With very little room and surface area in my house for an altar, the most logical place for me is my hearth. This also doubles as my cauldron as I’m always burning written intentions, activating them by fire. Of course this won’t be practical for everyone, especially those with small children and pets, and I must admit, it does mean a lot of bending down so for those with dodgy knees, it’s probably not the best location, but it works for me. Currently my hearth altar is decorated with Ostara offerings and paraphernalia. My hare figurines reside here all year long, but especially relevant now during Ostara.
Ostara is the goddess of Spring. She is the Maiden Goddess, full of potential, representing the opportunity of growth and rebirth after the stagnation of winter and is often pictured as having a hare’s head and shoulders or holding a hare. There are several different translations of the meaning of her name: East, dawn and morning light indicating the returning warmth of the sun's rays and the lengthening days. In Germany her warm nature is still marked by bonfires lit at dawn on the Spring Equinox. The Goddess was also known as Eostre and is the root of the English words for both Easter and oestrogen.
The nocturnal hare is closely associated with the moon which dies every morning and is resurrected every evening, also represents the rebirth of nature in Spring. Both the moon and the hare were believed to die daily in order to be reborn - thus the Hare is a symbol of immortality. It is also a major symbol for fertility and abundance as the hare can conceive while pregnant.
Persian New Year, known as Nowruz, is also celebrated on the equinox and marks the arrival of Spring. Its roots lie in Zoroastrianism, believed to be the oldest religion in the world, with possible roots dating back to the 2nd millennium BCE. The core teachings of Zoroastrianism include: Following the threefold path of Asha: Humata, Hūxta, Huvarshta (literally translated: 'good thoughts, good words, good deeds'). Typically, before the arrival of Nowruz, family members gather around the Haft-sin table and await the exact moment of the March equinox to celebrate the New Year.
The Haft-sin table is traditionally decorated with painted eggs, wheatgrass, hyacinths, coins, goldfish, a bowl of water, candles and confectioneries and a mirror. These represent the four elements of fire, earth, water and air and the three life forms of humans, animals and plants.