Ostara

Nelland Living

April, 2014

Ostara Fashion: “The Wicked Witch Of The East”

But not the one from Wizard Of Oz! This one comes straight from my imagination, and is a combination of an Ostara witch and a Matushka from Russia.

My quest for the perfect garderobe continues. I´m in the process of designing and making five outfits for each Sabbat. Smart enough to go to work in, but at the same time so comfortable to throw a cartwheel in. I like to get dressed in the morning, and then forget all about the whole existence of clothes for the day! And just stay fabulous with no further effort… =)

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  This witch combines the black from the common witch´s outfit, and combines it with the brightly colored floral prints of a Matushka doll´s traditional outfit.

I still have this black woollen scarf with colorful flowers printed on it, I got as a child on a holiday trip to the Black Sea in (then) The Soviet Union. It is a bit itchy, so I don´t really wear it, but it always reminds me of the super-sweet and soft ice cream I got there, and the most magnificent circus show I´ve ever seen.

  To me Russia represents a great, but hidden, wealth of cultural creativity and wisdom. I am intrigued by it, and hope one day to get a closer look.

This is as long a dress I can wear. For practicality´s sake that is. The hem ends right at the knees. Any longer, and I would stumple on it if/when kneeling down. The print of the fabric is just perfect for the purpose. The shoes I´m not yet satisfied with, but for now ordinary combat boots will have to do. Man, I wish I could make shoes too!

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  If it gets too hot for the long sleeves, I can simply take them off. I made them removable, like a mini-bolero. Super easy and practical. Now the top is more colorful, which is nice for sunny days.  Originally I designed a ruffle to circle the hemline. But after finding this awesome fabric I decided to leave it out, and instead add black lace. Wait, I´ll show you better…

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  This little detail gives the whole garment a nice finished look.

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  Of all the Sabbats Ostara is the most playful to me. This is the time when a year is at it´s child state, if I can put it that way. Imbolc is for babies and Beltane for teenagers.
So in order to make this whole outfit more fun, and less grown-up, I want to wear my Matushka jewelry I got some years back. They should bring a smile to bypasser´s face, and thus create a “happy bubble” around me. Quoting my motto: “The purpose of life is to be happy!”

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  What a nice weather for a ride on the broom! I´ll go grab mine, and a pot of green tea (but not a black cat, I´m allergic to cats  =) , and whish off for a round of fun now.
Happy Easter!

Ostara Correspondences

March, 2014

(Oh-star-ah) – Lesser Sabbat – Spring/Vernal Equinox, March 20-21st – when the Sun enters Ares

Other Names: Ostre, Oestre, Eostre, Rites of Spring, Eostra’s Day, Lady Day, First Day of Spring, Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, Alban Eiler, Bacchanalia, Mean Earraigh, Pasch, Caisg, Pess

Date: Spring Equinox (March 20-22 in Northern Hemisphere) or when the Sun is 1 degree Aries.

Symbolism: The beginning of spring, new life and rebirth, the God and Goddess in Their youth, balance, fertility

Goddesses: all love, virgin, and fertility Goddesses; Anna Perenna (Roman), Aphrodite (Greek), Astarte (Canaanite, Persia, GrecoRoman), Athena (Greek), Cybele (Greco-Roman), Blodeuwedd, Eostre (Saxon Goddess of Fertility), Flidais (Irish), Gaia (Greek), Hera, Ishtar (Assyro-Babylonian), Isis (Egyptian), Libera (Roman), Minerva (Roman), The Muses (Greek), Persephone (Greek), Renpet (Egyptian), Venus (Roman), Ostara (the German Goddess of Fertility), Kore, Maiden, Isis, Youthful Goddesses. Faerie Queen, Lady of the Lake(Welsh-Cornish), the Green Goddess

Gods: all love, song & dance, and fertility Gods; Adonis (Greek), Attis (Greco-Roman), Cernunnos (Celtic), The Great Horned God (European), Liber (Roman), Mars (Roman), Mithras (Persian), Odin (Norse), Osiris (Egyptian), Thoth, Pan (Greek), the Green Man, Hare, Youthful Gods, Warrior Gods, Taliesin, Lord of the Greenwood (English), Dagda(Irish),Adonis (Greek)

Symbols: Eggs, rabbits, similar to easter symbols.

