Tag Archive: ostara


This graphic on Facebook has been driving me crazy all week – thanks to The Belle Jar for putting this together to address the mis- and disinformation being put out there that has absolutely no scholarly evidence or lore to back those claims up.  I also found this on the Suppressed History Archives Facebook page: “A real connection, not linguistic or diffusionist, can be found in the spring festival of eggs, whether Pesach or Easter. Pesach (Passover) has been shown to incorporate Babylonian cultural elements (from the Jewish Babylonian) – beyond the egg and greenery on the plate, it incorporates the names Esther (Ishtar) and Mordechai (Marduk). Still today Iranians play games with painted eggs for Nowruz (Persian New Year, coinciding with Spring Equinox). Dunno if this is allowed now in the Islamic Republic of Iran, but looky here:” History of Nowruz, the Persian New Year.  Also this from the Northern Grove, Cultural Appropriation, Ishtar, Eostre, and Easter.  Good stuff to read!

The Belle Jar

If there is one thing that drives me absolutely bananas, it’s people spreading misinformation via social media under the guise of “educating”. I’ve seen this happen in several ways – through infographics that twist data in ways that support a conclusion that is ultimately false, or else through “meaningful” quotes falsely attributed to various celebrities, or by cobbling together a few actual facts with statements that are patently untrue to create something that seems plausible on the surface but is, in fact, full of crap.

Yesterday, the official Facebook page of (noted misogynistandeugenicsenthusiast) Richard Dawkins’ Foundation for Reason and Science shared the following image to their 637,000 fans:

Naturally, their fans lapped this shit up; after all, this is the kind of thing they absolutely live for. Religious people! Being hypocritical! And crazy! And wrong! The 2,000+ comments were chock-full of smug remarks…

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This point really hit home with me as I’ve struggled to find truth this week about the Ostara and Easter season. There seems to be so much mis- and disinformation out there concerning the Neo-Pagan holiday of Ostara with no scholarly or historical “evidence” or lore to back them up. Also, I see a lot of crazy fundamentalist Xtain claims centered around the worship of Ishtar and the present day Easter traditions of Lent, eating ham at Easter, hot-crossed buns, association with hares and even coloring eggs with the blood of sacrificed babies…crazy, right? Here’s what I take from Jean Raffa’s entry on the Easter season (and applies to those of us who observe and celebrate Ostara): “To the ego it sometimes feels crucial that we get the facts right, possess the ‘correct’ interpretation — especially the religious one — and reject the ‘wrong’ one. But to the soul, these details are beside the point. To your soul and mine, this story is a celebration of the sacred miracle of life, and all three interpretations are equally true.” Beautifully put!

Matrignosis: A Blog About Inner Wisdom

One of the oldest recorded myths comes from Sumeria and tells the story of Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth. After a period of growing, assuming her authority, working to bless the world with the gifts of civilization, courting, marrying, birthing and mothering, Inanna descends to the underworld to visit her sister Ereshkigal, its Queen. On the way down she is stripped one by one of all her earthly possessions: symbols of her beauty, success, femininity and the power she has worked so hard to attain. At the bottom she is met by Ereshkigal who has her hung naked on a meat hook. And there she hangs. But on the third day, with the help of her loyal priestess, Ninshubur, and Enki, the God of Culture, she’s rescued and returns to life in the world above.

This is an allegory of a universal truth. Like all great myths, which are…

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A fabulous breathing and meditation exercise to celebrate the Goddess within us and the Spring energies that are all around right now.
“Spring is here. Your body is the body of the goddess. If desired, please say the following aloud or silently, participate in the suggested breathing exercise and allow yourself to sink deeply into the body that is yours and is part of the season– the awakening of spring.” ~ Marie Cartier

My body is the body of the goddess—witches and shamans and other magical beings (including humans) chant this in spring ritual …and other times of the year as well.

But as we prepare for spring equinox, I thought I would use my blog this March to give the Feminism and Religion community a chakra mediation for spring ritual and renewal. Spring is here. Your body is the body of the goddess. If desired, please say the following aloud or silently, participate in the suggested breathing exercise and allow yourself to sink deeply into the body that is yours and is part of the season– the awakening of spring.

