Wheel of the year. Pagan holiday Ostara
A series of Pagan Holidays “Ostara” (Larks, Magpies, Komoeditsa).
Spring equinox of the 20th – 23d of March. The is the period of the awakening of the element of Water. As if awakened by Air and under the influence of this flow, it moves into the future, creating space for what is meant to happen. Every action, every creation requires energy. And this energy needs to be pure, unlimited and the more of it, the better. This energy exists and its essence is hidden in the element of Water – it is the energy of Chaos.
The Spring equinox has a floating date that is calculated each year, although it belongs to a specified time frame, what changes is the hour when it starts. Similar to the previous holiday, the rituals for the people and the magicians (priests, wizards, and druids) were different. People needed to feel the element, to become part of it, and begin to live together at a different pace. Magicians needed to make it so that the element of Water did not perceive the ritual participants as strangers and absorbed the vibration of the living beings into its own natural vibration. In order to achieve this result, guided by a magician, people would perform a ritual that symbolized the death of the old and the birth of the new – these particular functions were those of the power of Chaos.
Chaos can dissolve everything within itself but it is also a material for creating something new. At this moment man has to become light and flowing like water. He must not cling to the past thus becoming a stone in his own shoe. The space that was cleared up at a previous stage needs to be filled up with the new power and water which will wash away everything stuck to life against its will, against the will of the living being.
Burning of a scarecrow as part of the rite also symbolized the process of liberation from the past. The scarecrow was made of last year´s straw and winter mattresses. What is important is that they would also put the seeds from last year´s harvest into it. This is how they would symbolically detach themselves from the desire to accumulate more than what was necessary: let all that was taken from nature and has not been used, return to its original form – heat, light, and soil. The ashes were scattered around the fields for the future harvest. In no way was the scarecrow a symbol of the gods, winter and the dark world. None of the people who had a pagan worldview could even think of burning the symbol of a dark, but still a God, showing lack of respect towards Death. One could simply not last till the next winter for thinking, not to mention acting in this way.
A Ritual is a process, it requires time. It is impossible to perform a ritual hastily, doing other things simultaneously. This is why on this day, just like on the rest of the cult holidays, people would leave their current concerns, no matter how important they were: wars would stop, debates would finish. People did not get distracted by their everyday household affairs which became part of different sayings, signs and popular beliefs of different nations.
For the ancient wizards, the magical moment of addition of the power of awakened Water was based on the fact that together with the power of creation of the future they established and consolidated the contact with the gods, whose strength and power helped people not only to survive but to do it in well-being and prosperity. Well-being is in the gifts of the earth, in her ability to bear and feed all her children. This was a particular quality of the earth as a Mother, young in her awakening, ready to bear and feed, deprived of all the moral limitations. This quality was honored by the ancients on the day and the hour of the coming of Spring.
In Ostara, they honored the goddesses of different pantheons of ancient cultures, since every nation has its own gods: Aphrodite, Astarte, Demeter, Hathor, Ishtar, Kali, Ostara (Eostre), Freya, Lelia. All of them are a symbol of freedom, a fruitful force, a feeling of life that gives hope. On the day of the Spring Equinox, night is equal to day, life is equal to death. Entering this period of time, this knowledge manifests itself in the consciousness of all living beings, as if exposing to people the understanding of transient nature of life, as if saying: people, live now, live in the moment, don’t delay anything.
The awakened Air has awakened the Water and together they have started the movement of the Wheel – time has started to move. That is why for the people the real New Year begins precisely on this day – the day of the Spring Equinox. A celebration of the arrival of Spring is a celebration of the time that people will now definitely have. For the magicians, wizards, and druids the New Year started earlier, it started on Imbolc. The custom says that their consciousness needs to be synchronized with those who they live around in their magical mind and not in their human body. In their body, magicians and druids are with the people and in the mind, they are with the spirits. The most important symbols of the holiday of the young Woman-goddess are a hare and an egg.
A hare is a symbol of fertility. The ancients worshiped the Three-faced moon Goddess and often saw a hare on the face of the full moon. Many ancient moon gods had a hare as a symbol. The occult meaning of the symbol is a revival, the return of the youth, also intuition and “light in the dark”. Very often a hare is associated with a sacrificial fire and a “life that has been through death”. Everywhere around, a hare is a symbol of fertility, not people’s fertility but nature´s. Only in Christianity, it is a symbol of debauchery and satanic lust. The Jewish people consider it to be an impure animal.
A hare on the moon appears almost everywhere in mythology and, being a moon animal, along with a dog and a lizard, it is a mediator between the people and the lunar deities. In Scandinavian mythology, hares serve Freya. The Egyptian god of the moon Osiris, appearing as a hare, was a symbol of moral purity. An egg represents a cosmic egg of creation. It is a life that is in its infancy: it already exists and yet it doesn’t. It is a totally mystical state of the original creation when you can still add the properties you need to the future reality so that once it appears, these qualities become inseparable from it.
