beltane

Beltane

Pronounced: English – BEL-tane
Other pronunciations – bee-YAWL-tinnuh,
BOWL-tan-a or BELL-tinnuh
April 30 or May 1
Themes: passion, mischief, love, beauty, romance, fertility,abundance
Other Names: May Day, Walpurgisnacht, Floralia, Calan Mai, Beltaine, Beltain

Celebrated on May 1st, Beltane marks the transition point from Spring to Summer on the Wheel of the Year. It officially begins at moonrise on May Day Eve, and marks the beginning of the third quarter or second half of the ancient Celtic year. It is celebrated as an early pastoral festival accompanying the first turning of the herds out to wild pasture. This is a time marking the return of vitality and fertility to both the Earth and the Sun. Blossoms on the trees are becoming fuller and bursting with green, and the young of the wild are beginning to grow up. Daylight longer and stronger as we move towards Summer. Love and commitment are themes this time of year, with many weddings being planned!! Abundance and creativity are blooming as well with spring crafts and making beautiful spaces in our yards to enjoy nature right outside our door.

Mythology holds that the “God and Goddess” come together in physical union at this time, having reached full maturity in their growth over the Spring. It also symbolizes the coming together of masculine and feminine energies at work in all creation. This is when the Goddess begins to step into her Mother aspect, and the God has almost reached the height of his power. Springtime, Rebirth, Maturity, The Return of the Sun (Son), Betrothals, Weddings, etc…. all blending of traditions from long ago from around the world are themes of Beltane.

The ancient Romans celebrated Floralia, and for many centuries the eve of May 1st has been known as Walpurgisnacht in several Eastern European cultures. In England, the holiday became known as May Day. One distinct custom in England and elsewhere that has never died out entirely is dancing around the Maypole—a tall, wooden pole said to represent male virility. Typically, people gather flowers and green branches to decorate the Maypole, or else use brightly colored ribbons. Many schools have Maypole dances still to this day.

Fire is also a big focus at Beltane so much so that many places host a Beltane or May Day fire festival. Because of the earth heating up with the approach of summer and the fact that this a traditionally a very passionate time of year. The word “beltane” actually comes from an ancient Celtic word meaning “bright fire,” so it’s highly appropriate to include fire of some kind in your festivities. If you don’t have the means to build a fire either indoors or outdoors, you can still decorate your with images of fire with reds and orange colored decorations. Other colors to use are greens and colors of nature symbolizing the vibrant fertility of springtime!

May Day

May Day has long been marked with feasts and rituals. Maypoles were the focal point of old English village rituals. Many people woke at dawn to gather flowers and green branches from the fields and gardens, using them to decorate the village Maypoles, floral crowns and other decorations for the yard, gardens and inside their homes.

The May Queen (and often King) is chosen from among the young people, they are crowned and then the merrymaking of a picnic, dancing the Maypole and just enjoying the season and the “blessing of May” begin. Some tradition also had kids delivering baskets of flowers by hanging small baskets on neighboring front door handles. All this is symbolic of bestowing and sharing a focus on new creativity, abundant growth, the bonds of the coming seasons marriages, joys of pregnancies and new birth and springtime that is stirring in the earth and in the world..

St. Walpurga

The early Christian church combined old world traditions and modern Christianity with their own Beltane observances, a service was held in the church, followed by a procession to the fields or hills, where the priest kindled the fire. This as a way of combining tradition with the new faith of Christianity.

Beltane Candle Magic

What you need:

  • a journal and pen
  • candle(s) – optional
  • flowers – optional
  • any kind of floral scent (ie rose, geranium, ylang, jasmine, neroli) – optional

Make your the space you’re in feel sacred andbeautiful in any way that feels right for you. Flowers, diffusing oils, incense, candles, photographs, art, some delicious food, wear clothes that make you feel beautiful.

Cleanse and purify the your space with sage, palo santo or even a mist spray of the equivalent if you don’t like smoke, and then sit and relax. If you have any floral scented essential oils, put some on your heart or heart chakra. Optionally ad you prepare for ceremony, use the oil to anoint specific places on your physical body; wrists, Third Eye, and ankles. You can think of it as “What you do, what you know, and where you go.” Let your breath become slower, let your body settle, let your mind get quiet. Let all the rhythms of your body slow down, and drop a little deeper into the ground.

