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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Ostara

Limoncello is a glass of liquid sunshine.  As the light grows and we approach Ostara, the Spring Equinox where the light overtakes the darkness, there is no better drink to celebrate the season.  Sweet, tart, strong, and delicious, a little glass of limoncello is like drinking in the growing sun.

Some pagans make mead, others brew beer, others steep all sorts of fruits in any strong drink they can find.  I make limoncello.  I first learned of limoncello while traveling in Italy.  We were staying in Sorrento, a seaside town with much the same climate as my native southern California.  The local drink was this delicious concoction of local lemons, sugar, water, and booze.  I had to try it.  After I did, I had to find the recipe.

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Last modified on

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Celebrating Ostara

American Asatru has a major holiday that does not exist in Icelandic Asatru, which is Ostara. Ostara is the heathen and pagan Easter. Because Easter is a major cultural holiday in the USA, with many holiday traditions in which people of all faiths participate, it has also become a major holiday among many American pagans and heathens. Like many of the seemingly secular traditions surrounding Christian holidays, Easter has pagan roots. 

Ostara is the Germanic spelling of Eostre, the English goddess name that developed into the word Easter. A goddess of spring and dawn, Ostara's sphere of influence is the fertility of animals, as exemplified by the fertility symbols the bunny and the egg. The holiday of Ostara can be celebrated on the Spring Equinox, or for a few weeks after. The American secular holiday tradition of hiding dyed chicken eggs and then having the children hunt for them replicates the way real farmers hunt for the eggs of free range chickens. 

The Easter Egg symbol is used in different ways by different individual heathens and pagans and by different heathen and pagan groups. Some families do the traditional American Easter Egg Hunt for their children. Like other Americans and some Europeans, they might dye or decorate the eggs at home, a project in which children can participate. Others buy candies in the shape of eggs, chicks, and bunnies as substitutes for the real thing.

Some kindreds fill blown eggs with confetti and break them on each other's heads to bless each other. There was a group in California that had an annual Ostara campout at which eggs and nickels were placed in a replica Viking longship, and the boat was set on fire and launched into the Pacific Ocean as a sacrifice to the sea goddess, Ran. 

Find out more about American holidays in my book American Celebration: http://www.amazon.com/American-Celebration-Erin-Lale/dp/1304916138/ref=la_B004GLACQQ_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1425318146&sr=1-3

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Dawn of the Year

We're getting our dawns back.

At the latitude at which I live—44.9798º N—we lose our dawns during the winter. The Sun goes down; it's dark. The Sun comes up; it's light. But the rich, varied colors of Dawn—the roses, the ambers, the saffrons, the teals—go down into the Dark of the Year and are gone.

But now they're returning. Into the colorless world of winter, color comes flooding back.

The Dawn of the Seasons, the Dawn of the Year, approaches. For 6000 years and more, spring has been the special season of Dawn, ever-young goddess, and the many and varied dawn goddesses of the Indo-European-speaking world are known wherever those languages are spoken. In English we call her Easter.

Some have postulated a myth in which, through the dark winter, Dawn is held captive in the Underworld. And now she's coming back to us again, free at last.

Last modified on

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_Spring-altar-Goddess-Spiral-2014-a.jpg

Seeds are magical.

For Ostara we planted five seeds.
The soil that held them was mixed with ashes.
Ashes that had once been paper,
that had once held our Imbolc intentions,
and that now nourished the soil.
Our seeds, so small in the dark soil.
Tiny seeds of possibility-- asleep.  
We set them in the sun with water and our blessings.

I planted seeds as a child.
I plant seeds as an adult,
experiencing the anticipation and wonder anew.
I ran to peer at the soil every day,
hoping for growth and new beginnings.
The adult kept the excitement away.
The adult made plans if the seeds did not grow.
The child stayed hopeful and rejoiced when seedlings emerged.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Ostara-seedlings-Goddess-Spiral.jpg

Seedlings are magical.

Our “babies”, our seedlings.
Tiny and delicate,
they persevere every day.
All five have grown.
All five lean towards the sun.
Some are stronger than others.
Some fall with the water.
They won’t all grow into tomato plants.
They won’t all gift us fruit.
Until then, they are tiny little possibilities.
They are tiny little hopes-- awake.

Life is magical.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Ostara-Seedling-5-Goddess-Spiral-Paola-Suarez.jpg

 Hear me reading this poem at "I planted seeds" by Paola Suarez, a reading.

 

 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Paola Suarez
    Paola Suarez says #
    Thank you Courtney for your feedback! It was very powerful to feel the energy of Imbolc combining to give birth to Ostara life.
  • Courtney Weber
    Courtney Weber says #
    I love this--planting seeds mixed with the ashes at Imbolc! Beautiful!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Springtime Ceilidh

St. Patty's Day can be an odd time of year for we Irish Wiccans and Pagans. On the one hand, the attraction of all things Irish is strong. First there's that stirring fiddle music and the rumble of the drum. The food is mighty tasty, folks are feeling celebratory, and who doesn't like the color of bright, springy green? On the other, who wants to revere a man for driving the "snakes" out of Ireland, a.k.a. the Druids? There is still a spirited scholarly debate regarding how much damage St. Patrick actually did on his own versus the mythic qualities that surround him to this present day. This presents a quandary, but not one insurmountable. I believe that you can partake in festivities in your own way, honoring your Irish heritage. Perhaps this year is one of the most opportune times, when we have the Irish holiday falling within the same week as the Spring Equinox. If you do up a dinner party combining the two, with a focus on some of the more classic Celtic traditions– problem solved!

Take down your favorite celtic knotwork wall hanging and use it as a tablecloth. Hopefully it is nothing you mind cleaning a little spilled food or drink off of. Decorate the table with fresh cut spring flowers, such as daffodils. Invite about 4 to 6 others to join you and pull up a chair. For your menu, think Celtic-eclectic. This is your very own hybrid holiday, after-all.

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Last modified on

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Hope Springs Anew

    

 

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    In my first ritual group we embraced the pagan themes of Christian culture. And we enjoyed becoming like children again, coloring

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