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.
And merry meet again.