Bring your awareness to your heart center (chakra) as you breathe; breathe into your heart space, inviting more love in, more beauty, more compassion; breathe out from the heart as you feel that energy expand around you. Continue on like this for a few more rounds of breathe. When we come into our heart space and truly start to connect with its energy we are able to release the ego. In this place fear and judgement cannot exist. Anger cannot exist. Hate cannot exist. We tap into our divine center where love lives strongest. We remember who we are and we release what no longer serves.

Now, grab your journal and you’re going to answer these 3 questions:

  1. How can I create more beauty in my life?
  2. How can I nurture and love myself better?
  3. How can I extend this beauty and love out into the world around me?

Don’t judge, don’t over think. Just answer.

Perhaps this exercise allowed you to shed some light on what your intention may be for this Beltane. Remember, the soil is fertile and the Earth is waiting to receive… what do you want to sow? What came up in your journaling? Be honest, dig deep! Write down your intention.

Now light your candle!

With your intention in mind, start to visualize your intention growing stronger and stronger. Visualize it coming to fruition. How does it make you feel when your intention has come to pass? Let those powerful, positive emotions flow over you and become part of you. You can place your written intention under your candle until it is burnt down.

If you are not using a candle, leave your written intention in your sacred space for the day or all night, or even under your pillow as you sleep. Tomorrow, bury your intention in nature, or in your garden.

To close, send a message of gratitude for all your blessings to your higher power or out into the universe. Give thanks to the Earth who supports and nurtures us. Give thanks to God/Source/Creator etc… for this life you have, even when and if things low or sad. Let your candle burn down. Eat some yummy food. Smell some flowers. And leave an offering to our planet.

  • Planting some seeds a bush, or even a tree that may stand long after you are gone.
  • Leave an offering somewhere in nature (nuts, seeds, apple pieces, orange peels, etc… or fill a bird or squirrel feeder for the birds and wildlife.
  • Get involved in a community garden and pull some weeds or plant some seeds!
  • meditate for 10-15 minutes as you visualize the Earth surrounded by white light. Yep, that simple.
  • Pick up garbage in your community, near the beach, in a park…

Beltane Meditation

Guided Visualization for Spring

Here is a meditation for spring that you use to feel inspired.

  1. Find a cozy spot to relax. Minimize your distractions by turning off your mobile devices and just begin to breathe, slowly and deeply.
  2. As you settle into your space, notice how your breath connects you to your physical body and any sensations you may be feeling, images in your mind, and thoughts you may have floating by.
  3. Take a few moments to think about the energy of creation and how it aligns with the newness of the spring season. What does this time of year represent to you?
  4. Begin to notice how the energy of spring is stirring within you. What needs freshening up in your life? Is there a new project you’re feeling inspired to start? Now that the sun is out, and the birds are chirping, what has you feeling passionate, excited, and motivated in your life? What are you going to create?
  5. Feel your own energy and become conscious of the sensations in your body as you breathe deeply. What are the words, phrases, or feelings that come up for you?
  6. As you think about the energy of spring and how you’re experiencing it internally, ask your Higher Self or Higher Power that this idea, this project, or this plan you’re beginning be for your highest good, and for the good of all who will be affected by it.
  7. Now, imagine yourself going out into this new season and beginning the thing(s) that bring you the most joy—bringing your thoughts and ideas into your external environment and making them come to life. See yourself cultivating and harnessing the energy of spring, both internally and externally.
  8. When you feel comfortable, slowly open your eyes, take out your journal, and make some notes about what you saw, heard, felt, or experienced during this guided visualization.