Breathe deeply: in and out; in and out; and in and out.

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Coinciding with the Spring Equinox, the month of the Alder Moon is a time to focus on balance and fertility.

The Celtic month of Alder runs from mid-March to mid-April.  Significantly, this is a period that includes the Spring Equinox, the day on which the return of spring is celebrated and night and day are of equal length.  Falling at the start of spring, this period symbolizes the reawakening of the Earth Mother’s fertility.

Red alder buds. In moist forest areas red alder will rapidly cover a former burn or clearcut, temporarily preventing the growth of conifers but also improving soil fertility for future growth of conifers.

Growth and Fertility

The Alder month heralds a time of accelerated growth, and the spells you cast during this period can aid any business or creative ventures you undertake, bringing your ambitions closer to fruition.  Your emphasis during the month of the Alder Moon should be on harnessing our hidden potential.

Focusing on the Moon’s influence during this month will also help you bring a sense of balance to your work.  The power of the Alder Moon will be able to unite your intuitive side with a pragmatic approach to planning.

FERTILITY AND COURAGE

The alder tree is also known as the King of the Waters (with the willow tree as its Queen), because its natural habitat is near lakes, rivers and streams.  It actually grow with its roots in the water and its branches in the air and for this reason is associated with the balancing of female and male energies.

Symbols of Fertility

When the wood of the alder tree is cut, it turns from white to red, both of which are colors long associated with the Goddess’s fertility.  The buds of the alder tree also grow in spirals that are a symbol of regeneration and a reminder of the cycle to come.

Wood for Weapons

The Celts traditionally used charcoal made from the alder tree in the making of their weapons. This work was carried out in the spring – in preparation for the hunting season ahead.

 

In Welsh mythology, the alder fought in the front line of the “Battle of the Trees” against the Underworld.  When cut, its wood turns from white to red as though it is bleeding.  Growth near water, the tree has feminine associations, yet its links to war also indicate masculinity.  The Alder, therefore, speaks of balancing masculine and feminine.

ALDER MOON MAGIC

The month of the Alder Moon is the ideal time to focus on balancing your life, setting new goals for yourself and working to achieve them with energy and enthusiasm.

 

Meditating on the Yin-Yang symbol will help put your energies in balance.

Yin-Yang Meditation

The Yin-Yang is a symbol of male and female energies in perfect balance, and is an ideal symbol to use in meditation.  Remember to wear comfortable clothes and relax your body.

1. Look at the Yin-Yang and let your gaze become blurred.  Close you eyes while holding the image in your mind.

2. Concentrate on letting your in-breath become equal in length to your out-breath.

3. Focus on the Yin-Yang symbol and let other thoughts drift away.

 

 

Achieving Balance in Your Life

During the month of the Alder Moon, try to bring more balance into your life with the following tips:

Balance Your Books

Check your bank balance.  Always in the red? Find four ways you can economize this month. Small symbolic steps let the powers of the universe know that you are ready for some big changes.

 

Balanced Diet

Are you eating a balanced diet?  Remember that your body is a temple.  Valuing yourself is the first step to getting what you want.

 

 

Balance Your Emotions

Take up Yoga or Tai Chi during the Alder Moon. The balance of spirituality and physical exercise stimulates feelings of well-being.  your improved posture will radiate poise and confidence to the outside world.

 

Drink Plenty of Water

Take your lead from the alder tree: drink plenty of water and breathe deeply.  If you follow these simple rules, you will find you have more energy to make your dreams come true this spring.

Chocolate Love Ritual

Perform this simple spell with your partner to help your love grow stronger.

You Will Need:

  • A chocolate Easter egg
  • A pin
  • A red candle*
  • Matches

1. Create a romantic setting in the room you wish to use for your rite with soft music and scented candles.

2. Sit facing your partner, look into each other’s eyes and breath deeply.

3. Light the candle, then take it in turns to say these words to each other: “Beneath this Alder Moon I offer my love to you, may it grow ever stronger and ever clearer.  So may it be.”

4. Both use the pin to scratch four things you love about each other onto the chocolate egg.

5. Have fun feeding each other pieces of the egg.

6. Let the red candle burn down.  Your love will grow in the year ahead.

* A red dye can be produced from alder bark.  Utilize this association with red by using red candles in spells cast under the Alder Moon.

