Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Advice Needed! Herb Garden

Year round I grow herbs in my kitchen window. I grow Basil, which I use for cooking as well as money spells (times are tough, even for witches, my friends,) aloe, which I use all the time for burns, bee stings, and such. I also grow peppermint and lemon balm, which have a variety of uses, including for calming upset tummies and flatulence. This year I wanted to add a few more pots, but I am utterly overwhelmed by the variety of herbs available. Rosemary, thyme, clary sage, chamomile... The list of herbs is long and my space is small.

So I was hoping some of our readers, and my Sisters at eWitch, would be so kind as to share with me your favorite magical herbs to grow. What do you find the most useful? How do you use it? Let me know in the comments, and I'll let you know what I finally decide on!

Thanks for your help, and bright blessings!

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Wee Folk

I was to have written last week yet due to a trip to see my grandkids, I was not as productive as possibly I should have been. I did manage to get much done before I left and many of the post on my other blogs were done ahead of time and set to schedule. However this one was never finished. I started it many times, as writing about the wee folk is one of my favorite subjects. Yet I did not wish to rush it and thus it was never completed. In saying this, I hope you will excuse my tardiness.

As I stated earlier the wee folk, or fairies as many know them by, are one of my favorite subjects. I have always had a dear fondness for them. Their presence has always been evident to me yet it has only been in the last few years that I think I can truly say that I have been graced with feeling that I have truly been welcomed into their ways. I owe much of these encounters to area in which we live. From the moment we moved here, I felt it was a special magical place. I tended the yard as I always do yet it seemed that my efforts were greatly appreciated and at times even rewarded.

A pond lies just to the south of our home. It has always been a busy place for wildlife to flourish. A large colony of frogs calls it home. The first spring we lived here we had heavy rains which caused the pond to overflow and run out of its banks. That morning as the sun came out from behind the clouds, and I looked down at the water as it ran downhill to the bottom, I could see the faint flicker of what appeared to be silver. I went outside to investigate and found it to be a multitude of tadpoles which had been washed out of the pond. They wiggled in the shallow water unable to venture back to the safety of the deeper water. With bucket in hand I quickly gathered them up. I gently put them back into the pond, hoping that they would be ok. This task took me some time and in rough estimate I calculated a few hundred tadpoles were saved that day. Yes my neighbors I am sure wondered what I was doing, yet I would do it again if needed.

You may wonder what my rescue of tadpoles has to do with fairies. After this, the population of frogs flourished and each time I would be working out in the yard near the water’s edge, the frogs would gather near me. They would sit and watch me as I worked. I found this fascinating to the point that I attempted to approach them even closer. There were a few that I could walk right up to and kneel down and actually pet. At this time also, Vincent had built a tree house in the nearby Elm for our grandkids. I had cleared the area out beneath it and planted flowers and such. After this was done, I began to find small items beneath the tree. These items ranged from shiny stones, small mirrors, and any brightly colored object.

In reading I found that the fairies are often befriended by frogs and are grateful to those who tend their area and encourage flowers to grow. Since then I have continued to enjoy my relationship with my fellow frogs as well as upkeep the area beneath the elm. I am sure to leave cream and honey for the fairy on occasion and often scatter cake and such for their treat. They in turn continue to leave me gifts of trinkets as well as help in the tending of the garden. At times as I work busily I catch a glimpse of them fluttering about.

I know that many questions the existence of such things yet for me I believe them to be quite real. They have allowed me a tiny piece of their world to experience and hopefully as time passes they will allow me more. I believe that it is not because they do not exist that most do not have the wonder of such experiences with them, but because most do not take the time to stop and listen. Most wonders are quiet and still and often overlooked because one chooses to overlook them. Next time you have the chance to sit quietly and enjoy a spring day… close your eyes and allow yourself to listen.. maybe if you are lucky you too will experience a little of the wee folk.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I am not a changeling. I have never been invited Under the Hill or beneath the Oak on a Dancing Night. I often, and sorely, wished I was, though. As a child I was obsessed with Faeries and their stories. I had compendiums and collections of fairy tales from nearly every European nation. And yes, you can argue that most faerie tales don't even feature Fairies, but think about it: talking wolves; magical apples; fish that grant wishes and cursed golden rings - can you really say that the Fae haven't walked through the world of the tale, that their magic has not touched it?

It has always been this magic that has most seduced me. That is why I became a Witch, instead of a Buddhist like my mother or a Hindu, like my cousin, when Christianity failed to answer all my questions. I knew there was a world of danger and beauty, close to this world, but not of it, that I could glimpse with Magic. I am trying, always, to bring that wild and beautiful Magic into my life.

As an adult, I am still inspired by the stories of my childhood. My MFA thesis project was a series of illustrated books retelling fairy tales to touch on the issues I had in my life as a contemporary woman. As I created the digital collages that would tell the story, I returned to those collections of stories, illustrated by Golden Age artists like Edmund Du Lac, Kay Nielsen and Arthur Rackham. Even though they were drawn for children's books, I always felt that the images from these artists capture the beauty as well as the danger of the Faerie Realm so well.

