The birdfeeder is crowded with little birds, when the jays aren’t being rude. By the way, we’re already seeing the migrating hummingbirds.
It started to rain at about 10am yesterday morning, according to Tempus. I had gone back to bed after getting the newsletter out and he let me sleep, which led to me startling awake at about 11:30. Oh, no! I didn’t open the shop on time! …and then I stopped panicking when I realized he had just taken off for the shop without me. …but,wow, was I awake! 🙂
I spent the early afternoon on computer updates and then Tempus got hold of me at about 2pm. (We had already been talking back and forth on Facebook. We had a couple of ladies from Bend who had come out specifically to get a reading from me, so he ran up to the house to get me. While I was waiting I got a few pix of the clematis.
I stayed at the shop after that, working on “bits and bobs”, which led to me cleaning up the beading table and going through and finding a lot of pendants that I *knew* we had, and that they were in there *somewhere*. Some will become new stock and some put by (in the right place this time) for use in some of my jewelery. I also made a few suncatchers, since our stock was getting low. Tempus was still working on crystals, and he has a bit yet to go, but we quit at around 6:30 and closed up. …and it was still twilight!
Tempus ran in to Ray’s to do some shopping and I meditated for awhile. When we got home it was very, very dark. I did count and sorted financial stuff while Tempus made an awesome supper of potatoes fried with onions, ham and green peas. After we ate I got back to work on updates, but ended up wearing out not too much farther into the process.
Today we’re going to be home, although we have to run some errands in the morning. I’m probably going to try to finish the earring page update first and then get into setting up the newsletters for the week, but I’d also like to do some baking.
The Polish (among other nationalities) polymath Nicolas Copernicus was born on this day in 1473. One of the people whose names are generally still remembered, his book De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (of the revolution of the celestial spheres) was published in 1543. He claimed in the book that the sun was the center of our solar system, but a trusted friend who was responsible for getting the book to the printer wrote him a new preface to soften the blow to the Church’s stand that the Earth was the center. More here: http://www.wilsonsalmanac.com/book/feb19.html (Search for Copernicus) and here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicolaus_Copernicus on the principle here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copernican_principle and heliocentrism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copernican_heliocentrism
At the middle of all things lies the sun. As the location of this luminary in the cosmos, that most beautiful temple, would there be any other place or any better place than the centre, from which it can light up everything at the same time? Hence the sun is not inappropriately called by some the lamp of the universe, by others its mind, and by others its ruler. From De revolutionibus orbium coelestium
Today’s plant is Green Field speedwell, Veronica agrestis.
The shop is closed on Tuesday/Wednesday. Winter hours are 11am-6pm Thursday through Monday. If we’re supposed to be closed, but it looks like we’re there, try the door. If it’s open, the shop’s open! In case of bad weather, check here at the blog for updates, on our Facebook as Ancient Light or call the shop at 541-563-7154.
Love & Light,
Today’s Astro & Calendar
The Moon is Waxing Gibbous. Waxing Moon Magick – The waxing moon is for constructive magick, such as love, wealth, success, courage, friendship, luck or healthy, protection, divination. Any working that needs extra power, such as help finding a new job or healings for serious conditions, can be done now. Also, love, knowledge, legal undertakings, money and dreams. Phase ends at the Tide Change on 2/25 at 12:26pm. Waxing Gibbous Moon – From seven to fourteen days after the new moon. For spells that need concentrated work over a ¼ moon cycle this is the best time for constructive workings. Aim to do the last working on the day of the Full moon, before the turn. Phase ends on 2/24 at 12:@6am.
Goddess Month of of Bridhe, runs from 1/23 – 2/19
Goddess Month of of Moura, runs from 2/20-3/19
Celtic Tree Month of Nuin/Nion, Ash, Feb 18 – Mar 17
Runic half-month of Sigel/Sowelo, 2/12-26 It represents the power of the force of good throughout the world and is the harbinger of victory and ascendancy over darkness.
