This is actually yesterday’s newsletter! I’m not going to put any kind of note in here. Today’s newsletter should be out in a few minutes.
Feast of Ishtar – A Fertile Crescent love/death/rebirth/battle goddess with a *really* bad press! She shows up in the Epic of Gilgamesh and has her own version of the “descent of Inanna”. She is related to Inanna, Astarte and the Dumizi/Tammuz death/rebirth rituals were part of her worship. Some bits of that still reverberate into the modern era. Easter Baskets, anybody? More here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ishtar
Today’s plant is White crocus, cloth-of-silver crocus, Crocus versicolor info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crocus Sacred to Juno and Ostara, as any crocus, it is used to attract love (carry), turn away abusive love (burn), and give visions (place on altar or by bed).
The shop is open 11-5pm Thursday through Monday, although we’re there a lot later most nights. 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
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 3/1 at 4:51pm. Waxing Crescent phase – Keywords for the Crescent phase are: expansion, growth, struggle, opportunity. It is the time in a cycle that you gather the wisdom learned in the new phase and communicate your intention to move forward. Light a candle. Write or read an affirmation. LISTEN & ABSORB. Commit to your goal. God/dess aspect: Maiden/Youth, energy and enthusiasm – Associated God/dess: Artemis & Apollo, Mayet/Djehuti, Freya/Frey. Phase ends at the Quarter on 2/23 at 12:09am.
The Moon waxes past first quarter as it steps past Aldebaran, as it always does in February.
Sirius blazes high in the south on the meridian by 8 or 9 p.m. now. Using binoculars, examine the spot 4° south of Sirius: directly below it when on the meridian. Four degrees is somewhat less than the width of a typical binocular’s field of view. Can you see an irregular little patch of gray haze? That’s the open star cluster M41, about 2,200 light-years away. Sirius, by comparison, is only 8.6 light-years away.
Saturn (magnitude +0.5, in Sagittarius) glows with a steady light low in the southeast in early dawn. Draw a line from Jupiter through Mars, extend the line farther on by about the same distance, and you’re at Saturn.
Goddess Month of Moura, runs from 2/20-3/19
Celtic Tree Month of Nuin/Nion/Ash, Feb 18 – Mar 17
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.
©2018 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).
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
W 21 High 3:51 AM 7.7 7:06 AM Rise 10:16 AM 23
~ 21 Low 10:25 AM 1.3 5:54 PM
~ 21 High 4:21 PM 6.2
~ 21 Low 10:13 PM 2.0
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – But when I add to my consciousness the joy of simply being myself, everything else becomes beautiful beyond all comprehension.
What does this quote say to you? – Even monkeys fall out of trees. — Japanese proverb
~ Respect yourself if you would have others respect you. – Baltasar Gracian
~ Speak the truth, do not yield to anger; give, if thou art asked for little; by these three steps thou wilt go near the gods. – The Dhammapada
~ Start from wherever you are and with whatever you’ve got. – Jim Rohn
~ Strive to take charge of your life and use inspiration to steer your course. – Kerr Cuhulain
Success is not a destination: It is a journey. The happiest people I know are those who are busy working toward specific objectives. The most bored and miserable people I know are those who are drifting along with no worthwhile objectives in mind. – Zig Ziglar, Professional speaker
Easter History : Christian and Pagan Traditions Interwoven
The history of Easter reveals rich associations between the Christian faith and the seemingly unrelated practices of the early pagan religions. Easter history and traditions that we practice today evolved from pagan symbols, from the ancient goddess Ishtar to Easter eggs and the Easter bunny.
Easter, perhaps the most important of the Christian holidays, celebrates the Christ’s resurrection from the dead following his death on Good Friday. . . a rebirth that is commemorated around the vernal equinox, historically a time of pagan celebration that coincides with the arrival of spring and symbolizes the arrival of light and the awakening of life around us.
Ostara, Goddess of Spring and the Dawn (Oestre / Eastre)
Easter is named for a Saxon goddess who was known by the names of Oestre or Eastre, and in Germany by the name of Ostara. She is a goddess of the dawn and the spring, and her name derives from words for dawn, the shining light arising from the east. Our words for the “female hormone” estrogen derives from her name.
Ostara was, of course, a fertility goddess. Bringing in the end of winter, with the days brighter and growing longer after the vernal equinox, Ostara had a passion for new life. Her presence was felt in the flowering of plants and the birth of babies, both animal and human. The rabbit (well known for its propensity for rapid reproduction) was her sacred animal.
