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Here's my story....my names Jenn, been practicing Paganism for 11 years now. I love being outdoors. I live with my boyfriend of over five years. He has a daughter who is 6 years old, and I love her as if she were my own. I have four cats, two are outdoors, and two are indoors. One indoor one, Willow, is my familiar and on my facebook you'll notice a ton of pics of her! My videos, followers, and contact info are at the very bottom of the page! This blog is for witchie stuff, daily life events, venting, journaling, and answering any questions. Ways you can contact me is through this blog, or my yahoo e-mail: amistisreudan@yahoo.com, or http://www.youtube.com: http://www.youtube.com/amistisreudan

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ostara...

Ostara Goddess - Gia Pictures, Images and Photos

The Simple Facts

Ostara: Vernal (Spring) Equinox, Alban Eiler (Caledonii)

~The Spring Equinox is the point of equilibrium - the balance is suspended just before spring bursts forth from winter.

~Half fill a bowl with water and place a selection of flowers into it for display in a prominent position in your home.

~The night and day are of equal length at the equinox, and Ostara is a festival of balance and fertility.

~It is a celebration of birth and new life.

~A day when death has no power over the living.

~This was the time of the official return of the young Goddess after her Winter hibernation.

~It is believed that the Goddess and young God consummated their love.

~From this the Goddess became pregnant with the God to be reborn at Yule.

~The God and Goddess are young children at play and holiday festivals use brightly colored eggs to represent the child within.

~The Easter Bunny also is of Pagan origin, as are baskets of flowers.

~Traditionally, Ostara is a time for collecting wildflowers, walking in nature's beauty and cultivating herb gardens.

~This is the time to free yourself from anything in the past that is holding you back.
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Ostara (pronounced "O-STAR-ah") is one of the Lesser Wiccan Sabbats and is celebrated on the Spring Equinox, most often March 21st, but varies somewhat from the 20th to the 23rd. The variance, as with all Solar festivals, is due to the differences between the actual astronomical event and our calendar, so be sure to check the calendar each year.

Other names this Sabbat is also called by are the Vernal Equinox or the Spring Equinox, Oestara, Eostre's Day, Rite of Eostre, Equinozio della Primavera (Aridian Strega), Alban Eiber (Caledonii Tradition or the Druids), Bacchanalia, Festival of the Trees, and Lady Day.

Christians celebrate their holiday - Easter - near this same time and it is based on basically the same principles as ours in the Old Religion. Easter is actually determined in a very Pagan manner... it is always the first Sunday after the first Full Moon after the Spring Equinox.

This Sabbat is a time to celebrate the arrival of Spring, when light and darkness are in balance but the light is growing stronger. The forces of masculine energy and feminine energy are also in balance and this day paves the way for the coming lushness of Summer. Ostara is a time for the celebration of fertility and balance, a time when all elements within and without us are brought into harmony. A time of new life and rebirth, as well as the end of Winter.

Symbols used to represent Ostara include the egg (for fertility and reproduction) and the hare (for rebirth and resurrection), the New Moon, butterflies and cocoons. Symbolically, many Pagans choose to represent Ostara by the planting of seeds, potted plants, ringing bells, lighting new fires at sunrise, either in the fireplace (if the weather us still cold enough), in the the cauldron, or light a balefire (if outdoors).

I always give myself a gift of a newly potted plant or take a seed and plant it within my cast Circle. Ritually, a fire may be lit in the cauldron during (not before) the rite itself. You may want to decorate your altar with a colorful bouquet of Spring wildflowers. Other traditional activities include working on magickal gardens and practicing all forms of herbal work --- magickal, artistic, medicinal, culinary, and cosmetic.

Here is a traditional Vernal Equinox pastime according to Scott Cunningham: go to a field and randomly collect wildflowers. Thank the flowers for their sacrifice before picking them and it is also best to leave an offering to the plant and/or the Earth for taking the flowers, such as some milk and honey, a small crystal or even a coin. Or, buy some from a florist, taking one or two of those that appeal to you. Then bring them home and divine their magickal meanings by the use of books, your own intuition, a pendulum or by other means. The flowers you've chosen reveal your inner thoughts and emotions.