And danger there is, in the faerie realm. Old stories tell of pipers and musicians invited Under the Hill to entertain the Faerie Lords. They would return to our world a hundred years later, all those they once loved lost to time; or they may return with their wits scrambled, so that they could never lead other mortals to the Faerie world. The Tale of True Thomas, or Thomas the Rhymer gives us the warning that we must never eat of Faerie food, or accept Faerie drink, or we will be stuck in the their Realm forever.

For more information on Faeries and fairy tales, please check out these amazing websites:

Saturday, March 20, 2010

My Life as a Changeling

I'm sure you knew those children, the one's that seemed somehow "different" and lost. They would often have a wild look in their eyes, appearing unkempt and uncomfortable in their own skin. When other children would be playing typical childrens games in the schoolyard, these other children would be alone having conversations with invisible friends. I was one of those children. Have you ever heard of Faery "Changeling"? The story is that the Fae don't have many babies who grow and thrive and so they steal a human baby raising it as a faery, so their race can survive. The faery baby would then replace the stolen child to live among the humans, while often times the mother would never suspect the difference.
My mother knew though. She would always call me her "changeling child". She never would refer to me as her little girl, and so I never considered myself other than a "changeling," whatever that meant. I just  thought it was a term of endearment. As I grew older I learned about these changelings. A changeling baby would cry more than other babies and squirm in their mother's arms rejecting her love. Instead of laughing and cooing as "normal" babies do, they would fret and never seem satisfied no matter how much they were loved. As they grew to be children their fae qualities became more apparent. I never liked playing with Barbie dolls or any other types of games "normal" little girls would. Instead I wanted to make faery houses out of flowers and then invite the faeries in for tea parties. Once in a while I would meet another little girl who would play "faeries" with me, only to tell their friends later how strange I was and to stay away from me. I was saved from complete misery and loneliness by my pets, especially my cats, who loved me unconditionally and never questioned who I was.

The fairies break their dances
And leave the printed lawn.
~A.E. Housman~

One day I noticed that some mushrooms were growing in a circle on our lawn. My mother told me that they were called "faery circles" and that late at night under the moonlight, the faeries would come out to play and dance. I asked her if humans were ever allowed to join them but she warned me, telling me it was dangerous for a human to even see the fae, as they would often be stolen away to live in "Tir Na Nog" the land of eternal youth. I knew this was my chance then, to reunite with the family I really belonged to and go home to Tir Na Nog. I did my best to stay awake every night when my family was asleep so I could slip out and meet the fae. I was convinced they were waiting for me. Somehow, I was never able to stay awake late enough to meet the fae. Eventually the faery circle disappeared and I sadly grew to accept that I wasn't meant to live among the fae again. 

I don't feel so alone and alienated anymore now, because I have met other changelings. They too have experienced a sad and beautiful life similar to mine. And we know one day, we will return to Tir Na Nog. Are you one of us, a changeling too?

"This is a work of fiction.  All the characters in it, human and otherwise, are imaginary, excepting only certain of the fairy folk, whom it might be unwise to offend by casting doubts on their existence.  Or lack thereof." 
~Neil Gaiman~

Friday, March 19, 2010

Just one more thing...

I hopped over to "Go Out Beneath The Naked Night's blog & scooped up this great Ostara idea. I am going to ask her if she minds but she scooped it from Llewellyn's Almanac so I doubt she will care. Especially since I am sending you all right back to her site.
Anyway, check out her cute Ostara idea. It uses eggshells & love notes, affirmations & well-wishes, too. All very good things.
Have a wonderful Ostara.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Small & Painless Ostara Ritual

Merry meet, ya'll!
Ostara is the time of new beginnings  as the goddess is reunited with her lover/son/consort after having been separated from him/them by death. This is also the time when the goddess becomes pregnant. I am wrong. Apparently she gets pregnant on May 1st, Beltane. Oops! What is especially interesting to me is that she does not marry the god until Litha making her a single mother for a while. She eventually has the baby god at Yule &amp. As the year progresses she is ultimately alone again & still pregnant, as the god departs to be Lord of the Wild Hunt. Just as the goddess knows the god will return to her,  we are assured that spring follows winter.I thought I would make this a short ritual because this seems to be one of the least favorite holidays in the Pagan year. It is not one of my favorites either.

