Ostara and the Major Arcana
By Joanne Matthew©
The Major Arcana are gathered around contemplating the celebration of Ostara, Festival of Trees, or Easter, as it is known in the Christian religion. The Fool, not sure of what it is all about, is anxious to begin the celebration.
The High Priestess and the Heirophant are explaining the holiday to the group. Ostara is celebrated on the vernal equinox, the beginning of the Spring season. It is the custom at Ostara to collect eggs and paint them in the colors of local birds, and place them in straw baskets (to imitate the bird’s nests). The baskets were given to friends and neighbors for good luck and prosperity. After the eggs were eaten, the shells were buried in the ground to promote fertility. Hares (the Easter Rabbit) was a prominent symbol of this celebration, representing fertility, also.
Ostara is a time for renewal and beginnings—a time to plant seeds and plan the future before the year goes on any further, and it may be too late in the year to do many plantings. The Heirophant and HighPriestess both agree it is a time for cleaning, both physically and spiritually—to clear the past problems and make a brighter future.
The Magician has used all the necessary tools at his disposal to brightly color the eggs, make the baskets, and decorate everything in colorful ribbons and flowers.
The Empress has gathered up the children and is getting them ready for the Easter egg hunt, which will also be under the watchful eye of the Emperor, who will protect and guide them.
The Hanged Man is suspended from a tree branch, trying to decide which direction to go that would lead to the most eggs, while the Lovers are off by themselves, planting their seeds of growth for their future. I know what you are thinking, and you are correct! After all, fertility is a theme for this season! The Devil thinks he has won them over, but Death reminds him that this is life—birth and new beginnings!
The Wheel of Fortune is taking bets on who will find the golden egg—the prize of the day, while Justice is sure it will be found by the most deserving. Strength is feeling the pressure of a new season ahead, and how well she will manage the transition while hoping her lion does not chase down the rabbit and spoil the day.
The Chariot is all decorated in pastel colors, ready to take control should anyone need transportation. Temperance is telling everyone to stay calm, and enjoy the day, but remember, all the celebrating should be done in moderation. This pleases the Tower, as he constantly worries about being over-burdened and on the verge of a major collapse.
As the Hermit is off pondering the true meaning of this celebration, and searching his soul for guidance into the new season, the Moon is pouting because the egg hunt is being held during the day while the Sun shines brightly on all attending. Moon tells all that she is not as she appears—she is not all about shadows in the night, and that she can be a guiding light through the darkness. However, everyone agrees it is safer for the children to be hunting the eggs during the daylight. Judgment assures the Moon that she will be rewarded for the good she does, and not to worry about how she is perceived by others—just as the Star, we all shine with our own light.
On this beautiful celebration of equal dark and light, the World wishes everyone a Blessed Ostara, and a Happy Easter.