I love springtime. I enjoy summer. Autumn is beautiful. Winter… well, winter is this waiting time, this period of blankness. I don’t like the cold, or the wind, or the damp. I basically stay inside unless I absolutely must go out. The worst thing for me is that the land is achromatic. Everything is grey and brown.
But then, something magical happens! Grey clouds open up to blue skies. Purple and yellow crocuses poke up between patches of dirty snow. Sidewalks dry and children draw with rainbow chalk. Robins return with their red breasts. Maple syrup starts to flow- the first crop after a winter of canned food and potatoes. The days are noticeably longer so we can actually take a walk after dinner in daylight. Though it still could snow, the worst of it is behind us. Life has returned to our little corner of the world. For me, spring is like The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy goes from the black and white dusty farm in Kansas into the technocolour world of Oz. When such a special day happens once a year, of course I want to celebrate. And luckily, neopagans have a day for that- Ostara.
I am leaning into a Celtic Reconstructionist path. Many purists poo poo the idea of a Celt celebrating Ostara. The Solstices and Equinoxes are a Norse and Saxon tradition, not Irish Celtic. Some would say that I have no business painting eggs or hiding chocolates this time of year. But, when this day is so moving and meaningful to me, how can I not?
My daughter and I used to have an annual celebration. We would have our egg hunt Ostara morning. I would include lots of little outside toys with her candy, like skipping ropes, sidewalk chalk and the like. Then we would to a local sugar bush. They have horse drawn wagons, and an outdoor museum about the history of maple syrup. After our tour, we would enjoy pancakes in the lodge. She claims she is too old for this, but I cherish these memories. My nephew comes sometimes, but even he’s getting a little bored of it.
But the first day of spring has become marred in my life. Some really crappy things have happened to me on this day. When I was 15, I came home late from debating team to find that my beloved pet bunny had died. I was devastated! Many years later, I see the irony of a rabbit dying on Ostara. 5 years ago, on Ostara, my daughter didn’t come home from school. There was a court date and a bogus investigation of which I was not informed, and I had lost custody. And then last year, after spending the day celebrating with my ex, he went for an afternoon visit with his kids, came home, and dumped me. He said that he forgot that it was Ostara, but it was still a selfish thing to do. And then this year, on Ostara, crap hit the fan at my muggle job. I can’t go into detail, but it’s not fun.
This year, I was mopey. I cancelled my tarot meet up and sank into a bottle of wine. But then, I thought, that I am giving up something important to me because of unrelated things in my past. This is something that I look forward to. Why should I give that up? People who did crappy things to me on Ostara were selfish. You wouldn’t do these things to a Jewish person on Passover, or a Christian on Easter. Being crappy to a pagan on Ostara is a douche move. Also, just because bad things have happened on the past on this day, does not mean that future Ostaras are going to be full of such events. I need to reclaim this day for my own spiritual wellbeing. I need to be vocal that this is a special day for me, and that I deserve my High Days to be respected. Though I am a fan of celebrating things on the actual day, I did allow myself to have a late Ostara celebration. I went for a hike with my dog and breathed in springtime. I gave an offering of my labour by picking up garbage that had collected over the winter and been hidden by snow. I had some pancakes with fresh, local syrup. And I painted my living room a pretty green, so that I can have spring inside all year round.
As every year, Ostara represents a fresh start. I choose to embrace spring.