Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Ostara & Spring Equinox

I meant to do my work today,
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.

And the wind went sighing over the land,
Tossing the grasses to and fro,
And a rainbow held out its shining hand--
So what could I do but laugh and go?

by Richard Le Gallienne

Ostara & Spring Equinox Celebrations:

The vernal equinox celebrates the balance of light and dark. At this equinox, a shift takes place from the earth energy of winter to the airiness of spring. From the cold darkness of earth and stone and the roots of trees, sap begins to rise; the breeze begins to warm and soothe us; and the skies become thickly inhabited once again.

No talk of spring is complete without mention of its central image; that of the seed that dies, falls into the dark ground, and is reborn as the sprout, the seedling. Here are a few Ostara activities, including the ritualized action of planting intention:

Planting Bean Runes:

Choose a rune, or two or three, that most closely sums up what it is you wish to grow in your life. Called the I Ching of the Vikings, runes were originally used for divination. To learn about individual runes and their meanings, click here.

Prepare a pot of soil by stirring it with your finger, visualizing your good energy entering into the soil. Smooth the surface of the soil and then make shallow holes for the beans, about the depth of a pencil eraser. Hold the beans in your hand and breathe into them, infusing them with your hopes. Plant them in the shape of the rune, visualizing concrete things you intend to do during the next few weeks to make your wish become reality. Then water them well, cover the pot with plastic wrap, and put it on top of the refrigerator (the warmth will help the sprouting process).

In a couple of days, check to see if anything has come up. If the soil is dry, water it. Soon your rune will sprout. After the danger of frost is past, you can plant it in your garden. If for some reason your rune fails to sprout, you may want to rethink your goals and try a different rune, or try the same one again.

From Celebrating the Great Mother: A Handbook of Earth Honoring Activities for Parents & Children, by Cait Johnson and Maura D. Shaw.

Review: This handbook of Earth-honoring activities for parents and children provides a family-oriented approach to the rituals of celebration, giving parents and adults insights into the spiritual experiences which will inspire kids and help them to understand holiday meanings. Techniques ranging from visualization to Tarot play are developed with kids in mind.

Honoring Birds

You might want to clean the hair out of the family hairbrushes and pull some (preferably natural and cotton) lint from your dryer, and put it out for the birds to use as nesting material. When you do, send loving thoughts to the birds that will use this material to make their homes.

Update 3/22: Chas Clifton notes that
"Brushing the dogs outdoors, where the clumps of air blow off the verandah and into the yard, is my equivalent way of "honoring birds." Good point. Excuse me while I go and get my German Shepherd.

Recipe for Making Healthy Seed Bells

Put Up a birdhouse or a nesting box - Click here to find the right birdhouse for your area.

Decorating Eggs:

Learn Pysanky - Ukranian Decorated Eggs

Incredible, Edible Eye Dye by Autumn Wiggins
Lots of useful links here.

Here we stand at the Spring Equinox, once again straddling the line between the darkness and the light, between fear and faith. For many spiritual practices, this is the season of hope, the pastel package delivered on winter's promise that someday it will again be warm, green, and light. With the new shoots pushing their way through the wet dirt, the beckoning call of amorous birds at dawn, and the lengthening day, many of us who have spent the winter rain-drenched and grouchy will again consider the abundant possibilities of spring.
- Snakemoon
Gardening & Seed Planting:

Seeds of Change: Organic Seeds, Heritage Seeds & Supplies
One of my very favorite places

Growing Herbs Indoors

Growing Herbs Indoors II

Basic Herb Information

Container Herb Gardening - Youtube video

Harvesting & Drying Herbs - Youtube video

River Action:

Help Clean Up A River

Related Articles:

Pysanky Panky: The Magic Egg - a wonderful article by my good friend, and former Editor, Snakemoon.

Sex & Scent in Ancient Times

Pagan Origins of the Easter Bunny


Ostara Altars - Flickr photos

Family Egg Dying Ritual from the Queen of Heaven Circle

Photos of some lovely celtic eggs by sspyndel

Egg Balancing

If your purse no longer bulges
and you've lost your golden treasure,
If at times you think you're lonely
and have hungry grown for pleasure,
Don't sit by your hearth and grumble,
don't let mind and spirit harden.
If it's thrills of joy you wish for
get to work and plant a garden!

If it's drama that you sigh for,
plant a garden and you'll get it
You will know the thrill of battle
fighting foes that will beset it
If you long for entertainment and
for pageantry most glowing,
Plant a garden and this summer spend
your time with green things growing.

If it's comradeship you sight for,
learn the fellowship of daisies.
You will come to know your neighbor
by the blossoms that he raises;
If you'd get away from boredom
and find new delights to look for,
Learn the joy of budding pansies
which you've kept a special nook for.

If you ever think of dying
and you fear to wake tomorrow
Plant a garden! It will cure you
of your melancholy sorrow
Once you've learned to know peonies,
petunias, and roses,
You will find every morning
some new happiness discloses.

by Edgar Albert Guest

Happy Spring,


Art: Mystic Memories by Sabrinia, The Ink Witch. Used With Permission


Mark said...

I thought your young gardeners would enjoy an indoor gardening adventure, growing the TickleMe Plant (Mimosa pudica).
If your bloggers visit www.TickleMePlant.com they will see the plant that closes its leaves and lowers its branches when tickled. THIS WEEK- your readers can put in the word READERS at check out and we will take TWO DOLLARS off the total of their order. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. We love helping children and those young at heart to become excited about plants and nature!
Mark Chipkin
Educational Project Director
TickleMe Plant Company

Anonymous said...

Brushing the dogs outdoors, where the clumps of air blow off the verandah and into the yard, is my equivalent way of "honoring birds."