Friday, March 20th at exactly 6:45pm the sun will cross over the equator from the southern hemisphere to the northern hemisphere. This event is also known as the Spring Equinox and marks the first official moments of spring. Witches often refer to this day as Ostara, a name derived from Eostre, the Germanic goddess of spring.
It is a time to celebrate rebirth after the cold, dark, winter months.
This year the Spring Equinox coincides with a total solar eclipse and a new moon, so it’s an extra-magical day. New moons are a good opportunity for a fresh start and to set some good intentions for the lunar month, and so when one coincides with the Spring Equinox is it is like the universe is giving us an extra little push of momentum and telling us to pay a little more attention to the inevitable shifts and growth opportunities about to happen.
Here is a little ritual you can do alone or with friends.
Assemble an altar.
Put a candle in each of the four directions with one in the middle for the universe (or god/goddess, great spirit, whichever you prefer). Then decorate your altar with items which represent the elements associated with each direction: North represents Earth, South represents the element of Fire, East represents Air, and West represents water. You might put a feather near the candle facing east, and a bowl of water near the candle facing west, for example. Then, because it is the Spring Equinox, decorate your altar with flowers, and put an egg for each of the witches joining you for the ritual in the center of the circle. For the Spring Equinox ritual, also get some packets of seeds, paper towels, and water.
Cast a circle.
Walk the perimeter of your circle clockwise and draw in the air with your hands or a wand the area to mark the outside boundaries of the circle. Welcome in each of the four corners, going clockwise starting with the East, and lighting each candle as you do. Welcome in the univerise as you light the candle in the center.
You might start by reading something (like a poem or an excerpt from your favorite book) or playing a song that reminds you of springtime and new beginnings. Next hand each of the witches in your circle an egg. It's popular lore that one can balance an egg at the moment of the Equinox. Whether or not this is true, the egg serves as a great symbol for this time of year. Spend some time meditating or talking with each other about the areas of your life that could use some balancing, and how you want to align your life with your goals and who you want to be while you attempt to balance your eggs. Don’t worry if you can’t get them to balance! This is more of a meditation rather than actually getting your egg to stand up.
Next, pass out the packets of seeds and paper towels. Spend some time thinking and talking about the areas of your life you would like to see blossom more fully in the coming months. As you wet your paper towels and place the seeds in them for sprouting, state these intentions aloud. You might name a different one for each of the seeds you are going to sprout. (After the circle you can watch the seeds sprout and then transfer them into a pot with soil.)
You might choose to finish with reading or song, and then you can open the circle. Thank each of the corners and elements as you extinguish the candles in a counter-clockwise direction, starting with the North.
Once the circle is open, it is good to move the energy around and have some snacks and drinks (in other words, commence dance party!). Happy Spring, witches.
Elizabeth Koke is a writer, activist, and second-generation witch who lives and works and practices magic in New York City.