Event Details

Ostara

Time: March 19, 2014 to March 21, 2014
Location: Where you choose to celebrate
Event Type: holiday, festival, time
Organized By: Practitioners World wide
Latest Activity: Mar 19, 2014

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Event Description

Celebrate Ostara with crafts, recipes, and rituals welcoming the change of seasons at the spring equinox.

At Ostara, around March 21, the light is equal to the darkness. This is the time of the spring equinox, and is a great time to celebrate the rebirth of the soil and the land. Because of its close association with the Christian Easter holiday, Ostara is known as a time of fertility and abundance.

Spring is here, or at least it's on its way, when you welcome the spring equinox.

A number of Practitioner deities are associated with the spring equinox. No matter what your tradition, chances are good that there's a god or goddess tied in with the fertility and rebirth of spring.

Ostara is the spring equinox, and so is considered a time of rebirth. New life is appearing all around, and so for many Practitioners, it's also a time of symbolic rebirth.

Ostara is a good time to unleash a bit of Spring silliness.

With spring comes blooms and blossoms everywhere.

Although for Practitioners this time of year is known as Ostara, many other cultures and belief systems embrace the Spring Equinox as a time of celebration.

The ancient Romans, who loved a good festival, set aside March 1 to celebrate the Matronalia. It eventually evolved into Mother's Day, but was originally set aside as a day of honoring a goddess of childbirth and motherhood.

Eostre is frequently mentioned in NeoPractitioner writings, but it's pretty hard to find any scholarly information about her. Is Eostre truly a goddess of early Germanic peoples, or is she the product of modern imaginations?

March 15th is known as the Ides of March, and seems to come with dire warnings attached.

St. Patrick is known as the patron saint of Ireland, but to many Practitioners, he symbolizes religious conflict.

Are Easter eggs considered Practitioner traditions or not? After all, the egg is a fertility symbol... but how did the egg come to be associated with rabbits?

 

Vernal Equinox….. “Ostara” (Spring)
March  20 2014 16:57 GMT

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Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on January 19, 2014 at 2:25pm
Wiccan, Pagan and Witchcraft Holidays., March 21st, Ostara

As Spring reaches its midpoint, night and day stand in perfect balance, with light on the increase. The young Sun God now celebrates a hierogamy (sacred marriage) with the young Maiden Goddess, who conceives. In nine months, she will again become the Great Mother. It is a time of great fertility, new growth, and newborn animals.

The next full moon (a time of increased births) is called the Ostara and is sacred to Eostre the Saxon Lunar Goddess of fertility (from whence we get the word estrogen, whose two symbols were the egg and the rabbit.

The Christian religion adopted these emblems for Easter which is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox. The theme of the conception of the Goddess was adapted as the Feast of the Annunciation, occurring on the alternative fixed calendar date of March 25 Old Lady Day, the earlier date of the equinox. Lady Day may also refer to other goddesses (such as Venus and Aphrodite), many of whom have festivals celebrated at this time. Leafy green vegetables, Dairy foods, Nuts such as Pumpkin, Sunflower and Pine. Flower Dishes and Sprouts.
Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on March 22, 2012 at 1:30pm

by Siolnatine

Ok, not everybody considers Ostara one of the Vanir, or a title one of the Vanic goddesses takes on each spring, but I find Ostara at least thoroughly compatible with Vanic practice, and besides She's just so damned SHINY!


Hail Ostara, eastward arising,
Laughing goddess, Lady of Light--
To dawn, dominion over darkness
Thy glory has granted, gone is the night!

Winter's wrath by winds of warmth
The maiden's might has melted here;
Everywhere green plants are growing,
Flowers flourish, she-beasts bear;

Let Thy light's illumination
Banish sorrow, blessings bring,
Grant success, and a good season
To those who seek thee here this spring!


The year yearns listlessly for light
Now warmth returns, relieving night
Ostara brings her fertile fair
The precious egg, the wild hare
To start again, the song of spring
And to our hearts, fair blessings bring

Old winter now retires to rest
The passion of his storms attest
The floods that fuel fresh buds renew
To winter’s effort, spring gives due
So now he slumbers, satisfied
With what his watchful works provide


You are the sunlight on the leaves,
You are the music of the stream,
You are the scent upon the wind,
You are the dreamer and the dream.

You transform sorrow into joy,
You transform darkness into day,
You transform winter into warmth,
And death's dominion fades away.

You are consistency in change,
You are the patterning of chance.
You are never twice the same,
You are the dancer and the dance.


Praised be Eostara, goddess of the spring!