©2013 M. Bartlett, Some parts separately copyright
Celtic Tree Month of Nuin/Nion, Ash begins today. The common ash (Fraxinus excelsior L.) is a major tree of lowland forests in much of Europe, along with oaks and beeches. It grows to 40 m (130 feet) in open sites, with a broad crown reminiscent of American elm trees. Ash was and still is an important timber tree, and is a traditional material for the handle of a besom. The common ash is occasionally cultivated in North America, and similar native ash species are widely grown as street trees. Ashes are members of the Olive family (Oleaceae).
Nuin – Ash Ogam letter correspondences
Color: Glass Green
Meaning: Locked into a chain of events; Feeling bound.
Ogam letter correspondences to study this month Oir – Spindle Ogam letter correspondences
Letter: TH, OI
Meaning: Finish obligations and tasks or your life cannot move forward.
Tides for Alsea Bay
Day High Tide Height Sunrise Moon Time % Moon
~ /Low Time Feet Sunset Visible
Tu 19 Low 12:46 AM 3.6 7:09 AM Set 2:53 AM 59
~ 19 High 6:59 AM 7.0 5:51 PM Rise 12:20 PM
~ 19 Low 2:25 PM 1.4
~ 19 High 9:00 PM 5.4
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – Let the truth shine through appearances.
~ My love is deeper than the holler, stronger than the river, higher than the pine trees growin tall upon the hill. My love is purer than the snowflakes that fall in late december and honest as a robin on a springtime windowsill, and longer than the song of the whippoorwill. – Randy Travis
~ No sight that human eyes can look upon is more provocative of awe than is the night sky scattered thick with stars. – Llewelyn Powys
~ Observe the wonders as they occur around you. Don’t claim them. Feel the artistry moving through and be silent. Rumi
~ Obstacles across our path can be spiritual flat tires — disruptions in our lives seem to be disastrous at the time, but end by redirecting our lives in a meaningful way” – Bernie Siegal
I feel envious, when I think back, of the privileged little urchin I was in those days. As an accompaniment to my modest, fill-in meals — a chop, a leg of cold chicken, or one of those hard cheeses, “baked” in the embers of a wood fire and so brittle that one blow of the fist would shatter them into pieces like a pane of glass – I drank Chateau Lafites, Chambertins, and Cortons which had escaped capture by the ‘Prussians’ in 1870. Certain of these wines were already fading, pale and scented still like a dead rose; they lay on a sediment of tannin that darkened their bottles, but most of them retained their aristocratic ardour and their invigorating powers. The good old days! – Colette
Magick – Czech Eggs
The Great Egg Hunt (I can no longer find the original link. I don’t know if it’s broken or just corrupted, but this is *not* copyright to me, but to a Czech website!!!!)
The great egg hunt of 2001 got its start in 1999 when I visited Slovakia for the annual tinkers symposium at the Povazske Museum in Zilina. Before then I knew that Slovakia, like Ukraine, had a long history of decorated Easter eggs and had often seen samples of this colorful art. The symposium, however, was where I first saw wirework eggs made by tinkers. Like other decorated eggs, they are made with blown eggs; unlike other eggs, they are decorated with woven wire. Two years later, again in Slovakia, I finally learned more about these unusual eggs and even ended up crisscrossing the country on an impromptu egg hunt.
Called kraslice in Slovakia, pysanky in Ukraine, decorated eggs are one of the oldest and richest forms of folk art found in Eastern Europe. They first gained attention in the 17th century but their origins lie in prehistoric times, when eggs were ascribed magical powers. Used in seasonal, agrarian and other rituals, eggs were symbols of the sun, light, fertility and spring, as well as the rebirth and continuity of life.
