Ostara
Partners Joe Longo and Craig Sloan of Blu Lotus, show off the fairy statues under their purple and pink lit tree, in preparation for Ostara, which will be March 20. The tree is the altar for their Church Street shop.
DEBORAH ANN TRIPOLDI/STAFF

By DEBORAH ANN TRIPOLDI
tripoldi@montclairlocal.news

Montclair resident Joe Longo, co-owner of Blu Lotus on Church Street, intends to balance a raw egg at precisely 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, March 20. Tuesday is the Spring Equinox, also known as Ostara or Alban Eilir (Light of the Earth) in the Druid and Pagan traditions.

It is a customary tradition to try and balance an egg in an upright position on the Spring Equinox. The egg’s ability to stand upright is possible due to the earth’s position with the sun at that time on that day. The equinox is the balance point between day and night and is therefore is regarded as a time to balance our own lives.

An egg balanced at the Spring Equinox
COURTESY JOE LONGO, CO-OWNER BLU LOTUS

“It does stand up for spring,”  said co-owner and partner Craig Sloan.

Longo reveals a trick: “A room temperature egg works much better.”

Many Christian symbols have Pagan roots. In the Druid tradition, a life-giving symbol of Alban Eilir, is a hare protecting an egg. In addition to eggs and bunnies, other adopted symbols are chicks and ducklings, which all represent new life. Pagans also color eggs for the holiday, which falls between Imbolc Feb. 2 and Beltane May 1.

A symbolic plant of Celtic Druidry’s Ostara is the shamrock, linked to St. Patrick’s Day, which falls only a few days before the equinox.

“At home we are gardeners. We love to start planting. Start indoors and do something the day of Ostara, seeds or herbal. I like to grow my own herbs such as passion flower, skull cap and peppermint. We bring bulbs in the house: hyacinths, daffodils, crocus and tulips,” Sloan said.

The foods for Ostara are also similar to traditional Easter meals. Sloan will be cooking a ham, stuffed cabbage, deviled eggs and homemade ice cream.

“We bake hot cross buns. The hot cross bun has roots with the Celts and is an offering to Eostre. They were adopted by Christians. Because the cross could be considered Christian but it actually isn’t. At one time, they were actually banned by the church. The [equal-armed] cross represents the four seasons and the phases of the moon,” said Sloan.

Ostara
A spring goddess statue stands next to an egg. The egg is a symbol of new beginnings.
COURTESY CRAIG SLOAN, CO-OWNER BLU LOTUS

Eostre is the German Goddess of spring, from which Easter got its name.

Blu Lotus also sells more fairy statues in the spring.

“It’s more of a waking up, although they are around all year. I feel it most this time of year with creatures,” said Sloan.

Longo said, “Also you can hear the doves [at this time of year]. The Dove is my spirit animal.” It’s Sloan’s, as well.

In their home, the couple will have a statue of Gaia, the Greek Earth mother goddess.

“We will start our seeds and light candles. Go back to basics in spring. Turn on our waterfalls,” Longo said.

Sloan said it’s a time for new beginnings.

“My favorite time of the year, everything feels new. We clear out the old stuff and give it away; a spring cleaning. Also we go outside in nature. We always feed the birds,” Sloan said.

A large artificial tree in the center of the store changes colors according to the season and holidays.

“Pink and purple for the cherry blossoms, until May and then green for Beltane,” Sloan said.

         Ostara Celebrations

Ostara
Spring Goddess statues sit under the tree at the shop.
COURTESY CRAIG SLOAN, CO-OWNER BLU LOTUS

Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair
67 Church St. in the Mortenson Room
Tuesday, March 20 at 7:30 p.m.
Free event, open to public.
For info: 973-744-6276
uumontclair.org

Mystic Spirit Metaphysical Shoppe
324 Bloomfield Ave.
Saturday, March 24 from 6 to 9 p.m.
Potluck meal and small fee for supplies
For info: 973-509-7155
mysticspirit.net