It’s 50F and windy, with some drippiness every so often. The winds are running in the upper 20’s so the trees are thrashing and the occasional gusts are getting into the upper 30’s. A nice morning to stay home and get a little more sleep!
Some little birds were on the feeder. I think they were some of the little sparrows that we have here, but it’s too dark to be sure.
The garden is liking this weather. I have a whole new crop of sorrel, having harvested the over-wintered stuff and the January crop for the feast! The fennel is up. I have some bits for my tea, having scampered out there and snagged a bit. There’s Lady’s Mantle and lavendar and all kinds of lively spring herbs just peeking up. I don’t see my lovage, though, yet. It’s too messy out to work out there, but I’m certainly thinking about it.
Yesterday, just as the newsletter went out it had gotten very, very dark. It started to rain and within minutes you couldn’t see across the yard. Several times the pounding on the porch room of the weather coming down was quite audible over the sound of the music that I had playing. Water ran in streams from the porch roof.
I had been watching birds on the feeder. It was mostly towhees and juncos, but when the rain started they all vanished, except for a few tiny birds that were hiding in the clematis under the roof. It got lighter and lighter and by the time we were getting ready to leave for the shop had quit raining… I wasn’t going to harvest heather in those circumstances, though.
We started with little stuff, mostly getting it into the inventory (or back into….) and then put back up. I’ve almost emptied the box of stuff that we’ve been finding that had gotten misplaced. A couple came in and shopped for quite awhile and the Cliona came in to chat.
Tempus headed off to pick up some stuff from Delta One Lapidary. We needed grit. One tumbler is *still* going on coarse, but we finally have a tumbler to get going on #2. The little one is getting some agates to chew on. We got ’em going late afternoon.
The picture is two of the mahogany obsidian handstones from the last batch.
I was really wiped out when we got home. I checked the weather, ate and crawled into bed. I was up and down for a bit, and spent about 15 minutes somewhere around 1am in front of the computer, but I went back to bed almost right away. I was marginally aware of Tempus coming to bed, leaving and coming back, or at least that he had, but that’s about it! I’m still groggy and he’s still flat out.
We have stuff to get done today, mostly cleaning and newsletter. I want to bake up some more of the Shrewsbury cake dough and “log” what’s left of the pfeffernusse, so we can have cookies over the spring and summer.
Today’s Plant is Skunk Cabbage, Lysichitum americanum. This is one of the signs of spring here on the coast, where every drainage ditch or marshy field has it’s glow of brilliant yellow and bright, deep green. It is a famine food with a spicy or peppery taste, but contains calcium oxalate, which can upset the insides and even cause death if you get too much. Bears eat it after hibernation to get their intestines working again. It is used to cure sores and swellings, particularly after winter, when starvation conditions make these things immensely worse. However the typical use of the local peoples of this herb was to line baskets with the huge leaves to keep things from bruising or dropping through and to wrap around foods when baked under a fire, where it imparts a distinctive taste to the crust. Cunningham’s Encyclopedia references Eastern Skunk Cabbage, which is a different plant with a red flower, but the magicks are the same, Symplocarpus foetidus – Feminine, Saturn, Water – Carry when you have legal troubles, or keep in the drawer with the filed papers. Wrap in a bay leaf on a Sunday to draw good fortune. More here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysichitum_americanum and on Eastern Skunk Cabbage here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symplocarpus_foetidus
Today is the Feast of Spenta Armaiti, a divine being in the pantheon of Zoroastrianism, a women’s festival. Spenta Armaiti’s name seems to mean something like “growing universal goodness” or “growing Light” in the New Age sense or even “increasing devotion”. More on this being here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spenta_Armaiti Wall speedwell, Veronica vivensis, is the plant listed for this festival. It’s on Wikipedia as Veronica Arvensis there’s an article with links here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wall_Speedwell
The shop is closed on Tuesday/Wednesday! Winter hours are 11am-5pm Thursday through Monday, although closing time is drifting later with the longer days. Need something off hours? Give us a call at 541-563-7154 or Facebook or email at email@example.com 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.
Love & Light,
Today’s Astro & Calendar
The Moon is Waning Gibbous. Waning Moon Magick – From the Full Moon to the New is a time for study, meditation, and magic designed to banish harmful energies and habits, for ridding oneself of addictions, illness or negativity. Remember: what goes up must come down. Phase ends at the Tide Change on 3/1. Waning Gibbous Moon – Best time for draining the energy behind illness, habits or addictions. Magicks of this sort, started now, should be ended before the phase change to the New Moon. , Associated God/dess: Hera/Hero, Cybele, Zeus the Conqueror, Mars/Martius, Anansi, Prometheus. Phase ends at the Quarter on 2/22 at 9:15am.
