Handfastings.org
March 2009 Blessed Spring
Handfastings.org News and Views
Celebrant News


Welcome!

As always, we like to give a warm welcome to our newest officiants:  Rev. Joel Schonbrunn of California and Rose Ann Darroch of Ohio.
Spring Has Arrived!


Balancing Act
 
hyacynth, ostara, spring

This year Spring begins March 20, 2009 7:44 AM EDT in the Northern Hemisphere.  Otherwise known as the Vernal Equinox, day and night are equal in length.  Once we pass the Vernal Equinox mark, the days grow longer with more hours of light as the nights grow shorter.  The opposite on the Wheel of the Year is the Autumnal Equinox, when the days grow shorter. 
 
The rebirth of Spring is commemorated around the Vernal Equinox, historically a time of Pagan celebration.  This is the time of the year when we welcome the arrival of springtime, light and the awakening of life around us.  During Ostara, the Pagan celebration of Spring, the Goddess and God have reunited as a young couple in love according to the Wheel of the Year.  While their courtship is in its beginning stages and new life is sprouting, it is a wonderful time to bless unions, perform handfastings, renew vows or get married.


The Evolution of Ostara
or: How to Explain Spring

Esther, a Biblical character remembered every spring in the Old Testament, otherwise known as the Torah, is actually a more recent version of Eostre, a Germanic goddess of spring.  The origin of the word Ostara evolved from Eostre.  Many are familiar with the Christian spring holiday of Easter, whose name is also derived from this sacred spring goddess.ostara, esther, eostre 
 
Many spring holidays commemorate the rebirth of new life.  Stories to explain this may take the form of the rebirth of gods or goddesses, or a celebration of the light.  The month of March ushers in other springtime holidays, such as the Catholic St. Patrick's Day on March 17 and the Jewish holidays of Purim (March 10) and Passover (April 7).  Many religions and cultures around the world mark the coming of this season of awakening. 
 
Pagans salute the Spring with a celebration of myth and merriment. 
 
The Gods of light now win a victory over the Gods of darkness.
 
Persephone's Mother, Demeter, pries her from the cold clutch of Hades, and Spring abounds.

The Oak King battles and wins victorious over the Holly King for his earthly throne.

Innana returns from her decent in the Underworld.

Spring is reborn.
Celebrating Ostara
by Shira
Ostara Ritual

 ostara eggs
Below is an abbreviated version of my Ostara celebration.  This is a wonderful piece to add into your spring ritual.


HPS puts cakes into the center bowl, and says:

Woman of the Earth, who hallows our Circle,
We give You this offering,
Mother of Earth, bringer of Magick,
We give You this sacrifice.
We beseech You to fill our Circle with Joy
During our rite for Ostara, Springtide!

Welcome Mother Earth, and accept our offering!  

HP pours the juice into the bowl, and says:

Wise God of Light
We give You this offering,
Father of quick speech, of magick working,
We give You this sacrifice
We beseech Thee to honor our working
During our rite for Ostara, Springtide!

Welcome God of Light, and accept our offering!

Offering to Ostara:

An egg is broken into the offering dish, saying:
Ostara, goddess of Spring, bringer of growth and rebirth,
We make this offering to You, this sacrifice to honor You
During this rite of Springtide.
We ask for Your blessings, we ask You to honor our rite!

Ostara, bringer of Spring, accept our offering! Ostara, bringer of Spring, accept our sacrifice!

After the ritual, bury the egg.

Ostara Incense Recipe

2 Parts Frankincense
1 Part Benzoin
1 Part Dragon's Blood
1/2 Part Nutmeg 1/2 part Violet flowers
(or few drops violet oil)
1/2 Part Orange peel
1/2 Part Rose petals

Chop all fresh ingredients into small pieces, then grind all ingredients together until a fine paste. Burn upon lit charcoal blocks in a fire proof container.

Incense recipe from:
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/spiritwolf/ostara.htm

yummy!

Feast of Spring - A Sample Ostara Celebration Menu

Sacred spring foods include eggs, cheese, fish, and lamb.

Frittata (egg & cheese "quiche")
Challah (egg bread)
Grilled salmon
Roasted lamb (or grilled chicken)
Egg salad
3 bean salad
Spinach salad with "Goddess" dressing
Mixed greens salad with edible flowers
White wine
Various beverages including milk & soymilk
Cheese platter (cheddar, brie, goat cheese)
Crackers and flatbread
Anise Cupcakes (anise is often used in Handfasting and Wedding Cakes and corresponds to fertility)
Savory Yellow Rosemary cake with edible pansies
Egg-shaped cookies
Ambrosia
ostara egg bread goddess

Eggs are especially symbolic: they symbolize life; and because they are round, they suggest there is no beginning and no end to life itself, illustrating the never-ending cycle of life, death, and rebirth.  Add eggs to your Ostara feast!


tree shaking hands

Link back to Handfastings.org.  If we've added your website to our officiant list, or even if you just really dig our site, link back to Handfastings.org.  The more reciprocal links the better!

Handfastings.org wants to know what you think.  Please email me at shira@handfastings.org and let me know if you have any suggestions, ideas, or corrections.  I'm all ears.

As always, Handfastings.org remains a free service to all.  I look forward to hearing back from you.  

Mission Statement
 
The mission of Handfastings.org is to link people in the Pagan and Wiccan communities with ordained officiants who perform Handfastings, Wedding Ceremonies, Commitment Ceremonies, Sacred Unions and other Rites of Passage and celebrations.


Love and Light,
Shira's signature
Artemisia Shira Tarantino

Handfastings.org
Joining Hearts in Perfect Love™
 
 
Contact Information
email: shira@handfastings.org
website: www.handfastings.org

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