Meditation By: Tris Thorp


Beltane Intentions/Activities

  • In honor of the sacred nine, ignite a bonfire or fire in a fireplace. In lieu of igniting a big fire in case that’s not an option you can light 9 candles that symbolize the sacred 9 or make a list of 9 things that bring you immediate delight so you can embody joy. Turn to your list for inspiration!
  • Create – Beltane is a festival of the fertility of the Earth, for the fruits and flowers we enjoy at this time of year, and for the miraculous ability of humans and animals to create new life within. You can also harness this wonderful energy by creating something new as a family: planting a garden; writing a story; build something…whatever it is, breathe new life into it at this magical time.
  • Get Outside – this time of year is energizing and restorative, and one way to enjoy it is to stay close to the Earth. Whether lying on your back gazing at the stars or standing in your garden barefoot and earthing. Go camping and build a bonfire, tell stories, watch the sunrise, and give thanks for the gifts of life.
  • After the long winter this is a beautiful time to just let loose. Put on some music and dance, raise some energy and have fun!! Be fearless, spontaneous and silly.
  • Have a party (even if via Zoom, or Teams) gather to laugh and cultivate smiles and joy!
  • Growth! Grow something. Grow anything! Water a house plants with extra tlc. Give your pet some extra love and care. Create art. Ask yourself; where do I need to allow growth in my life or in myself? What drives me that I need more of in life??
  • Set aside a day just to play and have fun with childlike abandon. Nurture your inner child.
  • Breathwork and meditation; Find a guided meditation or download a meditation app such as Insight Timer or Calm.
  • Honor the fire within you – the one that keeps you going, despite anything and everything. You are the keeper of the flame. Light something special and honor your courage to persevere.
  • Revive your motivation. What gives you purpose?
  • For the Celts morning dew is considered sacred. You can honor and celebrate the morning dew by going for a walk at dawn in nature or a garden. Notice the dew on the plants and grass, perhaps wash your hands or face with it. This is the perfect time to embrace the morning dew as it’s not too early for morning walks at dawn.
  • Decorate a May Bush. This can be a living tree or just a branch or clump of a tree brought indoors. Decorate it streamers, ribbons, scraps of cloth, and flowers.

Beltane Maypole

Medieval Celts danced around a pole to have a fruitful planting season, according to the New York Times. Around the 19th century, however, the maypole became a celebration of virtue and maidenhood. In the dance, the wooden pole is decorated with brightly colored ribbons through a folk dance in which dancers weave in and out of each other. The result is a beautiful pattern on the pole, or a hot mess depending on how well the dance was done lol. I have been personal been a part of both the beautiful and the messy!

Crown Of Daisies

Materials:

  • Daisies (or any other flower)
  • Clippers
  • Measuring tape
  1. Measure head for how and where you want your crown to lay.
  2. Cut down the flowers to 5-7 inches long. Take off extra greenery.
  3. Cross one flower over the other.
  4. Take the top flower and wrap it under the bottom and then up to the top again. Bring it down to lay with the first stem. The tighter you do this, the more secure the crown.
  5.  Lay the next flower down close to the second and repeat the process.
  6. When you reach the right length for the shape of the head, weave in the ends of the stems into the first flowers.
  7. That’s it! To create a fuller crown, weave in more flowers. For variation, try varying the flowers for different patterns.


Foods Of Beltane

Strawberry Mead

In it’s simplest form, mead is a fermented alcohol drink made with honey and water. Learn how to make it at home with this mead recipe from Colleen at Grow Forage Cook Ferment.

Small batch mead recipe. The best way to start is on a small scale, and a gallon batch of mead is the perfect size for beginners. This mead recipe features fresh strawberries, but you can easily substitute your favorite fresh fruit. Say, blackberries. You can also use foraged items like linden flowers or blended wildflowers.

Equipment needed:

  • A one-gallon glass jug with a narrow neck for brewing.
  • An airlock with a rubber stopper. You can alternatively use a balloon with a pinhole that is attached to the top of the jug. The gasses will be able to escape through the pinhole without letting any oxygen in. (You can also get the glass jug with airlock together for a better price).
  • A stainless steel pot.
  • A big spoon.
  • A funnel, bigger is better.
  • A thermometer. Just a regular meat thermometer will do.
  • Sanitizer, It is very important that you sanitize everything that will be used prior to brewing.
  • As soon as you add any fruit to mead, it is then called a “melomel,” so that is technically what this recipe is. Feel free to use any fruit you might have on hand, or leave the fruit out completely and just do a straight mead if you’d like. The process is the same either way.When you’ve completed the fermentation process you can bottle it.

