Ostara / Eostre – the Spring Equinox is a time of renewal and new beginnings, a time to plant your seeds and plan for the future. Change is in the air and if you don’t do it now, the year will creep in and you’ll have a disorganized year ahead. This is the ideal time to clean to Spring clean, get rid of the old and welcome in the new. It may not be easy, but some simple physical work and mental effort can be focused to rid your life and home of negativity, clear the problems of the past and provide for a brighter future. Do a house cleansing while your at it!
Ostara / Eostre is also known by various other names, such as: the Rites of Spring, Lady’s Day, Alban Eilir, Festival of the Trees, Eostre’s Day. It is also my husbands birthday – so it’s an event not missed in this house!
As with many popular pagan festivals, when Christianity arrived, Ostara was renamed and many of its customs and symbolism incorporated into the Christian holiday of Easter. Easter takes its name from Eostre, the same Goddess of Spring associated with Ostara, and like Ostara, its date is variable, being calculated as the first Sunday after the first Full Moon, after the Vernal Equinox.In the mythology of the Witch’s Sabbats, Ostara celebrates the return of the Goddess from the Underworld. Warmed by the strengthening light of the Sun, she awakes bursting forth from her sleep and blankets the earth with fertility. As the Sun God stretches and grows to maturity, he and the Goddess walk the fields and forests and, delighted with the abundance of life and nature, inspire all living things to grow and reproduce.
Ostara is a time to celebrate the arrival of Spring and the renewal and rebirth of nature after the cold dark days of Winter. Since the early buds of nature appeared at Imbolc, the Sun has continued to climb and gain in strength until now, at Ostara, daylight and darkness are in equal balance. As days lengthen and overtake night, so too does the earth begin to thaw from the last freezing grip of winter. Now is the time our farmers make ready their ploughs and prepare their oxen to pull them, and seed corn saved from the last harvest is checked to ensure its quality and suitability for planting. To our ancestors, the success of the planting season and the harvest to follow was of life and death importance, for the bounty to be gained from the new plantings would be needed to sustain them through the hardships of the next winter.
Celebrations include, great bonfires & feasts. All food in tune with the season with special attention paid to Eggs as they are symbolic of Ostara renewed birth & fertility. Feasts usually consist of Fresh Herbs, Breads, honey cakes, strawberries, fish, biscuits, cheeses, honey, asparagus, lamb, ham & wild game.
EOSTRE IMBOLC Recipes
EGG NOG- 1 Tablespoon Sugar, Shaved ice (1/2 glass), 1 medium Egg, Whiskey (or Rum), 1/2 cup Milk, Nutmeg. Method: Measure one wineglass of whiskey or rum, add other ingredients (use whole milk), shake thoroughly and strain. Grate a little nutmeg on top and serve.
ROAST LEG OF LAMB – 5 pounds leg of lamb, 2 cloves garlic (sliced), 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, coarse or Kosher, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground, 1 teaspoon rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon thyme. Method: Trim lamb of fat. Cut slits about 1/2″ deep all over lamb and insert slivers of garlic. Rub all over with olive oil. Combine salt, pepper, and herbs and rub herb mixture all over lamb. Allow to sit at room temperature 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roast lamb for 15 minutes at 450 degrees, then turn oven down to 350. Continue to roast until desired degree of doneness is reached, about an hour for medium rare. Baste with pan juices once or twice. Remove from pan and allow to rest at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before carving. Squeeze fresh lemon wedges over lamb before serving. Potatoes, carrots, and onions may be roasted in pan with lamb. Baste occasionally.
ROSEMARY POTATOES- 1 1/2 pounds Small new potatoes, 2 Tablespoons Olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon Salt, 2 cloves garlic, minced, 1 1/2 Tablespoons Fresh rosemary, chopped, 1/2 tsp of Salt & pepper, juice of 1 lemon. Method: Place potatoes in a pan, in one layer, add the oil, lemon & spices, and bake in a 350~ oven until crispy and browned, about 30 minutes. Serve with roasted and grilled meats or poultry.
MIXED GREENS WITH STRAWBERRY VINAIGRETTE- 4 Fresh Crushed Strawberries, 4 Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar, 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon Garlic, minced, 1/3 cup Olive oil, 8 cups Mixed baby greens, 2 tsp of fresh chopped Parsley. Method: Combine first 3 ingredients in medium bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place mixed baby greens in large bowl. Toss with enough dressing to coat and serve.