Crafts for the Ostara Sabbat

01
of 09

Crafts for the Pagan Ostara Sabbat

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Photo Credit: Tom Merton/OJO Images/Getty Images

Spring has finally arrived! March has roared in like a lion, and if we're really lucky, it will roll out like a lamb. Meanwhile, on or around the 21st of the month, we have Ostara to celebrate. It's the time of the vernal equinox if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, and it's a true marker that Spring has come. 

If you'd like to jazz up your altar, walls, or the entire house with decorations for Ostara, here's where you'll find several fun and easy craft projects. There's more to this time of year than colored eggs, so be sure to check out these simple craft ideas!

02
of 09

Make an Ostara Tree

Make an Ostara tree for your altar decorations. Image by Sharon Vos-Arnold/Moment/Getty Images

Ostara is a marker of the coming of spring. New life is all around us, showing in the green shoots on the trees, sprigs of grass appearing from the mud, and even— if we're lucky—a few flowers poking up. It's a time of chicks and eggs, newborn lambs and calves, and the days are getting a bit longer and a bit warmer. We can smell the freshness of the earth when we're outside. A fun project to do at Ostara is make and decorate a tree for the Sabbat.

It doesn't have to be huge or fancy, but it's nice to have one sitting indoors to remind you of the changing seasons.

You'll need:

  • Several lightweight branches
  • Some florist's foam
  • A flowerpot or vase
  • Acrylic paints
  • Spanish moss
  • Small spring decorations

First, paint the pot with spring designs—flowers, butterflies, ladybugs, eggs, etc. If you have kids, this is a lot of fun. If you don't mind them getting a bit messy, let them use thumbprints to make designs. Allow the paint to dry.

Cut a chunk of florist's foam to fit into the pot and then insert the branches into the foam so that it forms a tree shape. Hang the decorations—eggs, ribbons, flowers, etc.—on the branches. Use salt dough and cookie cutters to make ornaments to hang, if you like.

Use the Spanish moss to cover the florist's foam in the top of the pot. Place your tree on your altar during ritual, or use it as a tabletop decoration.

Note: Try to use branches that have already fallen on the ground, rather than taking them from a live tree.

If you must cut from a living tree or bush, make sure you do so in a way that will allow for new growth on the plant. If you have forsythia bushes, they may be blooming right now - their branches are perfect for this project!

03
of 09

Tie Dyed Ostara Eggs

Egg Ties 1500
Patti Wigington

Eggs are a magical gift from nature, and Ostara is a great time to celebrate by dying them in creative ways. This is a craft project that originated over at Our Best Bites, and it’s so clever and unusual that we had to share it! Keep in mind that the folks at Best Bites have a fully illustrated tutorial, so if you need clarification on the specifics of how to do this, be sure to click their link and check out their photos.

If you just need the basic directions, we'll share how we did ours, and add a few suggestions based on our experience with this project.

You’ll need some uncooked eggs, some twisty ties, and a collection of silk ties. Check out your local thrift shop, where they sell them fairly cheap. When you’re looking at ties, make sure you only buy the ones that 100% pure silk – certain brands like Van Heusen and Oleg Cassini are always good, but there are other brands as well. There should be a small label on the narrow end of the tie that tells you what material it’s made of. Don’t buy the polyester ones, or any sort of cotton blend- they just don’t work well.

Also, when it comes to eggs, a lot of people ask if they can use the craft eggs instead of real ones – here’s the thing. You’re going to be boiling these for a while – you can’t use plastic or paper mache ones. There are ceramic eggs available, and you might want to try those, but there's no guarantee as to what sort of results you’ll get.

Finally, keep in mind that because you’re going to boil these for a long time, they’ll probably be too overcooked to eat. Also, you don’t know what sorts of chemicals are in the dyes, so consider this just a decorative project and not an edible one.

Deconstruct Your Ties

First, deconstruct the ties so that all you have left is the silk. This is actually easy to do. Use a seam ripper, and (after removing any tags) pick out the anchor seams at each end of the tie – then, you should be able to just pull out the single thread that keeps the tie together. Remove the middle piece, which is usually a long tie-shaped piece of white cotton, and then pick off the lining at either end of the tie.

Now you’ve got a long piece of silk with nothing attached to it.

Cut a piece of silk that’s big enough to wrap around the eggs, and use the twisty ties to anchor it in place – be sure to put the printed side of the fabric on the inside, against the egg. The more snug you make the fabric, the better your end result will be. One tie should yield enough wide pieces of material to cover at least two eggs, and sometimes three if you’re lucky. You’ll end up with the skinny part of the tie left over – save that for some other craft project.

