Friday, March 20, 2020

Eostre . . .Ostara . . .Vernal Equinox

Today, Friday, March 20, is the official start of spring.  Ostara (the Spring Equinox) marks the moment when the days and nights are roughly equal in length.

The Earth tilts at an angle of 23.5 degrees on its axis relative to its plane of orbit around the sun. As the Earth orbits the sun over the course of a year, different places get sunlight for different amounts of time. An equinox occurs at the moment when the Earth’s axis doesn’t tilt toward or away from the sun. Someone standing on the equator on an equinox can observe the sun passing directly overhead. Additionally, equinoxes are the only two times a year that the sun rises due east and sets due west.

The word Ostara originates from a Spring Goddess’s name—Eostre.  And, you’re probably not surprised to know the symbols of Ostara are uncannily similar to many traditions of the Christian holiday Easter.  Why?  Well, they take place very close to one another. 

To determine Easter on the calendar – look at the first full moon following the Spring Equinox (April 8), and Easter will be on the first Sunday (April 12) following the full moon.

And, probably because it was easy to incorporate many of the pagan celebrations into newer Christian holy days – better acceptance by the regular people.

Ever wonder about an egg-laying rabbit?  This should answer that question -
Once Upon a Time - The goddess Ostara arrived late one spring and found a bird unable to fly, his wings frozen in snow. The story goes that the goddess took pity on the bird and took him in as her pet. Because he could no longer fly, she turned him into a hare that could out run any hunter. She also gave him the ability to lay colorful eggs. Unfortunately, as rabbits are very fertile creatures, Ostara became angry with the rabbit’s love affairs, and cast him into the sky where he would remain forever in the stars as the constellation Lepus under the feet of Orion, the Hunter. However, once a year the kind goddess allowed the rabbit to return to earth and give away his colored eggs to children celebrating the Ostara festivals each spring.

So, what are some of the symbols of Ostara.  Well, flowers in bloom

Eggs are another, symbolizing fertility and rebirth.

Another symbol is rabbits.  In ancient times, rabbits were associated with fertility and it was thought that eating rabbit meat could cure barren women.

 Just FYI:  Baby rabbits are called Kits 
and a bunch of rabbits are called
a colony, a nest, or a herd (depending on what you read).

This year, you might try some natural dyes for your eggs.  For instance, boiling an egg in water with paprika added will turn it pink, red beets will give you a nice lavender color, coffee grounds - a golden brown, red cabbage will give you a pretty blue, and frozen spinach will bring out a light green.  Just remember, if you plan on eating the eggs after they’re boiled, they may take on the flavor of the dyes, so you could wind up with coffee or cabbage flavored eggs.

Oh My!  What special foods can I fix.  Okay – obviously –

Deviled Eggs garnished with greens or edible flowers.  Which flowers?  Well …..

The redbud is one of those trees you rarely notice until spring blossom time. Then they pop out with purple-pink flowers. Redbud flowers are usually tart and slightly sweet.

Violets, which are common in lawns and flowerbeds.  Ours here aren’t as sweet as European violets but they can be used just the same.

Dandelion flowers. The yellow petals are sweet but the green parts are a bit bitter.

What else?  How about

Ostara Mint Tea Cakes
Hearth & Home Witchery

4 C. Flour
6 Eggs, beaten
1 C. Sugar
Crumbled, dried Mint leaves or 1/8 t. Mint flavoring
1 Quart Milk
2/3 C. softened Butter
1 C. Powdered Sugar
2 T. Milk

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Cream butter and sugar together until light.  Beat eggs well and add to butter and sugar mixture.  Add mint/mint flavoring  Add milk and mix well.  Add flour and mix well.  Pour into mini-muffin tins to fill each cup to halfway. Bake for approximately 10 minutes.  Allow to cool completely.  Remove from muffin tin.  Leave tea cakes "upside down" and drizzle with glaze. Garnish with candied flowers.


Maple Candy
Witch in the Kitchen
 2 cups real maple syrup

Using a candy thermometer, in a sturdy saucepan with high sides, bring the maple syrup to a boil.  Turn heat to very low and allow syrup to continue boiling without stirring until the thermometer reads 233 deg F.  Be careful the syrup doesn’t boil over.  When the reduced syrup has reached 233°F, remove from heat and allow to cool without stirring until the thermometer reads 110°F.  Now it’s time to beat the reduced syrup with a wooden spoon.  Beat vigorously for several minutes.  The syrup gradually turns a pale caramel color and becomes stiff enough to hold a shape.  Place in candy molds or form into patties.  Allow to cool completely.

One last thing you can do – weather permitting, go outside and stand barefoot in the grass.  Soak up some of the power and serenity the earth offers.  Perhaps, sit or lay down in the grass for a moment, watch the sky, feel the power.  Let your mind drift for a while and just enjoy the sights and sounds of springtime at your house.

20 Mar.2020


  1. Beautiful post. I usually do something special for Ostara, but this year my heart wasn't into it. Sad to say I didn't even decorate.

  2. And boiling onion skins will give you yellow eggs! My Mom grew up during the Depression in a Swiss home and her mother always made their Easter eggs using natural dyes like this.

  3. I grew up learning all the different colors that plants produce as dyes. My grandmother was an Herbalist and she taught me a few things. I just wish I had paid more attention early on.
    Did y'all get any rain this morning?
    Ostara Blessings.

    1. Rain?? What's that? Actually we got about 10 drops but are hoping the afternoon offers better chances of actual water from the heavens.

  4. Bare feet in the grass? This time of year it is "bare feet in the moss"... grrr...

  5. Lovely post -- I had no read nor heard about the connection between the rabbit and the eggs. I fear there will be no Easter celebrations of the pagan kind here this year. But I love knowing about how to dye eyes with plants - thanks! We had snow on the first day of spring, but that's Colorado for you.

  6. Fascinating post! We might really have to use natural dyes this year. Yesterday was the perfect day to be barefoot in the grass, but I didn’t even think about it. I did wear flip flops. Too cold today.