Purpose: Plant and animal fertility, sowing

Meaning: The God comes of age, sexual union of the Lord & Lady, sprouting, greening, balance of light and dark

Essence: Strength, birthing, completion, power, love, sexuality, embodiment of spirit, fertility, opening, beginning

Customs: Wearing green, new clothes, celtic bird festival, egg baskets coloring eggs, collecting birds eggs, bird watching, egg hunts, starting new projects, spring planting

Foods: Hard-boiled eggs, honey cakes, fresh seasonal fruits, milk punch, leafy green vegetables, dairy foods, apples, nuts, flower dishes, sprouts, fish, maple sugar candies, hot cross buns, sweet breads, milk, punch, egg drinks

Plants & Herbs: Acorn, celandine, cinquefoil, crocus, daffodil, dogwood, Easter lily, Irish Moss, ginger, hyssop, linden, strawberry, gorse, honeysuckle, iris, jasmine, jonquils, narcissus, olive, peony, rose, tansy, violets, woodruff and all spring flowers

Incense and oils: African violet, jasmine, rose, strawberry, lotus, magnolia, ginger, sage lavender, narcissus, broom

Colors: Light green, lemon yellow, pale pink, pastels, gold, grass green, robin’s egg blue, lemon yellow.

Stones: Amethyst, aquamarine, rose quartz, moonstone, bloodstone, red jasper

Animals and Mythical Beasts: Rabbits/Easter bunny, snakes, pegasus, unicorns, chicks, swallows, merpeople

Decorations: Daffodils, tulips, violet, iris, narcissus, any spring flowers, eggs, butterflies, cocoons

Spell/Ritual Work: Garden/plant blessings, seed blessing, spellcrafting, balance, growth, communication, invention, new growth, new projects

Planetary Ruler: Mars

Element: Air

Gender: Male

Threshold: Dawn

Witchcrafting: Crafts for Witches

March, 2014

Eggs Witchcrafting: Crafts for Witches

 

“Egg”ads!

 

Merry meet.

 

I am calling this column Witchcrafting because it’s going to be about crafts connected to the Craft.

 

Since Ostara occurs March 20 or 21, depending on your location, this first column will be about a key symbol: eggs.

 

The egg – as well as all seeds – contains the promise of new life. It is a potent symbol of fertility because it contains the power to become something: a bird, a plant, a turtle, a tree. Eggs are a symbol of possibilities, wishes, abundance and prosperity.

On Ostara, they are used as decorations, for offerings, as food and in magic.

Eggs2 Witchcrafting: Crafts for Witches

I tend to work with hardboiled eggs and colors from nature like turmeric for yellow, red cabbage for blue and beets for pink. Grass or spinach is said to yield green; red wine supposedly produces a deep purple color; and red onion skins, red. Give yourself permission to experiment.

 

Eggs – real, wooden or plastic – can be decorated with symbols, words or designs using Sharpies, stickers or any of a dozen other methods. Perhaps label them with intentions, goals and desires that you want to hatch. Let your imagination soar. Remember, it’s all about intent, not about being beautiful enough for a magazine spread.

 

If the eggs are real (raw or hardboiled), they can be planted in the ground as part of a ritual and become an offering that will eventually be transformed by the earth.

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Last year, I saved carefully cracked egg shells and poked a small hole in the bottom of each. In circle, we filled them with dirt, infused seeds with our intentions and planted them in the egg. An egg carton neatly held them on the windowsill as they grew. When it’s time to move them to the garden, crush the shell and either remove it or place it in the ground with the plant.

 

Shells that have had the egg blown out of them can be used to make a wreath. You might consider writing what you would like to manifest on small slips of paper, and then rolling one up tight and inserting it into the eggshell. Keep it on your altar while you give yourself permission to have the desire, and be amazed at the ways the Goddess grants you your wish. (Remember to be careful what you wish for.)

 

Candles can also be made in egg shells. For a wick, try using a birthday candle that has been cut short to fit. Egg cups become candle sticks.

 

For more options, a trip to almost any store will yield a variety of egg-shaped candies such as malted milk speckled eggs and individually-wrapped chocolate eggs. Sugar-coated almonds and jelly beans – even peanut M&M’s – come in a variety of colors and serve as respectable substitutes for eggs.