 We will do this ritual together at 9:30 EST. Share the love all around, heart to heart, sister to sister, oh & brothers, too.
If the goddess Eostre is special to you then this can be dedicated to her & a special god otherwise this will be a ritual dedicated to the arrival of Spring & the lord & the lady.
You will need:
  Two pastel candles, any colors will do, one for the lord & one for the lady
  Incense burner, charcoal disk & some copal resin or any sweet, fresh smelling incense 
  An eggy type food like custard, hard boiled egg or similar. Eggnog would be fine, too.
  A drink of some kind: bubbly is nice:champagne or water-festive & light
Light your candle & welcome your deities and/or the lord & the lady
Light your incense &cast a circle, spreading the scent around. In your mind visulaize how happy the goddess is to see the god after their separation. Imagine them running togather, holding hands, laughing & kissing, bare grass under their feet. They are SO GLAD to see each other again. They sit together quietly talking & smiling. gazing up at one another. They are very in love & always have been.
You say: Love is in the air. Spring is upon us. Hearts are free from winters chill just as the frosty ground now warms to the touch of the sun. As the wheel turns, I leave the past behind & move towards the future. I will leave past slights, past troubles, past hurts behind me & & go forward  & bloom in love & warmth as the goddess & the god bloom in their love.
Take your dish of food & your glass of drink & offer it to the lord & lady.
You say: Join in this festive evening celebrating the gods return to the goddess & the renewal of their eternal love.
Now you eat a bit & drink a sip.
You say: I am warmed & energized by love's abiding spirit. By loving each other we honor the god & the goddess & their love for one another & their love for the world. I will try to keep love in my heart all the year long (my apologies to Charles Dickens & Ebeneezer Scrooge). I will try to remember that the past always departs and that a new day always follows. Winter's end is spring's beginning. I will plant the kinds of seeds that will produce the fruits of love. Blessed Be.
Farewell the god & goddess, extinguish your candles & then take a moment to reflect on the kinds of  "seeds" you will plant in your life starting this new spring, starting right now..

As I wrote this I thought,"Ostara is really a great holiday. I don't mind it so much after all."  I am glad I wrote the ritual. It helps me when I do things I do not want to do & I discovered & learned a few things, too.
 Have a blessed Ostara & keep love in your heart all the year long.
Merry part & merry meet again.

Celebrating Ostara In A Tasty Way

This weekend many will celebrate the Spring Solstice. A time when the end of winter is celebrated as well as the birth of the warmth of Spring. It seems that wherever one looks there are signs of new life. Flowers along with seeds adorn the many trees and plants that are preparing for the time soon in the future when they will bring forth the fruits they provide.

A custom most identified with this time of year is the custom of egg painting and/or coloring. Some are simple while others are done in a more elaborate manner. Decorated with symbols and pictures of what they wish to manifest in the year to come. In some cases such decorations are buried into the nearly fertile earth in hopes that it will hear the wishes and dreams of the one whom buried it.

A more enjoyable version of the egg used to celebrate this time of year is Naniamo Eggs. A tasty dessert of Canadian origin.   These are a delicious edible version combining 3 layers of goodies.

The first layer consists of the following:
2 cups Oreo Cookies - crumbled to a crumb texture ½ cup chopped pecans

½ cup brown sugar ½ cup melted butter

Combine the ingredients, then mold into egg shaped balls. Place on a cookie sheet which has been covered with wax paper. Place in the refrigerator for approximately one hour.

The second layer consists of:
1 cups powdered sugar ½ cup softened butter

1 cup custard powder or a large package of instant vanilla pudding

Dribble milk into this mixture to make a thick icing. It will be a rather firm consistency. Mold this around the cooled eggs and place back into the refrigerator for approximately one hour.

The third and final layer consists of:
Melt 8 squared of semisweet chocolate in a double boiler. Using 2 spoons, quickly dip the cooled eggs into the chocolate, covering them completely. Gently drop onto the wax paper and refrigerate until firm. Once the chocolate has firmed you can enjoy.

These can be very rich yet also very tasty with a warm cup of tea. Variations can be made to the type of cookie used if you would like a lighter taste of chocolate as well as white chocolate squares instead of semisweet. If you like, wrap each egg up individually and give to friends and family in celebration of the birth of spring and in celebration of Ostara.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Short Note

I must make a very short posting today - I'm babysitting a dear friend's baby today, so I'm rushing. However, I wanted to take the time to thank my sisters at eWitch for their beautiful blog postings. All of the things they write about call me to examine my own life for similar experiences, to see the things that happened to me in a new light, and to understand them better. And to answer Sparrow's question, that may be one of the things I've learned from Spring and Air. Air, which moves around us in the most delicate of breezes and the fiercest of gusts, changing our lives in both subtle and obvious ways. I think it's very fitting that we seem to have come into our stride, here at eWitch, in the Spring season. Seeds planted at the end of winter are growing into something firm and recognizable. Each one of us is having a little rebirth in this group I think, or a growth spurt of a spiritual kind. In my own little world, I feel like I am finding new meaning to every experience, a depth to the world and my own understanding of it that I was not aware of till this Spring.

