ostara

Celebrating the Renewal of Life


The birds return from the southern lands, bearing spring time beneath their wings. Nature has awoken, seeds are sprouting, tree buds are bursting, the earliest plants are starting to fight their way from the frozen earth, and the birds and animals are preparing to have their young.

     

Ostara is the time when we recognize the importance of planting, growing, and nurturing new ideas, projects, plans, and plants, while seeking to maintain balance in our lives.

  

This past weekend, our grove hosted our Ostara ritual. It was a lovely, happy, sugar-fueled, chaotic gathering, with kiddos running around left, right, and center. It’s amazing how in a few short years, our family has grown to include so many adorable little people, each bearing their own unique personalities, wonders, and curiosities. (And also trouble-making capabilities. Let’s not forget that one.)

As a grove, we have come to deeply cherish these young lives, the energies and the laughter they bring into our circle, and our rituals and our traditions are evolving into these family-friendly, kid-inclusive events, where we get to delight in each others’ accomplishments, in baby’s first steps; where we get to marvel at ever-growing vocabularies and unexpected insights; where we get to share stories and experiences and rejoice in each other as friends, as family, as human beings just living this beautiful life.

The Spring Equinox allows us to step from the dark into the light half of the year and gives us the first signs of spring in the land.[... It] is a time of creativity, growth, and the seeing of new beginnings.

Let us celebrate this renewal of life.

Let us breathe in the scents of new blossoms, feel the warmth of a new sun, and hear the songs of the earth below and the skies above.

And, in the spirit of Ostara, let us clean our houses, paint some eggs, and eat some chocolates.

Happy Ostara, from us to you!

xox

(All quotes are excerpts from the afternoon’s ritual.)

Spring Cleaning

Ritual is not only for the High Days. We have smaller life rituals that we perform each and every day: the ritual of brushing our teeth, the ritual of getting dressed, etc. With Ostara and Spring just around the corner, I thought it was time for some “Spring Cleaning” which, as with all things, is best done mindfully.

I love to clean, so there’s no issue for me there, but if you are not a fan of scrubbing things down and tidying up, maybe doing so mindfully will help you to achieve a greater sense of accomplishment and comfort.

The ritual of Spring Cleaning has existed since the dawn of time. In North America, it is typically done in response to the cold and wet climate we endure throughout winter. Traditionally, it would be a time to dust and air out the home, change the hay in bedding, and be rid of all things that accumulated in the home during the harsher months. Nowadays, it is mostly an excuse to give the house a good once-over and recycle things we no longer need.

So apart from the obvious aspects of cleaning, like removal of dust and debris, cleaning surfaces or carpets, and laundering things that may get forgotten, we should keep in mind a few things:

  • Firstly, you must perform each task with a strong sense of intent. Focus your energy on removing not only the physical mess but the emotional and spiritual mess as well. Visualize your home filling with a bright light as you cleanse it.
  • When performing a ritual, it is best not to use harsh chemicals, if they can be avoided. Try a natural brand or even making your own cleaning solution with vinegar, water and essential oils to give the house a fresh smell without the burning compounds. (Check out for DIY natural cleaning inspiration here, here, and here!)
  • Clean from top to bottom and from the back of the house out the front door.
  • Burn sage in order to cleanse and purify the air.
  • Open your most Easterly windows to allow the energy of the sun to pour in.

Good luck, folks!

 

(Check out our “Spring Cleaning” post from 2015, including a “House Cleaning Ritual” document, here)

Ostara: Welcome, Spring!

A few weekends ago, we came together and shouted a big welcome to the longer days, warmer weather, budding blossoms, and beginnings of new life.
Our Grove has recently welcomed some new members, including a tiny [and ridiculously adorable] addition (keep scrolling), and we are collectively delighted and blessed to see our little gatherings and festivities swiftly evolving into family celebrations.

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We hope you all had a lovely Ostara (or Easter, or sunny spring day), and we wish you many new and exciting beginnings!

-xo

 

You can check out our Ostara posts from last year here and here.

Spring Cleaning

“Spring Cleaning” started as a matter of practicality. In the winter, it is too cold, too wet, and the days are too short to get much of the housework done. You wouldn’t want to air your quilts or carpets in the snow, and you couldn’t re-thatch bedding or furniture, so it all stayed inside and everyone simply did their best to keep the mess at bay.
As soon as Spring comes, cleaning strikes like an uncontrollable urge. The days are longer and, suddenly, that extra bit of light helps you see the dust bunnies in that corner you never sweep or the cobwebs that have suddenly appeared. For a couple of days, there is intense planning and all our mayhem to get the house, and maybe even the yard, in shape.

With all that motivation and pent up cleaning energy in mind, here are a few things to think about…

“One man’s garbage…”: The old saying still holds true. Something may be worthless to you but priceless to someone else. Try putting items on a local trading/selling website, barring that you can also donate many gently used things to local charities. Make it easy for yourself. Create piles and give yourself time limits on selling your “junk”, so you can avoid the same situation next year. Less in the landfill is always the right answer.

“Clean house, clear head”: There is a deep sense of reward when the house is tidy, and it will make your daily routines much easier! Clean out the junk, reorganize a few spaces, and voila! You may find yourself letting go of the tension you didn’t even realize you had. Besides, cleaning up and having a fresh slate makes room for new and exciting projects.

“Style is an option, clean is not”: I’m not fear mongering. Well, I’m not trying to… But here it is… A dirty home can affect your health and the health of your family in many ways, so if for some reason you are resisting the urge to dust, vacuum, and de-clutter, STOP IT! Cleaning up is well worth the extra effort.

When you’ve finished your physical cleanse, it may be a nice idea to tie in something spiritual as well. Try sweeping from the back to the front of your house, straight out the door. Or more generally clean from the back to the front of the house. This way, you can push all your dust and dirt right out the door for a renewed living space. If you would like to try something more formal, click here for a basic “House Cleansing Ritual”.

 

Ostara: A Peak Into [Personal] Traditions

With Ostara behind us and Beltaine soon upon us, we realized it might be a good time (even if a bit belated) to share the personal Ostara traditions of one of our members and his family, before moving forward to new celebrations…
On the morning of Ostara, this member, his wife, and their young son get out big mason jars and fill them with water. These jars are then taken outside where they can catch the first rays of sunshine on that blessed day, and are left out to “charge” while the family returns to the indoors to enjoy a good brunch.

Following their meal, the three of them work together to do a clean up of the house, starting from the top floor and sweeping down and toward the front door, symbolically pushing out any bad energy they may have collected.

Following the cleaning, they collect the crystals they have placed throughout their home and, using some of the water from the jars outside, they cleanse or “recharge” the crystals. The rest of the day is devoted to crafts and games, and in the evening they  have friends over for a feasting.