 

I like to put eggs in birds’ nests. If you don’t have a nest from nature, one can be made from shredded brown paper bags. Cover a small bowl with plastic wrap. In another bowl, mix equal parts clear glue and water. Dip handfuls of the shredded paper into the glue mixture and cover the bowl with them. Finish by pressing dry pieces of shredded paper to the outside. Let sit for 12 hours before pulling the plastic wrap off bowl and separating it from the nest of paper.

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I’ve also made nests by just forming a hunk of Spanish moss by hand, pushing aside the middle. More elaborate ones can be made by twisting natural twine around ropes of the moss. You can make a mold by turning over a bowl and wrapping tin foil around the bottom. Hot glue the moss to the outside, remove the bowl and carefully hot glue more to the inside.

 

Every Easter, my grandmother made braided rings of Sicilian sweet bread into which she put colored eggs (that cooked during baking) secured with a strip of dough. She also made more elaborate baskets when we were very young. I have seen similar recipes and am thinking about using ropes of the sweet dough to make nests for Ostara.

 

For an easier edible nest, you can make Rice Krispie Treats – substituting chow mein noodles for the cereal – and pressing them into large muffin tins or custard dishes, leaving the center open. One tip I read for handling the messy mixture is to work with your hands inside lightly greased plastic baggies.

I have seen recipes for making nests from shredded phyllo pastry, and a suggestion to use the vermicelli that comes packaged in the shape of a nest, brushing them with honey and melted butter before eating.

 

I think if I had an edible nest, I’d place a few candy eggs inside and use it for cakes and ale.

 

Merry part.

And merry meet again.

Ostara Correspondences

March, 2013

Ostara Ostara Correspondences

 

(Oh-star-ah) – Lesser Sabbat – Spring/Vernal Equinox, March 20-21st – when the Sun enters Ares

Other Names: Ostre, Oestre, Eostre, Rites of Spring, Eostra’s Day, Lady Day, First Day of Spring, Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, Alban Eiler, Bacchanalia, Mean Earraigh, Pasch, Caisg, Pess

Date: Spring Equinox (March 20-22 in Northern Hemisphere) or when the Sun is 1 degree Aries.

Symbolism: The beginning of spring, new life and rebirth, the God and Goddess in Their youth, balance, fertility

Goddesses: all love, virgin, and fertility Goddesses; Anna Perenna (Roman), Aphrodite (Greek), Astarte (Canaanite, Persia, GrecoRoman), Athena (Greek), Cybele (Greco-Roman), Blodeuwedd, Eostre (Saxon Goddess of Fertility), Flidais (Irish), Gaia (Greek), Hera, Ishtar (Assyro-Babylonian), Isis (Egyptian), Libera (Roman), Minerva (Roman), The Muses (Greek), Persephone (Greek), Renpet (Egyptian), Venus (Roman), Ostara (the German Goddess of Fertility), Kore, Maiden, Isis, Youthful Goddesses. Faerie Queen, Lady of the Lake(Welsh-Cornish), the Green Goddess

Gods: all love, song & dance, and fertility Gods; Adonis (Greek), Attis (Greco-Roman), Cernunnos (Celtic), The Great Horned God (European), Liber (Roman), Mars (Roman), Mithras (Persian), Odin (Norse), Osiris (Egyptian), Thoth, Pan (Greek), the Green Man, Hare, Youthful Gods, Warrior Gods, Taliesin, Lord of the Greenwood (English), Dagda(Irish),Adonis (Greek)

Symbols: Eggs, rabbits, similar to easter symbols.

Purpose: Plant and animal fertility, sowing

Meaning: The God comes of age, sexual union of the Lord & Lady, sprouting, greening, balance of light and dark

Essence: Strength, birthing, completion, power, love, sexuality, embodiment of spirit, fertility, opening, beginning

Customs: Wearing green, new clothes, celtic bird festival, egg baskets coloring eggs, collecting birds eggs, bird watching, egg hunts, starting new projects, spring planting

Foods: Hard-boiled eggs, honey cakes, fresh seasonal fruits, milk punch, leafy green vegetables, dairy foods, apples, nuts, flower dishes, sprouts, fish, maple sugar candies, hot cross buns, sweet breads, milk, punch, egg drinks

Plants & Herbs: Acorn, celandine, cinquefoil, crocus, daffodil, dogwood, Easter lily, Irish Moss, ginger, hyssop, linden, strawberry, gorse, honeysuckle, iris, jasmine, jonquils, narcissus, olive, peony, rose, tansy, violets, woodruff and all spring flowers

Incense and oils: African violet, jasmine, rose, strawberry, lotus, magnolia, ginger, sage lavender, narcissus, broom

Colors: Light green, lemon yellow, pale pink, pastels, gold, grass green, robin’s egg blue, lemon yellow.