Easter eggs and the Easter Bunny both featured in the spring festivals of Ostara, which were initially held during the feasts of the goddess Ishtar | Inanna. Eggs are an obvious symbol of fertility, and the newborn chicks an adorable representation of new growth. Brightly colored eggs, chicks, and bunnies were all used at festival time to express appreciation for Ostara’s gift of abundance.
History of Easter Eggs and Easter Candy
The history of Easter Eggs as a symbol of new life should come as no surprise. The notion that the Earth itself was hatched from an egg was once widespread and appears in creation stories ranging from Asian to Ireland.
Eggs, in ancient times in Northern Europe, were a potent symbol of fertility and often used in rituals to guarantee a woman’s ability to bear children. To this day rural “grannywomen” (lay midwives/healers in the Appalachian mountains) still use eggs to predict, with uncanny accuracy, the sex of an unborn child by watching the rotation of an egg as it is suspended by a string over the abdomen of a pregnant woman.
Dyed eggs are given as gifts in many cultures. Decorated eggs bring with them a wish for the prosperity of the abundance during the coming year.
Folklore suggests that Easter egg hunts arose in Europe during “the Burning Times”, when the rise of Christianity led to the shunning (and persecution) of the followers of the “Old Religion”. Instead of giving the eggs as gifts the adults made a game of hiding them, gathering the children together and encouraging them to find the eggs. Some believe that the authorities seeking to find the “heathens” would follow or bribe the children to reveal where they found the eggs so that the property owner could be brought to justice.
Green Eggs . . .
. . . and Ham???
The meat that is traditionally associated with Easter is ham. Though some might argue that ham is served at Easter since it is a “Christian” meat, (prohibited for others by the religious laws of Judaism and Islam) the origin probably lies in the early practices of the pagans of Northern Europe.
Having slaughtered and preserved the meat of their agricultural animals during the Blood Moon celebrations the previous autumn so they would have food throughout the winter months, they would celebrate the occasion by using up the last of the remaining cured meats.
In anticipation that the arrival of spring with its emerging plants and wildlife would provide them with fresh food in abundance, it was customary for many pagans to begin fasting at the time of the vernal equinox, clearing the “poisons” (and excess weight) produced by the heavier winter meals that had been stored in their bodies over the winter. Some have suggested that the purpose of this fasting may have been to create a sought-after state of “altered consciousness” in time for the spring festivals. One cannot but wonder if this practice of fasting might have been a forerunner of “giving up” foods during the Lenten season.
Chocolate Easter bunnies and eggs, marshmallow chicks in pastel colors, and candy of all sorts . . . these have pagan origins as well! To understand their association with religion we need to examine the meaning of food as a symbol.
The ancient belief that, by eating something we take on its characteristics formed the basis for the earliest “blessings” before meals (a way to honor the life that had been sacrificed so that we as humans could enjoy life) and, presumably, for the more recent Christian sacrament of communion as well.
Shaping candy Easter eggs and bunnies out of candy to celebrate the spring festival was, simply put, a way to celebrate the symbols of the goddess and the season, while laying claim to their strengths (vitality, growth, and fertility) for ourselves.
Goddess Ishtar and the First Resurrection, The Goddess Ostara and the Easter Bunny – http://www.goddessgift.com/Pandora%27s_Box/Easter-history.htm
Feeling guilty about arriving late one spring, the Goddess Ostara saved the life of a poor bird whose wings had been frozen by the snow. She made him her pet or, as some versions have it, her lover. Filled with compassion for him since he could no longer fly (in some versions, it was because she wished to amuse a group of young children), Ostara turned him into a snow hare and gave him the gift of being able to run with incredible speed so he could protect himself from hunters.
In remembrance of his earlier form as a bird, she also gave him the ability to lay eggs (in all the colors of the rainbow, no less), but only on one day out of each year.
Eventually the hare managed to anger the goddess Ostara, and she cast him into the skies where he would remain as the constellation Lepus (The Hare) forever positioned under the feet of the constellation Orion (the Hunter). He was allowed to return to earth once each year, but only to give away his eggs to the children attending the Ostara festivals that were held each spring. The tradition of the Easter Bunny had begun.
The Hare was sacred in many ancient traditions and was associated with the moon goddesses and the various deities of the hunt. In ancient times eating the Hare was prohibited except at Beltane (Celts) and the festival of Ostara (Anglo-Saxons), when a ritual hare-hunt would take place.