Wrap and Boil Your Eggs

The original tutorial recommends adding a second, plain piece of light colored fabric over top of the silk, and tying it in place. You can do that if you like, but it’s not generally necessary.

Once you have all your eggs wrapped and tied, bring a pot of water to a boil, and add half a cup of vinegar. The original instructions called for ¼ cup, but you'll get a better print with a little more. Boil your eggs in the vinegar water for at least twenty minutes (half an hour is even better). Remove the eggs from the water, and let them cool completely – don’t unwrap them yet. Let them sit in a colander for a good hour or so before you touch them – once they’ve cooled enough to handle without burning your fingers, go ahead and unwrap them.

Finishing Things Off

To add a little bit of shine to them, put a small amount of vegetable oil on a paper towel, and buff your eggs. These make a great addition to your Ostara altar!

Don't forget, if you try this project, stop over at Our Best Bites, and share your comments to give those folks some link love!

04
of 09

Make a Miniature Greenhouse

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Image by Linda Burgess/Photolibrary/Getty Images

At Ostara, it's still too cold to plant your seeds outside, but you can certainly get your seedlings started indoors. It may seem early, but now is the time to start thinking about what you want to grow in the summer months. Give your plants a head start, and get them sprouting in advance—that way, they'll be ready to go into the ground by the time warmer weather arrives. You can make an indoor greenhouse, put it in a sunny spot, and watch your garden begin!

You'll need:

  • A disposable baking pan with clear plastic lid
  • Small peat pots
  • Potting soil
  • Seeds

Start by preparing the baking pan. You can get these in the baking aisle at the grocery store, and they're usually available in black or foil. The foil ones tend to reflect light a bit better, so use these if at all possible. If you have to use a black one, line it with a sheet of aluminum foil first.

Prepare the pan by poking holes for drainage in the bottom. They shouldn't be too big—you don't want the water to pour out—but don't make them too small. Start with just a few, and if you have to go back and add more later, you can do so easily.

Fill the peat pots with potting soil, and line them up to fit snugly inside the baking pan. Push a seed down into each pot, covering it back up with dirt. When each pot has a seed in it, mist the whole thing with water.

Place the clear lid on top of the baking pan. Place it in a sunny window. As the inside of the pan warms up in the sun, condensation will form on the inside of the lid.

Allow the plants to grow without removing the lid—if you do have to remove it to add a bit of water, try not to leave it off for long.

Watch your seedlings begin to sprout. Depending on what you plant, it may be anywhere from just a day or two to a week or more. By the time Beltane rolls around, they'll be hardy and ready to go in the ground. Simply place the peat pot and the seedling right into the soil.

05
of 09

Magical Crystal Ostara Eggs

Make treasure-filled Ostara eggs for your family's celebration. Image by Ariel Skelley/Blend Images/Getty Images

This is a neat craft project you can make before Ostara. Hide these eggs for your kids to find, and then when they crack them open, they can find the treasure hidden inside!

You'll need:

  • 1 C. all-purpose flour
  • ½ C. salt
  • ¼ C. clean sand
  • 1 C. used coffee grounds
  • ¾ C. warm water
  • Crystals or gemstones
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • Acrylic paints in your favorite colors

Blend flour, salt, sand and coffee grounds together. Gradually add the water, and knead until you've got a thick, gritty dough. Spray a crystal lightly with non-stick cooking spray, and place it in the center of a small scoop of dough. Shape the dough around the crystal to form an egg shape. Bake the eggs at 350 for about 15 minutes, and allow to cool. Once they've cooled, they should be nice and hard, like a rock. Paint the eggs, and allow paint to dry.

Hide the eggs on Ostara, and let your kids crack them open to reveal the hidden crystals!

For some extra silly fun, have your kids join you for the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Chocolate Rabbit.

06
of 09

Build a Spring Weather Station

Celebrate the changes in the weather by setting up a home weather station. Image by Betsie Van Der Meer/Taxi/Getty Images

As Ostara rolls in, we begin to see a shift in weather patterns. Warm breezes and sunny days suddenly pop up out of nowhere… but may be immediately followed by a snowstorm with subzero temperatures! We might see no clouds at all, or we might get a massive thunderstorm that floods our backyards. It's hard to keep track of what's going on outside from one day to the next. In theory, we know that Ostara means the beginning of spring, but at times, it sure doesn't look like it!

