The Magic of Ostara: As Chaos Magicians we do not adhere to strict traditional practices. We create our own magical rituals, while honoring the energy of the seasons, the stars, and those that have gone before. Ostara is the Pagan Sabbat for the Spring Equinox. It is the first astrological Fire Festival on the wheel of the year, for the rising energy of the new season.
There are many traditional pagan ways to celebrate this sun festival. Ostara is said to have taken its name from the Germanic goddess Eostre. She is the goddess of the dawn and the beginning of Spring. In this article, we will look at some traditional mythologies around Ostara, and some of the lesser known deities active in this season. As Chaos magicians, we can choose to deviate from the traditional paths. We choose to develop our own magic using the rhythms of the natural world.
The Magic of Ostara, the Spring Equinox
The magic of Ostara, the Spring Equinox, has its roots at the dawn of human consciousness. Light has been returning since its low point at Yule. At the Spring Equinox we reach a balance of light and darkness, and the promise that the light will continue to strengthen. This is the genesis of the season where life literally springs into existence as animals are born or awake again from hibernation. Life is renewed as sap rises in the plants and trees. Buds and spring flowers poke their heads above the ground bringing color magic or the new purity of white.
March, in Britain and northern France, comes in with the winds and the month fades with breezes. Sexual desire in both animals and humans is awoken. Bird song is everywhere around as nests are built in the hedgerows and the trees. Ostara is the dawning of light and birth, the world is renewed and energized. Springtime awakens the senses particularly for those of us who walk the path of magic.
The magic of the rites performed in this season are of balance and equilibrium, birth and renewal. We are drawn to balance between our inner darkness and outer light, the balance of our higher minds and our primal selves. It is an opportunity to explore the equilibrium between the masculine and feminine within our souls and personalities.
The Sorcerer should approach this rite as a drawing of their senses, of which wit and thought will prevail in the well balanced individual.
Michael. W. Ford - Book of the Witch Moon
Ostara in the Wheel of the Year
This moment on the wheel of the year is for new creation at the dawn of the Will. It has emerged or broken through the death and destruction that started at Samhain (or Halloween). We rested in the bardo at Yule, that place between the worlds where we awaited the time of rebirth, to return renewed at Ostara.
For more on the pagan wheel of the year and the other Sabbats explore our other blogs in this series.
Pagan Traditional Mythologies: The Goddess and the God
Ostara rebirths your spirit and magic as it enlivens your creativity allowing you to mold your life and spiritual path anew. For some this is a magical path of devotion to the goddess, for others to the god and goddess. We choose an independent path of self empowerment. Regardless of which path, Ostara brings a new impetus, focus, and power as we awaken from the slumber of the winter months.
At the time of the Spring Equinox the power of the horned god arises. He is the god of nature, wild and free in the forests and the mountains. In western traditions this is Cernunnos or Herne, in ancient Greek magic Pan personifies and deifies this role well. The maiden goddess moves through the land, having risen from below the earth she ascends into visible nature in all of her glory. She is the goddess Artha, the mother bear who gave birth to the human race in the old English pagan mythology. It sees her as our eldest ancestor, appearing in the night skies as the constellation Ursa Major.
Evoking the Four Directions - Pagan and Ritual Sorcery
Magick isn’t only a matter of using your head; it involves the heart, intuition, and sense as well.
Much of the traditional magic of the western world, both pagan and ritual sorcery, works with an elemental and four directional structure. It places the Spring Equinox and the element of Air in the East. The Summer Solstice or Litha is Fire and belongs in the South. The Autumnal Equinox, Mabon is represented by Water in the West. Yule, the Winter Solstice is the element of Earth in the North. Traditionally when working with the four directions the mage starts by facing the East, evoking the relevant energies related to Air. She then moves from one direction to the next, East, to South, to West to North clockwise with the sun.
Alternative Interpretations of the Ritual Four Directions
While this system is historically the norm, it’s not universal, some traditions attribute the elements to other directions. Some of the Shamanic Norse traditions for example place ice or water in the North and fire in the south to reflect the placement of the two primal realms each side of Ginnungagap (the void) as Niflheimr (ice and water) receives the primal spark from Muspelheimr (fire) and life begins.