In many cultures rabbits, like eggs, were considered to be potent remedies for fertility problems. The ancient philosopher-physician Pliny the Elder prescribed rabbit meat as a cure for female sterility, and in some cultures the genitals of a hare were carried to avert barrenness.
Medieval Christians considered the hare to bring bad fortune, saying witches changed into rabbits in order to suck the cows dry. It was claimed that a witch could only be killed by a silver crucifix or a bullet when she appeared as a hare.
Given their “mad” leaping and boxing displays during mating season as well as their ability to produce up to 42 offspring each spring, it is understandable that they came to represent lust, sexuality, and excess in general. Medieval Christians considered the hare to be an evil omen, believing that witches changed into rabbits in order to suck the cows dry. It was claimed that a witch could only be killed by a silver crucifix or a bullet when she appeared as a hare.
In later Christian tradition the white Hare, when depicted at the Virgin Mary’s feet, represents triumph over lust or the flesh. The rabbit’s vigilance and speed came to represent the need to flee from sin and temptation and a reminder of the swift passage of life.
And, finally, there is a sweet Christian legend about a young rabbit who, for three days, waited anxiously for his friend, Jesus, to return to the Garden of Gethsemane, not knowing what had become of him. Early on Easter morning, Jesus returned to His favorite garden and was welcomed the little rabbit. That evening when the disciples came into the garden to pray, still unaware of the resurrection, they found a clump of beautiful larkspurs, each blossom bearing the image of a rabbit in its center as a remembrance of the little creature’s hope and faith.
Ishtar, Goddess of Love, and the First Resurrection (also known as Inanna)
Ishtar, goddess of romance, procreation, and war in ancient Babylon, was also worshipped as the Sumerian goddess Inanna. One of the great goddesses, or “mother goddesses”, the stories of her descent to the Underworld and the resurrection that follows are contained in the oldest writings that have ever been discovered. . . the Babylonian creation myth Enuma Elish and the story of Gilgamesh. Scholars believed that they were based on the oral mythology of the region and were recorded about 2,100 B.C.E.
The most famous of the myths of Ishtar tell of her descent into the realm of the dead to rescue her young lover, Tammuz, a Vegetation god forced to live half the year in the Underworld. Ishtar approached the gates of the Underworld, which was ruled by her twin sister Eresh-kigel, the goddess of death and infertility. She was refused admission.
Similar to the Greek myths of Demeter and Persephone that came later, during Ishtar’s absence the earth grew barren since all acts of procreation ceased while she was away. Ishtar screamed and ranted that she would break down the gates and release all of the dead to overwhelm the world and compete with the living for the remaining food unless she was allowed to enter and plead her case with her twin.
Needless to say, she won admission. But the guard, following standard protocol, refused to let her pass through the first gate unless she removed her crown. At the next gate, she had to remove her earrings, then her necklace at the next, removing her garments and proud finery until she stood humbled and naked after passing through the seventh (and last) gate.
In one version, she was held captive and died but was brought back to life when her servant sprinkled her with the “water of life”. In the more widely known version of the myth, Ishtar’s request was granted and she regained all of her attire and possessions as she slowly re-emerged through the gates of darkness.
Upon her return, Tammuz and the earth returned to life. Annual celebrations of this “Day of Joy”, were held each year around the time of the vernal equinox. These celebrations became the forerunners of the Ostara festivals that welcomed Oestre and the arrival of spring.
A section on the Goddess Inanna (the Sumerian version of the Goddess Ishtar), her myths and symbols, is included with the myths of the goddesses at this website.
Easter eggs, the Easter Bunny, the dawn that arrives with resurrection of life, and the celebration of spring all serve to remind us of the cycle of rebirth and the need for renewal in our lives. In the history of Easter, Christian and pagan traditions are gracefully interwoven.
Why did the Chicken Cross the Road? Part 2 (Many, many contributors….this is a compilation as I find them….)
Eclectic: Because it seemed right to her at the time. She used some Egyptian style corn and a Celtic sounding word for the road and incorporated some Native American elements into her Corn-name, Chicken-Who-Dances-and-Runs-with-the-Wolves.
Feri: In twilight times and under sparkling stars, those properly trained can still see the chickens crossing the roads. Reconnecting with these “fey-fowl” as they cross is crucial to restoring the balance between the energies of modern development and living with the earth.
Family Traditional: Growing up, we didn’t think much about “crossing the road.” A chicken was a chicken. It crossed the road because that was what worked to get her to the other side. We focused on what worked, and we worked more with the elders of the barnyard and less with all this “guardians of the chickencoop” business. We didn’t get our concepts of “chickens” or “the other side” from Gardner, either. You can choose not to believe us since we did not “scratch down” on paper what was clucked to us orally (which, at certain times in history, was the only way to avoid becoming Easter chicken soup!), but that doesn’t change the facts: there were real chickens, and they really did cross the road!
Kitchen Witch: The chicken crossed the road to get food, to get a rooster, or to get away from me after I decided to have chicken for supper!
Left Hand Path: White, fluffy chickens prancing across the road! Do you think that is all there is to crossing the road? Do you dare to know the dark side of crossing the road and the other path to self-development?
New Age: The chicken crossed the road because she chose this as one of her lessons to learn in this life. Besides, there was so much incense and bright, white corn to explore on the Other Side.
Newbie: well, ’cause I read in this really kewl book that said, like, chickens are supposed to cross the road, right?
Posting on an Online Discussion Group: What do you mean “why did the chicken cross the road?”???!!!??? Haven’t you read **any** of the previous posts? We’ve been [expletive deleted] debating every word of that question, painstakingly trying to come to some kind of answer. I know you wrote “all i wnted to know was why chickens cross the road, i’m not looking for any chicken spells” but I’m fed up with newbies who can’t even bother to REEEEEEEEAAADDD the posts on that very topic! No, this is *not* a flame. But, I and several others here have the *maturity* to properly explore and respond to this question, and IMHO we were properly trained; we *didn’t* just read a book and think we were full-fledged chickens LOL (whew, feeling much better after ranting ;-D )
Radical Faeries: We Fowlies are Gay cocks and other Queer birds who flock together to explore our unique ways of dodging traffic and hatching eggs of cluck-CLUCK consciousness. Some Fowlies roost in cock-only coops. Some roost in panfeather coops where Gay cocks frolic with roosters who prefer other monikers to describe themselves, as well as hens and chicks, and chickens who choose not to be called roosters or hens, and beings who choose not to be called poultry. Fowlies often attempt to create community out of ritual, sharing and cooperation, except for those Fowlies who are attempting to create community out of subversion of process and structure, as well as some who simply enjoy clucking around celebrating chaos, chicanery, and chic enthusiasm. Sometimes we peck at each other, lose our heads, and then bake more quiche. Many Fowlies are “spiritual,” lifting all or part of their road from any one of the world’s religions or spiritualities whereas some find their road in reacting against spirituality and religion as its own evil. Some Fowlies love to get gussied up and display their plumage in the woods, some like to flaunt their feathers anywhere they can, and some Fowlies don’t look particularly different from chickens on any other street. Sometimes Fowlies stay up until cockcrow to drum, strut and cluck by a campfire, while some cross the road to get far away from all the squawking and get some sleep. This is what Fowlies are, except for Fowlies for which none of this applies.
Reclaiming: “Didn’t we settle this in the November meeting?” ….”Yeah, why do we have to keep revisiting consensus all the time?” ….”Actually, in November we decided that the chicken did cross the road, but we ran out of time for why.” ….”Well, I think the chicken came before the egg.” ….”Can we stick to the point here!? Was it an organic free-range chicken, or did it escape from one of those awful factory farms?” ….”OK, everybody—breathe!! Remember that we’re here for all the chickens.” ….”I see lots of hands. Pondweed, then Mudflap, then …”
Solitaire: The chicken didn’t want to be part of a coven or an oven.
Shaman: Crossing the road is a way to reconnect with the healing, visionary lifeways of the past. Chickens have long known this, but increasingly the Rooster’s Movement is adding more roosters to the crossings too.
Snert: Hey, are you guys really chickens? Can you give me a spell that will make a chicken cross the road?
Vodun: After the feast we gather in silence. On the ground, a mambo draws the gatekeeper’s sacred veve with cornmeal while several drops of rum are offered. At the syncopated signal of the drums and rattles, we call to the guardian of the crossroads: “Papa Legba!! Open the gate for me!! Ago eh!! Open the gate for me, Papa!! For me to pass, when I return, I will thank the Lwa!” Offerings are made: tobacco, sweet potatoes, plantains. Then, seizing the black rooster, with one hand on its head, the houngan wrings its neck. The remaining chickens wait anxiously with us for the other Lwa to arrive as the drummers and dancers continue to ride the waves of ecstatic rhythm.
Wiccan: The chicken crossed the road because she felt like she was finally “coming home.” She could do it alone or with others, but she had to call to the Guardians of the Watchtowers of the Barnyard first … uhm, after casting the circle.