The goddess Eostre
dressed in splendor, finally
The goddess Eostre
dressed in splendor, finally
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.
‘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!)
The song is performed here by Andre Rieu. Hope you like it! Have a magical Imbolc.
Equal parts dark and light, equal parts day and night. As the sun wanes in the North so do we. The long
sleep jumps from the tilt of the sky.
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.
Have a Blessed Mabon.
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. Like, the smartest smart aleck who remembered to say it.)
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 a consummate Alice in Wonderland fan, I knew Alice found all her adventures by following the White Rabbit!
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.
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. Sounds good to me!
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. It is nice that they would look to this gentle and peaceful animal during war time 🙂
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.”
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.
Gold sun gaze on this longest
of days. Be forever now, scry the sky
live out loud and grab
a handful of the nearest
Have a blessed Summer Solstice! 🙂
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.
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.
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.
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.
Moving on to chocolate! Ever wonder where we got those traditions of chocolate bunnies and marshmallow peeps?
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.
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:
Have a Blessed Ostara.
“Bringing the world closer through peace, harmony and understanding of the wise-craft.”