This morning I watched the Sun rise over a beautiful garden. I am trying to live in that moment today, a few seconds of profound beauty, warmth and love, that is one of the gifts of Springtime.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lessons from Spring & Air

Truth be told, Ostara is one of my less favored Pagan Sabbats.  Our Family Coven does not do much or place a lot of emphasis on it.  We have even managed to let the holiday slip by without even realizing it.

When I look back to the time when I was a Christian, I was never really fond of Easter either.  The pastel colors, baby animals and guilt associated with the death of Jesus for my sins were huge turn-offs.  I went to church on Easter Sunday because I had to, it was expected.

Ostara is a celebration of Spring.  We woke up the Earth from her Winter slumber at Imbolc and now we are watching her open her arms to embrace the returning sun.  It is a time of fertility and new beginnings.  It is a time of hope and love.  It is a time of abundance and action.

I associate Spring with the element of Air.  Air can be a soft caress upon your cheek or it can be the tornado that rips trees up from the ground.  It flows around us all, bringing us life.  When the end comes, the breath leaves us and we go back to the Mother.  If something gets in its way, it just goes around it.  It is the element of communication, knowledge and ideas.

There are several lessons that I have learned from the element of Air and the season of Spring by extension:
  • Take some time to have fun!
  • Laugh, laugh and then laugh some more.
  • If something gets in your way, go around it.
  • Breathe.
  • Nurture your inner child.
    Though Ostara will still probably never be my favorite Sabbat, I understand what we are celebrating.  The great wheel keeps turning, but it cannot continue without the rebirth of the sun and Earth each year.

    What are some lessons that you have learned from Spring and the element of Air?

    Saturday, March 13, 2010

    Ostara's Little Country Bunny


    Every Ostara/Easter I take down my beloved book; "The Country Bunny and The Little Gold Shoes" that I received as a special Easter gift when I was six years old. If you look inside of the book cover, you would see this inscription, "For Wendy, Easter 1969. With Love, from Mommy and Daddy." After reading this book, my ideas about rabbits and Easter completely changed. So, what does this book have to do with Ostara, you may wonder. I think you'll understand the connection as you keep on reading. A few of my eWitch sisters have posted about the rabbit being the totem of the Goddess which represents fertility, swiftness and the herald of spring. I never understood the whole spiel of rabbits handing out eggs. I mean everyone knew that rabbit's are mammals and therefore gave live birth, they don't lay eggs! Being a feminist witch, my mother would talk about the Goddess and her different faces. So Jesus' resurrection on Easter didn't connect for me at all. I was taught that the Goddess was in charge of birthing the new seasons. It made sense to me then that, "The Little Country Bunny..." was a pet of the Goddess. Country bunny is a single mother who becomes chosen to become one of the new Easter bunnies, because of her kindness, intelligence and speed which she gained from chasing all her babies around. One of the things that makes this book so special, is that it was written in 1939. Single mother's back then were either to be pitied or more likely shunned. The family unit stood strong, at least on the outside and the Goddess was hushed.. And on top of country bunny being single, she was more "shocking" because she went after a dream job she wished for. She was a true Scarlet bunny!

    School was often a place full of pain and confusion for me having numerous learning difficulties. Socially, I was so shy that I would often get teased and looked down upon for being so "strange". My home life was just as full of pain and unhappiness and so the books I read and the pets I loved became my refuge. So here was a book about a young mother who is laughed at and patronized just because she was a female and a mother on top of that.

    I had two older brothers, who would ignore me or tease me unkindly as older brothers can often do. I wanted to play basketball, ride bikes and arm wrestle with them. I told myself one day I would become just as strong and fast as they were and that they would eventually beg me to play with them! The Goddess spoke strong to me, even as a little girl. And every time, that I read my little country bunny book, I somehow wouldn't feel so alone and odd. How the little country bunny obtains the gold shoes is just one more part of this story that speaks of never giving up on your dreams, cherishing the gifts you have to offer others and being different isn't such a bad thing after all.

    As it would turn out, I became a single mother myself, raising my son solely since he was a year old. And you can bet, I read "The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes", every Ostara to Alex. He's twenty-two now and likes to tease me about how much I loved that book and how funny that I still read it. Of course I still read it, I'm waiting for my chance to get my own pair of little gold shoes. Hmmmm, maybe this Ostara...Did you have any special books that you loved when you were young which lead to a different way of knowing yourself? Please tell me as I always love reading new books and being inspired by people's stories.