-E-

Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on March 21, 2012 at 2:56pm

Ostara Rites and Rituals

Celebrating Ostara

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Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on March 21, 2012 at 2:55pm

Whether you perform magick or simply celebrate, your Oestara rites begin with understanding the time of year. If Litha, June 21 or thereabouts, is Midsummer, Oestara is Midspring. It's the second of the three spring holidays, Imbolc marking spring's first glimmer and Beltaine spring's height and power. If Imbolc is about inspiration, Beltaine about consummation, Oestara is about growth. At Oestara, the seed that stirred at Imbolc sprouts and pokes its head above ground. At Oestara, you can begin to feel spring: The crocuses and daffodils are out; the cherries blossom. The air smells of wet earth and flowers; earth and air begin to warm. You see the tall spring cumulus, feel the first spring wind, greet kite-flying weather. You can make your Oestara ritual part of this burgeoning spring, celebrating Earth's fertility and the fertility in your own life. You can also consider Oestara as a time of balance between light and dark. Night and day equally divide the 24 hours now; the dark half of the year gives way to the light. You can perform rituals to ask for balance in your life, and to honor both dark and light. You can also work with Oestara as the first quarter of the Sun-year, parallel to the first quarter of the Moon. It's a time to start new things or to consolidate beginnings. If the first inspiration began at Imbolc, now is the time to pour on nurturance and growth. You can also plant new seeds now. Symbolic associations for Oestara include the element air, the direction east and the time of dawn.

In a related association, this time belongs to the Maiden and her parallel the Young God. Other gods and goddesses concerned with Spring Equinox include the Greek wine-god Dionysos and his Roman counterpart Bacchus; the Greeks held Dionysia at Spring Equinox, when the new wine made the previous harvest was first drunk. The Norse at equinox celebrated the feast of the goddess Iduna, bearer of the magick apples of life, symbol of the light half of the year. We get the name of the holiday from the Germanic goddess Eastre or Oestara, whose symbolism is similar to Aphrodite's, whose associations include Near-Eastern Astarte and Indian Mother Kali and whose consort is the lusty Moon-Hare.
On the day before the equinox, the Greeks and Romans honored wisdom goddess Athena and her counterpart Minerva. Rhea, mother of Greek Sky-Father Zeus and an aspect of the Great Mother, has her feast day March 15. March as a whole is sacred to the Roman god Mars and his Norse equivalent Tyr, and to the Anglo-Saxon Earth-Mother Hertha
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Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on March 21, 2012 at 2:55pm

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Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on March 21, 2012 at 2:54pm
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Get out in Nature. Take a walk around your neighborhood or favorite park. See which plants are sprouting, which budding, which blooming, which still are in the grips of winter. Feel the air; smell the scents of Oestara. Clear a space for a garden, or start flowers, herbs or vegetables indoors. It's too early in this climate to plant fruits and vegetables; frosts can happen as late as April in the Northwest. But you can clear weeds, grass and rubbish from the spot where you plan a garden, or you can start seeds indoors. Check with your favorite garden store what flowers and vegetables might best be started now.  Pick up litter at your favorite park or beach. Help the earth rejuvenate by getting rid of the mess. Even an hour of cleanup can make a big difference.  Ritually color hard-boiled or blown eggs. Eggs, a potent symbol of fertility, figured in pagan spring worship long before their appropriation by the Christian Easter. Ukrainian pysanky, blown eggs with patterns drawn in wax and dyed, are pagan amulets for fertility, prosperity and protection. Pysanky have come to us basically unchanged in form from the hunter-gatherers of Eastern Europe. For your own rituals, you can draw in crayon or white wax on hard-boiled eggs symbols that represent things you want in the coming sun-year, or write on the eggs these things' names, or both. You can then use Easter-egg or natural dyes to color the eggs; your wax symbols and writing will stand out against the dye-color. Next, raise energy in ritual for your goals, charge the eggs with that energy, then peel and eat the eggs, taking in the things you want to manifest. Alternatively, you can mark and dye unboiled eggs, then crack tiny holes in both ends with a pin and blow out the matter inside, keeping the eggshell on your altar.

Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on March 21, 2012 at 2:53pm

Perform oomancy (divination by eggs). To perform the most common form of egg-divination, separate egg whites and yolks. You then drop the white into hot water and divine from the shapes it assumes. Perform love or other divination with apples. Apples are a Northern European pagan symbol of spring and of love. You may recall from childhood two forms of love-divination by apple, using the seeds and the stem. To divine whether someone loves you by apple seeds, choose and eat an apple thinking of your loved one. Next, split the core and count the seeds chanting this rhyme: One I love, two I love, three I love I say, four I love with all my heart, five I cast away; six she loves, seven he loves, eight they both love; nine s/he comes, ten s/he tarries, eleven s/he courts, twelve s/he marries. To divine the first letter of your spouse-to-be's name, twist an apple's stem while chanting the letters of the alphabet. The letter at which the stem breaks is his or her initial. Both these love-divination techniques can be adapted to other uses. To adapt the former, alter the rhyme with words suiting your situation. To adapt the latter, you can simply chant yes and no while twisting till the apple stem breaks; you can also chant "yes, no, maybe" or use words more specific to your situation. Meditate on the imagery of the seed. Consider a seed and how it relates to the earth, how it falls from its mother plant into a rich loam made from the breakdown of other dead plants. Consider how the seed is influenced by sun and rain, by the energy from sky and earth. Or contemplate as a seed an idea or situation in your life, then imagine the seed breaking open and sending out roots and sprouts. Study what these roots and sprouts look like, where they find barriers and where they grow most strongly.  Perform magick by planting a seed to grow with your spell. A traditional love-spell runs as follows. (Of course, you shouldn't perform this spell to draw a particular person, but rather to draw the right person toward you.) Just after the New Moon, plant the seed of some sturdy plant in a pot. Water thoroughly, and charge your spell by raising energy and saying over the plant: As this root grows, and this blossom blows, may my true love be inclined toward me. You can adapt this spell to any purpose naturally achieved over time, such as the success of a business.  Meditate on the season's flowers. Around us now bloom crocuses, daffodils and early tulips. You can find or purchase cut or living flowers and meditate on them. Sitting before the flowers, consider what is growing in your life. Flowers are the sexual organs of plants; consider what this says to you. Perform magick to give back to the earth. Raise and send energy to return to the Earth, our mother, some of the bounteous energy and fertility She gives to us.  Meditate on the Moon-Hare. Rabbits provide an obvious symbol of animal fecundity. Meditate on the Moon-Hare, the animal the early German tribes and the Aztecs saw on the face of the moon, and see what comes to you about literal or creative fertility in your own life.  Honor the spring or Earth goddess or god of your choice, or a goddess or god of balance. To honor balance, venerate Roman Janus or his female counterpart Jana, or any pair of twin goddesses or gods. You can also honor goddesses and gods of spring or fertility now. Greet Oestara with rites like those of Aphrodite; drink new wine in honor of Dionysos; celebrate warlike Mars, deep and fertile Hertha or ever-young Iduna. Likewise, you can honor the Maiden, either sole and free or ripe for consummation.  Light around your house pairs of white and black candles, symbolizing dark and light. Each time you pass a pair of candles, you can honor the balance of light and dark we find this time of year, and the balance of light and dark within yourself.  Light a bonfire at dawn on the Equinox to honor the light half of the year . Not only did ancient Northern Europeans burn such fires, but also the Mayans.  Meditate or perform ritual at dawn or sunset. These liminal times are particularly significant now when we balance between dark and light.  Meditate or perform ritual for balance in your life and in the earth's life. Meditate on that ancient Eastern emblem of balance, the Yin-Yang symbol. Consider what is dark and hidden, rightly or wrongly, in your life, and what is daylit. Consider how you best can create balance, honoring both sides of yourself. Likewise, contemplate what you see as dark and light in the world around you. Meditate upon what this year will bring, dark and light, and how best you cantake right action in the world. You can also use these symbols actively, raising energy and asking that balance come to your life. Do a ritual denoting the passing of the year's dark half. Medieval Bohemians, after honoring the Christian savior on Easter Sunday, performed a ritual for his pagan rival on the following Monday, or Moon-day. Village girls sacrificed an effigy of the Lord of Death in the nearest running water, singing "Death swims in the water, spring comes to visit us, with eggs that are red, with yellow pancakes, we carried Death out of the village, we are carrying Summer into the village." As an updated variation, you can create an effigy of the dark half of the year and imbue it with the things of winter you'd like to leave behind. You can then either burn it in a bonfire or drop it in the nearest watercourse. (In the former case, you'll want to make the effigy's components flammable, in the latter biodegradable.) To return with the spring, bring back to your home greenery cut with respect or water from the stream. Use the energy of the time of year as you would the first quarter of the moon.You can use the energy of this time of year to fuel any new project or goal.