 

 

 

Source:
“Enhancing Your Body, Mind and Spirit”, 21 Nature Magic, CARD  8.

 

Suggested Links:

The Blue Roebuck, “Alder“.

Celticradio.net, “Celtic Zodiac: The Alder“.

The Goddess Tree, “Alder“.

Goddess Ostara

“Ostara” by Asaenath

“Ostara’s themes are fertility and rebirth.  Her symbols are eggs.  The Teutonic Goddess Ostara presides over personal renewal, fertility and fruitfulness. Now that spring is here, it’s a good time to think about renewal in your own life. Ostara represents spring’s life force and earth’s renewal. Depicted as lovely as the season itself, in earlier writings She was also the Goddess of dawn, a time of new beginnings (spring being the figurative dawn of the year). One of Ostara’s name variations, Esotara, slowly evolved into the modern name for this holiday, Easter.

All spells and foods that include eggs are appropriate today. If you’ve been ill, try an old folk spell that recommends carrying an egg for twenty-four hours, then burying it to bury the sickness.

To improve fertility of all kinds, make eggs for breakfast at dawn’s first light, the best time to invoke Ostara. As you eat, add an incantation like this one:

 ‘Ostara, bring to me fertility
With this egg now bless my fruitfulness!’

Or, if you’re feeling down and need a little extra hope, get up before the sun rises and release a symbol of your burden to the earth by dropping or burying it. Don’t look at it! Turn your back and leave it there. Turn toward the horizon as the sun rises, and harvest the first flower you see. Dry it, then carry it with you often as a charm to preserve hope in your heart.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Ostara” by Mickie Mueller

The Goddess Ostara, or Eostre, is the Anglo-Saxon Goddess of Spring, the East, Resurrection, and Rebirth, is also the Maiden aspect of the Three-fold Goddess.  She gave Her name to the Christian festival of Easter (which is an older Pagan festival appropriated by the Church), whose timing is still dictated by the Moon. Modern Pagans celebrate Her festival on the Vernal Equinox, usually around March 21, the first day of Spring.

Ostara was an important Goddess of spring to the ancient Saxons, but we know little else of Her other than this. Some have suggested that Ostara is merely an alternate name for Frigg or Freya, but neither of these Goddesses seem to have quite the same fertility function as Ostara does. Frigg, Goddess of the home, wouldn’t seem to be associated with such an earthy festival and Freya’s form of fertility is more based on eroticism than reproduction.

However, Ostara is associated, almost interchangebly, with many different Goddesses.  [Again, purely speculation] She is essentially identical to Freya, for She is the Goddess of the fertile spring, the resurrection of life after winter. She was equated with the Goddess Idunna, who bore the Apples of Eternal Youth to the Aesir, and many believe that Ostara and Idunna are the same, or represent the same principle. She is almost certainly the same as the Greek Goddess Eos, Goddess of the Dawn. (Again, following the threefold theme — Eos is the Maiden aspect of the three goddesses Eos /Dawn, Hemera /Day and Nyx/Night.) As Ostara is Goddess of the Dawn, we can understand why sunrise services have always been an important aspect of the spring resurrection/rebirth observances of other cultures.

Eggs and rabbits are sacred to Her as is the full moon  [though there is no historical record of this], since the ancients saw in its markings the image of a rabbit or the hare. Pagan Anglo-Saxons made offerings of colored eggs to Her at the Vernal Equinox. They placed them at graves especially, probably as a charm of rebirth. (Egyptians and Greeks were also known to place eggs at gravesites). The Goddess of Fertility was also the Goddess of Grain, so offerings of bread and cakes were also made to Her. Rabbits are sacred to Ostara, especially white rabbits, and She was said to be able to take the form of a rabbit.