    The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes


    Friday, March 12, 2010

    Fresh new beginnings because you just never know

    I am supposed to be working on the Ostara Ritual for eWitch but what I am really doing is making candles & oils and reading Terry Pratchett. If you do not know, Terry Pratchett is a prolific & hysterically funny author & best known for his Discworld series featuring Wiz(z)ard Rincewind (think Monty Python & The Holy Grail, "Run away! Run away!") and that is Rincewind.  Pratchett was born in 1948 which makes him 63 & in 2006 he was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's Disease. He was just 59 years old. His tomorrows are looking fuzzy & grim. I hope he goes into his own Discworld with Rincewind. He will have fun there & be right at home.
    I, as we all do, have the tendency to think there is always a tomorrow & so far for me, there has been. And my yesterdays are legion.  I am a very optimistic person but optimism does not guarantee a tomorrow. Today is a sure thing. I want to live today & stay in the day, not be looking backwards at the "woulda, shoulda, couldas" or berating & second guessing past idiotic things I have done. Everyone has done past idiotic things & if they say they haven't, look closely at the length of their nose. Tomorrow's are just a possibility, not a promise. All we can do is be here now. Be kind to each other & to ourselves. Stand up for our beliefs. Stand up for our friends. Be honest & loyal. Take the high road as often as you can, even though the low seems like so much more fun.  Every day is a new beginning, a fresh new start.  One of the outstanding things about being Wiccan is living a circular life rather than the traditional linear one. We know that the wheel rolls round & that the past is the present is the future is the past...That gives us the opportunity to really enjoy the "now" seamlessly & endlessly. Use your life wisely. You never know what is around the curve.
    Ostara is the promise of return of the expected as well binging forth the new. It is the perfect time to begin anew. I have a shiny new name, thanks to Goddess Wendy, High Cat Priestess, sister in eWitch. I am now luna petunia which is an auspicious way to start into the Ostara season. Blessed be to all of you.

    PS-I really am going to do the Ostara Ritual soon. Tomorrow, maybe....snicker

    Blossom by Blossom Spring Begins

    The warmer temperatures… the longer days… the appearance of flowers budding out in all directions… All are signs of the coming of spring and the wonder of rebirth that it brings. Ostara is close at hand.

    Flowers, and newly sprouted plants can be found everywhere as if  decorating for the coming celebration. Eggs which symbolize the new life or rebirth of spring also are present. They can be found brightly decorated in a multitude of colors or hollowed out and filled with lavender or sage. Legend has it that the importance of the egg came from a rabbit who wished to please Eostre – the German goddess of spring and the dawn. Gathering brightly colored eggs, he then gave them to her as a means of honoring her.  Although I have to admit I love the art of coloring eggs (and yes it can be an art), with my grandkids so far away I tend to enjoy the chocolate eggs a bit more these days.  Give me a chocolate covered marshmellow eggs anyday...

    Often at this time honey cakes are prepared. Not only for the festivities but also as a gift left for the faeries. Faeries love sweets and none are better than those prepared with honey. Faeries are quite active at this time. They are known to come and collect a portion of the feast that has been prepared in celebration. If they are not allowed to partake or are not left their fair portion, it is said that they will cause trouble until the Summer Solstice when they will once more return and at this time expect double portions to make amends for what was not given to them before.

    Other foods and herbs associated with the Spring Equinox are Crocus, Dogwood, Leafy green vegetables such as lettuce, rose, rose, olive and strawberries.

    Wednesday, March 10, 2010

    Ostara, Return of the Dawn!

    I think most pagans tend to be very aware of how our ancient traditions have been ‘adopted’ by mainstream Christianity or even secularized as common traditions. Halloween and Christmas are both rife with pagan tradition and ritual as, I’m sure you are all aware, is Easter. Or as modern pagans call it, Ostara. And yet, as educated and knowledgeable as we are, I think it can be difficult for us, coming back to Pagan traditions as many of us are from our secular or Christianized upbringings, to identify with the heart of our traditions.

    For example, I grew up with a mostly secularized Easter. My brother and I dyed and hunted for pastel colored eggs, overdosed on chocolate eggs and bunnies, and then feasted with our families without giving it a second thought. As an adult, I am much more concerned with understanding the reasons ‘why’ of these rituals. I've always had a hard time relating to Ostara; I found it difficult to identify what was really important, all those pink and blue eggs and chocolate bunnies kept getting in my way - what did they have to do with spring? And what's all the concern with the light of Spring anyway? Ostara seemed dated and unimportant to me, nothing more than a holiday for children, whatever the source.

    However, in researching this article, I was reminded of some things that helped put my heart back on track.

    The word Ostara actually only dates back to the early to mid 1800's, specifically to Jacob Grimm (you may know him as one of the Brothers Grimm, early folklorists who wrote down and published what the they thought were ancient traditional German fairy tales.) Ostara is Jacob Grimm’s Germanic reconstruction of a very early Saxon Goddess, Eostre or Eastre. According to Saint Bede, who was a well known scholar and historian of the seventh century, this Goddess was so important that the entire Anglo Saxon month of April was named after her: Eostur- monath. Because her month was so important to Anglo Saxon culture, it was deemed easier for the Church to absorb it and adopt it than root it out!

