Oestara / Alban Eiler / March 21
“The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The Oak
sleeps in the Acorn. The Bird waits in the Egg. And in the highest vision of
a soul, a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities.”
A Minor High Day, it usually takes place around March 21st or so. On the night before, some Hasidic Druids stayed up until dawn, reading meditations about trees, eating the fruits of various trees and singing hymns about trees. Among many Paleopagan cultures in Southern Europe the Spring Equinox was the date of the New Year (instead of Samhain as it was among the Celts) and indeed, many Druids refer to this holiday as ―the New Year for Trees (an interesting fact: among Jewish people, “Tu Bashvat” which is literally the New Year for the Trees, is celebrated between mid to late January) . Adding a bit to the confusion is the fact that some Neopagan groups call this holiday ―Lady Day.
It is interesting that when the church co-opted the holiday they kept the name. It is also interesting the way the church derives when they will celebrate it. Easter Sunday is always the first Sunday after the first Full Moon after the Vernal Equinox. Its timing has nothing to do with the Jewish Passover (though one would think it would). This comes down to the church using astrology to choose a date for the most important holiday in their calendar: the celebration of the resurrection of their God. Separate the Christian stuff though, and you have a nice Pagan holiday. The bunnies, the chicks, the eggs, and all the other
trappings are all symbols of the fertility cult that Oestara represents. It’s usual and customary for the Great Rite (not the symbolic version) to be a central part of a grove’s rites on this day. Even the Catholic Church does the Great Rite on Easter. It happens at midnight on the Saturday before Easter. During the
Mass, part of which takes place in a totally darkened church, the priest lights the Easter Candle, then dips it three times into the chalice.
So, Oestara is a sexual celebration, a time for grove members to share and grow closer. It’s the time to celebrate the re-greening of the Earth, for
planting crops and flowers, and for lots and lots of sex. It’s not quite time for an orgy however. We save that kind of activity for…..
(To be continued May 1)