For centuries eggs and decorated eggs were used in countless rituals all over the world. For example, an egg held to a child’s lips was believed to encourage early speech. Placed in a plowed field, it ensured a good crop, while one under a barn entryway protected cows’ health and fertility. Eggs were important in wedding dishes and customs, as well as at Easter. They were also placed on graves to commemorate the dead.
As it did with many other customs and traditions, Christianity adopted the egg and “baptized” it, adding new symbolism associated with Christ’s passion, death and resurrection to the original meaning as well as to the designs.
The English word “Easter” comes from “Eostre,” an ancient Anglo-Saxon goddess. In pagan times an annual spring festival was held in her honor, and some Easter customs developed from this and other pre-Christian spring festivals. In other languages, however, the word for Easter derives from the pasch, or Passover, and Christianity’s paschal feast.
Christianity was quick to see the symbol of Christ’s resurrection in the previously pagan custom. For example, Christians saw the egg’s shell as a symbol of the protective darkness of the life-giving tomb; a hatching chick represented the risen Christ emerging from the tomb on Easter morning. The egg’s shape, with neither beginning nor end, was both a symbol of eternity as well as of the “womb” of the tomb, where the Crucified was given new life.
In addition to the motifs drawn from nature, some egg designers added the symbols of Christ’s passion: the rooster, recalling Peter’s denial; the recurring thorn pattern for the crown of thorns Jesus was made to wear; or the nails and spear of the crucifixion. Primarily, however, the joyful nature symbols prevailed in egg designs, reflecting the joy of the Christian world in the Lord’s victory over death.
At first, Slovak decorated eggs were simple, dyed one color; later, ferns and flowers were applied to the eggs to imprint a design. Some of the common motifs still used today, such as the sun, stars and birds, are from the pre-Christian era. Geometric patterns of all kinds and stylized and realistic flowers and human figures were also common. All patterns were done freehand. By the late 19th century, aniline dyes came into widespread use and blown eggs replaced full eggs. Hen eggs are most common; duck, goose and ostrich eggs also are used.
Many kinds of kraslice are still made today. The simplest are dyed a solid color. Red, the color of blood and life, is common. Waxing, batik, etching, scratching and pasting are popular techniques used with kraslice. For the first, warmed wax is applied to the colored egg in relief designs. With batik, which is the most common technique, a design is drawn on the egg in wax, the egg is dyed, then more wax is applied. Going from light colors to dark, the procedure is repeated again and again, depending on the complexity of the design. Etching involves using an agent of some kind to make a design on the delicate surface of colored eggs. With scratching, the design is scratched on the colored egg with a knife, razor, needle or awl. In pasting, barley or oat straw, yarn, thread or the natural or dyed pith of cattails are pasted onto the egg to cover it in part or in whole.
Other decorative eggs include the wired ones made by tinkers, those of wood or glass and, rarest of all, the eggs decorated with miniature horseshoes, anvils, hammers, spurs and other items once made by blacksmiths to show off their skills. These elaborate eggs probably were not made for Easter. Unfortunately, I was unable to see the few that now exist only in museum collections.
Late in the 19th century, wirework eggs were made and sold by Slovak tinkers to celebrate the Easter holiday, but the custom disappeared when the tinkers did. Petr Musil, a Czech freelance artist, teacher, contemporary tinker and master egg decorator, is responsible for reviving the craft of wiring eggs.
I caught up with Petr at the 2001 symposium. In 1988, Petr explained, he took a class in egg decorating for a summer camp where he was teaching. A lecturer from Bratislava showed him a monograph with a photograph of an unidentified man and some wire-decorated eggs. Intrigued by the photo and technique, Petr wanted to know more. His search took him to the Center for Folk Art Production (known by its Slovak acronym, ULUV) in Bratislava and in 1993 to the tinkers symposium in Zilina, where he found more historical documentation and some antique eggs.
By then Petr had mastered the technique of making wired eggs. He asked some Slovak tinkers to make some and organized a group exhibit. Since then, Petr has taught many and inspired countless more to make the eggs.