    According to Bede, Eostre was the Goddess of the dawn, and her festival celebrated the rebirth of the Earth from the darkness of winter into the light of spring. The ancient Saxons and British believed that Hares brought her lights (the first rays of dawn) all over the Earth. Further, proof of the rebirth of the world was found in the new growth of spring, and the mating of all creatures. In this aspect, Eostre is a fertility Goddess, linked to pleasure, love, and fecundity. The Hare, as an especially fertile beast, is sacred to her.

    Eggs have symbolized rebirth for many Western cultures for time out of mind. There is no direct anthropological evidence connecting Eostre to eggs, but it is easy to make an intuitive leap, based on the predominance of the egg as a Sun symbol, not just for Christians and in the Judaic Passover feast. The ancient Zoroastrians decorated eggs for their Spring Equinox rituals. In the Northern cultures of Saxons and Celts, where the darkness lasts for so long, the yolk of a fresh egg would become a bright image of the Sun, reborn. And the egg as a symbol of fertility is well known, a stronger link to Eostre, ancient Goddess of fertility.

    We can only imagine what our long ago ancestors experienced, after months of terrible cold and darkness, and hunger never very far away, with out the scientific knowledge that the sun would absolutely rise again to warm and feed them. What a moment of intense joy and hope they must have felt, on the dawn of the Spring Equinox, to know that once more, thank Eostre, the light had won again and darkness had been vanquished for another year.

    As thinking, educated, brilliant young Pagans, we know the Sun will rise, that Spring will come, that the Earth revolves around the Sun, and not the other way around. This is an age of Scientific fact. That moment of hope and joy that the Sun has not forsaken us is hard for us to come by - fact can trump faith in the rational mind. And yet there is an aspect of our world that does not belong to the realm of Science: the heart and soul. It is possible for our hearts to lie in a darkness, at winter or at any other time. At this Ostara festival, then, I will thank Eostre for the dawn of hope, for the ritual of spiritual rebirth that allows us to throw off a cloak of pessimism, of sadness, of loss or lack of love, on this Spring Equinox or any time. I will thank Her for the gifts of new shoots and baby animals, as well as for the thawing of my heart in the face of love.

    Tuesday, March 9, 2010

    Birth of a Flower – A Guided Meditation for Ostara

    The purpose of this guided meditation is to get you in tune with the creative beginning energy of Ostara.  It is a wonderful way to get in the proper frame of mind before a Sabbat ritual or as a pick-me-up if you are feeling stressed or burdened while waiting on Spring to begin.

    Find a comfortable place to sit or lay where you will not be disturbed.  Turn off all electronic devices except for some soft “mood” music if you wish.  Ground and center your energy in the present moment.

    Close your eyes.  Become aware of your breathing.  Exist in the moment, breathing steadily for a few moments before you begin.

    The blackness begins to fade around you.  Dots of green, pink, yellow and red begin to appear all around you.  They grow, shift and move about.  Within seconds you find yourself standing in an endless open field.  There is grass and an assortment of colorful flowers all around you.  They sway back and forth in the breeze.  You watch as air meets earth in the beautiful dance before your eyes.

    You feel a warm tingling sensation run through your body.  Looking down at your hands you realize that the ground is getting closer.  It takes a moment for you to realize, but you are shrinking.  Down, down, further and further you go.  You are about to panic when you hear a voice in the back of your mind.

    “I am with you my child,” says the feminine voice.

    Your fear dissipates as you begin to look around.  All around you is green – the blades of grass, the stems of towering plants.  Under your feet is the dark brown earth.  Above are the blooms of the flowers and the vast blue sky.  When you look back down you notice that there is a large seed by your feet.

    “Plant this seed in the earth,” instructs a masculine voice.

    You pick up the seed, which is not as heavy as it looks, and begin to walk forward.  A short distance ahead is a clearing, the perfect place for you to plant the seed.  When you have arrived at the spot you get down on your hands and knees, sinking your hands into the dirt.  You pull the dirt towards you, making a hole in the ground.  Once the hole is big enough you place the seed in it, covering it with the dirt.  You pack it down firmly.  Standing up, you feel a sense of accomplishment looking down at the planted seed.

    You start to feel a familiar tingle in your body.  Your body shoots back up to your normal height.  Pushing away the dizziness from the sudden transformation, you get back down on your hands and knees to look at where you planted the seed.

    “You will come back to check on it during the year,” whispered the female voice again.

    “But it is so small.  How will it survive?” you ask.

    “A great forest starts with the sowing of one seed,” replied the masculine voice.

    You get back up on your feet and reflect on what you have heard, seen and done for a couple minutes.  When you are ready to return, turn around and walk back into the darkness.  

    Become aware of your breathing once more and slowly open your eyes.  Take a moment to thank the Lord and Lady for their wisdom.  Ground and center your energy once more before getting up.  Eating and drinking may help if you feel dizzy.

    Be sure to journal your experience or share it here on this blog in the comments.

    Monday, March 8, 2010


    You can see it everywhere you look.  The land is waking up again.  Everything is green and new.  Colorful patches of wildflowers are everywhere and Mother Earth is just humming with the energy of hope and renewal.  March 21st marks the time of Ostara or the Spring equinox. 