For more on Norse Magic check out our book on Sun Magic and Norse Sorcery.
Originally I trained in one such system as an Avalonian priest in Glastonbury, England. Kathy Jones the priestess who initiated the tradition intuited the directions differently. She walked and evoked on the ancient lands and experienced an alternative way of doing ritual. This feels particularly appropriate as the energies of Avalon are unique. They’re considered to be the heart chakra of the planet and the home of the pre-christain goddess. There are many such places, considered navels of the world in ancient traditions. These are places where the ley lines of the planet converge to create amazing magical energy. Wearing my mask as a Chaos Magician I completely support this, nothing is real all is permissible, difference creates evolution, growth and change.
Understanding the Power When Evoking the Element of Air
When you plan your elemental evocation, think of the qualities of Air that you wish to work with in relation to your magical intention. The Spring Equinox is about new birth and renewal, what are you giving birth to or renewing? Air often corresponds with the mind, knowledge, intelligence, the breath, the breath of life or blowing away cobwebs and/or obstacles to your goal.
When you plan your ritual what are you evoking? Air has many aspects and knowing what you are calling is wise. Is it oxygen which fills your life with health? Perhaps a tornado to crush your foes, or a soft breeze that evolves your knowledge and understanding of your growing spiritual and magical path? All of the qualities of Air may not be relevant. You may not choose the winds of a hurricane to blow through your life and destroy everything so you may start anew at Ostara. Be Specific, often when the wind of change blows, it affects everything all at once.
When you’re evoking the element of Air, consider how it usually presents in the location that you’re in at this time of year. Is your spell commanding high winds to blow away all obstacles, in such a location where it is usually quiet and calm? If so, it may be wise to be silent about your magic as storms uncharacteristically rage through your local neighborhood.
If you’re in the mountains or on vast open plains it could be wise to be specific about the experience of Air you evoke. The winds can be very powerful. If you call all the magic in the region to clear your mind, you may experience all of your mental structures collapsing at once.
Claiming the Element of Fire with the Sun Magic of the Sabbats
Another interpretation of the Magic of Ostara places Fire in the East at the Spring Equinox. In Avalonian sacred circles I might stoke the flames of my heart for massive spiritual and magical growth. From the place of Chaos Magic I may choose any aspect of Fire for my magical rituals. Here are a few ideas for finding your own.
I can evoke the destructive powers of Fire, as I intend to burn away the old so the new may grow. I could choose to interpret Fire as Spirit. In my Avalonian sacred circle I might stoke the flames of my heart for massive spiritual and magical growth. Perhaps I bask in the astrological powers of the fires of the magic of Aries that comes into its height at the Spring Equinox. I employ enthusiastic, energetic, excitable and impetuous speed as I leap into new things to avoid thinking too much about them. For I work with Chaos Magic, no one system is real or superior to any other until I state that it is so.
I might choose the Fire Festival of the Spring Equinox to initiate a regular rite of flame for myself. In this tradition, I give offerings of rice, fruit and vegetables to this element. In exchange, I experience the purification of my aura, emotions and personal energy as my soul blossoms.
Or maybe I will use the Spring Equinox as a part of the Avalonian tradition. I could honor the goddess Grainne as my Sun sorcery illuminates the year ahead in perfect clarity, building my clairvoyant ability. I call out to light and direct my new steps at the dawn of the magical new beginnings of Ostara.
Pan - A Chaos Magicians Choice for the Magic of Ostara
The god Pan is very attractive to the Chaos Magician as he revels in freedom and blazing his own path. Pan has long been associated with the new beginnings of the Spring Equinox. He’s a symbol of the wildness of nature who shows no interest in accumulating power over humankind. His only interest in power (unlike others gods) is the power to explore himself at his highest potential. Pan with the legs of a goat and a human-like torso is free spirited, hedonistic, boisterous and lustful. He doesn’t accept the rules and morals imposed by others and is the archetype of freedom.
[Pan] ...Come forth, the wheel spins and many are born,
Death is null and life is ecstasy, guide us in passion and focus,
Let that which should harm be cast away!
So mote it be!