Stones: Amethyst, aquamarine, rose quartz, moonstone, bloodstone, red jasper

Animals and Mythical Beasts: Rabbits/Easter bunny, snakes, pegasus, unicorns, chicks, swallows, merpeople

Decorations: Daffodils, tulips, violet, iris, narcissus, any spring flowers, eggs, butterflies, cocoons

Spell/Ritual Work: Garden/plant blessings, seed blessing, spellcrafting, balance, growth, communication, invention, new growth, new projects

Planetary Ruler: Mars

Element: Air

Gender: Male

Threshold: Dawn

Rayne’s Ritual Way

March, 2012

Ostara Ritual

Lore:

The Spring Equinox is considered the start of spring; flowers begin to blossom and bloom. And color returns to the Earth. Ostara is one of the only two days in the year when day and night are equal. Because of this day of symmetry, balance is one of the many magical themes for this Sabbat. All about potential: the potential for balance above and below, and the potential for growth, renewal and the possibility of new starts.

Incense:

Cinnamon

Rosemary

Copal Resin

Mullein

Benzoin

Thyme

Agrimony

Spearmint

Lemon grass

Myrrh gum resin

Hyssop

Colors:

Pastels

Blues

Pinks

Yellows

Tools:

Salt

Water

Sage

Athame

Purpose:

Clear away the debris and stagnant energy left over from the cold dark months prepare mentally, physically, spiritually, for a fresh start in the spring. Clearing away the new.

Ritual:

Do whatever cleansing you would like (smudging with sage, sweeping with a besom, ringing of bells, infusion of herbal water) Light a bonfire. Set up the altar. Cleanse yourself and your space, and cast your circle, and call the quarters.

Quarter Call:

Raise your hands to the East Watchtower, say, “Creatures of Air, Spirits of the East I summon thee and ask that you guard the circle with the gentleness of a breath, and the fierce winds of a hurricane. Walk to the South, say, “Creatures of Fire, Spirits of the South I summon thee and ask that you protect the circle with the warmth of a candles flame and the scorch of the sun’s rays. Walk to the West, say, “Creatures of Water, Spirits of the West I summon thee and ask that you wash us a new like the ocean’s waves or the soft touch of a summer’s rain. Walk to the North, say, “Creatures of Earth, Spirits of the North I summon thee and ask that you ground us in the never moving spirit of the Great Oak, and the forever adapting land on which we live. Walk to the altar, say, “Blessed Spirit fill our circle with your presence, with your love, with your guidance, watch over us as we give our thanks to the Earth, and as we align ourselves to your energy. Be with us now, So mote it be.

*As you invoke each element light your candle.*

Goddess Invocation:

Great Demeter, Goddess of the fertile Earth, I ask that you join us today, and as we open ourselves to the possibilities that surround us. Blessed Mother fill us with your healing love, with the energy to grow and change.  Welcome, and Blessed Be. Goddess Persephone, Goddess of Transformation I ask you to join us today, Guide us along our path so that we may be born again, that we may let go of our fears and embrace our dreams; that we may rise like a phoenix from the ashes with a fresh start.

Light the Goddess candle.

Suggested Spellwork would include: Releasing magic, Here’s an example.

Gather your incense mix in your palms as you walk around your bonfire. Say:

“Pains of the past be now cleansed from our hearts, away we send.

By the glow of the fire and scorching flame, break the bonds, break our chains.

By the flow of the water and the oceans gaze, lead us through the darkest haze.

By the shift of the air and the heavenly gale on the winds of a dove our grief away sail.

By the strength of the earth and the core of the land we are always changing following the sands.

And by the Spirit, the cherished divine we are forever changing following the sands.”

Throw your incense into the fire.

