Ostara is one of the names associated with today , the vernal equinox. Ostara or Eostre was a Saxon/Germanic goddess of springtime and the Dawn who was sometimes portrayed as having the head of a Hare. The Venerable Bede wrote that during 'Eostremonath' the pagan Anglo-Saxons held festivals in her honour. Although there is no evidence that our ancestors celebrated this time of the year I think that they would have responded as we do to the increased light, warmth and the newly emerging life in our hedgerows with a feeling of hope and a sigh of relief that winter may now have passed.
I think the beginning of Resolution and Independence BY WILLIAM WORDSWORTH seems to fit this time of year so well.
There was a roaring in the wind all night;
The rain came heavily and fell in floods;
But now the sun is rising calm and bright;
The birds are singing in the distant woods;
Over his own sweet voice the Stock-dove broods;
The Jay makes answer as the Magpie chatters;
And all the air is filled with pleasant noise of waters.
All things that love the sun are out of doors;
The sky rejoices in the morning's birth;
The grass is bright with rain-drops;—on the moors
The hare is running races in her mirth;
And with her feet she from the plashy earth
Raises a mist, that, glittering in the sun,
Runs with her all the way, wherever she doth run.
I was a Traveller then upon the moor;
I saw the hare that raced about with joy.
The Lenten full moon graces us in the very early hours of Thursday morning as we enter springtime at 21.58 GMT the 'official time of the vernal equinox. This is a time of balance as day and night become equal before we move towards lengthening days.
Although there is a lot of yellow about, for me, this time of the year is all about the white froth of the Blackthorn, that flowers before it has its leaves - unlike the Hawthorn that is now gaining its leaves before its blossom in may-time.
The blossoming of the Blackthorn has long been associated with the uncertainty of the weather and temperature at this time of year and was known as Blackthorn Winter - 'The weather always turns cold when the blackthorn comes into bloom on the hedgerows.'
Blackthorn has long been associated with witches who supposedly used its sharp thorns to pierce poppets in their curses and were known as ‘pins of slumber’. The Devil was said to prick his follower’s fingers with the thorn of a Blackthorn tree and the pyres used to burn those accused of witchcraft were often the wood of Blackthorn.
The Vernal equinox is the only day when the sun rises true east and sets true west and is an important astronomical event that determines when we will have Easter (the Sunday after the full moon that follows the equinox) and more importantly is traditionally the time that faeries awaken !