March 12, 2023
Festivals are universally-shared celebrations of life, and they are as diverse as the people of our beautiful planet. In celebration of the festival traditions that bring us together, we would like to share with you the experiences of several members of our LifeWays family this year, all from different walks of life and spiritual traditions.
Today, we are featuring an article from our friend Bridgette Slone, a mama from the Rose Rock School in Norman, Oklahoma. She writes about her family’s traditions for celebrating Ostara. I particularly appreciate that Bridgette demonstrates for us the reverence for nature that can be born from and maintained in simple traditions. As a mother of young children years ago, I needed the reassurance that elaborate festivals were not always necessary to instill wonder and delight in my children. We could all be nourished (and I not over-extended) by little rituals and celebrations.
Ah, March! Welcome glorious spring and the budding possibilities you bring! The word March comes from the Roman word Martius, which was named after Mars, the Roman God of War. March was the time snow melted and active military campaigns could resume from pause due to harsh winter weather. While we aren’t launching any military assaults, our household does unfold from our cocoons and embrace the fertility, balance, and new life that accompanies the softening earth. One way we do this is by acknowledging Ostara, the Spring Equinox, which usually falls between March 20th and 23rd. The word Ostara comes from the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre. Eostre represents spring and new beginnings.
Planting seeds, awakening sleeping garden beds, and enjoying the cleansing spring rains are all ways our family celebrates this turning of the seasonal wheel.
Being in Oklahoma, it’s a little too early to sow seeds directly outdoors yet. The last frost around here doesn’t occur until well into April. We can, however, start seeds inside and watch in delight as they poke through their soil cap and unfurl their new green growth.
Scarlette and I like to take a walk around the yard and notice any signs of life. We did an early walk today to capture images for this article. Things are still a bit quiet, yet, we were able to find henbit, strawberries, Amaryllis Belladonna, and buds on our little apple tree, all happily ready to burst into new life. Scarlette loved seeing henbit and enthusiastically exclaimed, “I can eat that!”
The Amaryllis is particularly special to me as they came from my mother who passed in 2015 while I was pregnant with Scarlette. She was a master gardener and called them Naked Ladies. Each season I see them bloom and remember her cackle at the look on my face when she asked if I wanted some naked ladies in my garden.
Our nature table currently includes found objects of bird feathers galore, sticks, leaves, a shell, and rocks (always a rotating presence), a butterfly, and a small bunny figure.
If we are lucky enough to receive a spring shower during this time, we watch from our cozy window and imagine ourselves softening as the earth does in vulnerability; welcoming in the cleansing drink, and readying ourselves for new possibilities.
May this time of new beginnings awaken change, hope, and possibilities for you and your beloveds, in the highest good for all.