Image: Salmonberry blossom.
Today is the spring equinox, and we finally finished cutting a trail from the cabin up to the center of the property. This trail will allow us to access the old logging road that runs through the upper reaches of our land. Finally, we will be able to move around our property more easily and get to know our 50 acres better. We are calling this new trail Ostara’s Path.
Ostara is the old Celtic name for the spring equinox. Traditionally, the spring equinox was considered a time of balance in the journey through the seasons of the year. At this time, night and day are of equal length, and this equilibrium was belieed to be reflected in other aspects of life – dark and light, masculine and feminine, inner and outer. The natural world is coming alive, the Sun is gaining in strength, and the days are becoming longer and warmer. The abundant fertility of the Earth, hinted at early in the year, is now fully evident. It is the first day of Spring!
Ostara takes its name after the Germanic goddess, Eostre/Ostara, who was traditionally honoured in the month of April with festivals to celebrate fertility, renewal and re-birth. It was from Eostre that the Christian celebration of Easter evolved, and indeed the naming of the hormone Eostrogen, essential to women’s fertility. The Goddess Ostara has the shoulders and head of a hare. The Symbols of Ostara are:
- The Hare – in Celtic tradition, the hare is a symbol for the moon. The Goddess most closely associated with the hare is Eostre, or Ostara. The nocturnal hare, so closely associated with the moon which dies every morning and is resurrected every evening, represents the rebirth of nature in Spring. Both the moon and the hare were believed to die daily in order to be reborn – therefore the hare is a symbol of immortality. It is also a major symbol for fertility and abundance as the hare can conceive while pregnant.
- The Egg – The egg (and all seeds) contains ‘all potential’, and is full of promise and new life. It symbolises the rebirth of nature, the fertility of the Earth and all creation. In many traditions, the egg is a symbol for the whole universe.
Over the centuries the symbol of the hare at Ostara has become the Easter Bunny who brings eggs to children on Easter morning, the Christian day of rebirth and resurrection.
And so we named our newest trail Ostera’s Path in honour of the spring equinox. What could be a better celebration of the first day of spring than scrambling amongst the salmonberry draped with bright pink blossoms and the elderberry heay with clusters of flowers just beginning to open? The warmth of the day reminded us that winter was finally loosing its grip on the land.