Updated: Mar 17, 2022
It’s time to pay homage to the egg again with Ostara just around the corner. The arrival of the goddess brings with it the celebration of new life as spring settles on the landscape. Almost overnight blossoms appear, green shoots sprout, new lambs, calves, and foals can be seen in the fields, and nestlings can be heard calling.
Why we Share Eggs (and Bunnies) at Ostara
The chocolate Easter egg has become the norm for many, but decorated hard-boiled eggs were the original symbol of spring celebrations, and lots of people still use them today. The symbol of the egg has become synonymous with Ostara, and so has the hare (today’s Easter Bunny). Eggs symbolize the emerging of life from what appears to be a dormant capsule. Hares have an intense feminine energy and symbolize abundance, fertility, intuition, and promise.
Myth has it that the goddess Ostara came across a tiny hatchling that was almost frozen to death in early spring. She caringly warmed the little bird and turned it into a hare. And that’s how eggs and hares became part of spring celebrations, and why we share them as a sign of joy and goodwill.
Although much the history of the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring, Ostara (also called Ēostre), has become lost between fact and fiction, pagans and Wiccans mark the spring equinox with festivities and rituals of fertility, increasing daylight and climbing temperatures.
Eggs are a Global Symbol of Fertility
Apart from the early pagans of Europe, eggs have been regarded as a symbol of fertility and prosperity by cultures across the world for millennia. When compared with the processes of mammalian birth, the concept of new life emerging from a dry, hard capsule seemed like magic to early people. Birds occur across continents, and eggs became revered in almost all ancient societies as a mystic symbol of life, nurturing, and healing. Many cultures believed that the world was formed from an egg created by a divine source.
• The cosmic egg concept features in the beliefs and scripts of ancient China, Greece, Egypt, India, and Phoenicia.
• Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime views the egg as a symbol of light.
• The ancient Greeks and Romans placed birds’ nests with eggs in them in tombs to symbolize life after death.
• The ancient Maori from New Zealand buried their dead with a moa bird (now extinct) egg in one hand.
• Dried eggshells were painted in ancient African cultures and used as part of spring rituals.
• In ancient Ukraine, eggs were covered in wax and decorated in spring in honor of the sun god, Dazhboh.
• In ancient Persia (now Iran), painted eggs were placed on the dinner table in celebration of spring; traditionally, each mother would eat one egg for every baby she’d birthed.
• Some Native American Indian folklore also speaks of the creation of the world as the cracking of a giant egg.
• Eggs have been believed to draw out negative energy and illness by many cultures, and traditional healers, shaman, and witches have used eggs in healing practices for centuries.
• Just a few centuries back, British sailors believed that the shells of hard-boiled eggs had to be crushed; if not, evil spirits or witches could sail in the egg cups and destroy ships with sorcery and dark magic.
• Appalachian folklore says that raw eggs should occasionally be thrown on to the roof of a house to appease other witches and protect a home from hexes.
• Ostrich eggs were regularly hung in mosques to symbolize light and life.
• In France, a new bride would break an egg as soon as she entered her new home to symbolize fertility.
• Early German farmers spread a mixture of egg, bread, and flour on their plows to ensure a healthy crop and good harvest.
• Eggs dropped in water were, and still are, used for divination (much like reading tea leaves) in many cultures.
How we Celebrate Eggs Today
Apart from painted eggs at Ostara, many modern-day pagans, Wiccans, and Christians highlight eggs in ceremonies, feasts, and rituals at spring. They decorate altars with eggs, and eggs are used as offerings to deities, gods, and saints.
Considering their nutritional value, many people believe that eating eggs improve fertility in both men and women. Eggs are also used in home beauty routines as a face mask and as a hair conditioner. Raw eggs mixed with beer, honey, and herbs are still used to cure illnesses, and athletes add raw eggs to shakes to build muscle. There are plenty of other examples, but as you can see, we use eggs to improve our lives. Whether it’s for worship, fertility, beauty, healing, or to build the body, eggs are an integral part of daily life.
A great way to celebrate eggs at Ostara is to do a candle spell to manifest something that you want. Since Ostara celebrates new beginnings, why not make a candle in a dried out eggshell? All you need is a wick, some wax, and your intentions. Fill the egg with melted wax while holding the wick in place at the center. Once the wax has hardened, you can decorate it with pictures, colors, or sigils. Infuse your egg candle with your intention, place it on some soil in a container on your altar, select your spell, and you’re ready.