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February 3rd, 2009, 09:29 PM
Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: In transit!
- The light half of the year and the dark half of the year are in perfect balance. (Daylight and Nightime are equal)
- This now marks the begining half of the year! We've survived winter and are now able to start planting and growing!
- The wheel of the year is in the East, the land of Dawn, Freshness of a new day, and a new begining
- The Egg is the symbol of the spring fertility godess. German godess -Ostara, Anglo Saxons - Eostre, Phoenician - Astarte, Babylonian - Ishtar
these words/names/godesses date back far before the modern english term Easter came about.
(below provided by shadow kitten from pagan forum with her permission)
-The spring altar includes images of rabbits, birds, eggs, nests, and flowers. Colours associated with Ostara include pastel greens, pinks, blues, and yellows. If you have a nice yard or garden, you might consider creating an outdoor altar.
-Easter traditions are pagan, but the significance of these traditions is often lost in the secularization of the holiday. Be sure to talk to your children about the symbolism of the eggs. There are many stories about Eostre and how coloured Ostara eggs came to be – share your favourite one with your family!
-As you know, eggs feature predominantly in this Sabbat. The possibilities for egg meals are endless - omelettes, scrambled, poached, hard-boiled, devilled. You can also make eggnog. Quiche is also a modern Ostara favourite. Hot cross buns are a great way to represent the Sun Wheel. Egg-shaped cookies, chocolate rabbits, and egg custards make terrific desserts.
-Have a traditional breakfast of buns, ham, and eggs. Save the eggshells and after breakfast, throw the crushed eggshells into the garden and say:
For fairy, for flowers, for herbs in the bowers,
The shells pass fertility with springtime showers.
-Colour eggs with your family! You can use either hard-boiled eggs or you can dye uncooked eggs and then blow out the insides. If you hollow them out and rinse them you can keep them for show and re-use them every year. While decorating eggs, try to keep in mind the Pagan symbolism of the occasion. Paint eggs bright yellow to symbolize the sun. A green egg with a serpent symbolizes rebirth and renewal. Use Pagan symbols – spirals, pentacles, triple moons, solar discs – and take the opportunity to reinforce your child's understanding of their meanings.
-Consecrate the eggs by saying:
In the name of the Goddess of spring (name),
And the ever-returning God of the sun, (name),
By the powers of the four elements - earth, air, fire, and water,
I do consecrate these eggs of Ostara.
Point your athame at the eggs, make the sign of the pentagram, and see the energy flow through the blade into the eggs, and say:
New life within as new life shall enter the soil.
Let those who see this life find it and consume it,
for all life feeds on life.
The eggs may be hidden and the Ostara Egg Hunt commences.
-You can also use natural dyes for a more environmentally friendly approach. A list of natural dyes can be found here.
-You can create eggshell candles by hollowing, cleaning and dying an egg before pouring wax into it and then inserting a wick. Add dyes and scents to the wax if you wish.
-You can create egg rattles by filling hollowed eggs with birdseed. That way, your child can then delight in smashing them against trees and leaving something for the birds to feast on.
-A silly but fun activity is to use hollow eggshells which have been opened at the wide end as small pots. Let your child draw a silly face on the side of the egg with markers. Fill them full of potting soil and sprinkle with grass seed. Water the seeds lightly and in a few days your "egghead" will have grown "hair". When the grass begins to die put the eggshells outside for the birds and other animals to enjoy.
-Perform Oomancy (divination by eggs). The most common way to do this is by separating the egg whites and yolks. You then drop the egg whites into hot water and divine from the shapes it assumes.
-Draw sprouting leaves on an egg and bury it in your garden to help stimulate your plants.
-In ancient Italy in the spring, women planted Gardens of Adonis. They filled urns with grain seeds, kept the in the dark and watered them every two days until they sprouted. You can do this yourself with grass seed in baskets. You can then put your decorated eggs on the altar in your grass filled baskets. Talk about how this custom persists today in Sicily, where women plant seeds of grains--lentils, fennel, lettuce or flowers--in baskets and pots. When they sprout, the stalks are tied with red ribbons and the "gardens" are placed along roads on the Christian holiday 'Good Friday'. They are meant symbolize the triumph of life over death.