Recipe: Will make a gallon of meadPrep Time 10 minutes – Cook Time 10 minutes – Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 pounds honey (3 pounds is about 1 quart, and will yield a sweeter mead)
  • Champagne yeast (or other wine making yeast)
  • 1 cup more or less organic strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 10 organic raisins
  • Filtered water

Instructions:

  1. First and foremost, sanitize everything that will come in contact with the mead.
  2. Put approximately 1/2 gallon of filtered water into a large stainless steel pot and heat until warm, but not boiling.
  3. Turn off the heat, add the honey, and stir to dissolve. You can put some hot water back into the empty honey container and shake a bit to get all of the honey out.
  4. Use a funnel to pour the honey water mixture into the glass jug (it will not fill it completely).
  5. Add the strawberries and raisins.
  6. Fill the jug with cold filtered water, leaving about 3 inches of space at the top.
  7. Cap the jug with its lid and invert once or twice to mix everything together.
  8. Check the temperature of the liquid; if it is 90°F or less it’s ok to add the yeast. If it’s higher, wait a bit until it cools.
  9. Add the yeast. One yeast package will ferment up to five gallons of liquid, so you don’t need to use it all. I usually use about half of one package when making a gallon.
  10. Cap the jug again, and shake it vigorously for a minute or two. This helps to combine and aerate the yeast.
  11. Attach the airlock to the rubber stopper, fill it with water to the line, and put it into the top of your jug.
  12. The mead should start bubbling within a few hours and the top will get really foamy. Sometimes it foams too much and comes up out of the airlock, but that’s ok. Just rinse the airlock and put it back on the jar. It will subside by the next morning. You will see millions of tiny bubbles coming up through the liquid – that’s the yeast just doing it’s thing.

Now You Have to Wait:

Put the jug in a cool and dark corner and wait. It will take about 6-8 weeks to fully ferment, depending on the outside temperature. It will ferment faster when it’s warmer, slower when it’s cooler. Check it every few days to make sure it is still bubbling. Once it completely stops bubbling, it is ready to be bottled. The mead is ready to drink right away, but will benefit from some amount of aging, as it can be a bit harsh at first.

Beltane Tea

Recipe:
8oz boiling water
8 tsp. green tea
6 tsp. rose petals
4 tsp. Jasmine flower
4 tsp. Chamomile

Steep for 20 min and consume with the intention of honoring your spiritual self. Optional: add honey to taste.

BELTANE BANNOCKs

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 1/2 cup hot water

Directions:

  1. Combine oatmeal, salt and baking soda in a bowl.
  2. Melt the butter, and drizzle it over the oats.
  3. Add the water, and stir the mix until it forms a stiff dough. Turn the dough out on a sheet of wax paper and knead thoroughly.
  4. Separate the dough into two equal portions, and roll each one into a ball. Use a rolling pin to make a flat pancake that is about ¼” thick.
  5. Cook your oatcakes on a griddle over medium heat until they are golden brown.
  6. Cut each round into quarters to serve.

Oats: Money, prosperity, abundance. Salt: protection. Butter: Spirituality, Communication, Reconciliation, Enhancing Energies.

May Day Maple Hearth Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup real maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup warm water (105ºF-115ºF)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening

Directions

  1. Dissolve the yeast in the water.
  2. Mix 1 1/2 cups of the flour with the brown sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Cut in shortening.
  4. Add the syrup to the yeast mix and let the syrup dissolve too.
  5. Now add yeast mix to the flour mix; stir.
  6. Add flour until dough is easy to handle.
  7. Turn onto a floured surface and knead for 1 minute.
  8. Cover and let rise for 15 minutes.
  9. Form into round, place on cookie sheet.
  10. Let rise in a warm spot for 30 minutes.
  11. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  12. Bake for 30 minutes.
  13. Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped.
  14. Loaf can be brushed with syrup or butter during last 5 minutes of baking.

Note: This bread is quite dry without something to moisten it, so definitely serve it with some vegan butter. Also, your bread will have trouble rising if the syrup is too cold! Warm up the syrup if it has been in the refrigerator, it should be room temperature or warmer.