A particular suggestion from Scott Cunningham that I really enjoy each year is to do the following... at this time in the turn of the Wheel of the Year, when all things are green and renewed life is all around us, it is a very good idea to plan a walk (or a ride) through gardens, a park, woodlands, forest and other green places. This is not simply for exercise, and you should be on no other mission. It isn't even just an appreciation of Nature. You should make your walk celebratory, a ritual for Nature itself. Other Pagan activities may include the planting of your herb and/or vegetable garden.

Another very popular Ostara activity is decorating and coloring or dying hard-boiled eggs - or other eggs such as wooden or paper mache (I call them "Ostara Eggs"), and drawing Pagan and magickal symbols on the colored eggs. You could then choose to either keep the eggs, bury them in the Earth or cast them into a fire as offerings to the Goddess - the choice is yours. If I use hard- boiled eggs, I usually bury them in the Earth when the ritual is over, but - alternately - here is my personal choice... I usually make my eggs from the paper mache ones (the cost factor comes in to play here, they are a LOT cheaper than the wooden ones, but the wooden ones are much smoother). I buy them at the local craft store (such as Hobby Lobby). These eggs can be reused next year and you can even add new ones to the old, if you like.

The first thing I do is paint them each a different color - whatever shade strikes me - whether it be dull, bright, pastel, or primary. Then I use gold and silver paint pens to draw Pagan designs and magicakl symbols all over them. You may opt to use other color combinations. It is entirely up to your personal choice. I have one egg that is totally covered with interconnected triangles (Triple Goddess), a couple with pentagrams and God and Goddess symbols, some with words written in Theban script, etc. Just let your imagination take you there - it's a lot of fun!

Appropriate Deities for Ostara include all Youthful and Virile Gods and Goddesses, Sun Gods, Mother Goddesses, Love Goddesses, Moon Gods and Goddesses, and all Fertility Deities. Some Ostara Deities to mention by name here include Persephone, Blodeuwedd, Eostre, Aphrodite, Athena, Cybele, Gaia, Hera, Isis, Ishtar, Minerva, Venus, Robin of the Woods, the Green Man, Cernunnos, Lord of the Greenwood, The Dagda, Attis, The Great Horned God, Mithras, Odin, Thoth, Osiris, and Pan.

Key actions to keep in mind during this time in the Wheel of the Year include openings and new beginnings. Spellwork for improving communication and group interaction are recommended, as well as fertility and abundance. Ostara is a good time to start putting those plans and preparations you made at Imbolc into action. Start working towards physically manifesting your plans now.

The most common colors associated with Ostara are lemon yellow, pale green and pale pink. However, also appropriate colors include grass green, all pastels, Robin's egg blue, violet, and white.

Stones to use during the Ostara celebration include aquamarine, rose quartz, and moonstone.

Animals associated with Ostara are rabbits and snakes.

Mythical beasts associated with Ostara include unicorns, merpeople, and pegasus.

Plants and herbs associated with Ostara are crocus flowers, daffodils, jasmine, Irish moss, snowdrops, and ginger.

For Ostara incense, you could make a blend from any of the following scents or simply choose one... jasmine, frankincense, myrrh, dragon's blood, cinnamon, nutmeg, aloes wood, benzoin, musk, African violet, sage, strawberry, lotus, violet flowers, orange peel, or rose petals.

Foods in tune with this day (linking your meals with the seasons is a fine way of attuning with Nature) include eggs, egg salad, hard-boiled eggs, honey cakes, first fruits of the season, fish, cakes, biscuits, cheeses, honey and ham. You may also include foods made of seeds, such as sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds, as well as pine nuts. Sprouts are equally appropriate, as are leafy, green vegetables.

From Scott Cunningham: flower dishes such as stuffed nasturtiums or carnation cupcakes also find their place here. (Find a book of flower cooking or simply make spice cupcakes. Ice with pink frosting and place a fresh carnation petal on each cupcake. Stuff nasturtium blossoms with a mixture made of cream cheese, chopped nuts, chives and watercress.)

Appropriate Ostara meat dishes should contain fish or ham.

May the Lord and Lady bless you all with fertility, abundance, success, and all things new!
_________________________________________________________________

Natural Ostara Eggs

Natural egg-dying is like recycling. It takes a li'l bit longer to do, but gives you that witchy feeling.

