As we move towards the Spring Equinox, I’d like to share with you some of the ways I enjoy celebrating Ostara with my family, and hopefully help you start thinking of ways to celebrate it with yours!
One nice way to pay tribute to any Sabbat is to cook something from scratch with ingredients that are associated with the holiday.
In the case of Ostara, I chose carrot cake, which contains key ingredients like eggs and carrots that have special symbolism for the Spring Equinox.
This isn’t a recipe post—you can find a basic recipe for carrot cake anywhere (or better yet, use one that has been passed down to you from your elders). Instead, I want to focus on how to prepare the food in a spiritual way to honor a Sabbat.
Of course, you don’t need any special rules, but when I make food in the kitchen for spiritual reasons, I try to follow a few basic principles:
1. Choose ingredients and cooking methods that have special meaning or symbolism to you.
2. Use ingredients that are as natural and close to the source as possible.
3. Use cooking methods that are as natural as possible.
To what extreme you take these last two steps is up to you. During the summer and harvest seasons, I have even gone to a farm to pick my own fruits, flowers and vegetables, which is a nice way to make a day of it. Some people elect to cook over an open fire instead of in the kitchen. Using methods like these helps focus you energy and develop a closer, more mindful relationship with food preparation, which is, after all, a life-giving ritual. The more you put into the food, the more of your energy will be in it and the more you’ll get out of the experience. But whatever you have time for is good enough.
I started by getting the freshest ingredients available. The farmer’s market isn’t yet open, so I had to settle for store-bought organic eggs.
The recipe that I’m using called for applesauce, so I chose to make my own from scratch with apples. This was fun, and the excess can be frozen or set aside for a snack later.
The most time-consuming step was hand-grinding the carrots. This is the part of cooking that you can really harness to infuse the food with your goodwill. Any time you have to use a lot of focused energy, be sure to focus it on something good! Treat it as a kind of zen meditation. Feel the weight of the carrots in you hands, smell the sweetness of them, let yourself fall into the rhythm of repetitive motion.
Similarly, grinding spices can be used in the same way, and it makes everything smell amazing!!
The classic moment for a kitchen witch is the stirring of the ingredients, the blending together of all these different spices and good vibes. Traditionally, this is the time to chant something and “build power.” But this doesn’t mean it has to be super serious! Personally, I like silly chants that are light-hearted and fun. (If you’ve seen it, when I do this I am always reminded of the scene in Practical Magic when the aunts are making midnight margaritas.)
I’d like to show you a masterful work of art here, but the truth is, I am no Cake Boss. It came out pretty simple as far as presentation, but it’s delicious, and most importantly, made with love!
Finally, I try to waste as little as possible and respect the gift of resourcefulness over the consumer mentality, which brings us closer to the earth and to nature. And that’s kind of the whole point.
There’s all kinds of things you can do with the scraps from scratch cooking. The skins from the apples can dried or used to brew a lovely natural tea. Or, you’re as excited about the coming gardening season as I am, you can always use it for composting. (Egg shells make especially great fertilizer for roses.) This is a nice way to “spread the magic” and bless your garden.
But we’re going to do some cool things with these eggshells later in the week, so check back for more ideas on how to celebrate Ostara in style!
For more ideas, check out my Ostara section.