Fun Links

Fire Starter Sessions Digital and Audio

BELTANE RITUALS FOR EVERY ELEMENT

CRAFT WITH ME! : BELTANE SPECIAL – MAYPOLE MAKING

A Victoria Sandwich Makes for a Merry May

Beltane Cake

May Day Baskets

Bee Reckless Vegan Beltane Recipes

ostara/spring equinox

OSTARA – SPRING EQUINOX

Pronounced: OH-star-ah
March 19-23
Themes: balance, renewal, action, beginnings, hope, new possibilities
Also Known As: Eostra’s Day, Easter, Vernal Equinox, March Equinox, Bacchanalia
,

Ostara or the Spring Solstice is the second of the three spring time festivals on the Wheel of the Year. This is a time for celebrating the balance between winter and the coming summer. This is the official beginning of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere. It is the moment of exact balance between the dark (winter) and the light (summer).

Typically celebrated on March 20, the exact moment of the Spring Equinox varies from year to year because of a slight misalignment between the Gregorian calendar and the actual rate of the Earth’s rotation around the Sun. Depending on where you live, it may fall the day before or the day after the date listed on any given calendar.

The Earth is becoming warmer and more fertile and the promise of greener, warmer, more fruitful times is awakening as buds and bloooms emerge from the trees, bees return and beging to pollinate the opening flower buds, and fields of grass are awakening from winter slumber. This is a time when we can open our windows a little, step outside in maybe just a sweater on some days, we feel a hint of the coming summer with the sun kissing our cheeks.

To celebrate this time of year, you can decorate with fresh flowers, and potted plants. Traditional colors for this holiday are pale greens, yellow and pale pink. Images of bunnies, decorated eggs in pastel colors are also traditional decorations. It is a time of child like wonder and an eagerness to be with nature as the earth comes alive with beauty.

Colors of the Spring Equinox include yellows, purples, blues, greens and pinks. Symbols of balance such as sun and moon symbols, Ying and Yang. Also add something that represents “new life”. This could be eggs (real or maybe paper mache (No Cook Paper Mache Paste). Things that represent to you, new life!

Spring Magic

Wish for Something New

March brings in renewed hope and promise. Winter will end soon and new life is blooming all around us and everything feels filled with promise. According to the ancient Roman calendar, this was New Year’s Day. This little intention setting ritual will bring something new into your life. You’ll need the following supplies:

  • A pen
  • A sheet of paper
  • An envelope
  • A photo representing your wish
  • A purple candle

First, write your wish on the paper. Then place the paper and photo in the envelope, but don’t seal it yet. Next, light the candle. Gaze at the flame and visualize your wish coming true. When you feel the time is right, close the envelope and seal it by dribbling some of the warm candle wax on it. Snuff out the candle. At Ostara, open the envelope to release the spell’s energy. Continue working toward your goal until you achieve your desire.

From: Llewellyn’s Spell-A-Day

Surrendering

Use fire in a ceremony with a bonfire, fireplace or candle to surrender something that still needs to be unloaded to make room for all that is new. It can be symbolic as in burning a written narrative about what you are surrendering. Spring is renewal, taking the nourishment from the winter cycle and the freedom from surrender and weaving it into a new picture or new expression of your vision forward in the season.

Earthing

There is a lot of confusion as to exactly what it is, but simply put, earthing is connecting with Mother Nature through the earth, the ground we stand upon. Grounding is centering and balancing your energy as in bringing it back to Earth. Earthing will help ground you, but the purpose isn’t just to ground, but also open a line of communication between you and Mother Earth, whether it be to receive healing energy or ask questions. Grounding can occur anywhere, whether you are in contact with Earth (soil, grass, rock, etc) or not. Earthing, however, can only occur if the person is directly touching the Earth, as in the soil, sand or grass outside. Spring is a great time to get outside and reconnect with our Mother Earth after a long winter indoors. Find a safe place to walk barefoot and spend time feeling the energy flow into you.

Spring Activities

  • Include hot cross buns with your breakfast. To honor the union of the earth and the sun (son of God/Jesus) for Spring blessings. Don’t forget to bless or say a prayer before eating!
  • Wear pastels.
  • Bless the seeds planted in the garden. Plant some seeds in pots or in your garden (if you blessed some seeds for Imbolc and saved them, use those). Start seeds indoors to be planted out in your garden after the frost.
  • Place a lit green candle in a dish full of moist earth. Ask/Pray to your higher power or universal energy for blessings, abundance and/or fertility. Let it burn down and then bury the remainders (except the dish).
  • Dye or paint eggs with symbols of spring, or just in pastel colors. Make natural dyes from herbs.

