Middle Earth Magic: Inspired Ideas and Seasonal Spells for Your Enchanted Life

I grew up on a farm in West Virginia and learned much about herbs, trees, animals, gardening, foraging  and so much about nature. I incorporate this wisdom I learned from elders in my family into my spellwork. When I finally left the farm, I majored in Medieval Studies, my attempt to emulate my idol, J.R.R. Tolkien. All these influences led me to my own blended brew which I call "middle earth magic," containing a mix of the modern and the time-tested "old ways." 

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Vernal Equinox: a Rite of Spring

At this time, celebrate the festival of Ostara, the Saxon goddess who is the personification of the rising sun. Ostara is derived from the Anglo-Saxon Eostre or Oestre, and her totem is the rabbit. Legend has it that her rabbit brought forth the brightly colored eggs now associated with Easter. At this time the world is warming under the sun as spring approaches. Every plant, animal, man and woman feels this growing fever for spring.

This ritual is intended for communities, so gather a group. Tell everyone to bring a “spring food” such as deviled eggs, salads with flowers in them, fresh broths, berries, mushrooms, fruits, pies, veggie casseroles or quiches. Have the food table at the opposite side of the gathering area away from the altar, but decorate it with flowers and pussy willow branches that are just beginning to bud. These are the harbingers of spring.

Essential elements for this ritual are an altar table; bay laurel leaves; bowls of water; multihued crystals; candles; a jar of honey; fruits of yellow, red, white and purple; musical instruments; and one bowl each of seeds, leaves, flowers and fruit.

Create your own Eostre altar in the middle of the ritual area by covering the table with a cloth of color that represents spring to you. It could be a richly hued flowered cloth or a light green solid color. The cloth should represent new life. Scatter Bay laurel leaves around the table. Place goddesses on the altar table, too, with Eostre at the center. Put colored eggs, chocolate rabbits, candles and crystals around the goddesses. In the east, set a yellow candle and crystals of amber, gold and yellow, such as citrine or agate. Place yellow fruit, such as pears or bananas, in front of the candle as an offering to the energies of the east. In the south, set a red candle and red and orange stones, such as garnet or the newly available “rough rubies,” which cost only a few cents each. Apples and pomegranates are excellent red food to place in front of the candle. In the west, set a purple candle with amethysts in front of it. Sweet plums are a perfect fruit to place in front of the candle. In the north, set a white candle and a clear quartz or white crystal. Honeydew melon is an appropriate selection for the fruit offering. Choose four representatives to invoke the directions.

East – Everyone faces east. The representative for the direction should weave a story and create a vision that can be shared by all that is characterized by new beginnings, such as the rising of the morning sun. Spring is the time for new beginnings and growth in nature. The speaker can, for example, take the bowl of seeds and tell the tale of the seeds sprouting in the dark moist soil of Mother Earth. Pass the bowl of seeds around to everyone and urge them to take some seeds home to plant.

South – Everyone faces south. The speaker for this direction should invoke the power of the leaf. Leaves draw in the energy of the sun through photosynthesis and help keep an important cycle of life moving. Leaves grow throughout the summer season, drinking in the water of life and using the power of the sun for photosynthesis. Pass the bowl of leaves around the group.

West – Everyone faces west. The speaker for this direction should invoke the power of flowers. Flowers bud and bloom. They follow the sun and are some of nature’s purest expressions of beauty. Flowers bring joy to people, and many flowers become fruit. Pass the bowl of flowers to the group and urge everyone to take some.

North – Everyone faces the north. The speaker for the north should invoke fruit and harvest time. Fruit is the result of nature’s generosity. Fruit also contains the seeds for our future. Pass the bowl of fruit around and suggest everyone take one and eat it, meditating on the glory and deep meaning it contains. If it is appropriate, you can also offer juice or wine as part of the fruit invocation. Wine is the glorious nectar of fruit.

Now it’s time for the ritual enactment. Everyone takes a seat around the altar. Drummers should start to play a gentle rhythm. Chanting, singing and ululating are also encouraged, however people feel comfortable expressing themselves.

Each speaker should in turn light a candle and invoke the ancestors of the group. Special time should be given for remembrances to people who have died in the past year and are an important respect paid to the community at large.

Next is the honoring of the moon. Ask people to speak about the moon, reciting their favorite moon poems or moon memories.

Anointing the third eye blesses your insight for the coming year. Pass the bowls of water and laurel leaves around. Take a leaf and dip it in the water, then touch the wet leaf to your third eye. Pass the bowl on to the next person. When the bowl has made its way back to the ritual leader, sing and dance in celebration of spring. Everyone should get in a line and hold hands and dance around the circle, like a plant moving and growing, flowering and fruiting.

When the four speakers feel that the energy has reached a climax, each one should clap and say in turn:

And now it is done; now it is spring!

They open the circle by saying together:

It is spring in the East, it is spring in the South, it is spring in the West, and it is spring in the North!

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    Cerridwen Greenleaf has worked with many of the leading lights of the spirituality world including Starhawk, Z Budapest, John Michael Greer, Christopher Penczak, Raymond Buckland, Luisah Teish, and many more. She gives herbal, crystal and candle magic workshops throughout North America. Greenleaf's graduate work in medieval studies has given her deep knowledge she utilizes in her work, making her work unique in the field. A bestselling author, her books include Moon Spell Magic, The Book of Kitchen Witchery, The Magic of Gems and Crystals and the Witch’s Spell Book series.  She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.  


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