Aleister Crowley - Chant to Pan
Pan can be found or evoked in caves and rustic places throughout Greek history. While he enjoys some of the pleasures of city life, (wine particularly) he’s most at home in the wilds. Pan puts us in touch with our true origins and our true natures, connected to the land and the spirit of liberty. He’s irresistible and feral with a dual being of animal and god. Like the Spring Equinox he is the balance between darkness and light or disorder and harmony. He embodies the primal energy of the animal yet the spiritual nature of humanity.
PAN, IO PAN!
God of forest and God of life,
Shadowy and Bestial
Flesh in Fire, Flesh in Earth
To the field and forest!
Cast thy ecstasy into our presence,
Dwell within our veins and heart,
Spirit and flesh!
Let us know your beauty
PAN, IO PAN!
Michael. W. Ford - Book of the Witch Moon.
To some Pan is the son of the chief of the gods Zeus. To others, he’s the son of Hermes, the god whose name means master of masters in magical lore. There’s some evidence that Pan and Hermes were the same god originally. He represents the balance between the dark animalistic unconscious mind and the advanced higher mind.
Pan is the god of frenzied sex and sexual union. He visits you in dreams and meditations, possesses prophetic powers and invites you to experience the heights and depths of your soul. Pan has the ability to transform objects into different forms and with his music induces inspiration, lust and panic. Often a ritual to Pan involves dance of wild abandon, a freedom and gift that he bestows. Yet Pan isn’t for the faint of heart, his path and magic is truly wild.
Magical Statements of Intention:
When invoking any god or spirit being clear about what you wish to create is vital. Craft your magical intention with present tense, first person powerful language. Command that which you desire into reality. Here is an example of how you might express your intention calling upon the power of the god Pan with the incantations above.
I reassert my independence of Spirit and Magic and evoke the freedom of my path. I break the chains of the last year as I call on my wildness and unique magic. As the limitations of 2020/2021 fall away, I call on my primal self. I state aloud my inherent right to speak, act, love and express in whatever way I choose.
Artha - Mother Bear - Goddess of Abundance
Artha is the constellation of Ursa Major also known as the plow. These fiery stars in the night skies are directly above Europe at the time of Ostara. She is the Bear Mother who in ancient myth gave birth to the human race, whose name means abundance. Star Magic has been practiced by humans since the beginning of time. Find out more about the practice of Chaos Magic and The Magic of the Stars in our book series.
According to the work of Kathy Jones, the Avalon Priestess mentioned earlier, there was an ancient Irish race who worshiped Artha. The P(artha)lon built great earth works structures, chambers, barrows and mounds, seen throughout Ireland and also in parts of Britain. These were aligned to special sun rises and sunsets on the day of the Equinox. On these days narrow streams of light penetrated (and still do) the deep womb-like chambers. NewGrange is one such Equinox temple, the energy of ancient wisdom is strong in these chambers.
Artha’s attributed with great strength and endurance, she has a clarity of vision and wisdom and will help guide your path when asked. She’ll show you both the nectar and the challenges of your new beginnings. At Ostara as you gaze upon her in the heavens directly above you, she’ll strengthen your resolve to move forward on your journey.
Renewal Spell to Artha and the Magic of Ostara
I rebirth my business, Magic Self and Spirit as a beacon and support on your spiritual and magical path. I pour the fire of Artha’s magic into the creation of our new website. The spiritual and magical community grows, sharing knowledge and support with other kindred independent souls. Come Mother Bear who balances the freedom and encouragement of your children and new creations with their fierce protection:
- It has begun
- It shall come true
- It comes to me
- I open the door
- It comes alive
- My words are fixed
- By the stars of heaven
- Release my fate
- It shall be mine.
Taken from ancient and traditional British and Germanic knot magic.
Tis the Season
So to conclude, as you consider how to practice the Magic of Ostara, your opportunities are great. Of course, you can do the magic of new beginnings at any time of the year. You can give birth and renewal to any of your sorcery whenever you choose. Yet to align your magic with Sun Sabbats and the wheel of the year adds a potency to it. You can drive it with elemental gusto, on the breezes of change, or you can burn away the old so the new may grow. There are a plethora of gods and goddesses that you can work with and variations to elemental directions.
Grow your path and your magic. May the magic of Ostara bring your life into balance and power as you express yourself both as divinity and a child of nature.