Cover your plant material with about 3 inches of water, bring to a boil, and simmer until the color looks good. You'll probably have to let the eggs sit in the dye overnight, so if you're planning more than one color per egg, start this a few days before Ostara. Experimenting is half the fun, but here are some hints to get you started:

Yellows- daffodil petals, saffron, turmeric, onion skins
Blues- blueberries, red cabbage leaves & vinegar
Greens-broccoli, coltsfoot
Pinks- cochineal, madder root
Browns - walnut shells, tea, coffee

Wanna get fancy? Gather some small leaves, ferns, flowers and grasses. Dip them in water (to help them stick) and press them onto your eggs. Wrap each egg in a piece of cut up pantyhose and secure it with a twist tie before dyeing. When you remove the flower or leaf, it's design will appear (either in white or in your first dye-color). Rub your finished eggs with a tiny bit of vegetable oil on a soft cloth to shine them.

Too hard?? No hosiery??? Okay, try using crayons to draw spirals and pentagrams on the eggs before dying them.

Now, plan a fertility ritual for your garden. Bury an Ostara egg in the east corner of your garden, or one egg for each direction, or dig an entire circle for them (depends on how much you hate egg-salad).

Next I will list several recipes appropriate for the Ostara turn in the Wheel of the Year. I have gathered these from various places, noted on each...

Ostara Incense
Recipe by Scott Cunningham
2 parts Frankincense
1 part Benzoin
1 part Dragon's Blood
1/2 part Nutmeg
1/2 part Violet flowers (or a few drops Violet oil)
1/2 part Orange peel
1/2 part Rose petals

Burn during Wiccan rituals on Ostara (the Spring Equinox, which varies from March 20th to the 24th each year), or to welcome the spring and refresh your life.

Spring Equinox Ritual Potpourri
Recipe by Gerina Dunwich

A small cauldron filled with homemade potpourri can be used as a fragrant altar decoration, burned (outdoors) as an offering to the old gods during or after a Sabbat celebration, or wrapped in decorative paper and ribbons and given to a Wiccan sister or brother as a Sabbat gift.

45 drops rose oil
1 cup oak moss
2 cups dried dogwood blossoms
2 cups dried honeysuckle blossoms
1/2 cup dried violets
1/2 cup dried daffodils
1/2 cup dried rosebuds
1/2 cup dried crocus or iris

Mix the rose oil with the oak moss, and then add the remaining ingredients. Stir the potpourri well and then store in a tightly covered ceramic or glass container.

Ostara Oil - Put in soap or annoint candles
5 drops lavender
5 drops jasmine
5 drops patchouli
5 drops rose

Add a lavender bud and small lapis lazuli, rose, and clear quartz crystals. This has the gently smell of spring beginning to blossom. Very lovely!

Country-Witch Eggnog
Recipe by Gerina Dunwich
1 cup apple cider
3 cups milk
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons brandy

Combine all of the ingredients in a large cauldron or pot and cook over medium heat for 13 minutes. Pour the hot eggnog into mugs and top each serving with fresh whipped cream (if desired). Country-Witch Eggnog is the perfect drink to serve your Wiccan friends and family members at Yuletide (Winter Solstice) and Ostara (Spring Equinox) sabbats. (This recipe yield two quarts.)

And finally, here are some wise words, along with a few nice devotional incantations and poems
Enjoy and May Ye Blessed Be!

Spring Equinox
by Rhiannon Cotter

The Spring Equinox represents the turning from Winter to Spring during which youth returns, beauty comes forth, and life rises from the depths of the Earth. The Goddess as Maiden is reborn surrounded by the symbols of fertility. Animals and plants return from hibernation. On Spring Equinox, balance is the theme. Yet this balance moves both inner and outer worlds toward love, light, living and outward manifestations of destinies dreamed. Now is the time of planting, nurturing and growth.

Ostara
by Aurora
Winter's barrenness has subsided,
From the death of Winter
Springs new life!
Spring is coming to the land.
The days grow longer,
Warm breezes begin to stir,
All around us we see signs
The land has become fertile again.
The Earth is caressed by
The loving touch of the Mother.
Where her hand passes:
Atoms twine together to create growth.
Buds burst open,
Leaves and vines unfurl.
She creates a vision of green beauty.
Beauty so breath-taking after
The dark solitude of Winter.
It is this vision that we celebrate
On her day of Ostara
The world recreating itself
Returning from the death of Winter,
Into the new life of Spring
Through the love of the Goddess.

