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Book of Shadows: As the Wheel Turns

March, 2019

Ostara – New Beginnings

My March divider is a reminder to myself to “Never Lose Your Sparkle” and I made every effort to bling the reminder as hard as I could because sometimes the mundane aspects of living actually dull my shine. It is my belief that every time I get out of bed, I am presented with the opportunity to shine; to potentially be the light that someone else sees and reflects in their own lives. Kindness is free, presenting someone with a smile is free and in March, I intend to be deliberate in passing along a lot of free smiles and kindness. I am also trying something new in my working Book of Shadows. I am trying a new dashboard idea that my friend Suzy Mesa made for me. I am using a wet erase marker on the back for reminders that I do not necessarily have to do today but need to be done in relatively short order. The dash board moves with my weeks and can be erased. But she is too cute, and I needed to share this with you!

Of course, there are always the weekly inserts for my Tarot Tracking, and each coordinate with the respective weekly layout.

March ushers in the first day of Spring, the Spring Equinox, or Ostara (whichever you celebrate) on the 20th of the month. This is a time for new beginnings, a time for fresh starts, to nourish the seeds that we planted on Imbolc. My seed has begun to emerge from the bulb, a small and happy little green sprout peeking up from the tightly closed bulb; nevertheless, there is life emerging and a healthy seed is one that is well-tended, well-watered, and well fertilized.

As a daily reminder, I speak my seed work to the bulb, I repeat it three times, and I work hard at manifesting the seed into a sprout that will eventually become a stalk, then a leaf, and, with hard work and dedication, it will produce a healthy and plump bud that will burst open with intention and volition. Spring will begin the work of manifesting the seed into the healthy harvest that I hope to bring this year. Completion. That is the work at hand for me.

Ostara also marks the day when most everything is perfectly balanced. The Spring Equinox brings balance to night and day. Darkness and Light are equal. Balance is present. The seeds are beginning to rise up from the soil, and the hopes planted at Imbolc are becoming realities. The animals are beginning to stir in their dens and readying themselves for mating. In Celtic tradition, one of the symbols of Ostara is the Hare, which is sacred to many lunar Goddesses such as Hekate, Freyja, and Holda; however, the Goddess most associated with the Hare is Eostre, the Goddess of Spring.

Another of the symbols for Ostara are eggs. The egg represents promises and new life, as well as fertility. In some traditions, the egg is symbolic of balance as well. In those traditions, it is believed that all of the energies such as male and female; God and Goddess; and light and dark, manifest as balance in the egg as the yolk and the white. The Sun God, represented by the yolk, is in balance with Maiden Goddess, the white of the egg.

There is a very special tale about the Goddess and the Hare and how the egg became a sacred item during Ostara. It goes something like this…

The Goddess was coming to the forest to visit the animals. The were all very excited for Her visit. They decided to throw Her a party and to bring Her gifts as a show of their love and respect.

(Luna Dashboard and Custom Shaker Cards by Suzy Meza.)

During the preparations for the party, the animals were excitedly running around, gathering gifts. As in any other society, there are animals who are better off than some and had greater and more opulent treasures to offer to the Goddess. The Hare seemed very excited to see the Goddess, but he knew he had nothing to offer. He hopped to his den and he looked around, but after a very harsh and cold winter, he had used all of his food sources and had nothing to offer Her. Until, that is, he noticed that he had one egg left in his den. He took that egg and he shined it and then he set about decorating that egg the best way that he knew how. He poured his heart and soul into making that egg as beautiful as he could. When it came time for the party, Hare quietly watched as the other animals approached the Goddess and laid beautiful treasures at Her feet. Hare became nervous that his egg was not going to win favor with the Goddess because it was simple, but it was all that he had, and he made it everything that he could with his decorations.

(Luna Dashboard and Custom Shaker Cards by Suzy Meza.)

So, after all of the other animals had gifted the Goddess with their opulent treasures, Hare quietly hopped forth and laid his beautiful egg at the feet of the Goddess. When the Goddess saw the egg at Her feet, She recognized Hare above all of the other animals in the forest, for they had given the Goddess only what they wanted, but Hare had given Her all that he had.

All of the animals in the forest are special to the Goddess, but none are more favored during Ostara than the Hare. In our lives, when we give of ourselves, in service to our Deities, we should be mindful to give all that we have in order to manifest in our lives those things that are in our highest and best good. As with anything else in life, we must work toward manifesting what we want in our lives by focusing on things such as light and kindness and, whenever possible, we should emulate Hare in every aspect of our lives as we strive to find the balance in our own world.

RESOURCES:

MAMBI® CHP Extension Packs

Luna Dashboard and Custom Shaker Cards by Suzy Meza.

March Monthly and Weekly Stickers by Shirley Lenhard are free at the Pagan Plannertarium.

