Happy Imbolc

 

february-flowers

Although they are still mired in winter snow, the flowers long to speak out. As Imbolc dawns, they tilt their heads forward, eager to spread their scent across the land.  The goddess Brigid blesses all and leads us to the purity of spring.  As winter slowly breaks, Brigid will be reunited with her lover the Sun King.

Imbolc

‘Lara’s Theme’ from the movie ‘Dr. Zhivago’ seems to me the perfect song for Imbolc. Lovers Yuri and Lara are separated in the frigid winter of the Russian revolution. Much like Brigid and the Sun King, they wait for a time they will be reunited. Yuri, who is a poet as well as a doctor, writes this letter to Lara:

“Somewhere. my love, there will be songs to sing. Although the snow covers the hope of spring. Someday, we’ll meet again my love. Someday, whenever the spring breaks through. You’ll come to me, out of the long ago. Warm as the wind, soft as the kiss of snow.”

Based on the 1957 novel by  Boris Pasternak,  ‘Dr. Zhivago’ was made into a movie in 1965. It starred Omar Sharif and Julie Christie. If you have not yet seen this gem, I highly recommend it! It is the very embodiment of love, longing and political servitude.  (Not to mention waiting for the spring thaw!)

zhivago

The song is performed here by Andre Rieu. Hope you like it!  Have a magical Imbolc.

 

 

 

Autumn Equinox

 

tree-pd

Equal parts dark and light, equal parts day and night. As the                                                          sun wanes in the North                                                                                                                              so do we.  The long

but

necessary

sleep jumps from the tilt of the sky.

setting-sun-pd

Crops harvest, land                                                                                                                                      rests, hot beat                                                                                                                                                of summer gone. Painted now                                                                                                                 in cool splashes. Citrine

amber, scarlet.  Rich jewels  to                                                                                                           ripen                                                                                                                                                          and brighten

the oncoming night.

autumn-pd

 

Have a Blessed Mabon.

autumn-equinox-blessing-pd

 

 

 

 

 

1st of the Month: White Rabbit!

White rabbit

Do you say  ‘White Rabbit’ on the first day of the month?  In my family we have  this tradition. We do it as a fun competition. The first one to say it wins.  (We don’t actually win anything, we just Win — if you remembered first you are the smartest smart guy. )

I got to thinking about this tradition and wondered if anyone else practiced it, where it came from, and if it make any sense at all. Actually, it always made a lot of sense to me, because as an Alice in Wonderland fan, I knew Alice found all her adventures by  following the White Rabbit!

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I did some sleuthing and found out that the rabbit utterance  apparently  started out as an ancient Celtic tradition.  It was used  at the beginning of the lunar month to honor the sacred animal. This animal was not exactly a rabbit, but something other-worldly that resembled a rabbit.  The image of this rabbit-like animal could then be found in the full moon.

haremoon 2

In some parts of Scotland and northern England, children are still taught to say ‘White Rabbit’ at the beginning of the month as a magic charm to attract money through unexpected means.

This quote comes from a ‘Notes and Queries’ book dated 1909:

“My two daughters are in the habit of saying ‘Rabbits!’ on the first day of each month. The word must be spoken aloud, and be the first word said in the month. It brings luck for that month. Other children, I find, use the same formula.”

Another tradition holds that ‘Rabbits, rabbits, rabbits’ should be spoken as the first words and the beginning of the month, and ‘Hares, hares, hares’ as the last words at the end of the month.

Interestingly, the tradition was also adopted by RAF bomber aircrews in WWII, who believed uttering ‘white rabbit’ as their very first words upon awakening would keep them from harm.

I found this quote from the 1922 novel  ‘Solomon in all his Glory’ by Robert Lynd:

“Why,” the man in the brown hat laughed at him, “I thought everybody knew ‘Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit.’ If you say ‘Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit’—three times, just like that—first thing in the morning on the first of the month, even before you say your prayers, you’ll get a present before the end of the month.” 

So this month I am going to be the first to say White Rabbit.   Maybe I will even get a present 🙂

Try it and let me know if it works for you!

“Never underestimate a great superstition.”