By 11 p.m. the waning gibbous Moon is up in the east. Lower left of it shines Spica, and left of Spica, brighter Mars. Very far off to their left, the spring star Arcturus is already climbing the sky. See the scene at left for how the Moon, Mars and Spica are arranged by dawn on Wednesday morning.
Mars (magnitude –0.3, in Virgo) rises around 10 p.m. now, a fiery blaze 5° or 6° to the right of icy Spica. The two of them are highest in the south around 3 or 4 a.m., with Spica now to Mars’s lower right. In a telescope Mars has grown to about 10.5 arcseconds wide, big enough for telescopes to show some features in good seeing. Mars will be 15.1″ wide when closest to Earth in mid-April.
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, Nion (NEE-uhn)
Runic half-month of Sowulo/ Sigel, 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.
©2014 M. Bartlett, Some parts separately copyright
Celtic Tree Month of Nuin/Nion/Ash, Feb 18 – Mar 17, Nion (NEE-uhn), ash – 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
Letter: TH, OI
Meaning: Finish obligations and tasks or your life cannot move forward.
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – At least once a day sit and do nothing!
~ If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things. – Rene Descartes
~ You do not lead by hitting people over the head. That is assault, not leadership. – Dwight D. Eisenhower
~ A sense of humor is the ability to understand a joke – and that the joke is oneself. – Clifton Fadiman
~ Don’t find fault. Find a remedy. – Henry Ford
He doesn’t act like he thinks he is Mr. Wonderful. He always introduces himself, even though it’s obvious who he is. When you talk to him, you know he’s paying attention to you and not looking over your shoulder. – Mary Anne Grafton-Rodgers describing the late John F. Kennedy, Jr.
Spring Equinox (Eostre/Ostara) on Witchology – http://www.witchology.com/contents/march/ostara.php
Find out about the Spring Equinox – the Wiccan Eostre or Ostara Sabbat – this month’s seasonal witchcraft Sabbat celebrated by modern Wiccans and pagans.
The end of March is the focus for a number of religious and traditional celebrations. As the sun appears to cross the earth’s equator on the 20th or 21st of March, entering the Zodiacal sign of Aries, day and night will be equal in length. This astronomical phenomenon is a day anciently revered amongst Pagan peoples. Their festivals included Alban Elfed, the Teutonic festival in honour of Eostre, Roman Hilaria Matris Deûm, Welsh Gwyl Canol Gwenwynol (‘Day of the Gorse’), the Wiccan Eostar (Ostara) Sabbat and the Christian Feast of the Annunciantion of the Virgin Mary (Lady Day) as well as Easter itself.
Origins and History of Ostara
Today, Ostara is one of the eight major holidays, sabbats or festivals of Wicca. It is celebrated on the Spring Equinox, which in the northern hemisphere is around the 20th or 21st of March and in the southern hemisphere around the 23rd of September. Its modern revival is linked to some of the oldest traditions of mankind.
The Month of the Goddess
The name is thought to be derived from a goddess of German legend, according to Jakob Grimm in his Deutsche Mythologie. A similar goddess named Eostre was described by the Venerable Bede. Bede indicated that this name was used in English when the Paschal holiday was introduced. Since then this name (not the holiday) has been converted to Easter, or in German Ostern. Some scholars question both Bede’s and Grimm’s conclusions due to a lack of supporting evidence for this goddess. Others argue that a lack of further documentation is not surprising given that Bede is credited with writing the first substantial history of England (in which he described Eostre as a goddess whose worship had already passed) and Grimm was specifically attempting to capture oral traditions before they might be lost.
Despite these reservations, the idea of Eostre has become firmly established in many minds. Without any consideration of these problems, the folklorist Dr Jonathan Young categorically states:
Easter has deep roots in the mythic past. Long before it was imported into the Christian tradition, the Spring festival honored the goddess Eostre or Eastre.
According to Bede and Einhard in his Life of Charlemagne, the month called Eostremonat/Ostaramanoth was equated with April. This would put the start of ‘Ostara’s Month’ after the Equinox in March. It must be taken into account that these ‘translations’ of calendar months were approximate as the old forms were predominantly lunar months while the new were based on a solar year. Thus start of ‘Eostremonat’ would actually have fallen in late March and could thus still be associated with the Spring Equinox.
The holiday is a celebration of spring and growth, the renewal of life that appears on the earth after the winter. In mythology it is often characterized by the rejoining of the goddess and her lover-brother-son, who spent the winter months in death. This is an interesting parallel to the biblical story in which Jesus is resurrected (the reason Christians celebrate Easter), pointing to another appropriation of pre-Christian religious figures, symbols and myths by early Christianity.
Etymologically, Eostre, or, as it is sometimes called, Ostara, may come from the word ‘east’, meaning dawn. Others have also tried to link Eostre with ‘estrogen’ and ‘estrus’. These words, however, are more widely considered to be derived from the Greek oistros, meaning ‘gadfly’ or ‘frenzy’. Interestingly, the word ‘spring’ (from to spring, to leap or jump up, burst out, 0ld English springan, a common Teutonic word, ccompare German springen), primarily the act of springing or leaping, is applied to the season of the year in which plant life begins to bud and shoot.
