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  • Foto van schrijverCarla Rosseels

Greeting the sunrise at dawn, a Spring Equinox ritual

Bijgewerkt op: 21 sep. 2021

In pagan circles the Spring Equinox Festival is often called Ostara, referring to an ‘ancient European Spring Goddess’ who was called Eastre, Eostar or Ostara and was celebrated on the first full moon after the Spring Equinox. Although her name is mentioned in a few ancient folklore chronicles, there is no sturdy historical proof that she was actually worshipped by Indo-Germanic peoples.

Nevertheless her name reminds us of the main theme of the Spring Equinox.

In many Indo-European languages there is a link between the words for east, dawn, and Spring, which is considered to be the dawn of the year. In the Northern Hemisphere many Spring Equinox symbols (egg, bunny or hare) are taken over by the Easter Festival, which tells the story of the death and resurrection of Christ. The English word 'Easter' speaks for itself and from the Middle Ages, the Easter festival in German-speaking countries was called 'Ostertac' (Eastern Day). In German Easter is still called 'Ostern' (Eastern).

This is not surprising as the days around the Spring Equinox bathe in the atmosphere of a fresh, new morning. Even if Ostara has never been revered, we can still be inspired by her predecessors. For example, the Greek Eos, the Lithuanian Ausra, the Vedic Ushas or the Māori Hinetītama: wonderful women, who spread a fresh rose scent or other floral aroma. At the crack of dawn, they lift the veils of the night and open the eastern gates, to let a new, fresh day arise.

Greeting the sunrise at dawn on Spring Equinox, or on another day at the start of Spring, is a beautiful way to honour and celebrate ‘Ostara’. And of course, you can add your own ceremonial elements to the occasion. Download your free mini guide on how to create rituals for yourself, your family or your community

Here’s a lovely prayer to Eos, written by ‘Hearthstone’

“Saffron-cloaked Eos, goddess of day’s dawning, in darkness you wake each morn, with rosy fingers you unbar the gates of heaven, Day-breaker, day-bringer, well-crowned goddess of first light, at ocean’s edge you dwell, with gentle hand you drive your chariot of gold, exultant your heart with pride and joy in the shining-maned steeds that draw it.

Golden-armed Eos, mother of four winds,

mother of the dawn-star, mother of the even-star, glorious is your spirit, beautiful your form, your arrival inspires awe in all who greet the sun.

I praise your beauty and honour your might.”

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