Ostara is the celebration of the first day of Spring and is one of eight sabbats on the pagan Wheel of the Year. Although it shares many symbols with the Christian holiday Easter, Ostara has ancient roots in Norse culture.
When is Ostara? Ostara is generally held at the time of the spring equinox; that is, around March 21st in the Northern Hemisphere and September 21st in the Southern Hemisphere.
Named after the Germanic Goddess Eostre, this celebration honors the divine feminine and the resurrection of life after the cold, brittle death of winter. The sunlight greets us with rays of hope for the coming seasons, insects and animals are abuzz with springtime fervor, and farmers are sowing the seeds that will hopefully sustain them throughout next winter.
The Spring Equinox is also celebrated as one of only two days of the year in which we see equal parts of daylight and darkness, signifying a powerful sense of balance in our planet.
Simple Ostara Rituals
Many of these Ostara traditions are reconstructed from what little information we have from ancient practices, while others were crafted to fit the lifestyle of a modern practitioner. Let’s take a look at both the modern and more traditional ways that Ostara is observed around the world.
Create an Altar for Ostara
Whether or not you worship the goddess of spring, you can devote an altar to the season of Ostara or to your favorite fertility goddess such as Brigid, Freyja, Demeter, Isis, Hathor or Xochiquetzal. Here are some other colors, items, and associations with Ostara that you can incorporate into your altar:
Color associations: Lavender, pink, light yellow, sky blue, spring green.
Altar Decorations: Freshly-picked spring flowers, decorated eggs, statues of rabbits or hares, feathers, seeds, a small broom or besom.
Plants: Spring flowers (crocuses, lilies, tulips, etc.) lemongrass, thyme, red clover.
⚠️ A word of caution: Lilies are very toxic to cats, small dogs, and other animals. Do not bring lilies into your home if you have pets that may ingest them.
Decorate & Hide Eggs
This is a family-friendly Ostara activity that everyone can enjoy! Although performed at the Christian celebration of Easter, the hiding and decorating of eggs is actually a tradition that stems from Germanic pagan practices. These decorated eggs were created as offerings to an ancient goddess of the Spring as a symbol of fertility, creativity, and humility from a humble hare.
In modern traditions, eggs are hard-boiled before being dyed in a menagerie of colors. On Easter morning, children awaken to find that their eggs have been scattered around by the Easter bunny and set out to find them in exchange for chocolates, toys, and treats.
Cast a Fertility Spell
Fertility rites have always intended to stimulate reproduction in humans and in the natural world. Even if you aren’t looking to give birth, a fertility ritual can be used symbolically to inspire spiritual energy and creativity.
This is a guided Ostara ritual with candles, eggs and Wiccan prayers. We will cast a circle and plant spiritual seeds of fertility and growth for the season that begins.
Bake for the Season
A common practice to welcome the warmth of Ostara into the home is baking. Some choose to bake hot cross buns to bring blessings of protection into the home. If you’re looking to create a springtime work of art, you can bake a beautiful loaf of bread decorated with flower petals, peppers, or other vegetables. These gorgeous hand-crafted loaves make wonderful offerings to deities.
If baking isn’t your thing, you can still cook with seeds and herbs to partake in some kitchen witchery and infuse your creations with the warm, buzzing energy of spring.
Plant Seeds in Your Garden
As the first day of Spring, this sabbat is a crucial time to plant seeds in order to ensure a fulfilling harvest. In colder zones, you can start seedlings indoors to get a head start on the year’s crops. You can also bless your seeds or ask for blessings from your fertility deity of choice to increase your chances of a bountiful harvest.
As you plant seeds in your garden, this is also a great time to consider the seeds you are planting in your everyday life. What new ventures are you starting? In what ways can you tend to these seeds a little bit, each and every day? Much like a garden, you will need daily tending in order to blossom into the best possible version of yourself.
A quick lesson on how to set intentions + an easy jar spell to give them shape! Add herbs, crystals, oils and other magickal ingredients.