The Antiquity of Ostara
Ostara is a modern Wiccan festival and there is no evidence that Spring Equinox festivals were called by this name in the past. However, there is no direct ‘proof’ of many Christian or pagan traditions, so a lack of evidence should not necessarily be taken as disproof.
The Cycle of Birth, Death and Rebirth
Goddess of fertility and new beginnings, we take this opportunity to embrace Eostre’s passion for new life and let our own lives take the new direction we have wanted for so long.
Many Wiccans situate Eostre (Ostara) within a symbolic cycle of birth, death and rebirth. As the quotation from Goddess.com.au demonstrates, the particular role of Eostre is internalized and turned into a self-empowering meditation. Again Dr Young re-inforces this, by no means definitive, interpretation:
The annual event in honour of Eastre celebrated new life and renewal.
However, other views also add a darker element, according to Mike Nichols:
The god of light now wins a victory over his twin, the god of darkness.
Nichols has attempted a reconstruction of the symbolic events of this time of year using the Welth mych-cycle of the Mabinogion. By this interpretation the Spring Equinox is the day on which the reborn Llew exacts his revenge on Goronwy by piercing him with the spear of sunlight. Reborn or returned to health at the Winter Solstice, Llew is now able to challenge and defeat his rival twin and mate with his lover/mother. Meanwhile the ‘Great Mother Goddess’, miraculously returned to virginity at Candlemas, now receives the sun god’s advances and conceives a child. This child will be born at the next Winter Solstice, nine months from now, at once closing the cycle and re-opening it.
Christianity and Easter
Contrary to what the Church may try and tell you, Christianity came late to the Easter party. There is no indication of the observance of the Easter festival in the New Testament, or in the writings of the apostolic Fathers. A comment made by St Chrysostom on I Cor. V. 7 has been supposed to refer to an apostolic observance of Easter, but this is erroneous. The sanctity of special times was an idea absent from the minds of the first Christians. The ecclesiastical historian Socrates (Hist. Eccl. V. 22) states that neither Jesus nor his followers enjoined the keeping of this or any other festival. He attributes the observance of Easter by the Church to the perpetuation of an old tradition, just as many other customs have been established.
Superstitions and Traditions
The Shock of the New
Elements of old beliefs linger in current ‘superstitions’. According to these, it is said that something new should be worn at Easter to bring good luck. Easter Parades reflect this idea about wearing new clothes.
Eggs and Rabbits
The Easter Bunny is German in origin. He first appears in literature in 16th century as a deliverer of eggs. All rabbits and hares were thought to lay eggs on Easter Day, but the Easter Bunny specifically sought out and rewarded well-behaved children with coloured eggs in a manner reminiscent of Yule customs. The movements of the hare, leaping and zig-zagging across the fields, were thought to hold clues to the coming year.
Eggs themselves are obvious symbols of resurrection and continuing life, as well as fertility. Early humans thought the return of the sun from winter darkness was an annual miracle, and saw the egg as a natural wonder and proof of the renewal of life. As Christianity spread the egg was adopted as a symbol of Jesus’s alleged resurrection from the tomb. According to Young, the Easter Bunny is:
a continuation of the reverence shown during the spring rites to the rabbit as a symbol of abundance. The honouring of such emblems of fertility extended to eggs. The egg serves as a representation of new life. It stands for the renewing power of nature and, by extension, agriculture. The egg can also symbolize regeneration in a spiritual or psychological sense. The ritual of colouring Easter eggs stems from the tradition of painting eggs in bright colours to represent the sunlight of spring.
The Inner Bunny
Young goes on to suggest that:
This might also be a good time to find the inner Easter Bunny.
Whether you feel up to the challenge or not, the Spring Equinox is an ominous reminder of the ways in which Christianity has subverted and perverted the old traditions of Europe – a process that many are seeking to reverse and at what better time than now.
- Bede, De Temp. Rat. c. xv.
- St Chrysostom, Commentary on I Cor. V. 7.
- Einhard, Life of Charlemagne, trans Samuel Epes Turner. Harper and Brothers, 1880.
- Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911.
- Goddess.com.au, accessed 9th February, 2006.
- Grimm, Jakob, Deutsche Mythologie. 1835.
- Nichols, Mike, ‘Lady Day: The Vernal Equinox’, 1999.
- Socrates, Hist. Eccl. V. 22.
- Young, Jonathan, ‘Symbolism of Spring’, Vision Magazine, April 2003.
News About this Spring Equinox (Eostre/Ostara) Article
This article has been cited by Justine Hawkins, ‘The Eostre bunny’, The Guardian, 23 March 2008, url: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/mar/23/bunnies.