 

 

A Wish at Midsummer

 

Public domain image, royalty free stock photo from www.public-domain-image.com

 

First I bake a cake. Dedicate it to Aine

and in its  candle flame I wish

to wander woods

chance and dance the wild

faerie luck.  Make mischief with Puck.

puck 2

 

Gold sun gaze on this longest

of days.  Be forever now, scry the sky

live out loud and grab

a handful of the nearest

cloud.

DSC00239

Have a blessed Summer Solstice! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrating Ostara

The very name sounds romantic, doesn’t it? It slips across the lips, clenches the teeth, makes a guttural R in the throat. It conjures visions of stars and wistful moonlit nights.  Oh. Star.  Oh, star, ahhhh.   Indeed, spring is a good season for star gazing as the nights get warmer and the constellations clearer.

a starry night

Ostara is the official Pagan name for the vernal equinox.  It marks a 24 hour period when the earth’s angle is tilted to receive equal parts of sunlight and darkness, usually around March 20-23rd.   Ostara was first celebrated among ancient Germanic Pagans.  It is a feast that honors the goddess Eostre  who rules growth and fertility.

demeter1

The names Ostara and Eostre might sound suspiciously like the Christian holiday Easter, also celebrated at this time of year.  No coincidence there.  In Christian faith, Easter signifies the day in which Jesus rose from the dead, leaving his tomb rolled open — and empty — to the astonished Mary Magdalene, who was, btw, the only one brave enough to visit her rabbi’s grave.  Easter therefore is a celebration of life everlasting.

Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene--Olsen

The name ‘Easter’ is attributed to Saint Bede the Venerable, a 6th century Christian monk.  Bede was a great scholar who wrote many spiritual treatises.  He was also an expert in chronology and developed a method of dating events relative to Christ’s birth (A.D. and B.C.)   Saint Bede the Venerable is thought to have anglicized the name ‘Easter’ from its original Eostre or Ostara.

 

Easter Sunday  is always celebrated in the spring, but the date changes.  Ever wonder how this is determined? There is a pattern to it. If you check the calendar you will see that   Easter always falls on the Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox.  In this year of 2016, for example, the vernal equinox will occur on March 20th, the moon will be full on March 23rd,  and Easter Sunday will occur on March 27th.  See how that works?  It’s the same every year, and has been since the Middle Ages.

Legend has it that Jesus pondered his fate of crucifixion in the Garden of Gethsemane under a full moon, on a Thursday night (Holy Thursday) after the vernal equinox.  He was crucified the next day (Good Friday) and rose from the dead on that Sunday.

Ted-Neeley---´Jesus-Christ-Superstar´

 

Moving on to chocolate!  Ever wonder where we got those traditions of chocolate bunnies and marshmallow peeps?

chocolate-bunny-with-flower

 

No, not just to give the candy industry extra business,  although it is a great marketing tool.  They are actually symbols traditionally associated with the goddess Eostre;  eggs, chicks and rabbits (yes, for fertility.)  Eostre is also associated with early blooming flowers such as daffodils, jonquils, lilies and tulips.

ostara 1

 

In modern times, it is essential, necessary and fun to celebrate Ostara!  Growth and fertility are the building blocks of human life.  There are several things we can do to honor this special time:

  • Plant a garden, or use starter seeds indoors which can later be transported as the weather gets warmer.
  • Dye and decorate eggs. Use pastels, the colors of the rainbow  🙂

colored-eggs-in-easter-basket

  • Decorate your home with sweet smelling lilies and bright flowers.
  • Be friendly to your local rabbits. Feed them carrots and spring greens.  While you are at it, save some for yourself.  Replenish your body with vitamin A and C.
  • Take a walk in the woods, mountains, beach or local park.  Get in touch with Mother Nature.
  • Bird watch. You’d be surprised at the amazing things robins are doing these days.
  • Eat chocolate bunnies!  Chocolate is full of the chemical compound  phenylethylamine  which releases feel-good endorphins.  Dark chocolate can improve heart and brain function.
  • Oh, and most importantly! Make love not war  🙂

forest lovers

Have a Blessed Ostara.

 

 

 

PD witch 2

“Bringing the world closer through peace, harmony and understanding of the wise-craft.”