One myth says Ostara found a bird dying from the cold. She changed it to a rabbit so it could keep warm. Maybe this is why the Easter Bunny brings eggs to children on Easter. Traditionally German children are told that it is the Easter hare that lays all the Easter eggs. [1][2]

“Ostara” by Helena Nelson-Reed

“Part of the story of the Easter bunny is excerpted below, but you can use this link to read the complete version of Easter History and Traditions, including the stories of the Goddesses, at the website: Easter History and Traditions

The Goddess Ostara and the Origin of the Easter Bunny: A Modern Neo-Pagan Tale

Ostara, the Goddess of Dawn (Saxon), who was responsible for bringing spring each year, was feeling guilty about arriving so late. To make matters worse, She arrived to find a pitiful little bird who lay dying, his wings frozen by the snow. Lovingly, Ostara cradled the shivering creature and saved his life.

Legend has it that She then made him Her pet or, in the X-rated versions, Her lover. Filled with compassion for him since he could no longer fly because of his frost-damaged wings, the Goddess Ostara turned him into a rabbit, a snow hare, and gave him the name Lepus.

She also gave him the gift of being able to run with astonishing speed so he could easily evade all the hunters.  To honor 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 he was only allowed to lay eggs on one day out of each year.

Eventually Ostara lost Her temper with Lepus (some say the raunchy rabbit was involved with another woman), and She flung him into the skies where he would remain for eternity as the constellation Lepus (The Hare), forever positioned under the feet of the constellation Orion (the Hunter).

But later, remembering all the good times they had once enjoyed, Ostara softened a bit and allowed the hare 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.” [3]  Again, there is no historical documentation or lore that states this and I really have no idea where the tale originated from.

Variant spellings: Eostra, Eostrae, Eostre, Eástre, Austra [4]

 

 

 

Sources:

Ashliman, D.L. The University of Pittsburgh: German 1500: Germanic Myths, Legends, and Sagas,Ostara’s Home Page: The Germanic Goddess of Springtime“.

The Goddess Gift E-zine, “The Goddess Ostara and the Easter Bunny: The Art of Renewal“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Eostre“.

Yvonne. Earth Witchery, “Ostara or Eostre“.

 

 

 

Suggested Links:

Aloi, Peg, Witches’ Voice, “You Call It Easter, We Call It Ostara“.

The Blue Roebuck,”Eostre“.

Cavalorn. Cavalorn.livejournal.com, “Eostre: The Making of a Myth“.

Fox, Selena. Circle Sanctuary, “Ostara Meditation“.

Goddess E-zine, “The Goddess Ostara, the Easter Bunny, and Their History in Easter Tradition“.

Goddessgift.com, “Goddess Ostara: History of Easter Eggs, History of the Easter Bunny, Goddess Ishtar and the First Resurrection“.

Goddessgift.com, “Ostara (Oestre): Saxon Goddess of the Dawn and Spring“.

Love of the Goddess, “Ostara, Celebration of the Goddess of Spring.”

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Eostre: walk with a ‘spring’ in your step“.

Wikipedia, “Ēostre

The lunar month of Ash is the perfect time to travel or just to plan your path ahead in every aspect of your life.

 

In ancient Europe, the ice began to thaw during the Ash Moon.  People ventured out of their homes for the first time since the dark days of late fall.  It is maybe for this reason that this month is linked with journeys.  Focus magic on transformation, moving you to a new space physically or spiritually.

Taking Time Out

The month of the Ash Moon is a good time to start planning your summer vacation and acclimatize your body to being outside.  Cast spells that take your inner energies on an excursion by harnessing natural forces, such as floating wishes downstream in a paper boat, or blessing a feather and letting it fly in the wind.  Valentine’s Day also occurs near the time of the Ash Moon, so cast a love spell that focuses on sharing your journey in the year ahead with someone special.

 

A SACRED TREE OF MAGIC

The ash has always been revered as a magical tree.  In Scandinavian countries the universe was believed to be composed of a giant ash called the Yggdrasil, and runes were traditionally made from ash wood.  In Greece ash trees were sacred to Poseidon, the god of the sea and the wood was used to carve charms that protected against drowning.

The ash tree is the “Tree of Life,” and its winged seeds, called keys, represent the key to universal understanding.

Ash For the Sick

Ash is renowned for its healing powers.  Sick children were passed through the ash branches, and a bowl of water and ash leaves by the sick-bed was an old remedy to speed recovery.  In witchcraft, ash wood is traditionally used to make healing wands, and the leaves from the ash are used to boost the power of protection and increase prosperity incense.

