Ostara- the Vernal Equinox
The Earth has warmed and new life abounds! Day and night are equal, but the Sun continues to grow in power and quickly overtakes the night. This is the height of Spring and a time of new beginnings, fresh starts, and life returned.
Common Ostara Traditions
These are a few traditions that many Wiccans and Pagans enjoy as part of their Ostara celebrations. Though some may seem like nothing more than Christian Easter traditions, when one considers just how little an egg has to do with the resurrection of a Divine Savior, the Pagan origins become obvious.
The height of Spring is upon us! Granted, in many places, there is still several feet of snow blanketing the Earth, but the signs of returning life are there none-the-less and Ostara, the Vernal Equinox, is just around the corner.
This is a great holiday for children and the possibilities of things to do with them to celebrate are endless!
So, here are a few great ideas for the holiday, suitable for children of all ages.
It’s finally warm! Get your kids outside and in the woods. Keep your eyes open for the Greenman, who is sure to be out, and faeries. See how many flowers you can find (but no picking!) Try to identify them as a family. Small children can try to find as many different colored flowers as they can or spot which kinds of trees have the most leaves.
Cooking and eating together are great things to do as a family! Even very young children can help pour and mix ingredients. Make cupcakes and decorate them with edible flowers like carnations or seeds.
Depending on how warm it is where you are, you could gather greens for a salad and make a Springtime salad dressing to go with it. Simply place equal parts of vinegar, oil, and sugar into a jar; add some dill, onion, a bit of salt, and pepper; then, hand it to your kid to shake to mix (hand it to the most impatient or antsy child.)
For a main meal, quiche is a great choice. Add a couple of handfuls of fresh spinach, some spring onions, and garnish with Dandelion blossoms (sure to amuse your kids, but they’re edible, too.)
Decorate eggs the night before and hide them before your kids wake up. After they’ve found all of the eggs, have an easy breakfast outside of hardboiled eggs!
Make a prosperity charm by layering different kinds of seeds in a jar and cork it. Choose the seeds based upon magickal correspondences. Or, use flower seeds and give the jar to a friend or loved one as a gift. They can then plant the seeds and have your well wishes bloom around them!
Cast the Circle together by sprinkling seeds or flowers. Mark the Quarters with an egg dyed the appropriate color. Make shakers by placing seeds in between two paper plates. Punch holes along the edges of the plates and thread them together with ribbons or yarn; use these shakers to call the Quarters.
Despite the huge array of magickal and ritual tools available in every metaphysical shop, the best tools available for any Witch are those they make themselves. The entire process of creating a tool, from choosing the right materials for construction to the final consecration and first use, is a ritual act, fraught with magick and intent.
This process begins, like all magickal acts, when the idea first occurs to make the tool. The energy behind the idea then builds and grows, with further thoughts and inspiration occurring often in dreams and waking visions. Materials for the creation of the tool may appear surprisingly, such as the perfect branch for a wand being blown off of a tree during the night only to land in your yard, or a friend stops by because they felt compelled to give you some of the river stones they’d just collected.
As you craft your tool, you impart your energy upon it, thus creating a link between it and you. This increases the potency of all workings utilizing that tool as the tool is thus an extension of yourself, amplifying the energy sent forth and bettering your aim. This is why tools that one makes themselves are almost always superior to those that are made by another (although a tool made specifically for you by a dear friend can be quite the powerful instrument.)
And this is also why it is so often suggested to not let others touch your tools (and why you should never touch the tools of another without their expressed permission.) Doing so can disrupt the energies stored within that tool, making it necessary for the item to be cleansed or purified, and possibly even reconsecrated.*
However, often we have neither the talent nor the know-how to make our desired tool (do you know how to forge a good blade or cast an iron cauldron? Yeah, me too…) so it becomes necessary to procure an item made by someone else, or possibly even one that was mass produced. There is nothing wrong with this, however, it is highly suggested to personalize the item in some way, to create that link and truly make the tool yours. Metal items can be engraved at home with etching kits (available at most craft stores: they utilize an acid to make the desired effect,) wooden items can easily be carved into or, in the case of wands, crystals can be added to the ends with a sturdy craft glue (I like E6000, it’s suitable for metal, glass, wood, fabric, ceramic, everything,) and fabric items, such as robes, can be personalized by simply stitching a design somewhere, such as a bind rune or your sigil, or small crystal beads can be sewn on, or herbs sewn up in a hem, for example.
Regardless of whether you choose to make your own tools or to purchase them, you should never feel as if your tools are inferior to anyone else’s. It’s not about how pretty the tool is, or what strange and exotic materials it’s made of, what matters is how youfeel with it, how well you and your tool work together. Simplicity can be a powerful ally when it comes to magick and you just may find that that dried Dandelion Root makes a far better wand than that sterling silver wand encrusted with Moonstone and Amethyst. Or you may not. Either way, do what is right for you because it’s your tool and your magickal practice.
*This should only be necessary in the case of desecration, i.e. the tool has been damaged or used disrespectfully (perhaps ill-meaning fingers have broken your wand or turned your favorite cauldron into an ashtray…)