Equinox Chant
by Ginger Strivelli

The day is balanced.
The night is balanced.
All is balanced this day.
Let balance be our way.
The God energy is balanced.
The Goddess energy is balanced.
All is balanced this day.
Balance in all we do, think, and say.
The Sun is balanced.
The Moon is balanced.
All is balanced this day.
Balance is the divine way.
The light is balanced.
The dark is balanced.
All is balanced this day.
From balance, may we never stray.

Esbat Invocation
by Zena of Lady's Grove

Mother of all
Goddess above
Look down on Your children
With goodness and love.
Grant to us strength
To heal and to grow.
Share Your fertility
With us here below.
Show us Your power
To sprout things from seed;
Help us all here
In our time of need.
We worship Your symbol, the Moon,
And pray to our Mother
To grant us this boon.
Be with us, Goddess,
Your children below,
And give us the knowledge
That we need to grow.
Blessed Be!

Spring Invocation to Persephone
by Elizabeth Barrette

Come, Persephone,
With your paint-pots and brushes:
Stipple the fields with flowers,
Dot the branches with bright blossoms,
Streak the Spring sky with pale pastels.
You are the one who paints the eyes on the pansies,
And the lines on the lilies so the bees can find their food,
And the blushes on the rosebuds.
Without you,
The bearded iris would have no smile
And the black-eyed susan would be blind.
Come, Persephone:
The world has rested too long
Under Winter's snowy cloak.
Come bring your brushes and bright colors
And dress us in the shades of Spring again.
We invoke you, gracious maiden of freedom and beauty:
Join us now.

Invocation to Bloddeuwedd
by Moonflower May

Apple Blossoms strewn,
along a wooded trail
Goddess of love walks,
Blodeuwedd;
Great Mother of the night.
The owl flies,
into the air.
Familiar of the Lily Maid,
in Her evening guise.
Dancing in the moonlight,
in the garden of the Goddess.
Blodeuwedd;
Maiden of the Mysteries,
waltzing through the night.
By Her side,
allowed to walk;
like the cat who's Her companion
on many evening roves.
Blodeuwedd;
Goddess of the Moon,
Enchant me with your beauty
under the silver Moon.
Moonflower May
Moonbeam Manor
Massachusetts
Robin o' the Woods
by Lokius
Robin o' the Woods
Come dance with us
Before this night has passed.
Come play with your children
Laughing and singing
Barefoot in the grass.
Bless our family
With a step and a song
As we gather together this night.
Oh, Robin of the woods
Come dance with us
Under the full moon light.
Lokius

A Sample Ritaul:

This Ritual shall be performed either in the morning, at Dawn, or during the day sometime, or during the early evening hours, just after Sunset.

Sweep area, starting in the North and moving deosil, with your magickal broom to cleanse the Circle area and "sweep away" any lingering negative energies.

Set up the Quarter candles (North-Green, East-Yellow, South-Red, West-Blue) and/or other items symbolizing the elements at the Four Quarters.

Set up your altar as desired, and face it to the North, covering it with a white, light green, lemon yellow or a pale pink altar cloth.

For this ceremony, decorate the altar with Springtime flowers of any color (silk are acceptable), along with a Spring basket filled with brightly-colored Pagan Ostara Eggs.

Along with your usual ritual tools and items, have upon the altar:

~White, Light Green, Lemon Yellow or a Pale Pink Altar Cloth
~Spring Basket filled with Brightly-colored Pagan Ostara Eggs
~Spring Flowers (for decoration)
~A New Plant or a Seed or Seedling to be planted within your cast Circle -
you will also need some soil and a pot (as a Spring gift to yourself)
~Pen and Paper (for writing out your desires for the coming year)
~Cauldron for Burning the "Seed" Papers in (light each one from the Fire candle)
~A Bell
~Ostara Incense - Spring Blend, or Jasmine, Rose, Sage, or Strawberry Sticks

When all is set up, take a shower or bath for purification and don your Ritual Robe or other Ritual attire. Be sure to wear your Magickal jewelry, if you have any. Sit quietly and meditate for a little while - to ground and center. When you feel ready to begin, play some quiet peaceful music for the Ritual.

