A Ritual for Ostara: Welcoming Spring
Ostara is the springtime pagan holiday celebrating equal day and night and the return of the ...
Before we followed our current 12-month calendar, cultures all over the world followed lunations, or moon cycles, to track the seasons. Each moon cycle had its own name, usually referring to something that was happening in the natural world at the time.
April’s full moon has many names, including the Egg Moon (a name of European origin). This name likely refers to the laying season in early spring, but eggs are also a common symbol for the springtime, representing fertility and new hope. The English Medieval and Wiccan names for this moon are the Seed Moon, as this is the time of year for planting in preparation for the abundance of summer and harvest in fall. The Old Farmer’s Almanac refers to this as the Pink Moon, a time when pink moss phlox grows abundantly in some areas, covering the earth with a cheerful pink carpet.
The word “April” comes from the Latin word aperio, which means “awakening.” April is, indeed, a time of awakening (at least in the Northern Hemisphere): Sunlight is more abundant, the world is warming up, and the plants and flowers pop out of the earth, making themselves known in the early spring season.
April is the first full month of spring, and it brings with it a mood of hope and renewal. The Dakota name for this month is the Moon When the Streams Are Again Navigable; the ice melts and the water starts flowing again. This is what it can feel like in our bodies and spirits when the world finally warms up enough—as we come out of the long, dark, cold winter season, we feel our blood flowing again, our hope and creativity awakening in our bodies, and our inner streams once again becoming navigable.
One of the Tarot cards that most exemplifies April’s full moon is the Empress. She is a beautiful woman sitting on a soft throne in a lush garden, dressed in a robe printed with pomegranates (a fruit related to sexuality and fertility and associated with Venus, the planet and goddess of love), with a heart resting near her feet. Sometimes the Empress is shown as a pregnant woman, holding the possibility of new life within her.
April has a very fertile energy. If you are in a stage of life where conception is something you are working on, this could be a wonderful time to engage with the energies of literal fertility: paying attention to your body, feeding yourself delicious things that are in season, and gestating the spark of new life within you.
Fertility is also an energy within all of us that doesn’t have to be about making literal babies. It is an energy of sexuality, connection, and creativity. This can be about pleasure and enjoyment, spending time with people we love, and putting our dreams and ideas into action in the form of art or other projects.
As we move into spring, we are also entering the bright half of the year. As we shift out of the dark, introspective fall and winter, our attention moves outward, toward the natural world, other people, and our physical bodies. Springtime is about enjoying and engaging with the gifts of the earth and the gifts of our experience as physical beings.
This Awakening Moon, consider ways that you can honor your body, your connections with other human beings, and the earth. Eat local, in-season fruits and vegetables. Make pleasure a practice: Do things that awaken your sense of pleasure and joy in your body. Connect with sexuality or sensuality in ways that feel right to you. And don’t forget to get outside and watch the world wake up.
Learn more about the spiritual meaning of the Empress tarot card.
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