The tree is also believed to cure warts: prick the tree with a min then use the pin to cross the wars tree tines saying, “Ash tree, ashen tree, pray by this wart off me,” and put the pin back in the tree.  Hopefully, the warts will swiftly disappear!

 

ASH MOON MAGIC

Use Ash Moon spells to focus your mind through meditation or move your life in a new direction.  Use this month to create a healing wand or cast a love spell.

Journey Spells

Use the ash to attract good fortune in all your journeys, physical and metaphysical.

  • Write a letter to the angels telling them what you want to change in your life and asking for help.  Address it to paradise and “mail it” by burning the letter in a candle flame.  Wait for you answer; it will come in unexpected ways.
  • Draw in an image of your wish on a luggage label and attach to a kite.  Fly the kite and ask the spirits of the wind to make it come true.
  • Charge a feather; pass it through incense smoke and repeat a wish three times.  Drop it from a bridge into a river to activate the magic.

A Healing Wand

Harness the healing powers of the ash to make a wand.

1. Lay your hands on an ash tree’s trunk and say: “Magical tree, I ask for a wand infused with your power to heal.”

2. Cut a branch the length of your forearm and the thickness of the base of your index finger.

3. Shave off the bark and decorate with a soldering iron: runes and spirals are appropriate.

4. Charge the wand by leaving it in spring water overnight.  Use you wand whenever you are going to do some healing magic.

Walking Meditation

Practicing this technique during the Ash Moon will free your mind from stress and attract solutions to your problems.  You will need a smudge stick, a bunch of herbs – usually white sage – that is used to “smudge,” or cleanse, and area with smoke.

1. Light a smudge stick, then take time to relax and breathe deeply.

2. Direct the smoke around your body, taking time to cleanse your aura, and say: “Spirit, I walk this journey and invite you to join me.  May each step be sacred.”

3. Take a walk through nature.  Everything on your journey has a message for you, so relax and enjoy.

4. On your return, write down any animals you encountered and unusual sights or flashes of inspiration you received.

Ash Love Spell

Valentine’s Day falls close to the Ash Moon, so cast a spell to attract romance.

You Will Need

  • Red candle
  • Valentine’s card
  • Three red rose petals
  • Red pen

1. Light the candle saying, “Flame of desire, light the fire, three kisses and love will come.”

2. Kiss each rose petal and place them in the card.

3. Close the envelope and seal with red wax.

4. Send the card to your lover, or carry it as a talisman to attract love.

 

 

 

Source:
“Enhancing Your Body, Mind and Spirit”, 21 Nature Magic, CARD  7.

 

Suggested Links:

Blueroebuck.com, “Ash“.

The Goddess Tree, “Ash“.

Celticradio.net, “Celtic Zodiac: The Ash“.

Spiritblogger.wordpress.com, “Spirit Message of the Day – Spirit Message of the Day – Transformation by Creation“.

Brighid Turns the Wheel

As it has always done, and will continue to do, the Wheel turns. Yule is over, the old year is dead and gone. Though you can’t see it, new life stirs. Of course, it may not feel like it in Upstate New York right now as I look out my window at all the snow coming down. But the days are growing noticeably longer and we know that change is taking place all around us, no matter how small. The Bright One is with us. You can’t help but feel Her presence and Her warmth – Her spark urging and drawing us to awaken from our midwinter slumber.

“Spring” by by Ruth Sanderson

Traditionally, Brighid presides over Imbolc and for good reason. She is the Maiden in which new life rejoices. We invite Brighid into our homes and lives to help us purify and clear out that which no serves us or is needed from the year prior with Her fire and watery aspects. We ask Her to assist us in divination at the crossroads so that we may know which direction or path to take in the hopes that our efforts will yield a successful and bountiful harvest in the year to come. We call upon Her as midwife to help us take the steps we need to take, no matter how small, to transform our hopes and that which we dreamed of during our long winter’s slumber into reality. As She did so delicately with me, She calls us to come forth and to seek healing if we need it; to guide us to those with warm hearts and strong hands to help us emerge from the winter within our souls and face the challenges and lessons that lie ahead.