The most common wire pattern in egg decoration is the basic fishnet, but in all, Petr uses about 30 different patterns for his handsome eggs. He also makes eggs of wirework only, including a mammoth one of 102 inches for the Guinness Book of Records. He recently led 340 people, including many first-timers, through an egg-decorating lesson in the main square of Pelhrimov, Czech Republic, to set another record for the most people working in wire at one time. Petr says that he became an artisan through “theory and practice.” He is dedicated to sharing both.
Lubos Skulec, who lives about 10 minutes from the museum, offered to show us his unique wirework eggs, which have been exhibited at the White House and the Sydney Olympics. A 33-year-old computer graphics designer, he started painting eggs with detailed miniature landscapes.
That was not enough for Lubos: He taught himself to make wirework eggs, which he also paints with tempera landscapes. Motivated to “do something no one else in the world is doing,” he next taught himself basket-weaving techniques and soon was crafting the densely woven, Fabergé-type wire eggs for which he is now known. He usually uses copper wire for these impressive eggs, which incorporate filigree and triple-wire techniques. One woven and painted egg takes about seven weeks to create. Needless to say, these eggs are for the collector, not the Easter basket.
Bratislava is something of a detour, but the ULUV headquarters there is worth it. Known for its shops and showrooms, ULUV has been instrumental for almost 60 years in preserving Slovakia’s rich tradition of folk arts through research, documentation, production, and marketing. The headquarters’ library also is an excellent source of information.
An Easter egg exhibit held in the city of Banska Bystrica is a celebration of the best in old and new techniques. The show features dozens of different kinds of eggs from all over Slovakia. Among my favorites are indigo-dyed eggs scratched with white designs that mimic traditional blueprint fabric and eggs covered in cattail pith dyed in Kenzo-like colors. Charming displays show eggs nesting in baskets and bowls and dangling from branches of pussy willow, a perennial symbol of spring.
One of the contributors to the exhibition is Margita Simkova, who started decorating eggs 27 years ago. To watch her at work I visited her sunny home in the village of Prievidza.
Margita picked up the craft from her mother, who supplied eggs to ULUV. Now Margita, too, makes wax- and straw-decorated eggs for ULUV.
Though white eggs painted with blue are popular, Margita usually dyes her eggs a solid color, then decorates them in white, using a candle wax and whitewash mixture. These days she gets pre-blown eggs from a supplier. The problem, she says, is finding white eggs, which yield brighter, clearer colors when dyed. Brown eggs are more common in Slovakia.
Margita usually works in her cellar workshop with a gas lamp, but for demonstrations she uses her “lucky Aladdin lamp” to heat the wax compound. Using a metal stylus, she deftly paints a red egg with a floral pattern learned from her mother.
In the past Margita made about 10,000 eggs a year; she now averages about 3,000 because the patterns, she says, have become more dense and complicated. ULUV uses only certain patterns in their egg catalog, which Margita finds somewhat limiting. She prefers to use a variety of patterns.
About 18 years ago Margita taught herself to make straw-decorated eggs, another popular staple of her repertoire. Patterns are made of tiny pieces of cut straw, which is often dyed. Margita uses dies to stamp out pieces and cuts all others with scissors. Then, without benefit of a sketch, she pastes the pieces onto the egg to make designs.
When lace eggs, decorated with intricate hole patterns resembling lace, became popular a couple of years ago, Margita started making them too. She drills the holes, then decorates the egg with white wax to complete the lacy effect. Because ULUV has yet to decide patterns for these eggs, Margita enjoys letting her imagination take over. Lace eggs are new to the Easter tradition and are stunning in their detail, especially when made by a professional such as Margita Simkova.
Prievidza turns out to be the last stop on the egg Odyssey. And just in time, too – I have more cartons of eggs than I know what to do with. Best of all, though, the trip has been an entertaining journey into one of the most fragile yet flourishing of Slovak folk arts.