If you have children—or even if you don't—one good way to mark the arrival of spring is to make a home weather station. After all, if your spirituality marks the changing of the seasons as the Wheel of the Year turns, it certainly makes sense to monitor these changes as they take place. A home weather station is a great way to teach kids awareness of changes in weather patterns. It doesn't have to be complicated or difficult, and you can typically put one together with things that you have around the house already. A home weather station is simple, and you can use it to keep track of temperatures, wind, rain, and even barometric pressure. You'll need the following supplies:

  • Outdoor thermometer
  • Notebook or journal
  • Clear, straight-neck glass bottle
  • Clear glass jar
  • Rubber bands
  • Food coloring
  • Water
  • Plastic ruler
  • Clear waterproof tape
  • Glass jar with a wide bottom (a one-quart jar works well)
  • Craft foam
  • Ribbons or gimp string
  • Paper clip

Watch the Temperature

To keep track of temperatures, hang the outdoor thermometer in a place where you'll be able to check it each day. Try to keep it in an area that doesn't receive direct sunlight, but isn't too shady either. Have your kids check the temperature in the morning, midday, and evening. Write down the results in your notebook, and see if you or your kids can predict weather trends. Will it be warm tomorrow? Will it start out chilly and then get even colder?

Changes in the Air

To make your barometer, use the clear glass bottle and the clear glass jar. Place the bottle upside down into the jar, without touching the bottom of the jar (peanut butter jars work really well for this project, if you can find a brand still available in glass jars). Fill the jar with water so that it comes up an inch or two over the mouth of the upside-down bottle. Add some food coloring to the water, and angle the jar and bottle just enough to let some air escape.

Slide the rubber band around the jar -- this will be your marker line -- at the water line. Place the barometer in a spot outside, but not in direct sunlight. As the water level rises and falls due to barometric pressure, mark the new level with a Sharpie marker or additional rubber bands. As pressure in the air increases, the water in the jar gets pressed down, which then makes the water go into the open bottle. As pressure drops, air will rise and eventually cool -- in your barometer, the water will drop away.

Raindrops Are Falling On Your Head

To make your rain gauge, place the ruler inside the clear one-quart jar, so that the side with the numbers faces out. Use the tape to secure it into place. Put your jar out someplace where it will be able to collect rain—make sure it's not under a tree or next to the house. After it rains, check the jar to see how much rain fell. Keep track of how much rain falls over the course of a week or month. Remember, rain can come in handy for a variety of magical purposes as well - be sure to read about Water Magic and Folklore!

Blowing in the Wind

Make a wind sock to measure wind direction. Cut a length of craft foam about 16" long by a few inches wide. Curve it into a circle, overlapping one edge over the other, and hot glue it in place. Punch holes in the bottom, around the edge, and tie ribbons or gimp string into each of the holes (make your ribbon a few feet long so you'll be able to see it blowing in the wind).

Along the top edge of your circle, punch four holes around the edge. 

Run a few foot-long pieces of ribbon through them, and tie them together at the end. Anchor them onto the paperclip, and then use the paper clip to hang your wind sock outside. Make sure you hang it someplace where it will be able to blow in any direction, and not get tangled up in branches or buildings.

If you're in a pinch and don't have time to make your own windsock, you can use a tube-shaped kite!

Teach your kids which direction is where, so they can write down which way the wind is blowing, and whether it's blowing a little or a lot. Think about ways you can incorporate wind and air into your magical workings!

07
of 09

Seed Packet Greeting Cards

Send your friends seed packet greeting cards for Ostara. Image by Patti Wigington 2009

As Ostara approaches, it's not unusual for us to start thinking about the planting season. After all, even though it may be cold and chilly at the time of the Spring Equinox, in just a few weeks the ground will be warm enough for us to ready our gardens. You can use this as a theme to send out these easy-to-make greeting cards.

Why send out greeting cards at all? 

Well, believe it or not, you don't need to have a special occasion to make and send cards to people you care about - you can do it any time you like. You can mail them out in the spring as a "just because" kind of project. Sending cards, especially handmade ones, is becoming a lost art, and you'd be amazed at how much people appreciate things like this. Not only is it nice to receive a handmade card out of the blue, there's seed packets attached, so it's a total win for everyone!

Here's what you'll need:

  • Card stock, or pre-cut blank cards
  • Envelopes
  • Seed packets
  • Glue (use a glue stick, NOT a hot glue gun)
  • Pens, markers and other craft supplies

Select a packet of seeds for each greeting card. Use the glue to attach the packet to the front of the card. Don't use a hot glue gun for this, because the heat can damage the seeds inside —use either a glue stick, rubber cement, or even regular white craft glue. Use your markers or other craft supplies to write a Spring message inside. Be as creative as you like!

You can use something like this if you like:

Wishing you blooms and abundance at Ostara!

or

Roses are red, violets are blue,
I picked out these seeds, just for you!
Ostara blessings to you and yours.

