The Spring Equinox also known as Ostara or the Vernal Equinox is the day which symbolically marks the first day of spring. The day and night are of equal length and from this point onwards the days get longer as we head towards Beltane. The Spring Equinox happens when the sun crosses the celestial equator moving – south in the southern hemisphere and north in the northern hemisphere, which causes the days to lengthen and the temperatures to go up. Vernal itself means fresh or new like the spring and this time officially marks the time of spring. Ostara is derived from the German goddess Eostre who represents new beginnings in conjunction with spring.
This year in the Southern Hemisphere calendar it falls on Thursday the 23rdst of September at 5.20am. Gods such as Ostara/Eostre, The Green Man, Mother Earth/Gaia, Hekate, Persephone, Demeter, Osiris, Geb, Ver, Flora, Freya, Brigid, Jarylo/Yarylo/Iarilo/Gerovit, Eiar, Ba Jia Jiang, Ashanti, Saraswati, Cybele and Morityema all can be honoured during this time of year.
I have celebrated Spring with groups of people in various magickal settings and the one thing which I found linked them, was the coming together to celebrate the flourishing of the land. Something which I have experienced often during this festival day is the acknowledgement of the bounty of the earth.
One of the fondest memories I have during this time of year is celebrating the Spring Equinox through colouring eggs. It’s something I learned from my mother who would prepare them for Greek Orthodox easter. When I started observing the Spring Equinox I would make them in September to correlate with the southern hemisphere and would make them exactly like my mother did. I did this by taking chicken eggs which had been wrapped in panty hose, keeping leaves or flowers in place to make a stencil of them appear on the eggs and using red Greek egg dye and vinegar to boil them. When they had cooled I would buff them with some olive oil to give them a nice shine. Soon after my first few attempts I started to make eggs in elemental colours for the elemental quarters.
In my coven and magickal groups thereafter we would occasionally make painted eggs which had been blown out from raw eggs and could be used as magickal symbols of spring. We would also occasionally make floral or herbal wreaths to adorn ourselves with.
As an avid herbalist during this time of year I notice that my garden is coming to life. Plants, herbs and trees which have been dormant over the fallow period of the winter are blossoming, new shoots are being birthed or are regenerating. I like to acknowledge and thank my garden and the Devas of the land and its blessings by leaving herbs, trees or plants, offerings especially those who are decades old or have personal significance. Such as a fennel plant which was planted by my mother and which is now decades old, plum trees which were part of the original farm which existed way before houses were built in the area, an aloe vera plant which was gifted to me by a coven sister in our youth, succulents gifted by an old friend who is no longer living in the country, a lemon/lime tree which my father created and planted which had stopped fruiting until recent years and a lemon tree I planted which was dying and which has regenerated recently. Of course I adore and respect all the trees, plants and herbs I haven’t mentioned especially since they bring in local birds, insects and bugs which help pollinate and sustain them due to my garden being biodynamic.
During this time of year I also tend to cook a lot especially with the locally sourced organic produce available and gift items such as bread and biscuits to loved ones. I also tend to food craft for my patrons (specifically Hekate, A’set and Sekhmet) which I then offer upon their shrines and altars during their devotionals.
I personally feel that Hekate resonates with this time of the year. Persephone has come back to her mother Demeter with the guidance and aid of Hekate, after being trapped with Hades during the dark part of the year when the earth lay dormant. The earth is waking up due to Demeter’s great joy in being reunited with her daughter Persephone. What this signifies from my perspective is that Hekate can be the enabling force for us to come out of and move on from of the dark and fallow experiences we have endured. Now we can move onto new beginnings, opportunities and illuminate that which we should focus on to bring the blessings we want and need in our lives.
Hekate can be a guiding force for change and movement. Hekate can help us tap into the potential of this time as she lights up way which allows us to take a more beneficial path on the crossroads we might find ourselves at. She encourages us to take the first step towards renewal and rebirth and the promise of new beginnings. Hekate encourages us to engage in this movement onwards and upwards and use it for the power it contains – the promise of shedding the old and embracing the new and the power (internal and external) it contains.
I personally like to honour Hekate during this time and make offerings of eggs, herbs (mint, sage, iron wort, lavender, wormwood etc – herbs of hers which are growing now), seeds (for planting), lavender flowers, sage flowers, saffron, corn flowers, edible flowers (violet, chive, clover, lilac etc) bread, apples, pomegranates, dandelions, wine, grape juice, honey infused tea/milk and substitutes such as oat or almond milk, onions, black garlic, grains such as barley, wheat husks, pomegranate cakes, cheese, legumes, beans and meat (lamb, rabbit and goat).
Vegetables such as beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, capsicum, carrot, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, eggplant, endive, leek, lettuce, onion, parsnip, pak choi, peas, radish, rocket, silverbeet, snow peas, spring onion, strawberry, corn and tomato.
Herbs such as chives, dill, mint, oregano, parsley, sage and thyme.
Flowers such as alyssum, asters, begonias, celostias, chrysanthemums, cinerarias, corn flowers, geraniums, petunias, daisies, carnations, lavender, marigolds, snapdragons, pansies, foxglove, sunflowers, gazanias, impatients and dahlias.
Some things you can do to honour and mark the Spring Equinox in your personal practice (or with a group of likeminded individuals) can be:
- Make food usually consumed during this time and partake or share with loved ones, as well as leave as offerings to your gods or gods of the season: meat (lamb/rabbit/goat) or legume and bean stews, egg dishes such as quiches or boiled coloured eggs, cheesecake, yogurt, cakes and anything which can be shared and is seasonal.
- Make coloured eggs or decorate wooden/ceramic eggs and leave them as offerings to the earth, seasonal God/dess or your patron/matron.
- Rituals, spells and magick for new beginnings, fertility, rebirth, renewal, new opportunities and endeavours (especially at dawn).
- Plant seeds for the future whether they be physical or metaphoric.
- Clean and refresh your home or ritual/magickal space ie spring clean through cleaning, decluttering and revamping.
- Rebirth rituals which can include taking devotional vows for a specific tradition or God/dess.
- Get up at sunrise and bask in the first light of the day in nature, whether you do so in your own backyard, local park or nature reserve.
- Feed your local wildlife appropriate offerings such as bird specific feed for your local natives.
- Take the day off if you can and spend the time in nature ie a picnic or hike.
- Light a fire (bonfire or fireplace) or candles to celebrate and honour the light of the sun during this time.
- Make wreaths from seasonal herbs and flowers to adorn yourself with.
- Craft some items which resonate with the season for you.
- Prick some flowers or treat yourself to some from a favourite florist to bring spring into your living area.
- Start a new hobby or lifestyle change (such as exercise) you have been wanting to or reconnect to.
- At dawn light candles to mark the passage of time from winter to spring and also to honour the Gods of this season (in gold, green, pink, yellow, blue and purple).
So work your magick this Spring Equinox, honour the dawn, nature and new beginnings and opportunities which are available to you and ask for what you want to blossom in your life.
(c) T. Georgitsis 2021