    The celebration of Ostara gets it's name from the Germanic goddess of the dawn, Oestre.  In past years this was a time for acknowledging planting time and the promise of a new crop season after the long, dark days of winter were drawing to a close. 

    It is also a time of great fertility in Nature--it is not only the flower and tree buds that will become pregnant with new life.  All of the animals on this planet (including the two-legged ones) seem to become just a little bit "twitterpated" at this time of year.  The need to create new life is a primal and instinctual one that affects all species.

    Ostara marks the time of the balancing of Mother Earth's light and dark energies.  Night and day stand in perfect balance with light overtaking the dark in the days ahead.  It can be a most powerful time to work magick as we, just like our Mother, wake up from our  winter sleep and get ready to emerge into new life.  We truly are like butterflies coming out of our own chrysalis's.  Life can be new again. It can be a time to make changes and begin again if we have found ourselves on a road that doesn't seem to be leading in a direction that we particularly want to go. 

    What will Ostara mean to you this year?

    Saturday, March 6, 2010

    The Gift of Ordinary Magic

    "You do not even have to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen.
    Do not even listen, simply wait. Do not even wait, be still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you
    to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet."
    ~Franz Kafka~


    The minute we think we know what magic is, that's when the true magic slips through our hands like mercury. Let us drift for just a bit into a soft stillness as we listen to the faint stirrings of wings and watch as other magical beings shyly join us. The magic I would like to talk about is very different from the magic of our childhood fairy tales; where princess' ran away from dark dangers, while princes' bravely battled evil trolls and dragons, and fairy folk who promised us "happily ever afters." Not that I'm negating that innocent dream of life; I just know that we're at an age where magic beats a subtler, stranger and more beautiful rhythm than we could ever have imagined as children.
    It's hard to let go of those magical fantasies I had when I was young, only to transform into a more practical and solid model of magic. I believe in faeries, but I'll save that topic for a future post. I realize now  that the faery godmother I always wanted to for my own, now lives within me and I've outgrown the princess who waited to be rescued and whisked away to a beautiful castle in the sky with my true beloved prince. So what do we as adults need to compromise on, in order to keep the faith and let go of disappointments? It takes strength to still believe there's magic in the day to day life. We all have within us a unique and sacred gift that needs to be shared with others. Some of us are healers full of grace and light, some of us are parents, devoted guardian angels of our children, and there are those who are warriors who keep fighting the righteous fight. Most of us though, live quietly and modestly while we struggle with small movements to part  keep magic strong and alive.
    The Hermit

    My sisters of "eWitch" have shared with all of you, magical teachings that have came from their hearts. Our wish is that you may discover or remember your own wisdom and mystery. I know many of you have wonderful gifts and teachings that you could bless us with in return. I really hope we get that chance to become closer. The type of magic that is most needed now, is one that is practical and can survive day to day, so that we may all live an extraordinary life. Where is the magic in your life?


    Friday, March 5, 2010

    My Everyday Magic

    Practical everyday magic. I think that many of us perform this far more than we may even realize. How many of you greet the day and give thanks for yet another opportunity to live? How many of you gather flowers from your gardens and bring them into your home as a means to liven up the space. How many of you light a candle for a friend who may be passing through a hard patch in their lives? All are simple every day magic.

    Greeting the morning as the sun rises over the horizon is one thing I try to do each day. This is especially true as spring approaches. I love the early morning and the time right before the sun lifts its head to yet another day. The world is still quiet (at least where I live) from sleep. The birds slowly begin their song to wake mother earth and those around. It is a peaceful time and often a time when I commune best with the earth and the energy it can bring.

    My garden is truly full of practical everyday magic. From the rosemary that continuously grows in my kitchen window, or the aloe that is close at hand for healing, to the multitude of plants I have in and out of my house their magic is everywhere. Although I still feel myself such a babe in this area I have learned so much in regards to herbs, flowers, and trees and their many uses. A constant in my home are Rosemary for protection and purification, Mint for protection and to attract prosperity and Lavender to bring peace and healing. I use all of them on a consistent basis whether it is in my cooking, when burning incense, or simply to pluck a small piece off and wear throughout the day.

    Outdoors the possibilities are endless. Mother earth gives her own gifts to us if we only look. The strength of an Oak can felt simply by carrying an acorn in your pocket. Each fall I gather oak leaves and place them in the house to help clear the negative energy. The wild thistle which has many varieties can be found in abundance. Although I am thought silly for doing so, I love to gather its flowers and place a small vase in my home. It is said they give energy and strength as well as ward off evil from a home. I just love their appearance. There is also the well known wild clover. Another “weed” that can be found in abundance. Most think of the possession of a four leaf clover for luck as the best use for this plant yet there are many others. Clover blossoms combined with vinegar for three days can be used as a protection tincture. Sprinkled around the perimeter of one’s home this is said to discourage unwanted visitors from entering. Carrying clover flowers on your person is also said to not only protect you yet also aid in the finding of new love.