The Easter tradition to paint eggs comes from the ancient symbolism of the goddess of Life, the young face of the Mother-Goddess. People of the old times were painting the eggs and decorating them with their dreams, their hope. Everyone would paint on the future of their reality a life that they wanted for themselves. But they would never boil the painted egg and certainly, they did not eat it. The painted eggs were meant to be given to the goddess of Spring and Life. A boiled egg represents a dead life, a killed hope – a life that could have existed but never will. Eating it is sacrificing your killed dream for a tradition that denies life and celebrates death. “Egg knocking” is a symbolic fight between people, where winning means that your dream is destined to be fulfilled, and losing means the opposite. Formally, it shows if the dead offering is accepted by the dead god or not.A painted egg is a letter, it is a message. It is a plea to the goddess of Life to consider and fulfill people’s desires and bring good to their lives.
The structure of an egg as a symbol of the future life, complete in its form but not fully manifested. It has all the qualities of the powers of the elements where the shell is the earth, the white is the water, the yolk is the fire, and there is space for air too – it is the air bubble. A small universe, a finished reality – this is how the ancients saw the egg. For magicians, in this aspect, it is a symbol of tradition – a finished system that has a potential to become alive.
This magical egg structure is a universal mechanism for transferring information. This is why since ancient times, sorcerers use the egg to remove negative energy and roll diseases, fears, and other misfortunes out of a person since what causes them is information by nature (an event, a spell word, a misfortune spell etc.) Only once you remove the negative program and transfer it to the egg using the special words (spells) then it goes not to the gods of life but to those of death (it is buried in the ground, a swamp or a cemetery etc.).
Certain magical lines of druids considered eggs to be sacred and therefore they were forbidden for consumption. Spring equinox Magical rituals that were performed by the magicians and druids on the awakening element of water were different from the rituals performed by the people. The rituals of the magicians are one step ahead compared to the rituals of the people: magicians filled all the future reality with information at a previous stage, on Imbolc. Only this “programming of reality” was never done by magicians of the old times based on petty human desires, fears, and hopes – they don’t exist anymore in the consciousness of those who receive guests from the space between the worlds. Information about the future comes from the gods-creators of reality. Magicians, wizards, and druids passed this knowledge through their empty consciousness, previously liberated from everything human and transmitted it to the world in an altered state – through the breath, through the power of the Wind, through the secret Word that is said to the wind. This information came with the winds of Imbolc and settled on the waters of Ostara. Clear knowledge is all that is left in the consciousness of a magician – foreseeing the future. He did not hide anything while passing the knowledge of the Winds to the Water. He did not add anything from himself either.
People, unlike magicians, priests, wizards and druids, have the right to think not about the whole of humanity, but only about themselves. In Ostara, they repeat the step that the magicians made in Imbolc: they take an egg and paint it with the ancient symbols of the ancestor language and add their personal human goals to the general program of reality. Not through the word, like the magicians, but through the reflection of this word. At this moment, the wizard and the druid must write these goals into what inevitably has to happen. They have to make it so that people’s desires come true and there is enough strength and time in their lifetime and their desires coincide with the Word brought by the winds from the world of the gods. But the complex matters of different magical flows didn’t touch the hearts of the living people.
Following the priest, people would transfer the deep symbolic meaning of the ritual into the plane of perception appropriate for them. This is how the connection between what was happening with them and the Earth became more obvious, this is how they would get a little bit closer to their gods, although, in fact, they made them more simple, perceiving them in a human form, so dear to their hearts. In the awakening spring and in the awakened power of the Water, they saw the emerging love of the young goddess of the Earth and the young god of the Forests, Cernunnos, still young Veles, the Green man, the Horned god. The egg, as a future fruit of this love, symbolized the son, the new young keeper of the future, that will definitely be born to the goddess. He is the young god of the past and the future.
The pure consciousness of the children of the Mother-Earth did not know anything vulgar and never perceived the natural breath of nature as something vulgar and sinful. This perception of the young goddess that was awakening from her sleep became immoral much later in the eyes of those strange beings who took as an insult the fact that nature lives according to its uncontrollable laws. It asks for no permission from their no less strange god-from-the-desert. Ostara is a hymn to freedom and life. It means honoring the power granted to every living being by Mother-Nature, and this power will never obey anyone´s prohibitions.
On this day, the Slavs were happy to see the birds come back home. They believed that on this day, 40 species of birds came back and the first one to return was the lark. That is why they call this holiday “The larks”. People knew that birds, whose domain is the sky knew the future and if they returned to their land, it meant nothing bad would happen on that land.
Extract from Menshikova K.E book “Health through the power of the Elements”