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How to Decorate an Ostara Altar

The Ostara altar celebrates the spring equinox. The snow is melting, the trees are budding, and the spring bulbs are flowering. Now is the time to forget about snow (even if it continues to blanket the landscape), turn our thoughts toward spring, and banish the color white from our altars. Instead, we should break out the fresh, clear, delicate pastel colors of spring. Of course Ostara is the predecessor festival to the modern day Easter celebration and much of the same symbolism applies, which will be appealing to small children already familiar with a culture of Easter egg hunting and chocolate bunnies.

Ostara colors include pale shell-pink, pale forget-me-not blue, pale lemon yellow, pale leaf green, and violet.

Nature-themed decorations include eggs dyed in pale pastels, flowering spring bulbs (preferably growing in a pot but they could also be cut and arranged in a vase of water), fallen feathers from the wings of birds returning for spring (such as robins), and an earthenware or wooden plate holding a handful of moist potting soil or earth to signify the thawing of the land and the return of the planting season. Also, include a vessel of pure distilled water to represent the spring rains.

For a basic seasonal altar that is not overtly Wiccan, start by draping your altar with a large cloth of pale green to represent the thawed Earth, which is renewed after the great sleep of winter. Add a smaller cloth in pink or blue or violet to represent the first flowers of spring, and another one, smaller still, in pale yellow to symbolize the Sun. Arrange the altar cloths so you can see all the colors. For a centerpiece, arrange your bowl or tray of moist earth. Alongside it, place the vessel of pure distilled water. You may decorate the rest of the altar with Easter eggs: either real chicken eggs dyed with pastel colors, or candy eggs, or ceramic or plastic eggs, or possibly all of the above with some figurines of rabbits and robins thrown in for good measure. Add the cut flowers or growing bulbs and candles in pastel colors.

Overtly Wiccan items for your altar include figures of the Lord and Lady in their youthful incarnations. You might want to use a small cauldron to contain the moist potting soil as your centerpiece.

No Ostara altar would be complete without candles in pastel colors of pink, blue, yellow, and green lit to shed their delicate light and to remind us of the reborn Sun and the lengthening of days toward the planting and growing season. Never leave lit candles unattended. The safest to use are in glass jars, which can also reflect the candlelight through their thick glass for a beautiful magnifying effect.

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