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Ostara

The Ostara festival falls around the 22nd of March in the Northern Hemisphere (September 22nd in the Southern Hemisphere) marking the Vernal (Spring) Equinox.  The name Ostara comes from the fertility goddess bearing the same name who is purported to bring the Spring  weather and new life to the winter-ravaged Earth.  

The word Ostara is derived from the ancient Germanic word austro- (root aues) which sounds a lot like the modern word "luster" and literally means "to shine."   This same root word evolved into the Christian word "Easter" which marks a holiday at the same time of year.

Season of New Life

The Vernal, or Spring Equinox is thought of as the time of year when the Earth becomes warm, fertile and alive with colors, smells and sounds.  The goddess Ostara is closely related to an even more ancient Norse goddess named Freyja ("The Lady") who is associated with fertility and often seen illustrated in the company of hares which serve as her companions.  Hares (or rabbits) are prolific reproducers and their population grows larger in the Spring.  The relationship of hares to the springtime weather and the ancient goddesses gave rise to modern traditions of the "Easter Bunny" and countless illustrations of rabbits in the green grass.

Vernal Equinox is also thought of by many Pagans to be the time of year when the Mother Goddess (female aspect of divinity) and her consort the Green Man/Herne/The Horned God (male aspect of divinity) are rejoined.  The male aspect of divinity, after dying in the Winter is now resurrected to new life in the Spring.  The female aspect of divinity, having aged to the crone stage in Winter, is now fresh and young again in her maiden stage.  The cycle of birth, growth, death and resurrection begins anew!

Modern Interpretation

This is the appropriate time of year to celebrate new life and new beginnings. 




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