In 2023 Ostara and the Spring Equinox occur in March in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s a time of harmony because the day and night are now equal. Warmer days are coming, and new life is everywhere you look!
Many people around the world celebrate the beginning of the Spring season. It’s such a happy time as the birds sing and flowers bloom. This Pagan holiday is all about new beginnings, fertility, growth, and balance.
I wasn’t quite sure how to write this article because, typically, Wiccans celebrate the holiday Ostara, while other spiritual practitioners (myself included) celebrate the Spring Equinox (I’ll go more into detail on this below). Due to this, I’ll be using the names Ostara and The Spring Equinox interchangeably to ensure everyone feels included.
Many Pagans, Witches, and those interested in Nature Spirituality celebrate the seasonal cycles. Sometimes referred to as the Wheel of the Year, and consisting of eight celebrations. Four of these festivals (Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh, and Samhain) are rooted in Celtic history and origins.
The other four (Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice, Autumn Equinox, and Winter Solstice) represent the sun’s location. I created a complete guide to each season, including history, traditions, symbols, correspondences, ritual ideas, and how you can celebrate.
Please note that I make every effort to ensure this information is correct and accurate through my own experiences and referencing sources throughout AND at the bottom of this article.
Posts on this site may contain affiliate links that allow me to earn a small commission from your purchases (at no extra cost to you!)
Table of Contents
When is Ostara 2023?
The Spring Equinox, also known as the Vernal Equinox or Ostara, typically occurs on the 20th or 21st of March in the Northern Hemisphere (September in the Southern Hemisphere).
In 2023, Ostara and the Spring Equinox land on Monday, March 20th.
Many cultures celebrate the arrival of Spring, including the Hindu festival of Holi, Druids celebrate Alban Eiler, and some Roman Catholics celebrate Carnival.
The historical origin of Carnival is also obscure. It possibly has its roots in a primitive festival honouring the beginning of the new year and the rebirth of nature, though it is also possible that the beginnings of Carnival in Italy may be linked to the pagan Saturnalian festival of ancient Rome.Britannica – Carnival
Ostara 2023 is all about celebrating balance, growth, and new beginnings. Winter has finally ended, and each day slowly gets a bit warmer. Tiny little buds are pushing their way up through the earth and blossoming into a rainbow of colors.
Birds, squirrels, and other critters scurry about, and you wonder if they feel the same hope and anticipation you do during the Spring season.
Optimism and joy fill our hearts as each day grows lighter and longer. It suddenly feels like our goals and dreams are achievable, and we go after them with ferocious intent!
Now is a beautiful time to choose which of your Winter intentions you’d like to focus on. Embrace this time of fresh beginnings and inspiration!
Spring has been celebrated and recognized for many years worldwide with deities or structures. Many cultures honored the astronomical timing and positions during the Spring Equinox.
- The ancient people of Ireland built large monuments to celebrate the solstices and the equinoxes, which the Druids later used.
- In Salem, New Hampshire, five different 4,000 years old standing stones are believed to have been erected by Native Americans or European migrants. One of the five stones aligns with sunrise and sunset during the Spring Equinox and the Autumn Equinox. It’s known as America’s Stonehenge.
- Several deities are associated with Spring, including Persephone, Aphrodite, Venus, Cybele, Freya, Cernunnos, Min, and many more!
- Mayans also celebrated the solstices and equinoxes. When the sun hits certain pyramids or temples during different times of the year, they light up or appear to have a snake descending the structure’s stairs (see photo below).
There are two goddesses you’ll often hear associated with this holiday: Ostara and Eostre.
The goddess Eostre (ee-ah-stray or a-oh-stray) is a topic of debate regarding the Spring Equinox pagan holiday. Eostre was first mentioned by an English monk named Bede (pronounced bee-d) in 725 CE (you may remember Bede from the Lupercalia post). According to him, pagans observed and honored Eostre with feasts BEFORE Christians celebrated Easter.
In his book Teutonic Mythology, Volume 1, published in 1835, Jacob Grimm (yes, as in Grimms’ Fairy Tales) believed that Bede was referring to a local goddess named Eostre, which Grimm believes to be the Germanic goddess of spring, Ostara.
Remember, this is Grimm’s hypothesis, and there is no evidence to support that claim. There is debate among historians if Eostre ever existed or was worshipped. However, Bede was a seasoned historian and the first to use AD and BC timelines. In my opinion, he’d have no reason to concoct a lie about the goddess Eostre.
Ostara herself is a shadowy figure in Germanic folklore. Her story begins with Eostre, an Anglo-Saxon goddess who is not documented from pagan sources at all, and turns up in only one early Christian source, the writings of the English churchman Bede.
Bede may have been right that there was such a goddess, or he may have been spreading the received wisdom of his era, and scholars have debated this point for years.Stephen Winick – Library of Congress – Ostara and the Hare: Not Ancient, but Not As Modern As Some Skeptics Think
Why Do Wiccans Celebrate Ostara?
