The spring equinox, also known as Ostara, is a time of renewal and rebirth in Celtic mythology. As the dark and cold winter months give way to the bright and warm spring season, the natural world awakens from its slumber, and a new life begins to emerge. In Celtic mythology, the spring equinox was the day that night and day stood equal and the rare balance was seen as a powerful time for magic and nature.
For the Celts, the spring equinox was a time of great importance, marking the midpoint between the winter solstice and the summer solstice. It was a time when the balance of light and darkness was equal, and when the natural world was filled with the promise of new beginnings.
The Goddess Eostre
In Celtic mythology, the goddess Eostre was the patron of the spring equinox. She was the embodiment of fertility, growth, and renewal, and was often associated with the hare and the egg, symbols of new life and rebirth.
Who is the deity of the spring equinox in Celtic mythology?
It is believed that the Christian celebration of Easter got its name from the obscure Germanic and Anglo-Saxon divinity Ostre (also spelled Eostre, Ostara or Astre). Ostre was the goddess of spring and daybreak. The vernal equinox, which marks the beginning of spring, is the day on which her celebration is held.
Cernunnos, the horned god of the forest
One of the most well-known tales of Celtic mythology is the story of Cernunnos, the horned god of the forest. Cernunnos was often depicted as a half-man, half-deer figure, with antlers atop his head and a powerful, masculine presence.
According to legend, Cernunnos represented the cycle of life and death and was closely associated with the natural world. He was believed to have the power to bring new life to the land and was often invoked during the spring equinox as a symbol of renewal and rebirth.
Another important figure in Celtic mythology during the spring equinox was Brigid, the goddess of fire, poetry, and smithcraft. Brigid was a triple goddess, representing the three aspects of womanhood: maiden, mother, and crone.
Brigid was often invoked during the spring equinox as a symbol of creativity and inspiration. Her association with fire made her a powerful figure of transformation and change, and many people believed that she had the power to bring new life to the world around them.
Celebrating the Celtic Spring Equinox
As the spring equinox approaches, many people still celebrate this ancient Celtic holiday, drawing upon its rich mythology and symbolism to mark the changing of the seasons.
One of the most popular ways to celebrate the spring equinox is through the creation of an Ostara altar. This can include a variety of symbols, such as eggs, seeds, flowers, and candles, all of which represent the theme of new beginnings and renewal.
Another common tradition during the spring equinox is the lighting of a bonfire. This symbolizes the return of warmth and light to the world and is often accompanied by feasting, dancing, and singing.
The spring equinox is also a time for planting and sowing seeds, both literally and metaphorically. As the natural world begins to come back to life, many people take this opportunity to start new projects, set new goals, and make changes in their lives.
Whether you celebrate the spring equinox as part of your spiritual practice or simply as a way to connect with the changing of the seasons, it remains an important time of year for many people around the world.
In Celtic mythology, the spring equinox was a time of great significance, marking the beginning of a new cycle of growth and renewal. From the goddess Eostre to the horned god Cernunnos and the triple goddess Brigid, this holiday was filled with powerful symbolism and mythology that continues to inspire and fascinate us to this day.
As we embrace the arrival of spring and all the promise that it brings, let us take a moment to reflect on the wisdom of the ancients and the timeless beauty of Celtic mythology. May the energy of renewal and rebirth fill our hearts and minds, and may we find the strength and inspiration to create new beginnings in our own lives.