Thanking the Quarters:

Walk to the North, say, “Spirits of the Earth we thank you for grounding us, stay if you will go if you must in perfect love and perfect trust So mote it be.” Walk to the West, say, “Spirits of the West we thank you for washing our Spirits new stay if you will go if you must in perfect love and perfect trust So mote it be.” Walk to the South, say, “Spirits of the South thank you for protecting us, stay if you will go if you must in perfect love and perfect trust So mote it be.” Walk to the East, say, “Spirits of the East thank you guarding our circle, stay if you will go if you must in perfect love and perfect trust So mote it be.” Walk to the altar, say, Blessed Spirit thank you for opening our hearts to your Divine love, to your guidance, as we change, and grow, may we always look within and see your eternal warmth and light. Stay with us forever.”

Circle Closing:

For this Sabbat imagine the circle’s energy swirling and instead of going back into the Earth imagine it going into your heart, anytime you need guidance you can search within for that divine energy that you cast.

Blessed Be.

It’s always important to remember:

**The confines of ritual are as diverse as the Witch performing within the circle. For this reason it’s important to have an open mind as well as Spirit when learning, planning, constructing, and completing the intentions of a ritual. Tools are the most flexible thing in Magic, and ritual tools are of course no exception. An index finger can serve as a wand, a door knob as an athame. The expanse of the mind is practically limitless when it comes to your tools. Never think that a journal can’t stand as a book of shadows, a drawing as a pentacle. The possibilities are infinite.**

Ostara Correspondences

March, 2012

(Oh-star-ah) – Lesser Sabbat – Spring/Vernal Equinox, March 20-21st – when the Sun enters Ares

Other Names: Ostre, Oestre, Eostre, Rites of Spring, Eostra’s Day, Lady Day, First Day of Spring, Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, Alban Eiler, Bacchanalia, Mean Earraigh, Pasch, Caisg, Pess

Date: Spring Equinox (March 20-22 in Northern Hemisphere) or when the Sun is 1 degree Aries.

Symbolism: The beginning of spring, new life and rebirth, the God and Goddess in Their youth, balance, fertility

Goddesses: all love, virgin, and fertility Goddesses; Anna Perenna (Roman), Aphrodite (Greek), Astarte (Canaanite, Persia, GrecoRoman), Athena (Greek), Cybele (Greco-Roman), Blodeuwedd, Eostre (Saxon Goddess of Fertility), Flidais (Irish), Gaia (Greek), Hera, Ishtar (Assyro-Babylonian), Isis (Egyptian), Libera (Roman), Minerva (Roman), The Muses (Greek), Persephone (Greek), Renpet (Egyptian), Venus (Roman), Ostara (the German Goddess of Fertility), Kore, Maiden, Isis, Youthful Goddesses. Faerie Queen, Lady of the Lake(Welsh-Cornish), the Green Goddess

Gods: all love, song & dance, and fertility Gods; Adonis (Greek), Attis (Greco-Roman), Cernunnos (Celtic), The Great Horned God (European), Liber (Roman), Mars (Roman), Mithras (Persian), Odin (Norse), Osiris (Egyptian), Thoth, Pan (Greek), the Green Man, Hare, Youthful Gods, Warrior Gods, Taliesin, Lord of the Greenwood (English), Dagda(Irish),Adonis (Greek)

Symbols: Eggs, rabbits, similar to easter symbols.

Purpose: Plant and animal fertility, sowing

Meaning: The God comes of age, sexual union of the Lord & Lady, sprouting, greening, balance of light and dark

Essence: Strength, birthing, completion, power, love, sexuality, embodiment of spirit, fertility, opening, beginning

Customs: Wearing green, new clothes, celtic bird festival, egg baskets coloring eggs, collecting birds eggs, bird watching, egg hunts, starting new projects, spring planting

Foods: Hard-boiled eggs, honey cakes, fresh seasonal fruits, milk punch, leafy green vegetables, dairy foods, apples, nuts, flower dishes, sprouts, fish, maple sugar candies, hot cross buns, sweet breads, milk, punch, egg drinks

Plants & Herbs: Acorn, celandine, cinquefoil, crocus, daffodil, dogwood, Easter lily, Irish Moss, ginger, hyssop, linden, strawberry, gorse, honeysuckle, iris, jasmine, jonquils, narcissus, olive, peony, rose, tansy, violets, woodruff and all spring flowers

Incense and oils: African violet, jasmine, rose, strawberry, lotus, magnolia, ginger, sage lavender, narcissus, broom

Colors: Light green, lemon yellow, pale pink, pastels, gold, grass green, robin’s egg blue, lemon yellow.

