Spring is the time of year when the cycle of life, death, and rebirth is complete. As plants bloom and new life returns, the theme of resurrection is ever present. As Ostara, the spring equinox, arrives, it’s the season for that which has gone dormant to become revitalized, alive, and reborn. Depending on your particular tradition, there are many different ways you can celebrate Ostara, but typically it is observed as a time to mark the coming of Spring and the fertility of the land.
By watching agricultural changes — such as the ground becoming warmer, and the emergence of plants from the ground — you’ll know exactly how you should welcome the season.
This ritual includes a symbolic rebirthing — you can perform this rite either as a solitary practitioner, or as a part of a group ceremony. Feel free to substitute the names of your tradition’s deities where appropriate. Also, if you’ve ever thought about rededicating yourself to the gods of your tradition, Ostara is an excellent time to do this.
In addition to setting up your Ostara altar for this ritual, you’ll need the following supplies: a black sheet for each participant, a bowl of soil, water, a white candle, and incense. For this rite, the High Priestess (HPs) or High Priest (HP) should be the only person at the altar. Other participants should wait in another room until called. If you’re doing the rite outside, the group can wait some distance away from the altar.
If your tradition calls for you to cast a circle, do this now.
The first person in the group waits outside the circle, covered from head to toe in the black sheet. If your group is comfortable with skyclad rituals, you can be nude under the sheet — otherwise, wear your ritual robe. Once the HPs is ready to begin, she calls the first participant into the altar area, cutting an opening in the circle as the person enters and then closing it behind them.
The participant, still covered in the black sheet, kneels on the floor before the altar.
The HPs greets the participant, and says:
Today is the time of the Spring equinox.
Ostara is a time of equal parts light and dark.
Spring has arrived, and it is a time of rebirth.
The planting season will soon begin, and
life will form once more within the earth.
As the earth welcomes new life and new beginnings,
so can we be reborn in the light and love of the gods*.
Do you, (name), wish to experience the rebirth of spring, and
step out of the darkness into the light?
The participant replies with an affirmative answer. The HPs takes the salt from the altar, and sprinkles it over the sheet-clad participant, saying:
With the blessings of the earth, and the life within the soil,
you are reborn in the eyes of the gods.
Next, the HPs takes the lit incense and passes it over the participant, saying:
With the blessings of air, may knowledge and wisdom
be brought to you upon the winds.
The HPs takes the burning candle and (carefully!) passes it over the participant, saying:
May the fire of the spring sun bring growth and harmony
into your life.
Finally, the HPs sprinkles water around the participant, and says:
With the blessings of water, may the chill and darkness of winter,
be swept away by the warm spring rains.
Rise! Step forth out of the darkness, and climb into the light.
Awaken once more in the arms of the gods.
At this point, the participant slowly emerges from the black sheet. Remember, this is a symbolic rebirth. Take your time if you feel you need to. As you pull the sheet back away from you, remember that you are not only stepping into the light, but putting behind you the darkness of the past six months. Winter is over, and spring has arrived, so take a few moments, as you emerge, to think about the magic of this time of year.
The High Priestess then welcomes the participant, saying:
You have stepped once more into the light,
and the gods welcome you.
Repeat the ceremony until all members of the group have been “reborn”. If you are performing this rite as a solitary, obviously you would speak the lines of the HPs yourself, and bless the area around yourself with the dirt, incense, candle and water.
Once everyone in the group has gone through the rebirthing, take some time to meditate on the balancing energy of Ostara. Light and dark are equal, as are positive and negative. Consider, for a while, the polarity of this season. Think about the balance you wish to find in your life, and consider how you may work harder to find harmony within yourself.
When you are ready, end the ritual, or move on to a cake and ale ceremony, spellwork or other healing magick.