    As for candle magic once again I feel this is done far more than many realize. I myself am a true lover of the flame. And because of this I use candles in my home on a daily basis. When I have concern for someone, I light a small white candle and ask that they be blessed. When the concern is more evident and I am able to know exactly what it is they may be in need of, I will light the white candle along with another in the color which represents their need. An example of is: lighting a red candle representing the need for health or strength. Also each time I work in my kitchen preparing food, two candles burn. One is white representing that the food be blessed. The other is colored according to what I may want the emphasis to be. Blue is my favorite as it represents peace and harmony.

    I believe that all of us use everyday practical magic much more than we may admit. For it truly is around us everywhere. Magic is the power that comes forth from each one of us when we believe in what we are doing.

    Wednesday, March 3, 2010

    Practical Protection – The Bra Barrier

    Since my husband’s family is from the “Old Country,” protection magick was one of the first things that I learned.  We try to smudge the negative energies out of the house often and have various wards on the doors and windows.  If they get past those we have a Gorgon bust that serves as house guardian.  I truly feel sorry for anything that attempts to enter into our house uninvited.

    Personal protection is also a big thing with them.  I almost always am wearing some sort of charged amulet or talisman.  For times that jewelry is not an option or when I could use a little extra protection I use a bra barrier.

    Yes, it sounds a little odd, but the bra is a great place to put protective stones to reinforce your personal barrier.  I usually put one on either side and another one in the center (three total).  Make sure that you are going to be comfortable and that they are not going to fall out or cause you any other distress.

    Visualize the power of the stones coming together in front of your heart chakra and branching out to form a protective barrier that extends a few inches from your body.  Be sure to ground and center well after you are done.  Cleanse your stones and charge them again for the next use.

    Here is a list of stones that you might be interested in using:
    • Bloodstone – Courage, Abundance, Blood and Menstrual Cycle
    • Carnelian – Courage, Protection and Kidneys
    • Garnet – Protection (During Travel), Intimacy and Spiritual Healing
    • Jet – Protection, Fight Depression and Heal Grief
    • Malachite – Protection, Abundance and Heal Heart Chakra
    • Moonstone – Protection, Love and Menstrual Cycle
    • Obsidian (Black & Snowflake) – Protection and Grounding
    • Onyx – Protection and Grounding
    • Tiger’s Eye – Grounding, Protection and Menopause “Power Surges”

    Reference -
    Crystal Healing, Metaphysical & Mystical Healing Properties Lore and Stone Meanings of Crystals, Gems, and Stones

    A Simple Spring Ritual of Thanks

    Spring comes early in Southern California. The first rains of Winter bring a greening of the grass and make flowers bloom as early as February. My own back patio is starting to look alive again: my hardy lavender is starting to bloom, the nasturtiums that died off in the heat of the summer are back in force, and oxalis is everywhere.

    Seeing all this fresh growth inspires me to throw off my winter mood, and this is a simple ritual I do to bring Spring into my life and give thanks.

    I start by picking some of that new growth. lavendar flowers, the big round leaves of the nasturtium, the shamrock shaped leaves and dainty yellow flowers of the oxalis. I add to that herbs from my kitchen garden - basil and it’s flowers, mint, lemon balm, etc. As I harvest these things, I give thanks to the plants for parts that I take.

    I arrange the cuttings into little vases, each for a particular deity in my pantheon. For instance, Scathac, my patron, is known as both a healer and a warrior/martial artist. She gets healing herbs like mint and lemon balm as well as the shamrocks that I hope will remind her of her native Scotland and Ireland. Lord Ganesha is a Hindu deity that I respect as the “remover of obstacles.” He reminds us that life is sweet, so I make his arrangement as fun as possible, with sprays of lavender, sweet mint, and red flowers. In India, red flowers are a common offering to Ganesha.

    Obviously, my garden is limited, and so might yours be at this time of year, so I go with what I have, and what feels right. I don’t fret that the Gods might be upset that I don’t have a particular flower or plant that they are associated with, or that my choices are humble, because I know that these offerings come from my heart.

    As I make each arrangement, I offer sincere thanks for the hope, strength, and blessings the Lords and Ladies have given me through the winter. To Scathac, who owned her own Fortress on the Isle of Skye, I offer thanks for protecting me, seeing me through my own battles, and helping me to keep my own home, or ‘fortress.’ I give thanks to Lord Ganesha for smoothing my way as much as possible through certain problems, and for the sweet moments I have had over the winter, and so on. Once I have finished an arrangement, I place it with a little bow and a word of thanks on the altar of the corresponding deity.

    Once I am done, my house has lots of little vases that bring Springtime joy, and my heart is full of thanks and hope for the new Spring.

    Bright Blessings!


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