The Ostara 2023 festival remains a continued topic of debate regarding its use in modern celebrations. In his research article Modern Pagan Festivals: A Study in the Nature of Tradition, Ronald Hutton (folklorist and English Historian specializing in Contemporary Paganism) references Gerald Gardner, the creator of Wicca.
Hutton says that Gardner, in the early 1950s, did not want to celebrate the equinoxes. However, he eventually included them and formed all eight Wiccan sabbats. This was at the request of High Priestess Doreen Valiente and his coven, who felt celebrating the addition of the equinoxes created a perfect balance.
In San Francisco in 1968, Aiden Kelly was creating the New Reformed Orthodox Order of the Golden Dawn. While writing his ceremonies and rituals, he sourced Gerald Gardner, Doreen Valiente, poet Robert Graves, and J. R. R. Tolkien.
Aiden Kelly objected to including the equinoxes since he could not find any ancient corresponding celebrations or traditions supporting this idea. It is believed that he changed the name of the spring equinox to Ostara, citing Jacob Grimm’s work referenced above and the Germanic goddess of Spring, which is now used by Wiccans today.
Although it remains unclear if the Spring Equinox was ever celebrated in the spiritual way we honor it now, it was at least a season of planting and hope for the warmer seasons ahead. You, of course, can feel free to honor and celebrate the Spring Equinox however you choose.
The spring equinox was almost a nonissue.
The Venerable Bede says that it was sacred to a Saxon Goddess, Ostara or Eostre, from whom we get the name “Easter,” which, almost everywhere else, is called something like “Pasch,” derived, of course, from Pesach.Aidan Kelly – About Naming Ostara, Litha, and Mabon
How Do You Pronounce Spring Equinox?
Spring Equinox is pronounced sp-ring ek-wi-nox or sp-ring ee-kwuh-nox
The word equinox is derived from the Latin words aequus, which means equal and nox, meaning night.
How Do You Pronounce Ostara?
Most of us learn and expand our spiritual knowledge by reading books or websites. However, this sometimes leads to incorrect pronunciations.
Ostara is pronounced Ah – star – ah or Oh-star-ah
Spring Equinox and Ostara Correspondences
Ostara and Spring Equinox correspondences are very helpful when creating an altar, doing ritual work, recipes, or decorating your home for the spring season. Here are a few ideas to get you started!
Spring Equinox Spiritual Intentions
- Purification (cleansing of stagnant and old energy)
- Positive intense energy
- Good fortune
- Hopeful intentions
Ostara Food and Drinks
- Leafy greens
- Spring veggies
- Fresh berries
- Edible flowers
- Hot cross buns (this is debated – some people believe these have pagan origins (representing the four seasons of the year), while others believe this symbolizes the cross and celebrates Jesus for Easter. Either way, it’s a yummy seasonal treat. )
- Light Green
- Sunny Yellow
- Light Blue
- Pastel Pink
Botanicals, Herbs, and Greenery
- Lemon Grass
- Cherry Blossom
- Birch tree
- Ash tree
- Buds (new growth)
- Puca or Pooka
Crystals and Metals
- Clear Quartz
Spring Equinox Scents (candles, incense, etc.)
- Floral scents (rose, lilac, jasmine, etc)
- Herbal scents (rosemary, basil, mint, etc)
- Fresh Air
Spring Equinox Journaling Prompts
- What are your favorite pollinators that frequent your garden or outdoor space? What can you plant or place outside to encourage them to continue visiting?
- How can you add some “Spring Cleaning” to your spirituality? What can you let go of, so you can incorporate new ideas into your practice?
- Create a mini bucket list and include how you’d like to celebrate the Spring Equinox. (Remember, Spring is an entire season, not just one day)
- Consider the following quote and write down what it means to you – “You’ll never create a life that you want by trying to fix a life that you don’t want.” – Peter Crone
- Think about someone you find very inspiring, what qualities do you admire most and how can you start incorporating them into your life?
- What can you do now to help save the earth and reduce your waste? How can you prioritize making eco-friendly decisions?
Try conducting a ritual ceremony for Ostara 2023 and the Spring Equinox by immersing yourself in the traditions of your family heritage, such as making food, practicing divination, or lighting candles.
It’s also a great time to do anything that may bring love and joy into your life and the lives of others. Here are a few other rituals ideas to add to your spring celebrations.
How can you find ways to bring more balance into your life? Make a list of some things that overwhelm you. What can you do to simplify this or remove it altogether? Spend time contemplating what brings you the most joy and how you can incorporate this more into your daily life.
Cleansing Home Ostara Ritual
Throw open those windows and cleanse your home in your preferred method for a lovely Spring Equinox ritual. Bring that fresh energy into your home using all five senses. Decorate with bright, beautiful flowers like daffodils or tulips. Include happy colors with new blankets, pillows, or other decor items.
Add that energy to your pets because they’ve been cooped up all Winter too! Light some new candles using their corresponding color meanings or choose a scent from the correspondences listed above. It’s a great time to do some Spring cleaning and donate items you no longer use.
