Decorating Eostre’s Eggs

Many Pagans and Witches like to use natural dyes for their Eostre eggs.

     Copyright © 2002 Edain McCoy

The egg decorating and gifting custom long ago emerged in the modern West from the Teutonic traditions in which Eostre was first honored. Today, spring egg-decorating kits are numerous and inexpensive, and many adherents of the world's Christian religions decorate them in celebration of the resurrection of their savior deity, Jesus.

Many modern Pagans and Witches like to use natural dyes for their Eostre's eggs, sometimes called Ostara eggs, since Ostara is often cited as a Greek translation of Eostre's name. Natural dyes rarely produce a color as dark and rich as the commercially prepared dyes, and some finishes tend to scratch or rub off. They are derived from plants just like natural fabric dyes and, like these dyes, require more preparation and dying time than needed when using commercial dye kits. By using the materials nature provides, though, you will be coloring eggs as they were done in the past. Also, the use of natural herbs can be used to help empower specific eggs to assist with specific magickal tasks.

Decorating Eostre's Eggs.

To make your own natural dyes you will need a generous fistful of herbs or plants that produce colored stains, a small- to medium-sized saucepan, and a wooden spoon. Glass saucepans are best, as metal can become irrevocably stained by natural dyes. Place about three cups of water in the pan and allow it to come to a low boil; add the plant material and stir occasionally so that the water becomes a very deep version of your desired shade. The color the eggs take on will always be significantly paler and you may need to add, boil, strain, and repeat to get the darker shades you desire. When you have the water the shade you want, strain the plant material out of the water, return the water to the pan, and bring the water to a light simmer. Add to it a pinch of salt, a tablespoon or two of vinegar, and a couple tablespoons of cream of tartar. Mix these in well. Remove from heat, and place eggs in the dye until they attain the desired hue.

I have not personally experimented with all the dye sources listed below, but I have had experience with a great deal of them. The others I know of from contact with people who have tried them. But don't let this list limit you in any way. Playing with natural dyes is fun. Feel free to experiment with any nontoxic plant source to which you have no allergy to see how a dye made from it might turn out. Sometimes the resulting color will be a delightful surprise.

White grapesPale Yellow
Carrot topsYellow
Vanilla ExtractYellow Orange
Daffodil BlossomsYellow Green
Orris RootRusty Orange
PaprikaOrange Brown
Madder RootRed
BlackberriesRed Violet
Red CabbageRobin's Egg Blue
Iris BlossomsPinkish Blue
BlackberriesRed Violet
Black RaspberriesBlue
BeetsBlue Violet
MulberriesBlue Violet
Decorating Eostre's Eggs.

The symbolic image of the egg is almost as important as its organic aspect, so don't overlook using "eggs" crafted from wood, foam, or plastic. All can be painted with nontoxic watercolor or acrylic paints or covered with seasonal decals. You may decorate eggs with faces, symbols, or any other idea that captures your fancy. With a few trinkets or decorative items found in craft stores, and some school glue, you can add sequins, beads, fake gemstones, glitter, or feathering to make Ostara eggs say just how you feel about the season, your goddess and god, or about the person to whom you will be offering them.

Above all else, bear in mind that there is no wrong way to decorate your Ostara eggs. If they appeal to you as symbols of the season, that's all that matters. However, you may want to keep in mind as you decorate that the colors you choose have meaning in both the archetypical and magickal sense. 

Yellow • This is the color of creativity, mind power, intellectual pursuits, communication, and the solar plexus region of the body. It is also associated with the sun and with egg yolks.

Orange • Orange is another solar color. It is used in spells for attraction and friendship. Spells for willpower often use orange, as this is the color of the navel-area energy center, called a chakra, the area in the body governing personal desire and drive.

Red • Red is the color of blood, and this fact links it symbolically with the cycles of life, death, and rebirth. In the Greek Orthodox Church, eggs dyed deep red are used to decorate altars in homes and churches, and are given away as gifts after the traditional Easter Eve church service. The Druid priests of the Celtic tribes were reputed to have used red eggs in a similar manner. Red is also the color of desire, courage, lust, sexuality, war, and strength, and represents the womb blood of the Mother Goddess from which all things are born.

Green • This is the color of the Earth Mother in spring and summer. It represents abundance, prosperity, personal appearance, and fertility. Spells to neutralize difficult situations or induce calm often employ green. Green is linked to the energy center around the heart, so it's a natural that spells for love of all types work well under green's influence.

Blue • Blue represents sleep and dreams, peace and healing, and fidelity and unity, and is frequently employed in spells for dream magick and astral projection. Its paler shades are often associated with the coming of spring and with virgin goddesses.

Violet • This is the color of intense spirituality, metaphysical mysteries, deep sleep, the healing of serious illnesses, the uncovering of past lives, and of communicating with higher-level beings. This is also the color of the crown chakra of the body, which is activated when we seek a connection with the divine.

White • White is used in healing and purification spells and rituals. It is always perfect as an all-purpose color substitute when no other color feels quite right.

Brown • Brown represents the Earth and its animals, and is often used in connection with stone magick to help the inner self connect to the rhythms and energies of the Earth.

Black· Contrary to its reputation, black is not a color of evil or negativity. It represents mysteries, voids, and the Crone Goddess, and is used in spells to absorb and dispel negative influences. Though not a popular Ostara color, black should never be summarily dismissed as a magickal color choice when decorating eggs for spells or ritual. Even though it is associated with death in the West, it is symbolic of life in many parts of the East-and it should be remembered at Ostara that new life may only come from death, be it physical or metaphoric.

Pink • Like all pastels, pink is associated with spring. It is used primarily in spells and rituals for household peace and romantic love.

Silver • Silver represents the moon, the Goddess, psychicism, and the inner self.

Gold· Gold can represent the solar deities, both male and female. It is also used in summer festivals, in rituals to honor the sun, and in spells for wealth and employment.

This and More Here:

Ostara by Edain McCoy.

Embrace Ostara as a point of balance in your life, a moment in time where both dark and light and night and day are in harmony before the light is victorious and carries us on to the bounty of summer pleasures. Ostara is packed with rituals, spells, recipes, crafts, and customs to celebrate the awakening earth.

This delightful guidebook will help you deepen your understanding of the spiritual aspects of this ancient spring holiday, and discover new ideas for expressing that spirituality.

Ostara: Customs, Spells & Rituals for the Rites of Spring (Holiday Series) by Edain McCoy.

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