A Reflection on Ostara
It’s All Such a Delicate Balance
And it’s all such a delicate balance.
It takes away just as much as it gives.
But to live it is real,
And to love it is to feel
That you’re a part of what everything is.
“Equinox” means “equal night” and marks the two days each year when the duration of sunlight and darkness are equal. The Spring Equinox is known as “Ostara” in the Celtic lands and as “Eostre” – from which we get the word “Easter” – in old English after the goddess Ostern who ruled over this day.
The equinox is a metaphor for the balance of light and darkness in our individual lives. I don’t mean by this the equilibrium between joy and sorrow as might first seem implied. What I mean by the equinoctial life is recognizing the shadow side of our being and the role it has to play in who we are.
We all have a persona, what we would like to be and how we wish to be seen by the world. “Persona” is a Latin word that literally means “mask”. We put on many masks that we wear depending upon the situation. We take on our persona growing up and learning how to live in the world. Putting it another way, we act so as to give the world what we think it wants.
Masking ourselves often results in giving up primal and natural instincts, desires, and talents that are our birthright. Actually, we don’t give them up; they are repressed into the subliminal psyche. This is our shadow self of repressed ideas, instincts, impulses, wildness, and desires. Our cultural upbringing has taught us to fear the shadow self and to see it as dark. So we close it out of our consciousness, tucking it away where we won’t have to deal with it.
This is not healthy. Not only is the shadow self often the source of our authenticity – our birthright – but also a source of creative energy. We need to open the door of the shadow self and balance what we find with the public persona we present to the world.
This does not mean that we give ourselves over totally to instinct and impulse. We do still need to live in the world and get along with people after all. It is a delicate balance. But our public persona needs to be balanced with our natural primal self for us to be who we really are. We can’t be an honest part of “what everything is” unless we do. To live this way is real. Love the balance.
So what aspect of your shadow self comes to mind as you read these words? And how will you engage it in the delicate dance with the persona you present to the world?
Photo © 2015 Emm Jay Molotov, “Light and Dark Vodu part 1”, in The Alternative Spirit
Rev. Mark Gallup is a Pagan high priest, interfaith minister, spiritual seeker, mystic, and diviner of the Natural World. Mark has been a practicing Pagan for nearly 30 years. He is a graduate of the College of Wicca and Old Lore as well as being trained in Feri. Mark was ordained in 2013 as an interfaith minister by the Chaplaincy Institute of Maine. Along with his wife, Mary Gelfand, he leads Earth-centered spiritual events and classes at 1st Parish UU Church in Portland, ME.