March Cover Page – Shoot for the Stars – Recollections® “Constellations” paper pad & Miscellaneous Washi tapes:

Available at Michael’s and other craft retailers

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About the Author:

Shirley Lenhard has been a practicing Witch and a Pagan since 1983 and lives in New England with her husband. She is employed full time in the legal field and has her Masters Degree in Psychology from the University of South Florida. Shirley looks forward to living her best possible life by giving back to the Pagan Community and has created the Facebook group “Pagan Plannertarium” where she provides a safe home for fellow pagans to have discussions about their path and to get free planner stickers and layouts. Shirley is a past writer for Llewellyn Publishing and The Peace Paper.

Wreathing the Wheel

January, 2019

Tarot Journaling at the New Year

Many witches use their journals to aid in the study of divination by tracking readings from sources such as Tarot, bone throwing, scrying, and others. There are many different kinds of divination, and many ways to track these practices, but today I’m going to focus on one of the most popular: Tarot. Tracking Tarot in a bullet journal can be a very rewarding practice, as it reveals patterns which aren’t always obvious, such as “stalker cards” which follow you through several readings over a period of time, or the appearance of a card connected to a season or a timely event.

One exciting way to start a devoted Tarot journaling practice at this time of year is a New Year’s Reading. There are lots of different kinds of New Year’s Readings, but I like to design my own. I’ve been working a lot with the image of the Wheel of the Year, so for this year’s reading, I chose to do a reading based on the Wheel and the Compass. The inner compass is a bit like the cross in the Celtic Cross spread, but with three cards in the middle instead of two, to invoke a few more numerological correspondences of duality and trinity for a balanced interpretation with lots of possibilities.

You may notice that I have not included my own personal interpretations in this particular spread. I do not plan to direct an interpretation until the Sabbat in question comes to pass. This means that I’ll have to do a short ritual for reflection upon the reading, as a Sabbat practice. The year’s reading starts not at Yule, which is still covered by the monthly reading I did for 2018, but at Imbolc, at the start of February 2019. The Sabbats occur on (roughly) a seven-week cycle throughout the year, so I’ve marked out six interstitial sections via radiating lines between each pair of Sabbats. This way I can track weekly readings, and see how it all comes together as I go.

I like to draw small versions of the Major Arcana cards drawn so that they stand out (and because the codified scheme that I use for the Minor Arcana cards doesn’t work for the Major Arcana!). The way that I do it, it takes very little time and effort because the drawings are so small, but it is still a fun way to make the spread pop.

January Spread

For January, I’ve chosen associations based both on the time of year, and for my own personal healing intentions for the new year. This month, I call upon carnations, elder, and willow as green allies, as well as rose quartz and onyx for protection and healing. I also like to add the names of holidays that have some meaning to me, whether I plan to celebrate them spiritually or not. For January, these days are: New Year’s Day, Compitalia, and the Wolf Moon.

I like to write the names of the plants and stones in small script near the drawing so that I don’t get confused or forget what they’re supposed to be. If you’re still studying correspondences, this is a good way to rehearse some of those associations, and decorate your bullet journal at the same time.

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About the Author:

Sarah McMenomy is an artist and witch. Her craft incorporates herbalism, spellwork, trance, divination, auras, and more. Her work can be found at https://sarahmcmenomy.tumblr.com

Witchcrafting: Crafts for Witches

February, 2015

Get Swept Away
Merry meet!
Besom

Besoms – along with black pointy hats and cauldrons – are the three symbols most associated with witches. That was part of the reason my coven decided to have some fun with them. One full moon we adorned black hats. On another, we decorated brooms.

The idea was to personalize it while incorporating all our energies. We each began with a standard broom, a crystal, and ribbons and beads for the directions, the God and Goddess. We then exchanged offerings. I gave everyone shells and a skeleton key. Each woman chose how to incorporate the items into her broom, so no two were alike, yet each had all the same components.

We used our besoms in ritual, to cleanse a space and to define our circle. Other items were added along the way. After a while, we stopped lugging them to ritual. They were retired after there had been a significant turnover in the coven and together we each decorated a smaller broom, transferring some of the unique items.

It wasn’t long before we also stopped carrying those new, smaller brooms to ritual, and again, there has been significant turnover in the coven, but, as of yet, no talk of brooms.

Besom2

 

If this has inspired you, let me point out one thing to keep in mind. Generally, I had stored besoms with the handle down and the bristles up. But decorations – such as ribbons – seem to naturally hang down to be in place when the besom is held and used to sweep. Storing it upside down then seems to go against the flow of the decorations, so I’ve hung mine off the floor. If you find a way to bring harmony to this predicament, please do post to the comment section!

Merry part. And merry meet again.