In pagan times people celebrated the path of the Sun from high in the sky and warm to low in the sky and cool – the seasons. In this way they honored the growth cycle of crops – planting, tending, harvesting and allowing the land to rest. Many pagans saw time as one eternal whole. The god is born of the eternal goddess, dies, and is reborn. A life well lived was lived in harmony and rhythm with the cycles of the earth. These celebrations are thought to have existed for 12,000 years, maybe longer.
The Spring Equinox – Ostara (o-STAHR -uh) – is March 20, 2017. The days and nights are equal – a magic time – the veils between the worlds are thin. To astrologers this is considered the true beginning of the New Year. The first day of Spring when the Sun moves from Pisces, the last sign of winter, into Aries, the first sign of spring. When light again triumphs over darkness.
In many cultures the spring equinox myths concerned trips the deities made to the underworld and their struggle to return from the land of the dead back to earth. When they do eventually return to the world of the living, they have a new life, both literally and figuratively. This idea of life renewed plays heavily in the symbolism of the holiday. Some ancient cultures honored the goddess of spring – Eostre – for which the Christian holiday of Easter is named. The Norse and others honored their virgin goddess and celebrated her mating with the young god. The child of this union was born at Yule, the Winter Solstice.
You can see many parallels between the old pagan rituals and modern Christian holidays. Whatever the early Christians couldn’t stamp out, they adopted as a holy day with their own twist.
Eggs have been associated across all pagan cultures with this holiday. New life, fertility. The darkness of winter is behind us and the life of spring has come to us again. Birds lay eggs in the spring. The yellow/orange yolk of the egg was a symbol of the sun god – the shell, a symbol of the goddess and taken together a symbol of rebirth.
The tradition of decorating eggs is also very old. Originally sacred symbols were drawn with bee’s wax, then the eggs were dyed naturally and the wax removed. They were considered powerful amulets bringing wisdom and strength.
Mostly this equinox was celebrated as a new beginning – new life. The darkness of winter is over. The sun god shines again. In honor of this mystical time and your own soul, consider tuning in – what is ready to be born in your own life. The gods and goddesses are calling!