Each goal that you create will need a rich foundation and must be watered and tended to regularly if we want to see them come to fruition. Harness the energy of Ostara by setting new goals for yourself and creating realistic plans to see them through. In this way, you can nurture growth within yourself.
As the weather now allows us to open up our homes to the fresh Spring breeze, it’s a great time to sweep away the negative energies that have been lying stagnant in the home all winter long.
Cast a banishing spell as you listen to some spring music along with a spring blessing chant. If you’ve collected some clutter or extra layers throughout the cold months, then it may be warm enough to start packing these things away and organizing your home.
Follow up with a smoke cleanse or cleansing spray, but be sure to leave open a window or door to allow spirits that don’t belong to find their way out. Take this opportunity to honor and bless your home by thanking it for all it does for you.
Rebirth or Rededication Ceremony
As with all things, the seasons come in cycles. Although dying in the fall, when springtime rolls around, we see this as an opportunity for resurrection and reformation. Whether you are starting a new journey that will transform you in your craft or rededicating your loyalty to your craft with a Self-Dedication Ritual, this sabbat presents a unique opportunity to harness these transformative energies.
Find more Ostara rituals and traditions here: How to Celebrate Ostara Alone 🌼
Decorate for Spring
Once you’ve cleansed your home, it’s time to start decorating! You can bring in a freshly-cut bouquet of spring flowers, carefully craft a besom, or place beautifully-decorated eggs around your home – the possibilities are endless!
Research & Pray to Eostre
As more and more pagans find their unique path, more of us are discovering the goddess Eostre and other manifestations of the Divine Feminine or the Triple Goddess, especially those that connect with the Wheel of the Year.
Whether she is a trusted archetype that you work with or a goddess that has newly revealed herself to you, you can honor Eostre and the spirits of the Earth by taking time to learn about the history and customs that brought about the holiday of Ostara and how the spring goddess of the dawn relates to you.
If it fits into your practice, you may choose to write a prayer to Eostre to thank her for the return of the sun and ask for her blessing in matters of fertility or cultivation. Once we better understand these deities and the way our ancestors interacted with them, we can reclaim our history and faith to reconstruct meaningful rituals of generations past.
Greet the Dawn ☀️
Not only a goddess of spring, Eostre was also a goddess of the dawn. Much like the rebirth of springtime, the dawn introduces new light into our lives. Each day presents a chance to reinvent ourselves to make sure we are in alignment with our highest form.
- On the morning of Ostara, wake up early, before the sun rises.
- Put on a pot of coffee or your favorite tea – bonus points if it’s a tea made with spring florals!
- Find a quiet place to sip your tea and meditate as you watch the eastern horizon for the sunrise.
- You can take this time to journal on your reflections or set a new intention as your bid good morning to the dawn.
Whether you’re a newly-practicing pagan or have been on your path for many years, we welcome all practices and hope this helps you in crafting your own traditions and finding new ways to honor your faith. Ostara blessings!
What is Ostara the Goddess of?
Eostre is the Goddess of spring and the dawn. “Ostara” is not a Goddess but a Wiccan and Neopagan holiday and it is one of the eight sabbats or festivals in the Wheel of the Year. The word Ostara is related to the name of the Germanic Goddess Eostre or Eastre, honored in the month of April.
Is Ostara the same as Easter?
Ostara is not the same as Easter. The Christian holiday, Easter, marks the observance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Ostara comes from a Germanic festival also known as Ostern, celebrated in April, marking the resurrection of plants and flowers in the spring.
The Easter Bunny and the hare as a symbol of Easter, however, may be related to Ostara, the pagan festival. Many folk customs involved hares around the Easter season in Northern Europe, including folk tales of the Goddess changing a bird into a hare on Her day (Ostara), where the Easter egg and the Easter bunny come from.
How long has Ostara been celebrated?
Ostara’s origins are unclear and it is not known if it is an ancient fertility rite or a more modern invention. While the folk customs involving hares and eggs were well-known in the 19th century, the name Ostara wasn’t popularized until recently, alongside Wicca.