Jacqueline Ruyak is a frequent contributor to CNEWA WORLD.
Prague Easter markets 2005
Easter in Prague offers a glimpse of the wonderful old customs that make up a traditional Czech Easter. Festive markets at the Old Town Square & Wenceslas Square in Prague centre sell hand crafted goods and animals parade for the children to enjoy.
Markets in Prague’s Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square run to over 100 Easter stalls. A wide selection of hand crafted goods are on offer; carved wooden toys, crystal glass, intricate pieces of embroidery, dolls in costume dresses and much more.
The most common feature though is the brightly coloured, hand-painted Easter eggs. “Old Grandmas” dressed in regional costume will also personalise them for you, painting on your name or special message.
Of course there’s plenty of good Pilsner beer too, and the appetizing smell of terribly unhealthy, but wonderfully tasty barbecued sausages.
Origins of the Prague Easter Markets
The Prague Easter markets go back long before the communist era and were originally deeply tied to religious festivities. Under communism though, the meaning of Easter was limited to the welcoming of spring and the religious connotations were suppressed.
Since 1989, when Czechoslovakia became a free country once more, the Easter Markets have enjoyed a new breath of life. People are once again aware of the religious origins of Easter, but Easter is not a serious religious holiday. Easter in Prague is now a fun time.
To help better understand the traditions on show in Prague, we offer a brief insight into a traditional Czech Easter. Easter is an exciting time, particularly for Czech children.
Children finish school on “Ugly Wednesday” and start the Easter preparations. The following day, “Green Thursday”, boys from the village equip themselves with their specially made wooden rattles, the “rehtacka”. They then form a group and walk through the village, shaking their rattles vigorously so that the noise can be heard from afar. This rattling chases away Judas.
The same procedure repeats on Good Friday and then on “White Saturday”, when boys also stop at every house and rattle until they are given money!
Easter Sunday is a day of preparation for Easter Monday. Girls paint, colour, and decorate eggs and boys prepare their Easter whips. The whip (“pomlázka”) is used by boys, who go caroling on Easter Monday and whip girls on the legs. This may sound scary, but don’t imagine a whip that is used on horses. The Easter whip is made from osier twigs which are braided together. The more twigs, the more difficult it is to braid a whip.
The greatest symbol of Easter is the egg, as it is a symbol of spring and new life. Easter eggs (“kraslice”) are painted by girls and women. There are many techniques to decorate Easter eggs and they usually require a certain level of skill. You can use bee’s wax, straw, watercolours and picture stickers. There are no limitations as long as you create a nice looking, colourful egg that you don’t have to be ashamed of.
For particularly well decorated eggs there is a nationwide Easter egg contest held in Prague.
Brightly coloured eggs of all styles can be purchased in Prague’s markets and shops. There are other symbols too: hare, lamb and chicken. It is traditional to bake a live lamb at Easter, however as this can be rather a cruel custom, real lamb is often replaced by baked gingerbread lamb.
On Easter Monday everyone gets up early; boys and men to set of on a whipping trip through the village, girls and women to prepare, hide, or run away. Boys stop at people’s homes and whip the legs of every girl and woman who lives in the house. They sometimes catch the girl still in bed. Little boys say an Easter carol while whipping, usually asking for an egg or two. A popular custom is also to grab the girl and throw her in cold water, the “Easter dousing”. The whipping and dousing is supposed to chase away bad spirits and illness, so this is actually good for the girl!
After all the whipping and dousing is done, the girl, strangely enough, rewards the boy by giving him one of her painted eggs and tying a ribbon around his whip.
As the boys progress through the village, their bags fill up with eggs and the whips become nicer and nicer with all the colourful ribbons fastened around them. This romantic egg-and-ribbon tradition is however being replaced by offering the man (18 years or older) a shot of alcohol, so the men are feeling pretty happy by the time they arrive home!