Every year around March 20 -21st the sun shines directly on the equator making the length of day and night equal in all parts of the world. This is known as “Spring Equinox” and also happens during September from 22-23rd these are the only two days of the year that the length of day and night is nearly equal. This occurs because the day is longer in places that are further away from the equator and also because the sun takes a little longer to rise and set – it moves in a horizontal direction. In general, it is the movement of the sun crossing the celestial equator or the line in the sky above the earth’s equator from north to south around March 20th each year, therefore at that time day and night are balanced to nearly 12 hours each all over the world. This year March Equinox will occur on 20th March at 05:14 (or 5:14am) Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) and marks the beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere and fall (autumn) in the southern hemisphere from an astronomical viewpoint. From a Wiccan perspective the Spring Equinox is named after the Anglo-Saxon Godess –“Ostara” and is known to be a western variant of the eastern Goddesses Astarte, Ishtar and Aset. Ostara is the Latin version. The Christian festival is then “Easter” to which the Spring Goddess gave her name. The festival is also referred to as the Spring or Vernal Equinox. The actual word “Equinox” derives from Latin also meaning “equal night” and “equal length” everywhere in the world.
Many of us may have started to notice the early signs of Spring already as the earth begins to wake up we see flowers starting to bloom, we hear the chirping of birds and we notice the air becoming lighter and the evenings becoming longer. When Spring arrives we can start a fresh as many of us emerge from our hiding places and look forwards to starting new cycles. Just like animals hibernate during long winter months the human mind also has a habit of doing so and many of us don’t go out as frequently due to the darkness and gloom that winter brings to our doorsteps, but because Ostara marks the point where the hours of light and dark are equal it’s the perfect time to think about balance.
Perhaps finding Ostara for you is about sewing new seeds for a new house or a fresh new relationship? Perhaps it is time to come together and celebrate love rather than argue? Interestingly, Ostara in the story of the “Wheel of the Wiccan Year” refers to the Goddess and God who were young and just beginning to reach sexual maturity. They were said to look upon each other with love and longing and then danced together in the Spring sun. Their desire for each other was described as the rising sap in the trees and the pushing up of green shoots. The Goddess then gave her name to words such as “oestrous” and “oestrogen” which is associated with female sexuality in both humans and animals. Spring is also associated with eggs symoblising new birth in many different forms. From a Wiccan perspective it tends to represent new beginnings , for example the yolk of an egg can sometimes symbolise the Sun to some people or a new beginning in life. Eggs have also been featured in countless myths and have also been buried in the Earth to give back their life-giving properties, but on the whole they welcome in the birth of a brand new season.
So, no time could be more perfect than Spring to break free and remerge, deciding what it is you want out of life or what it is you feel you need to do to obtain balance or clarity, as the daylight gradually overcomes the darkness we too can overcome obstacles that have been standing in our way. When the days become lighter we naturally feel more inclined to do more things and the gift of having more daylight encourages us to move about more and even on dull days where the Sun doesn’t shine so much we still want to get things done because daylight is urging us to.
Many of us take advantage of Spring by planting new seeds in the garden, going for long walks, taking a well earned Spring break or inviting people over for dinner. We all celebrate the Spring in different ways even if just going for a walk the Spring air can bring our spirits back to life as Ostara is a time for exploring the beautiful countryside and blessing of nature.
Things you can do:
Plant new seeds in the garden:
If you want to make the Perfect Spring wish for a new beginning then buy a beautiful seed and plant it, watch it grow in the earth day by day, giving it plenty of water, care and love. As you plant your seed pray for new beginnings, whether it is love, finance, marriage or a house move. Soon you will begin to see positive results!
Do something silly and seasonal:
Create something! This could be anything to help you mark the beginning of Spring. Why not decorate empty egg shells? Paint them like you did when you were a child, or buy easter treats, gathering friends together for Easter egg hunts. Why not create your own Easter Tree? Followed by decorations that express your thoughts and ideas for the new beginnings that gracefully lie ahead.
Create your own spiritual protective egg:
If you don’t feel particularly creative then why not create a magical egg in your head? This can be as vibrant and as colourful as you wish it to be. It can be your own small cavern of retreat for you to move into with comfort where you can release old thoughts and instead create peace. See it as a light that glows all around you and protects you, perhaps it changes colour with your moods? Perhaps it sparkles and glimmers? Feel the colours that you create in your head and embrace them – you can also do this any time of the year without being interrupted.