It’s Ostara, the joyous spring equinox! It’s time once again for the meeting of the dark and light goddesses, the crone and the flower queen.
In ancient agricultural days, the equinox, or the days of balanced sunlight and darkness, was a huge turning point. The spring equinox signals the onset of the planting and growing season, and the promise of summer and harvest. The brown fields become green like emeralds. Croci, snowdrops, daffodils, and other spring flowers open to the sky and nod in the cool breeze.
The balance of light and dark time on the earth mirrors our own balance. Light and dark energies are more equal on this day, but they are not static. We are actively shifting toward the light. The maiden has been dreaming with the crone in the underworld, working through her crap, creating compost and fertilizer to bring forth her hopes and dreams.
Ideas to turn this into a ritual are in parenthesis. You will need a priestess, a crone, and a maiden, as well as dark seeds (sunflower or another easy-to-grow flower is nice), candles, fragrant spring flowers, and flowerpots with dirt and planting tools (optional).
Start in a dimly lit room after making initial ritual preparations. The crone and maiden sit in the middle of the circle. Text should be read by the high priestess or the high priest.
This time, when the light and dark goddesses meet at equinox, it’s not in an enchanted forest. No, they meet in the dark goddesses’ cave, near the underworld. They sit in almost complete darkness on a hard limestone floor. The cave smells of moist minerals. There is no food, no bounty to share, except for a jar of cool water from a river that runs far beneath the earth’s surface. Drink from the underground river. Taste the knowledge from deep below the earth.
(Pass around a jar of non-sparkling mineral water for all to drink.)
The goddesses have faced their shadows. They had made peace with their own fears and the underworld. The crone looks into the eyes of the maiden. She sees that the maiden has learned what she needs to know to be successful in her next endeavor.
(The crone gives seeds to the maiden and all participants.)
As the crone visits you, reflect upon what you have learned by facing your shadow. What have you dealt with? What have you overcome? No matter where you are in your journey, the crone honors your path. She gives you seeds, or physical representations of what you have achieved by honoring her. You may not be able to see the seeds in the darkness, but these small tokens will one day flower bear fruit.
Close your eyes. Look within the darkness of your own soul for your internal little seeds of hope and dreams. What is it you want to grow? What work do you want to accomplish? Find the seeds of these desires deep within yourself, and see them start to glow.
(Light one candle)
As you pay attention to your seeds of hope, notice how they begin to glow. See their glow emanating outward, warming you.
(Light another candle)
Infuse the bright little seeds with your essence and watch them glow even more. See their light radiate outward, saturating your entire body, and expanding outward to permeate your aura. Maintain the energy, holding the hopes and desires in that pure light.(Light more candles until a sufficient number of candles are present to light up the room).
You know what must be done now. It is time to leave the underworld. Everything you have learned here — your dreams, scryings, and explorations — they will be with you as you set forth on your new journey. When the maiden takes your hands, open your eyes and let her lead you forward.
(Maiden takes hands, looks into each person’s eyes, and leads them forward one, two, or three steps, depending on space. She whispers, “Blessed be your seeds. May they flower and bear fruit.”)
Come out of the cool, dark cave and into the light of day. Trust the goddess as she leads you away from the depths of your soul and into the bright light of a sunny springtime day.
(When everyone has stepped forward, bring out the fragrant spring flowers.)
Breathe in the fresh springtime air. As you look around, you see the gentle sunlight glinting off fresh, green grass. Spring flowers dot the ground. A rainbow appears in the distance, in what appears to be a fertile valley. The rocks of the cave are nearby. You know you must take your seeds away from this place, as they will not survive here. And so your journey through earth begins again.
This spring, we will take our seeds of hope and wisdom, and plant them in fertile lands. To do this, we use tools to work the land. We have spades and shovels, and a watering can to plant those seeds.
But the maiden does not only work the land. She has many abilities. We also need tools for our internal dreams — hope, trust, and patience. Take a moment and reflect on the other tools you have to plant your internal seeds. What can you use to accomplish these dreams?
Maybe your tools include a laptop, or pencil and paper, or books of wisdom. Maybe your tool is a cell phone with your representative’s phone numbers, or a poster and a black “magic” marker. Maybe your tools are your own two hands and your heart.
Whatever your hopes and dreams, take the light and the seeds of hope with you this Ostara. Take the maiden’s abilities and determination. They are now your tools.
Ostara is the time to plant for your hope, to have the courage to bring forth the flowers and fruit out into the open. Plant your seeds. Use your spring and summer wisely. You will be reaping your harvest before you know it.
If you wish to plant the seeds into flowerpots filled with dirt, do so. If not, instruct people to plant them somewhere once they leave.
Feast on seasonal springtime crops or cakes with an edible spring flower baked on top, such as a violet. Close the circle and wish all well. Dance, if so desired.
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Thanks so much to everyone who reached out to me with positive feedback for my Autumn Equinox / Mabon article about Honoring the Dark Goddess. It was one of my first articles here, and knowing that it touched so many people made me smile for weeks. Because so many of you told me you were adapting it into a Mabon ritual, I made this Ostara article more ritual-friendly.
Bright blessings to you, in all things, now and always.