Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Vernal Equinox

The Vernal Equinox, also called the Spring Equinox, Lady Day and ”Alban Eiler” (which means, "Light of the Earth) is one of the Lesser Sabbats or Low Holidays of the year, one of the four quarter-days. It is also called the Festival of Trees and is a time to cultivate gardens and celebrate Mother Nature's bounty.

Ostara is a celebration of conception, regeneration and the triumph of light over darkness. Life is returning to the land and we begin to see the blossoms of springtime and new plant growth. This marks the first day of spring and as the Goddess regains her strength, she prepares for motherhood once again. During this time, the hours of day and night are equal, and the light is overtaking darkness. This is the season to celebrate the victory of life over death. The young God is maturing, and is once again the consort of the Goddess. The Goddess, who has returned to her Virgin aspect, welcomes the young sun god's attentions and conceives a child. And the child will be born nine months hence, at the next Winter Solstice. And so the cycle continues.

Many call this Equinox "Eostara" or "Ostara". And because of this it is often mixed up with the christian holiday of Easter because it also celebrates the victory of the sun god (or Jesus) over darkness (death). The name 'Easter' was coined from the name of a Teutonic lunar Goddess, Eostre and her symbols were the bunny and the egg, both symbols of fertility. Her holiday, the Eostara, was held on the Vernal Equinox at the Full Moon. Of course, the Church doesn't celebrate full moons, so they celebrate Easter the first Sunday, after the first Full Moon, that falls after the Equinox.


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