Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Ostara! (Spring Equinox)

Happy Ostara and first day of spring! We celebrated by honoring what spring represents for us: new beginnings, rebirth, the element of air.

The beginning of spring is the time when the birds are returning to us, filling the air with their beautiful songs. The other morning (a sunny, nice morning) we stood outside and listened to red wing blackbirds (my favorites), stellar jays, flickers, varied thrush, winter wrens, crows, mourning doves, and many more whose names I don't know. In honor of the birds and air and spring, we dyed eggs.

Jai mushes cooked beets onto the eggs for a speckled effect
We hard-boiled the eggs with onion skins (which turned the specifically-bought-white-eggs a beautiful brown, much like the eggs from our hens), red cabbage, and beets. The red cabbage and beets imparted a subtle hue, but after mashing the cooked vegetables into the eggs shells, they looked beautiful and speckled like eggs from the wild birds.

Mina waits for the birds to come hide the eggs

This morning, Jai and Mina woke up to find that the wild birds had taken the eggs and hid them around the yard. Much joy and merriment ensued as they discovered eggs hidden in garden beds, in the long grass, and up in the trees.

A bounty of eggs is found

Today I would have liked to take a walk around to look for signs of spring, but the cold, hard rain kept us [mostly] inside. Thankfully, we had taken a walk the other [sunny] day. Below is what we found:

Daffodils almost ready to pop

The honeysuckle on our porch births baby leaves
Indian plum gets new leaves and delicate blossoms
The classic springtime beauty
For dinner tonight, my parents came over for an Ostara feast. We had a huge salad with greens from Grandpa's greenhouse, sunflower seed sprouts, and last fall's beets (which have stored really well in a cooler in the barn). On top of the salad, we had [of course] hard boiled eggs. Eggs at this time of year not only are an homage to the birds, they are ancient symbols of fertility and rebirth (we saved one of our eggs to plant in the garden as a blessing).

After dinner we gathered in the living room and lit the special incense we had made the other day. Incense is representational of air, the element of spring. [We made our incense by mixing up some [untreated] sawdust from Grandpa's sawmill, lavender from last year's garden, and ground cardamon (from some faraway location). Mina mixed it all in a bowl and Jai ground it with a mortar and pestle. To burn it, I filled a ceramic bowl with dirt and piled in some incense.] As we passed around the bowl of earthy sweet aroma, we shared our intentions for the springtime.

Our Ostara altar

What intentions do you have for this spring? Feel free to share in the comments below.


p.s. For more information about celebrating Ostara and other earth-based festivals, check out Celebrating the Great Mother by Cait Johnson and Maura Shaw

1 comment:

  1. I love your alter Jenny! What fun to have the birds hide the eggs. I am going to get the book that you reccomend here. We miss you all. I remember some adorable egg dyers from last year, time goes by so fast! xoxo much love