Give the cards to your friends for the Ostara season, so they can welcome spring too! Also, remember that you don't need an excuse to send someone a card that lets them know you're thinking of them. If you've got friends or family members having a birthday, seed packet cards make for a nice personalized touch all year long.

If you're feeling really crafty, try one of these clever suggestions:

08
of 09

Natural Egg Dyes

Use natural colorings instead of chemical dyes to color your Ostara eggs. Image by SilviaJansen/E+/Getty Images

Ostara is a time of fertility and rebirth, and few things symbolize this as well as the egg. By coloring them with bright pinks, blues and yellows, we're welcoming the colors of spring back into our lives, and saying farewell to winter. However, a lot of commercially available egg-dying products are made from chemicals. They may not be toxic, but on the other hand, you might not have a clue what the ingredients are. Why not try using natural sources to get a variety of shades, and really celebrate the colors of the season? It's fun, and allows you to tap into your creative juices while you're welcoming spring.

First of all, plan on only doing about 3 - 4 eggs at a time. You'll need them to have room to bob around in the pan, and not be piled on top of one another. Before starting, poke a small hole with a pin or needle in each end of each egg. This will help keep them from cracking while they boil. You'll really want to have at least a dozen eggs, just because it's a lot of fun to experiment with different colors.

Start your water boiling. Use enough to cover about an inch over the tops of the eggs, but don't put them in the pan yet. Add 2 tsp of white vinegar, and bring the water to a boil. Once it's boiling, add 3 - 4 eggs using a slotted spoon (helpful hint: do NOT let your kids drop them in the water. Trust me on this one). Next, add your coloring material. Here's where it gets really fun!

To color your eggs, add one of the following items. You'll have to experiment a little to see how much to add, but try different amounts to get different shades of each color. Once you've added your coloring, allow to simmer for 20 minutes.

  • Red/pink: paprika
  • Purple: concentrated grape juice (Welch's works nicely, about half a can)
  • Yellow: Skins (only) of a half dozen yellow onions
  • Gold: Curry powder or tumeric
  • Beige: coffee grounds
  • Light green: frozen chopped spinach (1/3 to 1/2 package)
  • Blue: 1 Cup frozen blueberries (with juice)

After they've boiled, carefully remove the eggs from the pot with your slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel to dry. If you'd like them darker, you can allow them to sit over night in the pot of dye, but the vinegar can weaken the eggs' shells. When the eggs have dried completely, dab a little bit of vegetable oil on a paper towel and "polish" the eggs to give them some shine.

Keep your eggs refrigerated until it's time to hide them, eat them, or show them off to your friends. Remember to never eat eggs that have been sitting at room temperature for more than two hours.

Tips:

  1. If your kids are more into the coloring than the eating of Ostara eggs, consider brushing your colored eggs with a thin layer of glue, and then sprinkling some glitter on top.
  2. Eggs can take on the flavor of whatever you use to dye them, so unless you enjoy coffee-flavored eggs, put some thought into using dyed eggs in recipes.
  3. Use a wax crayon to make designs and sigils on the eggs before dying— the waxed area will appear as white once you've finished.

09
of 09

Make a Spring Snake Wreath

Snake Wreath
Patti Wigington

According to legends, St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland - this, however, was a metaphor for the gradual diminishing of old Pagan faiths by the introduction of Christianity. Keep in mind that this was a centuries-long process, and Patrick did not physically drive the Pagans from Ireland, but instead helped to spread Christianity around the Emerald Isle.

Today, many Pagans quietly protest St. Patrick by wearing a serpent pin or shirt on St. Patrick's Day and during the Ostara season. If that's not an option for you, or if you'd just like to do something a bit quirky and different, you can decorate your front door with a Spring Snake Wreath instead.

St. Patrick aside, keep in mind that the warmer, wetter spring weather is often a time when we start seeing snakes emerge anyway. Whether you're protesting St. Patrick or not, using snakes on a wreath is certainly a timely enough project at Ostara!

You'll need the following supplies:

  • A grapevine hoop or other wreath form (available at craft stores)
  • Spring greenery, such as ivy
  • A bag of rubber snakes
  • A hot glue gun
  • Florist's wire
  • Some ribbon

Start by decorating the grapevine wreath with your greenery. Don't use too much, because you'll want to leave room for the snakes. Next, arrange the snakes around the wreath, and hot glue them so they don't fall off. Depending on the size of your wreath—and your snakes—anywhere from six to a dozen should be fine.

Just a word of caution here - don't touch the tip of your hot glue gun to the rubber snakes. They don't like this!

As a finishing touch, tie a length of ribbon into a bow and fix it in place with the florist's wire. Use an additional loop of wire at the top to hang the wreath up.