Tag Archives: ostara

H is for Hares

There are many associations across the globe which link the hare to the moon and the sun, to androgyny and femininity, to shapeshifting and tricksters, to madness and fertility. Various deities and witches have been said to be able to change into hares so as to flee from enemies or to pursue them.

I think hares are utterly beautiful. They have a long, sinuous shape, a complete lack of grace when moving slowly but fabulous when running.

Pagans are super fond of them. I mean, really. There is an amazing amount of jewellery, artwork, clothing, stories and so on associated with hares: leaping hares, moon-gazing hares and triple hares. Then there’s Eostre or Ostara, deity associated with the spring equinox and with hares. There’s a spectacular post by Cavalorn looking at just how the mythology was created. I tend to reckon meaning is where you find it, deities change over time, and you can worship whatever you like whether it’s continued as an unbroken tradition from ‘ancient times’ or not. (I’m not a reconstructionist.) I also think it’s crucial to know when people are making it up and to understand where your myths are coming from, though.

Hares are one of those kind of otherworldly creatures which are always amazing to catch a glimpse of. I mean, I’m always delighted to see any wildlife, but hares are something special.


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F is for Festivals

I like a good celebration. I like watching the world spin, and marking time in a positive fashion. As previously mentioned, it helps me with my seasonal affective disorder. There are many pagan celebrations you can follow, usually tied to an equinox or solstice which are themselves determined by the length of day in relation to the length of night. Equal day and night? Equinox. Day or night at its longest and the other its shortest? Solstice.

For a sun-fan like myself, it marks the amount of light I will receive. Yule, or the Winter Solstice on December 21st 2012 marked the least amount of light, and today – Ostara/Eostre, or the Spring Equinox, marks the start of the days when it’s daytime more than it’s night-time. The pinnacle will be in June, at the Summer solstice on June 21st, where there will be an abundance of light and it will barely be night at all.

This knowledge is so, so comforting. It places me within the seasons; it gives me a base with which to understand my place in the world and what’s happening to my surroundings. There’s no ambiguous ‘is it spring yet?’ or worrying because I haven’t seen many crocuses or wondering what the weather will be like. This helps me feel connected with nature. I know that today is the Spring equinox, and I can call it Ostara. I know that my friend in Australia is experiencing the Autumn equinox, and that knowledge makes me feel connected to her.

Festivals help me celebrate this knowledge, they give me an anchor in the world. When you have depression, and perhaps when you don’t (I don’t really remember life before depression), days can seem quite bleak and monotonous. I have evidence built into my faith and my religion as to why This Is Not True, and that helps. That really helps. I know where the sun will be, and I know there will be more daylight tomorrow than there was today. This really, truly helps.

“So what have you been doing for pagan festivals, Hare?”

Glad you asked! 🙂

Today I cleared all the leaves off my altar and made it look neat again. I sat with my acrylics and painted two pieces: a bit for Ostara (pastel colours, egg shapes, all that!), and an all-blue piece for the Cailleach. While her time of the year might be over, it felt important to celebrate her today as well. So far this year I’ve painted something for each of the festivals with my acrylics. It would be nice if I could do something for all of them, especially to look over at the year’s end. I suspect it would make it a lot easier to paint my own wheel of the year if I had painted each section at the appropriate time.


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