EOSTRE: THE SPRING EQUINOX - 21st MARCH
This festival is named after the Anglo-Saxon Goddess Eostre or Eastre, also known in Old German as Ostara. Little is known about this Goddess, except that her festival was celebrated at the Spring Equinox, and became Easter, and that She was a Goddess of fertility, and was connected with hares and eggs.
She may also be connected with the Greek Eos and the Roman Aurora, both Dawn Goddesses, and with the Babylonian Ishtar and Phoenician Astarte, both love Goddesses.
The Anglo-Saxon lunar month, which became April, was called Eastermonath. The equinox is a time both of fertility and new life, and of balance and harmony. Light and dark are here in balance, but the light is growing stronger. It is a time of birth, and of manifestation. Daffodils, tulips and crocuses are all in full bloom, blossom appears on trees and catkins can be found on the hazel and willow. Rites are best performed at dawn or dusk, (but better at Dawn) that time between light and dark.
The days grow lighter and the earth grows warmer. As at Imbolc, seeds may be blessed and planted. Seeds of wisdom, understanding, and magickal skills may also be planted. Eggs may be used for the creation of talismans, or ritually eaten. The egg is a symbol of rebirth, and its yolk represents the sun, its white, the Goddess. Egg production in hens is stimulated when the bird's retina is stimulated by more than 12 hours of light, thus more eggs are produced after the equinox.
This is a time both of growth and of balance, and we may work on balancing ourselves and the subtle energies within us, such as our chakras, the inner masculine and feminine qualities, the light and dark aspects, etc. The equinox is also the time of Persephone's return from the underworld, to re-unite with Her mother Demeter, making the earth green again.
This is the time of spring's return, the joyful time, the seed time, when life bursts forth from the earth and the chains of winter are broken. It is a time of balance when all the elements within must be brought into new harmony. The Prince of the Sun reaches out His hand, and the Kore, the maiden, returns from the dark underworld. Where they dance, wild flowers appear, sorrow turns to joy, and scarcity turns to abundance.