Set Up an Ostara Altar in the Pagan Tradition

Welcome the Coming of Spring

Ostara Altar
Serena Williamson/Getty Images 

If you are gearing up for Ostara, then you are readying for a time of year in which many Wiccans and Pagans choose to celebrate the balance of light and dark that heralds the beginning of spring. It is a time to celebrate new life and rebirth—not only the physical embodiment of renewal but the spiritual as well.

Did You Know?

  • When you set up an altar for Ostara, think about the colors and themes that surround the coming spring.
  • Some symbols of the vernal equinox include eggs, fresh flowers, and soft, pastel colors.
  • Because there are equal hours light and dark at the solstice, this is a time of balance — what items can you use that reflect harmony and polarity?

To get your altar ready to welcome the spring equinox, try some—or all—of these ideas to mark the changing seasons.

Ostara Marks New Beginnings

Similar to the symbols observed at Easter, like eggs, rabbits, new bulbs of flowers, and seedlings bursting forth from the earth, many Pagans embrace these symbols to represent the fertility of spring and incorporate them into rituals, altars, and celebratory feasts. Think about some other items that might represent new beginnings to you.

Ask yourself what you want to create for yourself this coming year. What seeds will you plant, what intentions will you set? As nature reawakens, we can take advantage of the feeling of rebirth and regrowth each spring. We see this concept reflected around us, in the soft green buds on the trees, and colorful flower shoots that are beginning to peep out through the layers of snow. We see it as the sun grows stronger and warmer each day; sometimes we'll get really lucky and have an unseasonably bright day, where we can take off our winter jackets and open the windows, even if it's for just a few short hours in the afternoon. As the earth comes back to life each spring, so do we.

Get Colorful

To get an idea of what colors are appropriate for spring, all you really have to do is look outside. Decorate your altar in any of these colors. Notice the yellows of the forsythia blooming behind your house, the pale purples of lilacs in the garden, and the green of new leaves appearing in the melting snow.

Pastels are often considered spring colors as well, so feel free to add some pinks and blues into the mix. You can try a pale green altar cloth with some purples and blues draped across it and add some yellow or pink candles.

Time for Balance

Altar decor can reflect the theme of the sabbat. Ostara is a time of balance between light and dark, so symbols of this polarity can be used. Use a god and goddess statue, a white candle and a black one, a sun and moon, or you can use a yin and yang symbol.

If you study astrology at all, you probably know that the vernal equinox happens when the sun enters the Zodiac sign of Aries—this is when the sun crosses the equator, just like we'll see six months from now at the autumnal equinox. Thanks to science, there are equal hours of day and night. What does this represent to you? Perhaps it's about a balance between masculine and feminine, or light and shadow, above and below, or inside and out. Use the Ostara sabbat to find your own sense of balance—spiritual, emotional, and physical. Decorate your altar with things that symbolize your own journey towards inner harmony: gemstones, statuary, candles, or chakra representations.

New Life

Since Ostara is also a time of new growth and life, you can add potted plants such as new crocuses, daffodils, lilies, and other magical spring flowers to your altar.

This is the time of year when animals are bringing forth new life too. You can put a basket of eggs on your altar, or figures of new lambs, rabbits, and calves. You might want to add a chalice of milk or honey. The milk represents the lactating animals who have just given birth, and honey is long known as a symbol of abundance.

Other Symbols of the Season

There are a number of other symbols that signify the season including insects undergoing transformation or bees busy harvesting honey. Nature deities play a prominent part in the season, too. 

Allow nature to be your guide, and find your inspiration there. Go for a spring walk, harvest fallen items from the woods and meadows and other areas near your home, and bring them home to place on your altar to celebrate the season.

 Resources

  • Connor, Kerri. Ostara: Rituals, Recipes, & Lore for the Spring Equinox. Llewellyn Publications, 2015.
  • K., Amber, and Arynn K. Azrael. Candlemas: Feast of Flames. Llewellyn, 2002.
  • Leslie, Clare Walker., and Frank Gerace. The Ancient Celtic Festivals and How We Celebrate Them Today. Inner Traditions, 2008.
  • Neal, Carl F. Imbolc: Rituals, Recipes & Lore for Brigids Day. Llewellyn, 2016.