March 20, 2010
1:32 PM EDT
(Each year this changes, consult a calendar showing the exact date for your area)
Festival of the Trees
Rite of Eostre
Alban Eilir (Caledonii Tradition)=
represents the warrior aspect of the god.
The Spring Equinox Sabbat is a fertility rite celebrating the birth of Spring, and the reawakening of life from the earth.
It is a solar festival, and a newcomer to the Old Religion in Celtic and Teutonic Europe.
This Sabbat occurs in mid-March when night and day are equal length. It is a celebration of balance.
On this sacred day, Witches light new fires at sunrise, rejoice, ring bells, and decorate hard-boiled eggs--an ancient Pagan custom associated with the Goddess of Fertility.
Seeds are blessed for future plantings.
Eggs, which are obvious symbols of fertility and
reproduction, were used in ancient fertility rites.
They were painted with various magickal symbols and then cast into fires or buried in the earth as offerings to the Goddess.
In certain parts of the world, Spring Equinox eggs were painted yellow or gold (sacred solar colors) and used in rituals to honor the Sun God.
The Easter egg is the World Egg, laid by the Goddess and split open by the heat of the Sun God.
The aspects of the Goddess invoked at this Sabbat are Eostre (the Saxon goddess of fertility) and Ostara (the German goddess of fertility).
In some Wiccan traditions, the fertility dieties worshipped on this day are the Green Goddess and the Lord of the Greenwood.
The grim festival of the Phrygian goddess Cybele, at which
the self-castration, death, and resurrection of her son/lover Attis was marked
by worshippers castrating themselves to become her priests, was from 22nd to
In Rome these rites took place on the spot where St. Peter's now stands in Vatican City.
Another form of mating celebration is this, the woman
identified herself with the Goddess, and man sank himself into the Goddess
through her, giving of his masculinity but not destroying it, and emerging from
the experience spiritually revitalized.
The Great Rite, whether symbolic or actual, is obviously the witches' hieros gamos, or sacred marriage; and then, as now, it shocked many people who did not understand it.
Like most of the old Pagan festivals, Spring Equinox was
Christianized by the church into the religious holiday of Easter, which
represents the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Pagans and Christians used to quarrel bitterly about which of their gods was the true prototype and which the imitation.
Easter (which is named after the Saxon fertility deity Eostre) was not officially given the name of the Goddess until the end of the Middle Ages.
To this day, Easter Sunday is determined by the ancient
lunar calendar system which places the holiday on the first Sunday after the
first full moon on or following the Vernal Spring Equinox.
(Formally, this marked the "pregnant" phase of the Triple Goddess passing into the fertile season.)
Easter, like nearly every Christian religious holiday, is
rich with an abundance of Pagan overtones, customs, and traditions such as
Easter eggs and the Easter bunny.
The hare was a symbol of rebirth and resurrection, and was a sacred animal to many lunar goddesses in both western and eastern cultures, including the goddess Ostara, whose escort was a rabbit.
The solar fire-wheel, the Celtic cross, the four-leaved
shamrock, the Magick Circle with its four cardinal candles,
the Egyptian hieroglyph niewt meaning 'town', the Easter hot-cross bun, the Byzantine basilica-all deliver the same immemorial message, much older than Christianity.
The Book of Shadows says that for this festival, "the symbol of the Wheel should be placed on the Altar, flanked with burning candles, or fire in some form."
TRADITIONAL PAGAN FOODS:
The first fruits of the season
SEASONS: MAIN PAGE
Beltane / Summer Solstice / Lugnassadh / Autumn Equinox