Ostara

Affairs of the Pagan Heart

April, 2018

Ostara and Eggs

Eggs are an old symbol of new life. With fertilization, care and time, something new comes to life, and what a great opportunity it is to view a wedding as something new. A marriage is born!

The most opulent display for an Ostara wedding ceremony or reception is to make or commission a Fabergé wedding egg. It is a lot of fun to make one yourself, and a great exercise for you and your partner any time, not just at Ostara or Easter.

What you’ll need:

  • eggs (raw); white are best to get the colouring you desire

  • food colouring and jars

  • pencil with a straight pin stuck into the eraser end

  • wax candle

  • paper towels

  • some patience and a bit of creativity

Method:

Choose the colours you want to add to your egg and prepare the dye water. Remember combinations like blue and yellow make green, so you don’t need to prepare a mix of green dye. Are there colours that represent your partnership or colours you want to use at your wedding? Have these ready for a later step.

Select a design. This is where you can get really creative and it forms the basis of the end result. What patterns or symbols do you want to use to represent your union? Maybe you have a symbol or word that you want to include that has meaning to your relationship. Draw it out in pencil on paper first if you’re an inexperienced doodler, then draw it on the egg when you’re ready.

Stick the pin in the end of the pencil and dip the pin head in some melted wax. Trace what you’ve drawn in pencil, and this is where you can be really creative.

When you’re satisfied covering one layer with wax, carefully lower the egg into the dye water for about 15-20 seconds. If it’s not the intensity you want, put it back in the dye water. It could take 10 minutes or more. Then trace some more wax as another layer and lower the egg in another colour for another 15 seconds to see the colours blend and mix. The spots where there is wax won’t get dyed, so keep that in mind when planning your layers and colour combinations.

Remove the egg from the dye water with a spoon between each layer and carefully pat it dry with a clean paper towel.

Removing the wax is a difficult task but is also satisfying to see how it all comes together. Carefully hold the egg near (but not directly over) the candle flame, just close enough to melt the wax that you can carefully wipe off with a clean paper towel. You’ll do this several times as you move the egg around to get all the wax off.

You’re done at this point, and your egg is beautiful. Or maybe you want to repeat the steps to add some more. The choice is yours!

For more in-depth descriptions of these steps and a wide variety of tips and tricks, visit http://www.instructables.com/id/Pysanky-Ukrainian-Egg-Dying

Be sure to poke a small hole in both ends of the egg when you’re done and blow out the contents. It would be bad enough if your egg cracked or smashed, but the smell of the rotting contents would make the situation even worse. However, once a hole is poked, you can add a thin ribbon to it and make it an ornament, an activity you could also do for Yule or other sabbats.

***

About the Author:

Rev. Rachel U Young is a pagan based in Toronto, Canada. She is a licensed Wedding Officiant and under the name NamasteFreund she makes handfasting cords and other ceremonial accessories.

SpellCrafting: Spells & Rituals

March, 2018

Egg Spells

Merry meet.

Eggs are one of Ostara’s most prevalent associations. Like all seeds, it contains the promise of a new life. It is a potent symbol of fertility because it contains the power to become something: a chicken, a turtle, a bird, a fish. Eggs are a symbol of abundance, prosperity and the rebirth of nature. In some traditions, the entire universe is portrayed as an egg. That makes them very magickal.

At Ostara, the Wheel of the Year is perfectly balanced. Day and night are of equal length. Masculine and feminine, inner and outer, dark and light are also balanced as the world begins to come alive. Imbolc’s whispered hopes become Ostara’s actions. At this moment, the light defeats the dark. The power is expansive and exuberant.

To harness Ostara energy in a spell, let an egg be the seed that will bring forth your desires. Inscribe it with symbols, pictures or words for abundance, joy, healing, strength, security, laughter or whatever you can imagine and feel yourself possessing. Consider dying the egg in a corresponding color, such as green for abundance, fertility, or eco-magic; and red for will, strength, passion or purification. Yellow corresponds with laughter, thought, travel, communication, happiness, freedom and beginnings; while blue can be used for healing, compassion, love and dreams.

As you decorate the egg, infuse it with the feeling of already having these qualities, of having reached the goal or of having had the wishes come true. Clear your mind and hold the egg as you continue to add your energy to it with breath, song, dance or words, focusing on your desires and their place in your life.

Then, on Ostara night, bury it, perhaps in a garden, as an offering to Mother Earth, and know that as it transforms and feeds the earth, it feeds and transforms what you wish to manifest.

You can also use an egg as a spell bottle of sorts.

First, make holes at both ends of the egg and blow the contents into a small container to be used for recipes. Rinse out the empty shell and let it dry.

Write your spell on a piece of paper small enough that you can roll it up and slip it into the hole at one end of the egg. You might want to include symbols, anoint it with an oil related to your desires and perhaps include corresponding botanicals before rolling it up.

Once it is inside, seal the holes by dripping melted candle wax on them.

Place the egg at the base of a special tree and ask it to guard your workings, adding its strength to yours.

If you have other spells involving eggs, please share on our Facebook page so that we all might benefit from your experience.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

***

About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

Ostara Correspondences

March, 2017

Spring Equinox (March 20-22 in Northern Hemisphere)

 

Ostara

 

(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

She Who is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

April, 2015

goddess

Ostara/Eostre

Ostara is the Goddess of Spring and of the Dawn. Her name, which in German, means “movement toward the rising sun”, is also used by some for the Spring Equinox.

