by Marie Davis
EASTER – EOSTRE – OSTARA
What did you give up for Lent? Chocolate? Booze? Sex maybe? Don’t look it me like that! It was a plot for a movie starring thank-goodness-he-got-a-gig-before-he-became-totally-irrelevant, Josh Hartnett. Or perhaps you’ll be celebrating Passover. That’s a personal favorite of mine. It has drama, fanfare, wise teachings and food pairings! What’s not to like?! Or maybe you’re stalking the candy aisles to get a sugar fix off those marshmallow peeps and chocolate creme-centered everything, aiming to celebrate Easter.
Well, we witches have holidays, too. We call them sabbats. Kind of sounds like Sabbath right? Hmm…ruminate on that for a minute.
We generally have eight holidays, or sabbats, that we celebrate in a single calendar year. Many of which you know and probably celebrate without even realizing. These sabbats are celebrated to represent the seasonal birth, death and rebirth in nature, as well as in our lives — a theme that most religions and spiritual practices have in common. Some witches even refer to a calendar year as “the wheel of life,” or the “turning of the year.” This is in reference to the fact that life is a circle: birth, life, death, and rebirth. And, just like an iPhone, this wheel is something that will keep spinning until the end of time, perhaps even after we have all been reduced to ash and dust. I’m referring to the iPhone this time.
On the topic of holidays, there are some in our springtime queue that you might be familiar with. One is called Ostara, which, for us, just passed on March 20th. However, you might know it as Easter. In fact, the word Easter comes from the Teutonic name, Eostre, aka Ostara. Ostara falls on the Spring Equinox. Spring, or Vernal, Equinox is the when the day and night are of equal lengths therefore indicating a time of balance. It is a time when the Sun is starting to peek his way out from underneath the harsh blankets of winter. We Wiccans rejoice: Spring is near! Ostara is a time of renewal (spiritual, emotional, physical), regeneration, rebirth and fertility.
So, you know those bunnies and painted eggs you see come Easter? Yeah, that actually doesn’t have anything directly to do with Jesus. Sorry. Though I get it, both holidays represent rebirth and renewal. The eggs that you see painted in bright colors symbolize rebirth. Before factories gained their reign over farming and virtually everything we consume, people back-in-the-day relied on good ole Mother Nature exclusively to provide them with what was needed. Therefore, hens generally aren’t able to lay eggs until their retinas receive at least twelve hours of light. See where we’re going with this history lesson? Vernal Equinox = Ostara = Eggs = Rebirth. *ding!*
Then what is up with the bunnies, one might wonder. Well, aside from being cute, bunnies are known for their ability to have mad sex and produce a crap load of babies. What better symbol for fertility, right? Winter is almost over, the snow is melting, the sun is starting to come out and tis time to get freaky!
Allow me to impassion you for a moment:
- As you grab that chocolate bunny, think about what situations you want to give birth to this spring.
- Take it a step further as you dye some eggs. While you dye your egg in pinks, blues and purples, think, envision, or speak your intentions or goals for this spring.
- Be specific. What steps will you take? How do you need to modify your actions to get what you want?
- Remember, even the little actions and practices help in manifesting your goal or vision.
- When you’re done, put the egg somewhere you can see it as a daily affirmation of the commitment you have made and a reminder of the steps you need to take to bring your springtime wish into reality. Let it also remind you that whatever BS you went through this winter is done, you can be reborn anew!
- Bring some rebirth and fertility to your life! Like for real, though, because this winter seriously sucked and you deserve a fresh start.
Resident pen-witch, Marie Davis, is an actress, dancer, jill-of-all-trades and practicing Wiccan living in Harlem. On the average weekend, Marie enjoys a good rum-based cocktail and feeling the weight of her samurai sword in her hand. Rarely at the same time.