Stones: Amethyst, aquamarine, rose quartz, moonstone, bloodstone, red jasper

Animals and Mythical Beasts: Rabbits/Easter bunny, snakes, pegasus, unicorns, chicks, swallows, merpeople

Decorations: Daffodils, tulips, violet, iris, narcissus, any spring flowers, eggs, butterflies, cocoons

Spell/Ritual Work: Garden/plant blessings, seed blessing, spellcrafting, balance, growth, communication, invention, new growth, new projects

Planetary Ruler: Mars

Element: Air

Gender: Male

Threshold: Dawn

Meditation Moment

March, 2012

Renewing Your Bountiful Garden, an Ostara Meditation by Spirit Healer

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Which dreams will sprout for you on this coming Ostara, the Spring Equinox?  Which seeds of hope did you plant in 2011, then water with your emotions, warm with your passion, and protect with the darkness in the soft soil of silence?

At the Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, the balance shifts from internal to external, from preparation to action.  Eggs are hatching; butterflies breaking from their cocoons; plants celebrating the return of warmth with vibrant greens and flowers of every color.

This meditation will help you nurture those goals and dreams you wish to revive or to help thrive in 2012.

As always, make sure you are comfortable and that you have twenty minutes of undisturbed time.  Record this meditation or have someone read it aloud if you like.  Consider keeping a notebook and writing tool nearby, or a file open on your computer for jotting down any ideas of messages that come to you during this meditation.

In this quiet still moment, imagine a soothing rain of blue light washing away all tension from your space and your body.  The light purifies and calms every thing it touches, saturating you with peace.

All worry and distraction flows from your mind.  With each slow, deep breath you allow the light of peace into your body, where it cleanses and nourishes you.

Your neck and shoulders relax.

Your arms, wrists, hands, and fingers stretch and relax.

Your back and tummy relax.

Your hips roll into a stretch, then relax.

You stretch your thighs and calves, rotating your ankles, pointing and flexing your toes, and allow your legs and feet and your entire being to relax.

You are the fertile soil, the rich, organic earth, warmed by the radiance of our sun star, cooled and cleansed by the rain and the fog.

Inside you are the seeds of your hopes, your dreams, your goals.

There are bulbs and roots of dreams that spring forth every year, and there are tiny seeds of new ideas carried to you on the winds of inspiration and communication.

Each seed has its own color, texture, shape, and size.  Each contains the potential to grow into the tiniest flower or the most gargantuan tree.

But you only have enough resources within you to nourish a few dreams at a time.

How many new seeds can you nourish this season?

Which seedlings have already sprouted?

What kinds of trees and bushes and vines and flowers already feed from your abundant Source?

Some of your dreams have grown over the years and become self-sustaining.  Their fruits and leaves return to you.  How do they nourish you?

Bless them with your awareness and gratitude.

Some dreams need more time to germinate and can wait another season or so.

Absorb them back into the dark safety of your subconscious, with loving acceptance.

Some dreams are ready to sprout.  Spend a few moments exploring each of these.

How do they look, smell, taste, sound, feel?

Offer these new dreams the nourishment of your love and passion.

When you feel ready, choose a dream to follow up through the fertile ground of your being, growing, reaching for the rejuvenating radiance of the sun.

The sun warms your feet, your legs, your knees, your thighs.

The sun warms your hips, your belly, your hands, wrists, and arms.

The sun warms your shoulders, your neck, your face, and your hair.

Bask in that warmth until you feel energized and ready, then open your eyes.

Welcome back.

Now, write down anything that came to you during this meditation.

Then go eat or drink something with the intention of nourishing and grounding yourself, if you feel the need to.  May the seeds of your dreams grow and thrive in the coming weeks and months, and may your harvest come Fall be rich and bountiful.

Rites and Rituals

March, 2011

Ostara and the Quickening Moon, the Magick of Spring

“I remember that I kissed you,

I kissed you as dawn kissed the day.

Sweet dew wet your lips,

You took my breath away.

The Earth trembled beneath our touch,

The forest moaned with our lust,

as I kissed you so endlessly.

And the Wheel turns, can you feel the fire burn inside?

Do you hear the wind sing our names,

of a destiny that cannot be changed.

As it is willed, so is it done,

our dance is now begun,

when the Moon is kissed by the Sun.”