“Luna Meets Brigid at Imbolc” by Wendy Andrew

Ostara is a very powerful time to take the steps, whether physically, mentally or magically, to attune to the earth’s balancing energies and rebalance what needs balancing in your life. It is time to clean out (if we haven’t already started doing so) to make room for new growth and facilitate creativity. Also take this time to make ready your “tools” (magical and mundane) you’ll need and prepare the “seeds” (spiritual and physical) you plan sew so that they may have enough time to grow and properly come into bloom. I believe it wouldn’t be at all inappropriate to call upon Brighid during this time to lend Her assistance in our efforts as creativity and blacksmithing are both included in Her many fortes.

“Brighid’s Walk” by Helen Nelson-Reed

Beltane is a time to revel in the creative heat of the Bel-fires that act as a catalyst for all kinds of sacred fertility and growth. The fires revitalize and renew us. The Goddess Brighid being a Goddess of forge-fires and the fire of inspiration was no stranger, I’m sure, to the fever-fire of passion. As such, Bel, Lugh or Oghma would make appropriate Consorts for Her if She so chooses. This sacred union between the God and Goddess is sacred to us because fertility is sacred. Without the sacred act of the union, there would be no fertility; there would be no life.

“The Beltane season is a time of fertility, not only for people but for the land as well. In the early spring, many of us who follow earth-based spiritual paths begin planning our gardens for the coming season. The very act of planting, of beginning new life from seed, is a ritual and a magical act in itself. To cultivate something in the black soil, see it sprout and then bloom, is to watch a magical working unfold before our very eyes. The plant cycle is intrinsically tied to so many earth-based belief systems that it should come as no surprise that the magic of the garden is one well worth looking into.” (Wigington, Patti, Magical Gardening Around the World)

Next, the Wheel turns to Litha, or Midsummer. Like Ostara, it has been questioned as to whether or not Midsummer has always been celebrated by our ancient ancestors or whether the solar festivals (the solstices and equinoxes) were actually added later and imported from the Middle East. Regardless of the origins, many Neo-Pagans do choose to celebrate Litha every year in June. “This is a time of year of brightness and warmth. The power of the sun at Midsummer is at its most potent, and the earth is fertile with the bounty of growing life. Flowers surround us with bright colors and seductive fragrances drawing the bees in to ensure fertility and reproduction of the species; which in turn provides us with sweet honey. All the seeds have been planted and the crops are growing in their fields with the heat of the sun, but may require water to keep them alive.” (Wigington, Patti, Litha History – Celebrating the Summer Solstice)

I draw associations here between Brighid’s fiery and watery aspects and the need for balance between the hot, blazing and fiery sun and the need for cool, replenishing and healing water. We also observe the balance between light and the darkness, both in the physical world and within ourselves. Take the time to appreciate and love all the beauty and blessings that have blossomed in your life over the course of the year thus far. There is so much beauty not only in the world and in nature, but also within ourselves. Find it, find your confidence and love. Celebrate it, dance joyously in the sun’s warm and healing rays as this is one of the most cherished duties we have as children of the Goddess.

“Brigid” by Lisa Iris

What does that mean for us? No such great festivals bind us together today as they did thousands of years ago to promote survival. However, we can learn from them that connection is vital for a happy and complete life. Coming together for ritual confirms, builds and strengthens Community. This is also a good time to focus on preparing one’s family and home with some magic around the hearth and home.

“Decide which events, goals or relationships no longer serve your highest and best, make preparations to remove them from your life.” [1] Throw symbols of them into Brighid’s fire. Now is also the time to finish long-standing projects by the fall. It would also be a good time to bless the tools of your trade in order to bring a richer harvest next year. Again, Brighid being a Hearth Goddess and Goddess of blacksmithing would be more than willing to lend Her assistance if asked in both of these tasks.

“Brigid” by Nefaeria

The autumn is the season of death; it is a time of transformation. When things are stripped away from us or we feel the need to clean out that which is no longer needed, giving up old habits and attitudes that no longer fit us, we ask Brighid to help us understand the wisdom of transformation. She helps us when we seem to have nothing left or are in pain of loss. She helps us understand that when something is truly finished and no longer useful to our soul’s purpose, we can find ourselves happy at the change. We are renewed. This is the hope hidden within the apparent darkness of transformation.

