Ostara: Customs, Spells and Rituals for the Rites of Spring

Ostara : Customs, Spells and Rituals for the Rites of Spring

Edain McCoy

Llewellyn Books

Ostara, also known as the Spring, or Vernal Equinox, is a celebration of both the astrological phenomena of a 24-hour period of equal day and equal night, and the first day of spring. It is a time of new beginnings and new life.

There is a prevalence of “Wicca 101” books gracing the shelves of most bookstores these days (one might argue that the market is flooded), but there are few “follow up” books, books written for those who have mastered the fundamentals and are looking to expand their horizons beyond the basics.

Edain McCoy’s Ostara attempts be such a book. There is a wealth of recipes and crafts to incorporate into one’s Ostara rituals, but McCoy does make some fundamental errors. First she blindly assumes that the reader accepts that “Pagan,” “Wicca,” and “witch” mean the same thing. Some purists may also object to the eclectic nature of this book and the appropriation of the traditions of other cultures. Gods/goddess names are used in a sort of “catch-all” goddess roll call; as if goddess in India were venerated exactly as the Greek goddess were. As if there were no cultural differences between the two. Another example of this is in the subchapter titled “Some Goddesses of Ostara,” a grocery list of goddesses to call on during Ostara devotions. I doubt Aclla, the Incan maiden Sun Goddess would have celebrated spring in March, since she’s in the southern hemisphere, where March 21 would be the first day of fall. Her inclusion on this list is, frankly, rather careless.

Despite these gaffes, there is some interesting and fun information here- how eggs became the symbol of the holiday and how to color eggs using home-made dyes, some tips on incorporating spring flowers (such as lilies and daffodils) into personal rites, and rituals to perform, such as the Solitary Ostara Rebirthing Ritual, as well as lore from different cultures about the Spring Equinox. I especially like the “Ritual to Awaken Mother Earth,” a simple, yet effective ritual to mark the coming of spring. There are suggestions for music and dances to integrate into Ostara celebrations, yummy-sounding recipes for foods that invoke the essence of the season, and three appendices at the end of the book — one of Festivals, one of Resources used, and an FAQ.

Despite its faults, this is a good book to have on hand for those wanting to learn more about the reasons for and methods of celebrating Ostara.

Llewellyn Publishing: http://www.llewellyn.com/

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