Ostara, the Vernal Equinox, is the place upon the Wheel where the magick of Water and that of Fire, truly begin to embrace. It is the moment where the great dance, first softly whispered at Imbolc, begins to surrender within the passion of Spring’s song. These are Nature’s days of seemingly reckless abandon as the forces of shadow and light spectacularly crash upon each other, casting a stunning display of color across the skies. Dark rain laden clouds break against the mountain’s flanks just before an ever more determined Sun tears them asunder with shafts of brilliant light. Rainbows, conjured from this eternal battle for dominance, are born over forest and field alike. I stand in the midst of this inspiring chaos and I open myself to Nature’s wonder. I do my best to mimic the great trees beside me, reaching above and below to bridge the worlds. The energy present, as old as the stars, yet reborn within this moment, now rains down over my outstretched spirit while I breathe with the trees. Beneath my feet, all that was returned by Fall’s touch and diminished through Winter’s hold, now vibrates with anticipation of the transformation summoned as the great cauldron of Spring is vigorously stirred. From the above and the below these energies embrace and entwine. Their spell of warm and wet joined, spreads like an unseen mist, drifting over forest and field, intoxicating all it touches with the passionate, magick of life. With my arms outspread, my hands pressed against the old skin of the two cedars towering over me on either side, I gently move my feet until I feel a connection with the damp earth. Slowly and deeply I breathe. Three breaths up from the Earth below, three breaths down from the far reaches above and finally, three breaths to connect  the above and below with my core. The energies present begin to move through me as I do my best to stand as a doorway, open, yielding my ego to Nature’s flow. The rush of Spring fills my spirit, carrying away the mundane world’s possession of my conscience, unbinding my senses as I feel my awareness heighten. I can feel the patience of the old trees within me, focusing my vision, allowing me to peer deeper into the heart of the forest. As my ears listen to the myriad chorus of birds and insects vying for attention, further within I begin to hear the whispered words of the great dance’s song. A gentIe, cool breeze envelopes me and I can taste the richness of the forest’s flora floating above the dark soil, just as my eyes take note of all the buds about to blossom.  The song grows stronger and I can almost see the Maiden gliding through forest and field, radiating her magick and seducing all in her path to become infatuated with Spring’s passion. I can almost see the youthful God stepping out from shadowed vale, reaching for her hand and asking for this dance. Tears well in my eyes as I feel my heart expand with the love I hold for my goddess. I think of the son we brought into this world as my tears are returned to the Earth. I feel so connected to all that exists around me, seemingly able to fathom all that shall soon come to pass, bridging in this fleeting moment, the past to the future. This is the wonder of Spring, the ability to make us all believe that something more lies ahead, if we just trust the dreams held in each of our hearts. Movement pulls my eyes out over the river to catch an eagle traveling upstream toward the mountain. It pulls me back and I realize the day is waning.  Soon the Quickening Moon will be full, shimmering down over a forest and river too busy to sleep and the stark stillness of the Snow Moon will have faded into distant memory.  I do not know how long I stood between the two trees and drifted but I think that is the goal. For Spring is the time upon the Wheel to immerse one’s self in wonder. These are the days to allow yourselves to suspend belief in the trappings of the mundane world and walk, with a spirit open to Nature’s magick. Merry Ostara to one and all……………..                           

Journey of a Witch

March, 2011

Ostara-Goddess of Light

“In the light
Everybody needs the light.”
Led Zeppelin

The radiant dawn.

Who is the Goddess Ostara?
Does she hail from Germanic lands or elsewhere?
In some Pagan and Wiccan circles, March is associated with the Spring Equinox and the Goddess Ostara.

Controversies surround the validity of Ostara and her associations.

Bede the Venerable wrote about a Spring Goddess called Eostre who was honored with feasts during April.
There are some who that believe Bede the Venerable simply made her up in his writings.
Bede was an English monk who lived in the 8th century.
He was responsible for writings of historical, theological, and other works, and is regarded as a historian today.
Still, other historians think she was the reconstructed dawn goddess from various prehistoric cultures.

While I am certainly no historical scholar it is fascinating to read about human history.
Writings based upon older writings, based upon even older writings, based upon oral tradition seem to be the flow.
Meanings can get lost in language translations, the bias of the writer, and in time itself.
And let’s not forget that history is written from the perspective of the conqueror.
I do think people can get caught up in the past and forget what is going on in the present.
Regardless of the origins of Ostara, we have the seasons happening right now, whether that is a snowflake, raindrop, or sunshine.