Natural Egg Dyes:

Blueberries: blue
Blackberries: blue-violet
Beet juice: red
Red onion skins: red
Brown onion skins: yellow-orange
Turmeric: yellow
Walnut Shells: dark brown
Cranberries: red
Red Cabbage: purple
Carrot tops: green
Carrot Tops:Yellowish-Green

After the eggs are dyed, dip them into white vinegar to set color.

  • Take a long walk and take in the beauty of nature reawakening all around you.
  • Meditate.
  • Hold a spring party outside if the weather is nice enough. And an Easter egg hunt for the kids!
  • Make bird and/or squirrel feeders.
  • Read stories about Easter, Passover, or other Spring themes. 
  • Open windows and air out your home.
  • Dust out cobwebs.
  • Get rid of old furniture and things that are not useful, beautiful or joyful.

Seed Mosaic 

This is a great way to use old seeds not suitable for planting. If you don’t collect seeds, just post a request for them in your local chapter of free websites such as www.freecycle.org or www.craigslist.org, or ask some farmers at the local farmer’s market if they have any.

You Will Need: 

  • An assortment of seeds 
  • Paper (blank or with a picture) 
  • Extra paper to “catch” seeds 
  • White craft glue 
  • Paint brush 
  • Cups or bowls

Sort the seeds into separate cups or dishes for easy use. Seeds come in so many different sizes, shapes and colors Give the child a piece of plain craft paper, or give them a print out or coloring page so they can follow the image with their mosaic. Show the child how to paint some white craft glue onto a section of their picture, and then sprinkle seeds onto the section. After a minute, tilt the page to allow the excess seeds to fall off onto a separate piece of paper. Return them to their proper bowl. Seed mosaics can be as simple or elaborate as the child likes.

Spring Potpourri

A small pot filled with homemade potpourri can be used as a fragrant blessing for your home.

  • 45 drops rose oil
  • 1 cup oak moss
  • 2 cups dried dogwood blossoms
  • 2 cups dried honeysuckle blossoms
  • 1/2 cup dried violets
  • 1/2 cup dried daffodils
  • 1/2 cup dried rosebuds
  • 1/2 cup dried crocus or iris

How To Dry Flowers

Mix the rose oil with the oak moss, and then add the remaining ingredients. Stir the potpourri well and then store in a tightly covered ceramic or glass container.

The above recipe for “Spring Equinox Ritual Potpourri” is quoted directly from Gerina Dunwich’s book “The Wicca Spellbook: A Witch’s Collection of Wiccan Spells, Potions and Recipes“, page 162, A Citadel Press Book, Carol Publishing Group, 1994/1995

Spring Intentions

  • Ostara is a symbol of the transition into the light.
  • Spring is a time for renewal, rebirth, and bright beginnings.
  • Honoring the brief balance of light and dark at the equinoxes is a powerful way to reconnect with your own wholeness.
  • Use this day to find balance of body, mind, and soul
  • Light a candle to symbolize the return of the Sun (Son), and set your intentions for new beginnings and renewed passion. 
  • *Charge crystals under the Sun, in the light of the equinox, to infuse them with the energy of renewal. Ask them to generously hold the power of the Sun’s radiance, making it readily available to you as the year continues to move forward on the wheel. This ritual is especially powerful at noon when the Sun is at its highest point in the sky, and at the first moment of spring, which varies by geographic location.
  • Make a birch besom as a symbol of renewal, fertility, and new beginnings.
  • Use this day to cleanse, heal, balance your spirit, and regenerate your vital energy.

*Ostara Blessing

Speak, Ostara, of hope and growth – your gifts to us.
Teach me the ways of light
and reveal the path of illumination
as I prepare to transcend.
Shedding my cold winter skin,
I activate my sanctity,
burning away what no longer serves me.
I emerge from my hibernation,
awaken my dormant energy,
and blossom with the spring.
Amen, A’ho, So it is.

