Corn dolly from the previous year was burned or the effigy of a straw sacrifice man symbolizing the awakening of the sacrificed Grain God. As at Beltaine the Nyd or festival fire was kindled using an oaken spindle from nine different kinds of sacred wood.

The ashes were scattered on the fields for fertility at the time of sowing

The sun (in Christian times angels) was seen to dance in rivers in the Spring Equinox to celebrate the resurrection of light and this water was considered to bring healing and fertility. Dough cakes marked with the cross of the Earth Mother were eaten to absorb the fertility of the year (these survive as hot cross buns in the UK)

Norse and Anglo Saxon Associations

Ostara is the Viking goddess of the Moon and Spring, the maiden aspect of Frigg the Mother Goddess, after whom the festival is named. Her white magical hare led to the tradition in some lands of chocolate Easter rabbits and it was the hare that brought eggs for the children or hid them for them to find. Rabbits were also a symbol of fertility as they began to reproduce

Painted fresh eggs, again a sign of Spring when the hens began to lay in natural light are another ancient fertility symbol and were placed on the shrines of Ostara

Christianity

In the early Christian tradition, candles were extinguished on Easter Eve. The Paschal Candle was lit from the Nyd fire which was kindled outside churches using an oaken spindle from nine different kinds of wood.
Sometimes the effigy of a Judas Man was burned. Charred sticks were taken from the fire and placed on newly kindled home fires or kept through the year as protection against thunderstorms.

St. Cyril of Jerusalem described the profusion of light on Easter Eve as being as bright as day, and Constantine the Great made the Easter Eve celebrations even more dazzling by placing lights not only in basilicas, but in streets and squares. Homes were also illuminated with candles in every window to welcome the resurrection.
Eggs were painted and dedicated to the Virgin Mary .in Germany, Eastern and Western Europe, parts of the Mediterranean, Russia and in Mexico and South America. In Poland it is said that Mary painted eggs in bright colours to delight her infant and so Polish mothers continue the custom.

Mediterranean

The Phrygian Goddess Mother Cybele much beloved in Greece and Rome brought her sacrificed God consort/son Attis back to life on the Spring Equinox

The Eleusinian Mysteries celebrated the restoration of Persephone the Grain maiden to her grieving Mother Demeter. In the Spring rites at Eleusis grain was thrown into the field and buried in the earth to bring forth new life. Images of the public ceremony depict

Persephone as the sprouting corn .A virgin was chosen to represent the deflowering of Persephone and her sacrifice in a sacred sex ceremony

Ritual Activity




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