Now comes the time of year when everything is really starting to wake up and come alive after its Winter slumber. We’re seeing flowers cropping up everywhere, and the animals are all going a little crazy in their rush to mate. The ubiquitous red robin has shown its face, and there’s a lovely, iridescent green haze of new growth all over the land. The breezes are milder, and we can feel the sun on our faces.
We’re starting to see baby animals everywhere, and starting to harvest some late Winter/early Spring crops, like wild greens that inject our systems with a good dose of chlorophyll.
In the agricultural world, it’s time to get to work. The fields need a’plowin, and the seeds need a’plantin. This is when we put our plans from Imbolc into action and take on the work of starting our seeds. There’s nothing as delicate as those first, tender seedlings that we’re trying to nurture into food, and this is a time of excitment and anxiety. We can only do our best!
In the non-agricultural world, this is a great time to focus on our metaphorical ‘seeds’ that we want to plant. What is it that we want to harvest in a few months? Now is the time to get started and begin taking steps. Nothing will happen unless we begin, and there’s no better time to begin than now! The waxing sun lends us the energy to do what we need to grow and flourish.
Let’s take a look at some ideas for our Ostara altars!
Colors (for altar cloths, flowers, candles, and decorations)
Since Ostara is all about new life, fertility, joy, and baby animals, I like to use a lot of pastels. Fortunately, so do people who celebrate Easter, so you can find lots of pastel decor available now. After the mellower, darker tones of the last few holidays, this is a great time to really go wild. Lavender, pink, pale yellow, peach, sky blue, and the palest grass green work really well right now!
You could also keep a lot of white on the altar as a holdover from Imbolc in celebration of the maiden Goddess, or really explore various shades of green to commemorate everything coming alive right now.
I love delicate floral scents for this holiday. Jasmine, ylang ylang, neroli (and its sister orange blossom), lavender, and wisteria are all perfect for this time of year. I save the heavier floral scents for Beltane. I also like lighter herbal scents like catnip and lemon balm to freshen everything up.
Some of these work really well in incense too, but you’ll need to experiment. For example, I definitely don’t recommend dried jasmine blossoms unless you want the scent of old socks in your home. But livening scents like cardamom or coriander can be wonderful. If you’d like to add a resin, benzoin’s light vanilla scent works really well in Ostara blends as well!
Sprouts or microgreens. If your altar is in a sunny space, why not grow a tray of these delicious little treats and make them sacred! You can then add them to your Ostara feast.
Eggs, rabbits, chicks, lambs, and anything else traditionally associated with Christian Easter. Most of these symbols have come to us from pre-Christian times relatively unchanged, because the symbolism is the same. Ostara is a time of gentle awakening and the fertility of baby animals being born. So feel free to use these symbols in your Pagan practices too!
The phoenix. As it rises from the ashes, so we’re rising from the ashes of our long Winter slumber as well. We’re coming alive after our own symbolic death.
Flowers. While flowers are a bit more traditional for Beltane, they’re really appropriate for Ostara too. If you can collect them from outside or your own garden, all the better!
Ribbons and ornamentation. Really anything festive and colorful is appropriate!
Candy. Traditional Easter candy like jelly beans, marshmallow eggs, and peeps all have similar themes to the Pagan Ostara, so why not use them too? As long as it brings you joy and reminds you of this start of Spring, use it. Enjoy the sweetness of this time of year.
Representations of any animals we’re seeing around this time of year, especially rabbits, robins, frogs, or anything that symbolises Spring.
So those are just some of the symbols associated with Ostara that can be used on your altar. Do you have some other ideas that I didn’t think of? Please share in the comments, and blessed be!