Absence of validity is only important in those looking for validity in themselves.

The essence of Ostara is in the blooms and the gentle winds that surround you.
She remains within our memory and lives in the trees and grass.
In every heart today and in the past.

Though spring may not have been celebrated as it is today in modern pagan rites, it was a very important time for agricultural societies to plant crops after the last frost.
These people of old most likely did not perform elaborate rituals for the seasons, there was no time!  Living off the land they were already a part of the cycle of the seasons and a part of Nature that we are very much removed from in our modern cities.

Spring was relief from the bitter cold, a time when food became plentiful, and the dullness of days inside were sweetened by the taste of spring outside.

Spring is also the time when animals are busy making baby animals.
That baby bunny may look cute in the pet store but that baby bunny grows up.
It can be surprising as to how big a cute tiny bunny can get and how long they can live.
If you are looking for a bunny or any animal it is very important to research that animal, its care, housing, and life expectancy.
Be sure you are ready for a financial and life commitment.

Shine on.

Spring can teach us to honor our own light by reaching out to others whose light has dimmed.
Like the Dawn Goddess bringing light to the day, you can bring light for someone in need.
Whether that light shines on a person, creature, or Earth you will be sending Love and Light.
Plant a garden, even if just a sprig of Rosemary in your window sill. It will reward you with with seasonings and reminders that nature exists even in crowded cities.
Send a care package to a soldier (http://anysoldier.com/).
Read to an elderly person or take them a meal. Donate blankets to an animal shelter.
There are many things one can do to shine light on a dim day.

This is not only a good time for that spring cleaning but also a time for spiritual cleansing.
Let go of the harboring you cradled in winter. Release them into the wind to transform into droplets of dew or mist.

Everybody needs the light.

In the first warmth of the sun on the Spring Equinox greet Ostara or just the light you feel and release your pain to the warmth.
Light and Love can transform pain into joy. Share your day with loved ones with a meal held in honor of Ostara or Light and Love if you wish. Light gold or peach colored candles to bring in the day and let light bring its warmth. Meditate on the light and plant those seeds of patience, love and kindness within yourself to help you on your spiritual journey.

Radiate your light and shine on.

Enchanting Eats

March, 2011

Ostara is approaching. I can already feel the winds of March, blowing out the winter, blowing in the spring. During this time of year, I dwell on sprouts and spring lettuces, green onions, and tender herbs. Other foods associated with the early spring are eggs, seeds, edible flowers, honey, carrots, rabbit, hot cross buns and other sweet baked goods. Again, find what is in season for your region and what “rings true with you.”

Last year I became fascinated with bento boxes and funneled that inspiration into our Ostara meal. There is a lot of prep work, but I think it engages you, reconnecting you with the food. This is a wonderful activity for a family, group, or coven to participate in. Everything can be set up in advance so that each person is able to choose their own ingredients and construct their own unique scene. You may even create an additional piece as an offering. I used the construction time to explain the significance of each ingredient and how it relates to Spring.

Ingredients

Prepared short grain or “sushi” rice, cooled (2 cups is plenty for 4)

Hard-boiled eggs

Alfalfa sprouts, spring lettuces

Raw vegetables, such as carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, green onion

Edible flowers, such as pansies, tulip petals, dandelions. Just make sure they are in fact edible and pesticide free!

Herbs, such as lavendar and thyme

Directions

1. Give each participant a plate or bowl. Set out paring knives, peelers, and other tools to share.

2. Arrange a bed of sprouts and/or greens on the dish as a base.

3. Using wet hands, roll the rice into a symbol of Spring. We chose bunnies. (Make a mini snowman. Use slivers of carrot for the ears and cucumber halves for the hind feet. Black sesame seeds work well for eyes and whiskers.) Other options could be a rain drop, clouds, or a nest to hold your hard-boiled egg.

4. Add vegetables, flowers, and eggs, carved with symbols or cut into images that represent Spring. You can use metal cookie cutters on most vegetables, as well as cheeses. If it will not go through, use it as a stencil with a paring knife.

Once everyone is finished, a blessing or poem would be entirely appropriate. Enjoy and Blessed Be!

Look! The Earth waits breathless

After winter’s strife

Ostara shows folk deathless

Spring leads death to life

-from “Ostara Carol” by Anna Stockinger

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