by Gemma & Alex Hughes
The Male altar at Ostara
Ostara is considered by some as the first day of spring, a time for new beginnings, for hope and personal growth. In some traditions it is at this time that the horned god is reborn, which has been represented by the god Pan. Pan is a god of the wild and is connected with shepherds, fertility, spontaneity and music.
To represent the equinox in this time of balance, the altar decoration includes a disc representing the sun and the moon, each occupying half the circle.
The Female altar at Ostara
Ostara is the spring equinox when the day and the night are the same length. To honour this time of balance, a circle is made up of two equal halves has been placed on the altar. At the centre of the circle a sunstone and a moonstone shine brightly in harmony alongside each other.
As mother nature pulls on her spring cloak of bright new growth, birds are busy nesting and laying eggs. The nest on the altar represents this time of activity. It has been woven from ivy and the eggshells were found whilst out walking, honouring the birds without taking anything from them.
by Gemma & Alex Hughes
The Male altar at Yule
The traditional feasting of yule is represented in the light box scene surrounded by mistletoe and holly. This greenery represents life in these dark days indicating good things to come and some traditions believe mistletoe represents / enhances male fertility.
The Female altar at Yule
Mistletoe is believed by some to have healing and protective qualities, and for this reason it adorns the head of the goddess statue. This plant has long been revered by Druids and other traditions as magical and sacred, borne between the earth and the heavens. During the cold winter months its vibrant green leaves and dazzling white berries grow in the bows of leafless trees. Many people hang mistletoe in their home all year round to ward off evils spirits, burning the old sprig and replacing it with a new one each Yule.
The winter solstice is not only the shortest day but also the longest night. In celebration of the night the spiral doll honours the moon goddess. Above her head she holds a moonstone and on her back the dark swirls represent the shadows on the other side of the moon.
The smudge fan represents the element of air, which Is honoured at this time of year by the Wheel of Avalon goddess tradition.