Areas of Influence: Ostara the Germanic Goddess heralds the beginning of spring. She is the Maiden Goddess, full of potential, representing the opportunity of growth and rebirth after the stagnation of winter.
There are several different translations of the meaning of her name:- East, dawn and morning light indicating the returning warmth of the sun's rays and the lengthening days.
In Germany her warm nature is still marked by bonfires lit at dawn on the Spring Equinox.
The Goddess was also known as Eostre and although much of her story has been lost, her name lives on as it is the root of the English words for both Easter and oestrogen.
Strengths: A warm, dynamic and compassionate Goddess.
Weaknesses: Her lateness nearly caused the death of a small bird.
Symbolism: The hare and painted eggs are both potent symbols of fertility, reflecting the nature of this spring Goddess.
One myth tells that when the Goddess came across a young bird that was dying of cold due to her late arrival, she warmed him up and turned him into a hare.
These ancient symbols are still found in our Easter celebrations today when the Easter bunny hides chocolate eggs for the children to find.
Festivals: Dates of festivals to mark this Goddess range from the Spring Equinox to the first full moon after the Equinox.
Traditionally people would dress up in new cloths, light bonfires at dawn and decorate eggs as offerings to the spring Goddess.
You may wish to design your own altar to celebrate this spring Goddess. Decorations could include spring flowers, pictures or statues of hares, painted eggs and offerings of seeds.
For ideas on how to decorate eggs you may find the link I have included helpful. If you wish to make the ritual stronger, spend time reflecting on what areas of your life you want to grow and develop this year. Place symbols on your eggs or altar that reflect this.
For those of you that have gardens and allotments don't forget to include the seeds of flowers, fruits and vegetables you want to grow this season. Ask the Ostara to bless the seeds with fruitfulness.
The Maiden Archetype represents purity and the innocence of childhood, where the soul’s dreams, magic and make believe still prevail.
It is also an aspect of the Triple Goddess, together with the Mother and the Crone they represents the cycles of the moon and the different stages of a woman’s life.
Shadow Maiden is very self centered all, her dreams and energy is expended on achieving her own personal needs and goals.
These qualities reflect the nature of this Spring Goddess who stands on the cusp of womanhood. Her self-absorbtion meant she was late and nearly caused the death of a young bird but undeterred the resourceful Goddess transforms the bird into a rabbit.
The Maiden is one of your Archetypes if you are life still in touch with your childhood intuition and fantasies and have used these to fulfill your dreams. Hence you can still have the Maiden Archetype at any time of life.
The Maiden reminds you to look after the magical child that lies within us all.
Shadow Maiden asks you to look at whether your dreams and aspirations are selfish and take no account of the needs of others.