“Brigid: Bardic Spirit” by Lindowyn

The veil between the worlds is at it’s thinnest, as it was at Beltane. This is a time to remember and honor all who have crossed over and all that has died. We recall with a sharp pang of memory, the loves so full of promise, the ideas that seemed to gleam, the plans that called to us. We move on, eventually past broken hearts and shattered dreams, stronger for the losses we have endured. But to live most fully, we must make time to grieve the pain of these losses, to give time to the sorrows as well as the joys of life. This is a time that we turn to Brighid to light our way through the darkness to receive warmth and healing at Her hearth. We become still and quiet to acquire or gain any wisdom and knowledge that She has to bestow. We watch as she works and hammers away deep in Her forges, shaping and tempering strong tools from crude metal, transformed by fire and water.

“Brigid of the Forge” by Lindowyn

The Wheel turns to Yule. The cold and darkness of winter has been long and hard. The daylight does not seem to diminish or grow as though at a standstill. We seem to be holding our breath, waiting for change. The soul holds still like this, just before great change occurs. It is a silence so profound that it seems as though time has stopped. In this magical moment, we have the chance to set in motion great changes, great happenings. This is the moment when the seeds of new life, new growth, must be planted.

“Promise of Imbolc” by Adrian Welch

The Winter Solstice, or Yule, was an incredibly sacred time to our ancestors. They recognized and celebrated the “rebirth” of the sun, for they knew that they had made it and the sun was returning. They knew that the worst was over. “Bonfires were lit in the fields, and crops and trees were “wassailed” with toasts of spiced cider. Children were escorted from house to house with gifts of clove spiked apples and oranges which were laid in baskets of evergreen boughs and wheat stalks dusted with flour. The apples and oranges represented the sun. The boughs were symbolic of immortality (evergreens were sacred to the Celts because they did not “die” thereby representing the eternal aspect of the Divine). The wheat stalks portrayed the harvest, and the flour was accomplishment of triumph, light, and life. Holly and ivy not only decorated the outside, but also the inside of homes, in hopes Nature Sprites would come and join the celebration. The ceremonial Yule log was the highlight of the Solstice festival. The log would burn throughout the night, then smolder for 12 days after before being ceremonially put out. Ash is the traditional wood of the Yule log. It is the sacred world tree of the Teutons, known as Yggdrasil. An herb of the Sun, Ash brings light into the hearth at the Solstice.” (Akasha, The Winter Solstice – Yule Lore)

How we yearn for the light in the dark times of winter. Even knowing how important rest is to ourselves and to our planet, how happily we greet the dawn and the spring! Brighid’s flame shines like the flame of a new light and it pierces the darkness and shines into our spirits. Even to this day, we celebrate, laugh and tell stories and seek out companionship during the darkness of winter. Mythically, our role in the cosmic drama is important, for without laughter the sun will not return. So in this dark time, let us all laugh as loudly and as long as possible. For as the ancients knew, the worst is over and we will survive…just to do it all again next year!

“Maiden Goddess” by Wendy Andrew

Brighid Bright 

by Autumn Sky

Brighid my Mother
nurture me
so that I may nurture and nourish
Brighid my Maiden
make me fertile, sensuous, feminine
so that I may know the power of my female form
Brighid my Crone
make me quiet
so that I may know the patience
to grow wise with time
Brighid my Blacksmith
forge me strong and true
so that I may stand tall and solid
Brighid my Poet
give me eloquence and a moon-graced tongue
so that my words may find their way
to open eyes, hearts, and minds
Brighid my Healer
wash me clean in health
so that I may touch and heal
myself, my land, my people
Brighid my Warrior
imbue me with courage and dignity
so that I may fight an honest fight
for respect, equality, and freedom
for all minds, hearts, souls, and bodies

Brighid my multifaceted star
no matter how cloudy the night sky
a spot of clarity
all sides combine
one bright one shines
to give me what I need
one woman, one heart, one soul, one mind
but with her on my side
I am so much more
every step a new door
to who I can be
because she makes it so
I can be free to be
who deep down I know
is the woman i have always been


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