From: Sage Goddess

Poems

Beginning 

by Warren Hanson

This is the Beginning…
This is where it will all start,
on the wings of some new Spirit with the Beat of some new Heart.
Every morning brings a Promise.
Everyday has Gifts to give.
But Today…Right Now…this Minute…
is when I begin to Live.
And the air that I am breathing
is the breeze of what could be,
as I stand here looking out
on all the things that could be Me.
And the road that goes before me,
leading somewhere out of sight,
is a brand new Opportunity for me to get it Right.
This is the Beginning.
This is Once upon a Time…
There are dragons to be vanquished!
There are castle walls to climb!
But this story isn’t written yet.
I’m only on page One.
The Adventure that’s awaiting me has only just Begun.
There are Mysteries and Treasures.
There are daring deeds to do!
And if I speak the secret word, then all my Wishes will come true.
That Magic Word has powers that can make the heavens spin.
But it really is no Secret that the password is…”Begin!”

So, this is the Beginning…
My Beginning.
My Rebirth.
I Awaken to the Wonder
of what I am Really worth.
It is a Springtime for the Spirit, and it’s Giving me a Choice.
So I choose to Use this season as a reason to Rejoice!

Ostara Meditation

Create a Flower Mandala and Meditate

This is another activity that can be done alone or with others. Collect flowers, flower petals, crystals and even candles to create a flower mandala. Play music and burn some incense as you make patterns and spirals or whatever imagery you are drawn to. Put positive energy throughout your creation process. When you finish sit in meditation with the mandala and the energy you created.

Freshly baked spicy Easter hot cross buns with glazed white pastry crosses on a white background

Spring Foods

During the Winter we tend to eat warmer and heavier foods. When Spring returns it is time to eat fresher foods that are full of color. Start eating lighter meals made of from fresh, Spring fruits and vegetables.

Honey Fry Bread

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup honey
2 cups vegetable oil, for frying

Mix the flours, salt, sugar and baking powder together. Add about 1/2 cup water and mix well, adding a bit more water if needed to make a stiff dough. Turn out on a lightly floured surface and knead until dough becomes elastic and smooth. Let rest for 10 minutes. Roll out 1/2 inch thick. Cut into squares, strips or circles. Deep fry in very hot oil until golden brown. Drain on brown paper bags or paper towels. Drizzle honey in a very thin stream over bread and serve immediately. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon if desired.

Hot Cross Buns with Lemon Frosting

1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (about 110°)
1 cup warm milk (about 110°)
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 Tbsp. each salt and ground cinnamon
1/4 Tbsp. each ground cloves and nutmeg
2 eggs
3/4 cup currants
1/4 cup finely diced candied orange peel or citron
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour, unsifted

1 egg yolk beaten with 1 Tbsp. water

Preheat oven to 400°. In a bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in milk, butter, sugar, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Beat in eggs. Add currants, orange peel and enough of the flour (about 4 cups) to make a soft ball. Turn dough out onto floured board; knead until smooth and satiny (10-20 minutes), adding flour as needed to prevent sticking. Turn dough over in greased bowl; cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 1 1/2 hours).

Punch dough down and divide into 36 equal pieces; shape each into a smooth ball. Place balls about 2 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheets. Brush each gently with egg yolk mixture. Cover lightly and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 35 minutes).

Bake in a 400° for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a rack for about 5 minutes; then with a spoon or the tip of a knife, drizzle frosting over top of each bun to make a small “X”. Makes 3 dozen.

Lemon Frosting:
Combine:
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. water

Stir together until smooth.

Sunshine Punch

1 qt. cranberry juice
1 c. sugar
2 c. orange juice
1 c. pineapple juice
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 c. chilled ginger ale
1 pint pineapple sherbet

Blend the cranberry juice, sugar, fruit juices, and almond extract. Refrigerate, covered, until serving time. Just before serving, stir in the ginger ale and sherbet.

Early Spring Salad With Creamy Lemon Dressing

4 cups wild greens

Dressing:
1-1/2 cups olive or vegetable oil
1 tsp rosemary
1 cup water
1 tsp turmeric
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp miso
1 tsp fresh ginger
1/2 cup any cooked root vegetable (potatoes, yams, yuccas, evening primrose root, etc.)
1/2 small onion
Juice of 1 lemon
Small handful parsley or cilantro

Wash the greens and pat dry with towels.
Chop greens into bite-sized pieces.
Into a blender, add oil, water, and lemon. Blend. While the blender is running, put in the remaining ingredients except root vegetable. This will prevent anything from getting stuck under the blender blades.
Blend until smooth, then add the root vegetable to thicken the dressing. Vary the amount of the root vegetable according to how thick you like your dressing.
Toss the salad with the dressing and serve.

