What is Ostara?
Ostara is a pagan holiday that celebrates the return of Spring, and the rituals and celebrations around it have themes of balance, renewal, and rebirth. The name comes from the Germanic goddess of spring, Eostre, who is said to re-emerge from beneath the earth each year after sleeping for months.
It is the second of three spring festivals on the Wheel of the Year calendar, coming in between Imbolc and Beltane. During this time, light and darkness are again in balance, with the light on the rise.
Ostara is a time of new beginnings and life emerging from winter’s grip. Symbols of Ostara include spring flowers, seeds, fairies, butterflies, rabbits, eggs, and baskets.
Sounds a bit like Easter, doesn’t it?
Actually, before Christianity spread throughout and dominated the cultures of Europe, pagans celebrated festivals to mark the Equinox and often paid tribute to gods of fertility and abundance. One such deity was Ostara (or Eostre), who was worshipped by many Germanic tribes.
As Christianity spread, many customs previously associated with Ostara were adopted into the Christian holiday, Easter, which is fitting. Now, with New Age beliefs on the rise, Ostara is once again in vogue.
Regardless, this is certainly a time of spiritual significance.
Bloom and Manifest is a terrific website that I found that has many ideas for ways to celebrate Ostara.
Anyway, back to my subscription box.
The Rose of Jericho
The box contained a dried-out Rose of Jericho, aka “The Resurrection Plant,” which is “brought back to life” when you add water.
I really identify with this plant because I suffer from a severe case of winter-onset seasonal affective disorder. In fact, it has been getting worse each year, and sometimes, I barely think I will make it until Spring.
One of the main reasons I bought my house, Bonnie, was because it had a fireplace. I haven’t had one in many years and I have noticed that I was getting more and more depressed each winter.
Having a fireplace is my way of coping with the long winters in the Northeast … and it definitely did help get me through my “winter blues” this year.
So anyway, by the time Spring comes around, I feel like a shell of my normal self. I feel like I have been locked inside in the dark, shriveled up, and ready to die.
Just like the Rose of Jericho.
When in its hibernation state, the Rose of Jericho requires zero light and can go for years without sunlight or water. In nature, this desert plant drys up and rolls around, sometimes for years, until it finds a place to soak up some water and release its seeds.
I keep mine tucked away in its dried state in a box on the shelf above my altar and bring it out each year during Ostara.
It is so dry and withered up that I really can’t imagine that it could possibly be brought back to life. My granddaughter was pretty skeptical too.
Bring Me To Life
It is hard to believe, but it only takes a bit of water (I use Moon Water) for this dried, dead-looking curled-up tumbleweed to come back to life. In fact, this plant can go up to 7 years with absolutely NO water before it is in danger of dying.
Speaking of bringing back to life, I love this song by Evanescence and if I could put how I feel each winter to music and words … this is it …
Bring Me To Life Lyrics
How can you see into my eyes, like open doors Leading you down into my core Where I've become so numb Without a soul My spirit's sleeping somewhere cold Until you find it there and lead it back home (Wake me up) Wake me up inside (I can't wake up) Wake me up inside, (save me) Call my name and save me from the dark (wake me up) Bid my blood to run (I can't wake up) Before I come undone (Save me) Save me from the nothing I've become Now that I know what I'm without You can't just leave me Breathe into me and make me real bring me to life (Wake me up) Wake me up inside (I can't wake up) Wake me up inside, (save me) Call my name and save me from the dark (wake me up) Bid my blood to run (I can't wake up) Before I come undone (Save me) Save me from the nothing I've become Bring me to life I've been living a lie There's nothing inside bring me to life Frozen inside without your touch Without your love, darling Only you are the life among the dead All this time, I can't believe I couldn't see Kept in the dark, but you were there in front of me I've been sleeping a thousand years it seems I've got to open my eyes to everything Without a thought, without a voice, without a soul Don't let me die here There must be something wrong, bring me to life (Wake me up) Wake me up inside (I can't wake up) Wake me up inside, (save me) Call my name and save me from the dark (wake me up) Bid my blood to run (I can't wake up) Before I come undone (Save me) Save me from the nothing I've become Bring me to life I've been living a lie There's nothing inside (Bring me to life) Bring me to life
Resurrecting The Rose of Jericho
To resurrect the Rose of Jericho, place the plant in a shallow dish of water so that its roots are covered. You do not need to submerge it.
Each year now, I bring mine out on Ostara to watch it come alive once again. It can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days for it to open, and it truly is magickal to behold. I found a timelapse video of the Rose of Jericho unfurling on YouTube for your viewing pleasure…
I resurrected my Rose of Jericho with my granddaughter this year. She was very intrigued, particularly when I told her I was adding magick water to it.
It only took a few hours for it to unfurl quite a bit and begin to turn green. Two days later, it is much more open. I did have to add some more water to the saucer a few times. It is VERY thirsty!
I will continue to water for about a week, then I will remove the plant from the water and let it dry up for storage. It will begin to rot if left in the water for too long.
Symbolism of the Rose of Jericho
The Rose of Jericho symbolizes resurrection, growth, fertility, and prosperity. It makes a beautiful focal point for an altar in celebration of Ostara.
This plant also holds a significant place in Christian tradition, particularly among Catholics. It is believed that the plant was in full bloom while Jesus was alive, withered away he was crucified and, upon his resurrection, blossomed once again, representing the triumph of life over death and a new beginning for humanity.
In modern days, it is often displayed in a bowl of water during Christmas and Easter and is said to bring blessings to those who display it in their homes.
It is a powerful reminder of the cycles of life and death, and the promise of new beginnings.
Magickal Uses of the Rose of Jericho
Because the Rose of Jericho is filled with potent spiritual energy, it is perfect for any spell or ritual in which you want to manifest rebirth, new awakenings, or new life.
Various African diaspora religions such as Hoodoo, Voodoo, and Santeria also view this plant as a powerful tool for ritual purposes.
It is believed that the water it sits in contains powerful magickal properties that can bring good fortune and abundance. Use the water to dip a paintbrush and “paint” a water outline around your doorways to help bring abundance and wealth.
The plant is also believed to possess strong protective properties which can be used to ward off evil spirits and negative energies.
Check out this article from Original Botanica for more spiritual uses of this plant — and check out their store as well!
What’s next on the Wheel of the Year?
The next festival on the Wheel of the Year is Beltane. Celebrated April 30th – May 1st, Beltane or “May Day” is commemorated with bonfires, maypoles, dancing, and rituals.
For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to be a Grandma. I was fortunate to have two wonderful grandmothers while I was growing up and I have many happy memories of each of them. Today, I live in a “Grandmother’s House” where my husband and I enjoy lots of time with our family. In addition to my role as Grandma to seven grandchildren, I am a daughter, a wife, a mother of three grown children, a sister, an aunt, a friend, a writer, an artist … and a witch.
✨Grandma’s Grimoire✨ is a collection of family wisdom interwoven with a touch of magick. Our goal is to create a living and lasting legacy that we hope will inspire our future generations as well as anyone who is drawn to it.