Monday, March 21, 2005

Blessed Ostara

Today is the spring equinox, known to many pagans as the holiday of Ostara. Ostara gets its name from the Teutonic goddess of spring and the dawn, whose name is spelled Oestre or Eastre. This is the holiday where we observe life returning after the long winter: spring flowers and vegetable, eggs, rabbits, rebirth ... it'll sound familiar. Some pagans fast on the equinox in a symbolic cleansing. Others eat bitter herbs (Passover, anyone?) to help energize the liver, which has been processing heavy food and drink over the winter. Me? I did a big grocery shopping trip to bring the spirit of abundance into our house, and I cleaned out the pantry to stock it with the new foods. I also ate some chocolate, although that doesn't distinguish this day from any other day.

When I was a Christian, I never particularly like Easter, and those feelings have carried over to Ostara. I usually forget to celebrate it. Indeed, I didn't realize it was today - I think of it as falling on the 21st even though it can fall anywhere between the 19th and 22nd - until I looked up the date to write this entry. Tomorrow I'll take a few minutes to light some incense and think about new beginnings.

Happy spring!