Day One of Ostara Fasting

Today is the beginning of my fasting period as part of my Ostara celebration. For information about Ostara, refer to this blog. Tomorrow is the spring equinox and the Ostara sabbat, although many practitioners are doing their rituals tonight for practicality purposes. I am currently a solitary practitioner, meaning I create and celebrate my own rituals. I feel that fasting is an important part of bringing the winter season to an end and celebrating the rebirth of our planet in springtime. Fasting is a purification ritual done in virtually every religion in the world. There are misconceptions about fasting though, the biggest being that the person starves themselves by consuming nothing at all. This is not the case. Some go to that extreme but most do not.

In my case, as part of celebrating Ostara, I’m limiting my diet to natural spring/summer foods in order to cleanse myself of the impurities and heaviness built up during the fall/winter seasons. We eat a lot of heavy things to keep warm and we basically go into hibernation during that phase of the earth’s cycle. In my practice, the dark months are a death phase and the light months are the life phase. Fasting allows me to physically cleanse my system and prepare myself spiritually for this rebirth period in the earth’s yearly cycle. It takes discipline to deny oneself the comforting things eaten during the dark months but the outcome is a healthy jumpstart on life.

As part of my fasting, I’m limiting myself to fresh fruits and vegetables, noodles, eggs, light breads with honey, water and natural juice. I have eliminated soda, coffee, sweets like candy and cake, meat (I have not been eating most meats for a while anyway), dairy and anything that will leave me feeling heavy after eating it, including eliminating fast food from my diet. Eggs and light breads with honey are traditional foods in the celebration of Ostara and eggs can help make up for the protein lost with giving up meat. Asparagus and spinach are great vegetables at this time of year. I have been putting uncooked spinach in my salads to get all the nutritional value without tasting it much (I don’t really like the taste of spinach). I’m controlling my cravings for sweets by eating pears and grapes. Those things trick my mind into thinking I’ve eaten sugar but without having what I call the food hangover afterward. Controlling the amount of food consumed is part of fasting as well. Once you enter into a fasting period, you become acutely aware of everything going into your body and you begin to realize that many of the times you eat are simply due to boredom. I’m only eating when I feel hunger. That means I’m not snacking on potato chips, candy, etc., just because they’re sitting there looking at me.

So far the hardest part has been giving up the soda and sweets. I have been having fantasies about a frosty Dr Pepper today even though I have been working the last few weeks to significantly cut down on the amount of soda I consume. Diet or caffeine free doesn’t count either. Those things are just as bad for you as regular soda. I’ve become very aware of how much I eat in the way of sweets now that I can’t have them. A beautiful freshly frosted chocolate cupcake is the stuff of fantasy today.

Outside of fasting, the next thing you can do to prepare yourself for the rebirth of spring is to do a deep clean on your house. “Spring cleaning” has a lot to do with these practices. Sweep under your furniture, pull up the area rugs and beat the dust out of them, clear out any dead leaves on plants, dust everything, clean out your closets and make donations to needy people, begin preparing your gardens for the growing season, etc. It’s also very important to clear out any remnants of the Christmas/Yule season. Simplify your homes and bring in fresh flowers to brighten things up. All of these things are rituals in themselves that will prepare you spiritually and mentally for the upcoming seasons. If you are a real practitioner, don’t forget to set out sweets by your door tonight.

Last night I had a dream that might have been symbolic of the goddess and rebirth of the planet right now. My mother was young again and in labor, having a baby. She was wearing a long white gown and flowers in her hair. I was helping her through the labor. This was obviously not my actual mother since she is neither that young or able to have children anymore but the mother figure is the goddess. The act of being in labor is renewing life. I must have been thinking heavily about the celebration of Ostara last night when I was going to sleep!

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