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Fort Bliss, TX — The Fort Bliss Open Circle celebrated Ostara, also known as the Spring Equinox, March 17, at the Old Fort Bliss Community Garden. The group, together with members of the El Paso and Las Cruces communities, gathered to welcome spring, bless the earth and plant some seeds.
Ostara is just one of the names applied to the celebration of the spring equinox. This is also the same time of year as the Christian Easter celebration, and in the Jewish faith, Passover. For early Pagans in the Germanic countries, this was a time to celebrate planting and the beginning of a new planting season.
The group began the ceremony by giving honors to Mother Earth and Father Sun, blessing the ground and making a joyful noise to wake the garden from its winter slumber. Afterward, everyone participated in planting seeds and enjoyed a barbecue.
“We need a lot more of these types of events,” said Cliff Van Horn, a member of the Fort Bliss pagan community. “There are a lot more pagans in the military than people realize and more coming in each year. These kinds of celebrations let them know there is a community to support them.”
Van Horn, together with his wife Denise and their children, spent the afternoon working in the garden and enjoying the company of local pagans.
“The kids had a good time, we all did,” said Denise Van Horn. “It was such a beautiful day to spend time getting dirty in a garden.”
The Fort Bliss Open Circle was established in October 2011 as a place for military pagans and their families to come and learn about their paths and celebrate the sabbats. The group meets every Thursday in Bldg. 440 at 7 p.m.; anyone is welcome to attend. To learn more, contact the Fort Bliss Chaplains Office at 568-1519.
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