Cast the Circle... begin the Ostara Sabbat Ceremony by sitting quietly for a few moments, then say these words aloud in dedication:

"Winter's bareness has subsided,
from the death of Winter springs new life!
Spring is coming to the land.
The days grow longer, warm breezes begin to stir...
All around me I see signs---
The growing things are beginning anew.
It is a resurrection of the dance of life---
The dance of the stems and stalks
As they push forth from the Earth.
It is the season of creation.
Growth has turned outward.
The land has become fertile again.
The Earth is caressed by the loving touch of the Mother.
Where Her hand passes:
Atoms twine together to create growth.
Buds burst open, leaves and vines unfurl.
She creates a vision of green beauty.
Beauty so breath-taking after the dark solitude of Winter.
It is this vision that we celebrate on Her day of Ostara.
The world recreating itself---
Returning from the death of Winter,
Into the new life of Spring
Through the love of the Lord and the Lady."

Sit quietly again and reflect on the meaning of the Spring Season for a few moments. When you are ready, pick up your wand and hold it in your power hand, face the North and with your arms outstretched and say:

"The time of change is upon us again -
the Equinox comes, the Wheel turns...
The Wheel of the Year turns on and on,
bringing us all to and from each Season,
and from and to another...
What will be is. What was will be.
All time is here and now in this Sacred Space.
I now pause to watch the Wheel turn,
and cast this Circle on this blessed day/eve.
to celebrate this season of balance known as Ostara, the Vernal Equinox -
the time of new birth and new beginnings.
In this moment between time,
I come to praise the bountiful young Goddess.
and Her son-lover, the Great Horned God of renewal.
for Their blessings of fertility, warmth and life renewed.
I wish to give thanks and feel myself as a part of
the relentlessly turning Wheel of Life, Death, and Rebirth."
Pause and reflect for a few moments, then continue, saying:
"O Great God of Strength, New Beginnings, and Fertility,
who has been known as Cernunnos, Herne, Pan,
the Great Horned God, and the Lord of the Forests -
Grant me strength, power, and understanding,
throughout this season and always.
O Great Goddess of Love, New Beginnings, and Fertility,
who has been known as Blodeuwedd, Eostre, Astarte, Aphrodite,
and the Maiden Lady of the Moon -
Teach me the secrets of the Mysteries
and the ways of magick."

Still holding the wand in your power hand, pause and reflect again for a few moments, then say these words:

"Behold, the Lord and Lady of life and the giver of life.
Without Her Lord, the Goddess is barren.
Without His Lady, the God has no life.
Each is needful of the other for completion and power,
as Sun to Earth, the spear to the cauldron,
spirit to flesh, human to human."

Rap the side of the cauldron lightly with the wand, say:

"O Great Goddess, be with me now.
in your aspect of the Maiden,
the fair one who brings joy and new life."

Ring the bell once and say:

"O Great God of renewal, be with me now.
in your aspect of the Lord of the Forests,
the Horned God who brings warmth and love."

Rap the cauldron once more with the wand and say:

"May the strength of the old enter into the new.
Great Lord and Lady, make all things strong
and giving of new life. Blessed be."

Pick up the burning incense and carry it once more around the Circle deosil. Set it back down and say these words:

"Awake! All creatures in the realm of Earth, awake!
Greet the Maiden and Her Lover,
who herald the coming of Spring."

At this time, symbolically present yourself with your new Springtime gift - the potted plant (or plant the actual seed or seedling in the soil and then present it to yourself). Say these words:

"As this tiny plant/seed/seedling begins its life anew,
so do I now begin to manifest
my new desires for the coming year."

Pick up your athame and touch its tip to the paper, and say:

"Now I cast behind me
the darkness of Winter and the past.
I look only to that which lies ahead.
This is the time for me to plant seeds in the
physical, mental, as well as spiritual realms."

Now write down your desires for the coming year on the slips of paper. Write only one desire on each piece of paper. Fold the papers and hold them up over the altar in offering to the Old Gods. Say these words:

"This is a joyous time, a time for planting.
With joy and trust, I place these requests
in the hands of the Goddess and Her Lord."

Light the papers afire in the flame of the Fire candle and drop them one by one into the cauldron to manifest as the Gods see fit. As you do so, say:

"These thought-seeds I do willingly place
into the hands of the Lady and Her Lord,
that these desires and dreams may
manifest and become reality.
By the free will of All, and
with harm to none,
as I will, so shall it be done."

When you are finished, proceed with the Cakes and Ale Ceremony, followed by Releasing the Circle in your usual manner.

This Completes the Ostara Sabbat Ritual

Please note this ritual is based on the Northern Hemisphere correspondences of elements and their colours, and directions and so on.

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