-Make a growth charm out of a hard-boiled egg -- decorate it with symbols, write on it the quality you would like to manifest more fully within yourself, energize it, and then eat it.
-Make Hot Cross Buns to honour the union of the Earth and Sun for spring. Slash the 'X' with your bolline and bless the bread.
-Do a spring cleaning rites/ritual and cleanse your home of negativity and any energies that might prevent you from taking advantage of prosperity in your life.
-If you live where it is still too cold for outdoor adventures, buy some fast-growing seeds (grass seed is especially satisfying as it grows fast and is virtually indestructible) and let your child plant an indoor garden. If your children plant seeds in a small pot which will fit inside their egg-hunting basket a week or so before Ostara, they can have real grass instead of shredded cellophane to nestle their eggs.
-Plant seeds to celebrate. Plant seeds to represent things in our lives that we want to grow over the summer. For example, plant a seed for kindness or patience.
-Planting seeds or starting a Magickal Herb Garden. Taking a long walk in nature with no intent other than reflecting on the Magick of nature and our Great Mother and her bounty.
-Plan your magickal garden to plant after Beltane.
-Perform magick by planting a seed to grow with your spell. You can use the energy of this time of year to fuel any new project or goal. Think of how you wish to change and grow while planting the seed and watch it flourish as you do.
-Plant early seeds such as peas, lettuce, cabbage family. Start others indoors.
-Have each member of your family/coven select a seed or bulb that they wish to plant. Bless them and visualize your plants in full bloom. Then you may wish to invoke each of the four elements necessary for the plants' growth. You may either plant your items outside, or if it is too cold place them in a pot of soil and pat down the earth (Earth), poured water on it (Water), breath on it (Air) and then hold the pot over a candle or up to the sun, if you are outside (Fire).
-Give a potted plant to friends or family for their garden or window sill.
-Bless seeds planted in the garden.
-Connect with plant energies. Choose a plant and spend time exploring the leaves and stem in great detail, being careful not to harm it. Use a magnifying glass. Feel the textures and inhale the scent of the plant.
-Let the whole family create a dance depicting the rising of new shoots from the earth to greet the sun. Create your own music with drums, rattles and whistles, or choose music that reminds you of spring. Bundle up, spread out a blanket, and watch the sunrise. Eat honey cakes and eggs for breakfast.
-Create ritual garment. Try an easy robe pattern. Embellish it with trims, embroidery, bells, stones, sequins or anything else that strikes your fancy. Save it to wear until Ostara as it was considered bad luck to wear it before then in ancient times.
-As soon as the weather permits, take your children walking outside to look for birds in the trees and new growth in the plant world.
-If you live near a river or pond you can look for tadpoles in the water. (Be sure you return later to see the frogs which have grown from those tiny creatures)
-Go out and collect wild flowers if they are out in you area.
-Take a walk and look for signs of emerging life in the forests and fields or in a local park.
-You can also consider Ostara as a time of balance between light and dark. Night and day equally divide the 24 hours now; the dark half of the year gives way to the light. You can perform rituals to ask for balance in your life, and to honour both dark and light.
-On Ostara Eve, light a purple or violet candle and burn patchouli incense. Carry them both through the house, saying:
Farewell to wintry spirits and friends;
On morrow we greet the spirits of spring;
Our blessings to thee as your way you wend;
And merry we'll meet next winter again.
Blow out the candle and say:
Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again!
-Light pairs of white and black candles, symbolizing dark and light, in different areas of your home. Each time you pass a pair of candles, you can honour the balance of light and dark we find this time of year, and the balance of light and dark within yourself.
-Create an effigy of the dark half of the year and imbue it with the things of winter you'd like to leave behind. You can then either burn it in a bonfire or drop it in the nearest watercourse.
-Do a spring rite. Take walks in parks, woods or other green areas. Make the walking a ritual in itself. Wear flowers in your hair, or as a necklace, and strew them around and on your alter. Toss crushed eggshells into the garden.
-Pick up rubbish at your favourite park or beach. Help the earth rejuvenate by getting rid of the mess. Even an hour of cleanup can make a big difference.
-Take time to notice what birds have returned from their winter homes. Place feeders and/or a bird bath out for them.
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