Legend has it that Ostara found an injured bird. In order to save its’ life, she transformed it into a rabbit. The transformation was successful in that the rabbit survived, but it was not quite complete, as this rabbit could lay eggs as if it were still a bird. In gratitude, the rabbit would decorate its’ eggs and leave them for the Goddess.

goddess2

In Anglo-Saxon, her name is Eostre or Eastre. Her name has lived on in the holiday of Easter, another Spring holiday, which is also about resurrection and rebirth, if not of the Earth, but of hope and renewal. In this way, the Goddess Ostara is celebrated from the Spring Equinox until Easter.

This Goddess is about the returning light and warmth; and the Earths abundance as it is reawakened and reborn. Eggs, rabbits, flowers – all symbols of fertility – all first signs of spring – are sacred to Her.

Ostara’s symbols also became the symbols of Easter, which came much later.

Rituals to Ostara would include seeds, what you wish to grow and sow; planting a garden; coloring eggs and leaving them outside for the animals who are coming out of hibernation; taking a mindful walk, noticing the Earth as she begins to come out of her slumber, breathing in the freshness of the air, listening to the songs of the birds and the buzz of insects, feeling the sunshine.

May you all be blessed by Ostara this Spring!

goddess3

SpellCrafting: Spells and Rituals

March, 2015

Fertilizing an Egg

Merry meet!

Eggs are a major theme for Ostara. They represent rebirth, fertility and spring. This spell will fertilize an egg with your intention that then can be placed on your altar, buried or hidden in nature as a gift to the God/dess.

Write your desire, wish or intent on a piece of paper and roll it up tightly. Inflate a small balloon, insert the paper and tie off the balloon.

Craft

reprinted with permission from Amy Anderson from her blog

With a sponge brush, apply Mod Podge to the balloon. Tie one end of a ball of yarn or string to the knot of the ballon, then wrap the balloon, turning as you do, so that the string encircles the ballon from all angles. Dab a generous amount of Mod Podge over the string, soaking it well.

Let the string dry for 24 hours. Pop the balloon and remove the pieces. You will be left holding a string egg containing your intention. Know that that egg contains all the nutrients and ingredients necessary for that desire to manifest. Feel what it feels like to have attained that desire. When you look at the egg, enhance its energy by re-experiencing that feeling.

A similar spell would be appropriate for new moons as well.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

Witchcrafting: Crafts for Witches

March, 2015

Bread for Cakes

Merry Meet

Italian Bread Cake

 

Every Easter, my Catholic Sicilian grandmother made a special bread. It was a bit sweet, braided and had colored eggs in it.

Last year, when planning cakes and ale for Ostara, it occurred to me to use this bread – after all, Easter does draw on may Spring Equinox celebrations. I was able to special order a braided ring, complete with eggs, from an Italian bakery, even though Easter was still weeks away. (See photo.)

This year, I plan to make my own. I feel it honors my ancestors and keeps a tradition alive, albeit modified. Gram’s recipe died with her, but I think the one below will come close.

My Germanic ancestors also baked a similar sweet braided wreath decorated with eggs for Easter. Look to your ancestors for a traditional Easter food. In England, that might be hot cross buns; in Poland, it’s babka.

I found a wonderful recipe by Marbalet online at allrecipes.com

Merry part. And merry meet again

Thriftcrafting: Witching on a Budget

March, 2015

Flower Child

Merry Meet!

altar

Spring is synonymous with flowers. I always like to have them on my altar, especially when I do a ritual.

Those I associate with Ostara are snowdrops, crocuses, daffodils and showy happy faced pansies. Because spring is associated with the direction of East, I am somewhat partial to the yellow forsythia because it just about sings, “Spring has sprung.”

Flowers and budgets can go together.

Look around outside for what nature might be gifting to you. Are there dandelions? Bloodroot? Violets? A pussy willow bush from which you can cut a few branches and force the blooms?

You might consider investing in bulbs that bloom annually. If you didn’t already plant some, you could purchase potted bulbs in bloom for your altar now, then plant them in a sunny location for picking next year.

When visiting my mother’s grave one year, we noticed pots of dead flowers thrown in a trash barrel. My dad rescued some and planted them. Some bloomed the following year. The fall mums everyone has on their steps can be planted in a garden and allowed to grow wild. They’ll come back every year. Without the proper sever pruning, they will grow bushy with small flowers.

I am grateful that the Trader Joe’s around the corner always has a selection of flowers for $3.99.

If you ask Source for flowers, be open to all ways they might come to you. I’ve been able to pick lilacs at a friend’s house and buy some for a couple of dollars from a homeowner having a tag sale. I have come across huge stands of daylilies in the back of an almost empty parking lot and violets growing along the edge of my condo complex. There’s also a crab apple tree that has the most wonderful blooms around Beltane.

Be sure to harvest responsibly. Don’t trespass on private property. Never take every flower off one plant and don’t pick a patch clean. Always ask permission of the plant and thank it. Consider leaving a small gift in exchange: a pretty pebble, water, a song, a handful of mulch, a pinch of tobacco, the removal of litter.

But don’t just think blooms. Eggshells stuffed with sprouts from the produce isle could decorate an Ostara altar.

Blooms, branches or greens all dress an altar as long as you find them pleasing. And afterwards, I would like to suggest you return them to nature if possible rather than throw them in the trash.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

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… =)

Nelland1

  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!

Nelland2

  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…

Nelland3

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

Nelland4

  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!”

Nelland5

  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

 

“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.

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.

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.

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.

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