Seeds, Eggs & Hares…Oh My
When it comes to Ostara, there are three with which I connect with the most. Ostara for me is first and foremost about New Beginnings and Fertile Growth. Seeds, Hares and Eggs represent all these things.
Seeds. What is a seed, but a microcosm of the macrocosm of the Universe? Within a seed there is a map of life; the Beginning waiting to burst forth from its shell and grow. Each seed, no matter how small or large, holds within its power the transformation of a fully grown plant. The potential of what it will become is protected until the circumstances come together to allow it break free of its shell and grow. Seeds represent New Beginnings and Growth within our Ostara Rituals. We use the energy of the seed to grow something we want in our lives. Each seed is charged with the energy of our desire. We plant the seed, tend it, and watch it grow. With the return of Spring upon the Earth, new life begins, the world is in bloom. We see the potential of the seed representing our own potential. With nurturing care, the seed will grow and so shall our own intentions.
Eggs. The egg represents Life itself. There are many creation stories from cultures and histories around the world which include an egg. The egg is another seed. It is potential waiting for the right circumstances to grow and live. Yet there is more to an egg than just the similarity it holds to a seed. When we look at a shelled egg, we see a white outer layer, and know that within there is a yellow sphere. Symbolically, the white flesh of an egg represents the Goddess, embracing the Sun, the yellow sphere. Eggs being also a symbol of feminine fertility, it is apt that the Goddess should warp her arms around the Sun, Her Son, in a protective embrace. This is what we see when we ponder the Egg.
Hares. The hare, much like the rabbit, is a creature of fertility. They are creatures with the propensity to propagate the species quickly and often. The return of spring brings with it the return of desire. The hare’s mating season is in the spring, many species of hare mate in March in particular. To watch hares in their mating rituals, one can see what appears to be crazy behavior, as the hares will box with one another in a frenzy to mate. This gives rise to the saying mad as a March Hare. But it is not crazy so much as it is natural desire. Spring has sprung and with it natural urges which the animal kingdom does not deny. With the earth bursting forth in bloom, preparing to grow fruit to fruition, so too does the hare. We call upon the symbol of the hare to represent our own fertile plans.
There are many stories of hares and eggs which have come down in history to eventually bring us the Easter Bunny who hides eggs for children. But customs have long been misunderstood or forgotten, so many are left to wonder how or why a Hare is connected with brightly colored eggs in the spring. I have come across several ideas, all which seem to have a seed of the truth.
It has been noted that during the dark ages, and what we call the Burning Times of the witch hunt, many a folk took to hiding brightly colored eggs for kids to find, so as to secretly continue an old tradition which had been handed down since before the onset of Christianity. In the spring, birds have returned and are laying eggs of as many colors as there are species of birds. This was a time to gain nutrition and to celebrate the return of life and leave the winter fully behind. Communities would hunt for these eggs and the various colors go hand in hand with the bright colors of blooms in spring. To guise or hide the old ways, eggs would be colored and then hidden, and children sent out to find them like a treasure hunt. But why was and is there still the notion of the Hare (or bunny) being the one who brings us these treasures and hides them?
Wild hares and rabbits build their own nests for their young. They are typically well hidden within tall grasses and bushes, the better to keep babies safe. Though they don’t sit and nest as a bird does, their behavior while tending their young does look similar to a bird in a nest. With the tradition of eggs being hidden in not so common places in the spring, to think of a hare as the one hiding them does not take much of a leap of thought.
There is one tale I have come across from Edain McCoy, in her book Ostara: Customs, Spells and Rituals for the Rites of Spring. In this book she provides a folktale about Eostre, and a hare who so loved her, that he wanted to give her a gift beyond compare. The hare finds an egg, and decides to decorate the egg to make it special enough to give to the Goddess. Upon receiving the gift of the egg, Eostre is so pleased, and both she and the hare wanted to share the lovely gift with everyone, that she appointed the hare in charge to give decorated eggs in her honor each spring onward.
Whatever the story, whatever the influence, whatever the origins, These symbols of fertility and growth, of new beginnings, the Seed, the Egg, and the Hare can be used to represent your own fertility and growth. Tap into them, meditate on their meanings, and how they can relate to your own life and you will experience a connection to the Earth and the Universe, and more importantly a connection to yourself.
Merry Meet! I am first and foremost a writer. When I am writing I am in my element! Much of what I write about, and do in my life is centered around a pagan spiritual base. I have been studying various paths and topics, working with energies, deities, and the elements for 15 years plus. I am the High Priestess of Spiral Grove an eclectic study coven. I say I was given this coven as a gift because that is what it truly is. Spiral Grove would not be what it is without the members who make it whole.