Meditate on beginnings, on the East, on air, on dawn. This station of the year reflects these traditional associations. In meditation, note how these symbols connect organically and how you relate personally to them.
 
Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on March 20, 2012 at 5:32pm

Superstitions and Traditions

The Shock of the New

Elements of old beliefs linger in current 'superstitions'. According to these, it is said that something new should be worn at Easter to bring good luck. Easter Parades reflect this idea about wearing new clothes.

Eggs and Rabbits

The Easter Bunny is German in origin. He first appears in literature in 16th century as a deliverer of eggs. All rabbits and hares were thought to lay eggs on Easter Day, but the Easter Bunny specifically sought out and rewarded well-behaved children with coloured eggs in a manner reminiscent of Yule customs. The movements of the hare, leaping and zig-zagging across the fields, were thought to hold clues to the coming year.

Eggs themselves are obvious symbols of resurrection and continuing life, as well as fertility. Early humans thought the return of the sun from winter darkness was an annual miracle, and saw the egg as a natural wonder and proof of the renewal of life. As Christianity spread the egg was adopted as a symbol of Jesus's alleged resurrection from the tomb. According to Young, the Easter Bunny is:

a continuation of the reverence shown during the spring rites to the rabbit as a symbol of abundance. The honouring of such emblems of fertility extended to eggs. The egg serves as a representation of new life. It stands for the renewing power of nature and, by extension, agriculture. The egg can also symbolize regeneration in a spiritual or psychological sense. The ritual of colouring Easter eggs stems from the tradition of painting eggs in bright colours to represent the sunlight of spring.
The Inner Bunny

Young goes on to suggest that:

This might also be a good time to find the inner Easter Bunny.

Whether you feel up to the challenge or not, the Spring Equinox is an ominous reminder of the ways in which Christianity has subverted and perverted the old traditions of Europe - a process that many are seeking to reverse and at what better time than now.

Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on March 20, 2012 at 5:31pm
Word Origins

Etymologically, Eostre, or, as it is sometimes called, Ostara, may come from the word 'east', meaning dawn. Others have also tried to link Eostre with 'estrogen' and 'estrus'. These words, however, are more widely considered to be derived from the Greek oistros, meaning 'gadfly' or 'frenzy'. Interestingly, the word 'spring' (from to spring, to leap or jump up, burst out, 0ld English springan, a common Teutonic word, ccompare German springen), primarily the act of springing or leaping, is applied to the season of the year in which plant life begins to bud and shoot.

The Antiquity of Ostara

Ostara is a modern Wiccan festival and there is no evidence that Spring Equinox festivals were called by this name in the past. However, there is no direct 'proof' of many Christian or pagan traditions, so a lack of evidence should not necessarily be taken as disproof.

Wiccan Interpretations

The Cycle of Birth, Death and Rebirth
Goddess of fertility and new beginnings, we take this opportunity to embrace Eostre's passion for new life and let our own lives take the new direction we have wanted for so long.

Goddess.com.au

Many Wiccans situate Eostre (Ostara) within a symbolic cycle of birth, death and rebirth. As the quotation from Goddess.com.au demonstrates, the particular role of Eostre is internalized and turned into a self-empowering meditation. Again Dr Young re-inforces this, by no means definitive, interpretation:

The annual event in honour of Eastre celebrated new life and renewal.

However, other views also add a darker element, according to Mike Nichols:

The god of light now wins a victory over his twin, the god of darkness.

Nichols has attempted a reconstruction of the symbolic events of this time of year using the Welth mych-cycle of the Mabinogion. By this interpretation the Spring Equinox is the day on which the reborn Llew exacts his revenge on Goronwy by piercing him with the spear of sunlight. Reborn or returned to health at the Winter Solstice, Llew is now able to challenge and defeat his rival twin and mate with his lover/mother. Meanwhile the 'Great Mother Goddess', miraculously returned to virginity at Candlemas, now receives the sun god's advances and conceives a child. This child will be born at the next Winter Solstice, nine months from now, at once closing the cycle and re-opening it.

Christianity and Easter

Contrary to what the Church may try and tell you, Christianity came late to the Easter party. There is no indication of the observance of the Easter festival in the New Testament, or in the writings of the apostolic Fathers. A comment made by St Chrysostom on I Cor. V. 7 has been supposed to refer to an apostolic observance of Easter, but this is erroneous. The sanctity of special times was an idea absent from the minds of the first Christians. The ecclesiastical historian Socrates (Hist. Eccl. V. 22) states that neither Jesus nor his followers enjoined the keeping of this or any other festival. He attributes the observance of Easter by the Church to the perpetuation of an old tradition, just as many other customs have been established.

Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on March 20, 2012 at 5:30pm

The end of March is the focus for a number of religious and traditional celebrations. As the sun appears to cross the earth's equator on the 20th or 21st of March, entering the Zodiacal sign of Aries, day and night will be equal in length. This astronomical phenomenon is a day anciently revered amongst Pagan peoples. Their festivals included Alban Elfed, the Teutonic festival in honour of Eostre, Roman Hilaria Matris Deûm, Welsh Gwyl Canol Gwenwynol ('Day of the Gorse'), the Wiccan Eostar (Ostara) Sabbat and the Christian Feast of the Annunciantion of the Virgin Mary (Lady Day) as well as Easter itself.

Today, Ostara is one of the eight major holidays, sabbats or festivals of Wicca. It is celebrated on the Spring Equinox, which in the northern hemisphere is around the 20th or 21st of March and in the southern hemisphere around the 23rd of September. Its modern revival is linked to some of the oldest traditions of mankind.

The Month of the Goddess

The name is thought to be derived from a goddess of German legend, according to Jakob Grimm in his Deutsche Mythologie. A similar goddess named Eostre was described by the Venerable Bede. Bede indicated that this name was used in English when the Paschal holiday was introduced. Since then this name (not the holiday) has been converted to Easter, or in German Ostern. Some scholars question both Bede's and Grimm's conclusions due to a lack of supporting evidence for this goddess. Others argue that a lack of further documentation is not surprising given that Bede is credited with writing the first substantial history of England (in which he described Eostre as a goddess whose worship had already passed) and Grimm was specifically attempting to capture oral traditions before they might be lost.

Despite these reservations, the idea of Eostre has become firmly established in many minds. Without any consideration of these problems, the folklorist Dr Jonathan Young categorically states:

Easter has deep roots in the mythic past. Long before it was imported into the Christian tradition, the Spring festival honored the goddess Eostre or Eastre.

According to Bede and Einhard in his Life of Charlemagne, the month called Eostremonat/Ostaramanoth was equated with April. This would put the start of 'Ostara's Month' after the Equinox in March. It must be taken into account that these 'translations' of calendar months were approximate as the old forms were predominantly lunar months while the new were based on a solar year. Thus start of 'Eostremonat' would actually have fallen in late March and could thus still be associated with the Spring Equinox.

The holiday is a celebration of spring and growth, the renewal of life that appears on the earth after the winter. In mythology it is often characterized by the rejoining of the goddess and her lover-brother-son, who spent the winter months in death. This is an interesting parallel to the biblical story in which Jesus is resurrected (the reason Christians celebrate Easter), pointing to another appropriation of pre-Christian religious figures, symbols and myths by early Christianity.

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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries had its humble beginnings as an idea of a few artisans and craftsmen who enjoy performing with live steel fighting. As well as a patchwork quilt tent canvas. Most had prior military experience hence the name.

 

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries.

 

Vendertainers that brought many things to a show and are know for helping out where ever they can.

As well as being a place where the older hand made items could be found made by them and enjoyed by all.

We expanded over the years to become well known at what we do. Now we represent over 100 artisans and craftsman that are well known in their venues and some just starting out. Some of their works have been premiered in TV, stage and movies on a regular basis.

Specializing in Medieval, Goth , Stage Film, BDFSM and Practitioner.

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries a Dept of, Ask For IT was started by artists and former military veterans, and sword fighters, representing over 100 artisans, one who made his living traveling from fair to festival vending medieval wares. The majority of his customers are re-enactors, SCAdians and the like, looking to build their kit with period clothing, feast gear, adornments, etc.

Likewise, it is typical for these history-lovers to peruse the tent (aka mobile store front) and, upon finding something that pleases the eye, ask "Is this period?"

A deceitful query!! This is not a yes or no question. One must have a damn good understanding of European history (at least) from the fall of Rome to the mid-1600's to properly answer. Taking into account, also, the culture in which the querent is dressed is vitally important. You see, though it may be well within medieval period, it would be strange to see a Viking wearing a Caftan...or is it?

After a festival's time of answering weighty questions such as these, I'd sleep like a log! Only a mad man could possibly remember the place and time for each piece of kitchen ware, weaponry, cloth, and chain within a span of 1,000 years!! Surely there must be an easier way, a place where he could post all this knowledge...

Traveling Within The World is meant to be such a place. A place for all of these artists to keep in touch and directly interact with their fellow geeks and re-enactment hobbyists, their clientele.

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