Place your motivation intentions and corresponding herbs, botanicals, or scents into a sachet (sash-ay) or small bag. Don’t worry about the “perfect” herbs to place in your sachet; use your intuition, and trust your vibes. The magical properties of Lavender are an excellent choice for joy, love, or adding calm to your life.
As you fill your sachet, imagine you accomplishing your goals with increased motivation. Feel how proud you’ll be, and imagine telling someone you love about your accomplishment. Try playing some music you find motivating as well. Place on your altar or in your sacred space.
Find A Space To Meditate Outside
Sit or lie down in a quiet and undisturbed place. Try to place your body so you have direct contact with the earth as best you can.
Focus on the current season and the balance of Nature. Try not to let your mind wander to stressful thoughts. Breathe in and out slowly while listening to the sounds of Nature around you.
This can be the birds, the wind through the trees, insects, etc. Feel the sun’s warmth shining down on you and filling you up with its positive and brilliant energy. Breathe in the smells around you, maybe freshly cut grass or blossoming flowers.
Spend as much time as you are comfortable just relaxing, being present in this moment, and enjoying the elements of Nature.
Spring Equinox and Ostara Egg Ritual
In a quiet and relaxed place, write your intentions, spiritual symbols, or magical sigil on the outside shell of an egg for a Spring Equinox Ostara ritual. Spend a few moments meditating on it and focusing on your goal. Now bury it in the earth and plant a seed or small plant on top of it. Watch your intentions sprout and grow.
*TIP* Tomatoes are an ideal plant because they love the calcium from eggshells. Be sure your egg cracks before covering it with your plant.
If you’d like more Ostara 2023 and Spring Equinox ritual ideas using eggs, check out USING EGGS TO CELEBRATE SPRING EQUINOX AND OSTARA. In this video, I highlight 5 ways I use eggs in my rituals (the last three are my favorites).
How I Celebrate Spring Equinox and Ostara Ideas
Pagan holidays are often portrayed as huge days of celebration, but they don’t need to be! A day dedicated to slow living and relaxation can be pretty fabulous!
Emulating and following the natural world around us is one of the best ways to honor Pagan holidays. Since it’s still a bit chilly in my area, my Spring celebrations reflect this. I invite you to take a moment to consider how you may mirror Nature in your environment or local area.
Like the egg ritual above, create some seed bombs to place intentions into and give as a gift or place in your garden as a Spring Equinox ritual. A popular choice is wildflowers, but feel free to pick your favorite! All you need is air-dry clay, potting soil, and seeds! Check out a tutorial here!
Bonfires are always best celebrated with loved ones. Since the days are a bit warmer, why not host a small potluck or backyard bbq around the fire pit?
No one has to know it’s to celebrate the Spring Equinox if you’re in the broom closet. Bring more light into your life metaphorically and physically. This may be a great time to gift those seed bombs you made!
Buy some or create your own! Such a fantastic way to invite birds to your patio or garden. You can make some out of pinecones or place some seeds and gelatin in a mold! Spring is a time of creativity; get on Pinterest and find some fun ideas!
Start A Garden
You don’t have to have an elaborate large space to enjoy the beauty of growing your own garden. Find simple ways to garden without breaking the bank. Try growing just a few plants or herbs that you really enjoy eating. You can also try growing plants vertically, like tomatoes.
Take a moment to imagine who you’d like to attract to your garden. Bees? Birds? Butterflies? Insects? Fairies? This can give you a great jumping-off point when determining what to plant.
Naturally Dye Eggs
Get creative and naturally dye some eggs using different ingredients at home like coffee, beets, spinach, onions, tea, and various spices or seasonings. You can use them for recipes later like, quiches or muffins. If you hard-boiled them first, use them for deviled eggs or eat them as is!
Work In Your Grimoire
Taking some time to work in your grimoire or journal during the Spring Equinox is such a lovely way to slow down and connect with this season. You can learn about the origins of a grimoire here.
Since Imbolc and midwinter, how have your goals and intentions been coming along? What challenges have you been facing, and how can you overcome them? Is this goal or intention no longer essential to you? Re-evaluate what matters most to you and how you can achieve that goal.
Give Back To Mother Nature
You can do this in many different ways, and it’s a beautiful way to honor the goddess of spring! Clean up garbage, do some weeding, or pick up dead branches or leaves.
You could also find ways to incorporate using more eco-friendly materials, eliminating plastics, and adding more low-waste habits into your daily routine. Now is also a great time to support your local farmers’ market.
Cook A Delicious Quiche
Quiches are a lovely way to incorporate eggs and seasonal ingredients into a delicious meal. Get creative and combine some of the botanical, herbs, and greenery correspondences above, or toss in what you have on hand!
Mix it up and get inventive. It’s hard to mess up a quiche! Here’s how to make a quiche and four easy recipes.
I hope you found this article about Ostara 2023 helpful! Lots of love to you and remember as always…
Further suggested reading: