The shop is closed today, although we’ll be there in the afternoon. Winter hours are Thurs-Mon. 1-6pm. Featured photo by Ken Gagne.
It’s mostly clear and pretty darned chilly! 35F, wind at 1-3 mph and gusting, AQI 10-41, UV4. Chance of rain 6% today and 74% tonight. GALE WATCH from this evening through Thursday night. The weather system is moving more slowly than they thought it would so all of today ought to be dry, if cloudy, but the rain is expected to move in not long after midnight and to last both Thursday and Friday, totaling an inch. Saturday through Monday we’re looking at showers, but still a good amount of water coming down. After that Tuesday-Thursday should be mostly dry with a spate of showers late Wednesday evening.
Yesterday we got up a touch early because Dennis from Amber Connection was going to stop by. We got our coffee and then he was walking through the shop door. That was *so* much fun to shop through all his beautiful crystals! We restocked on shungite and gemstone hearts, just for starters, and have some new bracelets, plus rose quartz marbles among other bits and bobs. The shop is starting to look like we’ll actually be ready for summer this year!
It’s always a treat to see Dennis. He’s such a nice person, and has such interesting stories to tell. He and Tempus always get together over tools. This time it was re-fastening a table-top. By the time we were done, though, I was exhausted again. I had been up early doing some writing, after not sleeping well the night before, so I got a nap before starting to inventory and price various crystals.
Eventually it was time for Tempus to head into Newport to start the bulk route, so he took me home and I wrote for several hours before getting another long nap.
Today we have plants to deal with, crystals to hang and a bit of inventory to finish before more of the new stuff goes up. I have a lot of pricing to accomplish and then we have some clean-up, as well. We might even get so far as some cookery. There’s an amazing sounding recipe from the historical cookbook that’s being translated, for stuffed pears that just sounds amazing. I also need to get a photo of the utopenci and find out whether Tempus would be ok with doing another pickled cheese.
Hoping you’re all safe and well!
Today’s Plant is the Coast Willow, Salix hookeriana, in bloom right now! I’ve been mistaking it for pussy willow ever since I moved out here! …and it’s the time of the year. They’re all fuzzy! Pussy Willows are a subset of the willows which also include osiers (think “wicker” for their uses). They’re all Saliciae from which, salicylic acid, the medicine Aspirin, was derived. Willow magick is Feminine, Moon and Water. Willow wands can be used for healing, to sleep with for more vivid dreams, Drawing Down the Moon, or for protection in underworld journeying. The Willow will bring the blessings of the Moon upon those who plant it or have it on their property. Willows can be used to bind together witch’s brooms and a forked willow branch is widely used in water witching and dowsing. New Moon magick, creativity, fertility, female rights of passage, inspiration, emotion, binding. Love, Love divination, protection, healing. It is also known as the tree of immortality because of its ability to re grow from a fallen branch in moist ground. These properties apply to all forms of willow, but the Coast Willow has the properties of endurance, tolerance and stubbornness as well. There’s more info here: http://en.wikipedia.org
Today’s feast is the Liberalia which was the feast when boys became men. It is in honor of the god Liber Pater and the goddess Libera. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberalia_%28holiday%29 It is also associated with the Bacchanalia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacchus#Bacchanalia and the procession of the Argei. http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/secondary/SMIGRA*/Argei.html
The shop is closed today. Winter hours are Thurs-Mon. 1-6pm. For appointments contact us at 541-563-7154, email@example.com, on Facebook or here on the blog, or just leave a note on the door!
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 3/28 at 11:48am. Diana’s Bow – On the 3rd day after the new moon you can (weather permitting) see the tiny crescent in the sky, the New Moon holding the Old Moon in her arms. Begin on your goals for the next month. A good time for job interviews or starting a project. Take a concrete step! God/dess aspect: Daughter/Son/Innocence – Associated God/dess: Vesta, Horus. Phase ends on 3/17 at 2:21pm. 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 3/21 at 7:40am.
By nightfall, the Big Dipper is high in the northeast and beginning to tip left. Look left of its center, by about three fists at arm’s length, for Polaris in the dim Little Dipper. Other than Polaris, all you may see of the Little Dipper through light pollution are the two stars forming the outer edge of its bowl: Kochab (similar to Polaris in brightness) and below it, fainter Pherkad. Find these two “Guardians of the Pole” to Polaris’s lower right by about a fist and a half at arm’s length. Now is the time of year when the Guardians line up exactly vertically in mid- to late twilight. They’re only 2nd and 3rd magnitude, so use binoculars to pick them out of the deepening blue as early as you can while the stars are coming out.
This just in from Wayne Thomas and David Dunham: “Best asteroid occultation of 2021 in s.w. USA, including Phoenix at 9:47 pm MST (& east to Las Cruces, Austin, & Houston) Wed. Mar. 17.” Also parts of Southern California. The star is magnitude 7.2 near Aldebaran on the outskirts of the Hyades; the asteroid is 8 Flora at magnitude 10.9. The occultation will last up to 4.5 seconds. It’s also worth watching and videorecording the star from across most of the continental US and Mexico in case Flora has any small satellites waiting to be discovered. No video capability? Try the drift-scan method with a still photo. Maps, finder charts, and full details are at the link above.
As Jupiter rises this morning, its innermost moon, Io, is transiting across the disk. By 6 A.M. CDT, Io stands close to the planet’s western limb, ready to slip off less than 10 minutes later. It’s a great view: all four Galilean moons are visible, with Io now sitting between Jupiter and Earth. Europa is to Jupiter’s west, while to the east are Callisto (closer in) and Ganymede. Callisto lies just 9″ from a field star, so don’t confuse the two. Jupiter itself spans 34″ and shines at magnitude –2. The gas giant’s visibility will only continue to improve over the next several months as it heads for opposition later this year, so don’t worry if its proximity to the horizon makes it challenging to see right now. Better days are coming!
Neptune is hidden in the glare of the Sun.
Runic half-month of Berkana/ Beorc, 3/14-29 Half-month ruled by the goddess of the birch tree; a time of purification for rebirth and new beginnings.
NIGHT SKY MAP FOR MARCH 2021: THE BIG DIPPER – https://www.almanac.com/night-sky-map-march-big-dipper
Goddess Month of Moura, runs from 2/20-3/19
Goddess Month of Columbina runs from 3/20 – 4/17
Celtic Tree Month of Nuin/Nion/Ash, Feb 18 – Mar 17
Celtic Tree Month of Fearn Alder Mar 18 – Apr 14
Color – Topaz
Planting – 3/16-18
©2021 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 Ogam letter correspondences
Letter: TH, OI
Meaning: Finish obligations and tasks or your life cannot move forward.
Celtic Tree Month of Fearn/Alder, Mar 18 – Apr 14. Fern (FAIR-n) Alder – The common alder (Alnus glutinosa (L.) Gaertner) is common along lowland rivers, where it grows with aspens, poplars, and willows. Like willows, alders sprout from stumps. This allows them to regenerate after heavy flooding. In protect sites they may grow to 20 m (65 feet) tall. Their leaves are more blunt-tipped than most North American alders, which look more like the grey alder (A. incana (L.) Moench). This species is more common in the mountains of Europe, and is not restricted to moist soils. Like ashes, European alders are not widely cultivated in North American (they are often sold as black alders), but several native species are. Alder wood is said to resist rotting when it is wet, and was the wood of choice for pilings in many regions. Alders are members of the Birch family (Betulaceae).
Fearn – Alder Ogam letter correspondences
Letter: F, V
Meaning: Help in making choices; spiritual guidance and protection.
Ogam letter correspondences to study this month – Ailim – Silver Fir
Color: Light Blue
Meaning: Learning from past mistakes; Take care in choices.
Tides for Alsea Bay
Day High Tide Height Sunrise Moon Time % Moon
~ /Low Time Feet Sunset Visible
W 17 High 3:28 AM 7.5 7:24 AM Rise 9:30 AM 10
~ 17 Low 10:03 AM 0.9 7:25 PM Set 11:58 PM
~ 17 High 4:07 PM 6.4
~ 17 Low 9:54 PM 2.2
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – I am constantly moving forward in the direction of my goals.
Journal Prompt – Memories – Recall a time when you were in a play or had to give a speech in front of the class. What happened? How did you feel?
~ He is the greatest job and investment destroyer since the bubonic plague. – Paul Keating on John Howard
~ Friendship with oneself is all important because without it one cannot be friends with anybody else in the world. – Eleanor Roosevelt
~ The last ever dolphin message was misinterpreted as a surprisingly sophisticated attempt to do a double-backwards-somersault through a hoop whilst whistling the ‘Star Spangled Banner’, but in fact the message was this: So long and thanks for all the fish. – Douglas Adams in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
~ A person starts to live when he can live outside himself. – Einstein
The season comes when, from her three-month trance,
The Earth awakens: already her deep heart
Begins to stir, and send its life abroad. – –Thomas Buchanan Read (1822–72)
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 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.
Silliness – The Dalmatian
A nursery school teacher was delivering a station wagon full of kids home one day when a fire truck zoomed past. Sitting in the front seat of the fire truck was a Dalmatian dog.
The children fell to discussing the dog’s duties.
“They use him to keep crowds back,” said one youngster.
“No,” said another, “he’s just for good luck.”
A third child brought the argument to a close. “They use the dogs,” she said firmly, “to find the fire hydrant.”