SOURCE: http://indianspringherbs.com/salads.htm

Dandelion Salad

**DO NOT pick dandelions from a lawn that has been chemically treated**

1 Tb vegetable oil
1 tsp cider vinegar or lemon juice
2 c. young dandelion leaves
1/4 c. sliced green onion or leeks
2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
1/2 c. grapefruit or tangerine sections or mandarin oranges
Dandelion blossoms, optional

In a small bowl, whisk together oil and vinegar. Combine dandelion leaves and onions; add dressing and toss to coat. Arrange on two salad plates; top with eggs and fruit. Garnish with dandelion blossoms, if desired.

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imbolc

Pronounced: Im-bulk, Im-molg, or imb-olc
February 2nd
Hope, Renewal, fertility, Purification, Hearth, Home, Return Of The Light
Candlemas Day, Brigid’s Day,

Imbolc celebrates the coming end of Winter and the beginning of the growing cycle in the Northern Hemisphere. The long, cold, dark months are nearly over, and stirrings of Spring can be seen with the slow emergence of animals from their hibernation, smelled in the blooming of daffodils and crocuses and felt with moments of winds seeming warmer with each passing day. Although snow may continue to cover the ground in many regions, the darkest and often harshest part of the cold season is now behind us. This cross-quarter day—midway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox—is a welcome time for many who eagerly awaited the return of the warmer months. Imbolc, also known as Brighid’s Day, Candlemas, of course even Groundhog’s Day, is celebrated on February 2nd.

It’s time to give thanks for the growing daylight. A celebration of Gods return to power and the Goddess, recovering from giving birth to the God at Yule, is beginning once again to step into her Maiden role. Historically, it was widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland. It is one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals, Christians also observe it as the Feast Day of St. Brigid. The concept of purity and purification has long associations with the month of February. The warmth of the growing Sun (Son) begins to cause seeds deep in (and of) the Earth to germinate and sprout, and even though much of this activity is taking place deep within the soil, those who are attuned to Nature’s rhythms can feel the quickening pace of life emerging all around them. The festival was mostly observed in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man but today it’s popular throughout the world.

Imbolc is a good time to get your life in order – whether physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally. Make plans, organize, clean out drawers and closets to help create a refreshing sense of bringing in the new and clearing out the old. Preparing yourself and your home now will help to allow you to take full advantage of the wonder, fertility and freedom that Springtime will bring !

This holiday celebrates beginnings and renewal. It is also a time for spring cleaning after being shut indoors and inactive through the winter months. The ability of the Sun to cleanse and purify is is signified and recognized in various ways. Some people light several candles in each room of the house, or, in a more modern version of this tradition, turn on every lamp to energize and cleanse the old energy. Many do spring cleaning and then bless their rooms with sage, palo santo, holy water, tingshaws, etc… Candle colors for Imbolc are typically white or yellow decorations include fresh Spring flowers and besoms (small decorative ritual brooms).

May the stirring of life underground, stir new dreams into life within you.

May the flames of inspiration and new growth be ignited within your Being.”

— IMBOLC BLESSING

Ways To Celebrate Imbolc

  • Light a candle – a flame is the traditional symbol of Imbolc, which is a ‘fire’ festival.
  • Spring clean  your home
  • If you have the space outdoors, or making your own apartment garden inside, plant for the coming year and maybe sow a few early seeds. You can start off tomatoes or sweet peas indoors in February.
  • Visit a river or stream.
  • Take a cleansing bath.
  • At sunset, put the lights on in every room in the house to welcome back the sun.
  • Host a candlelight dinner.
  • Take time to meditate or journal in a candlelit room.
  • Take a walk outside and enjoy the lengthening days and appreciate this period of rest for the earth and Mother Nature.
  • Spend time with the earth, sky, and sea.
  • Recite and write poetry.
  • Create a Brigid’s Cross.
  • Many magical practitioners take Imbolc off from their day jobs to stay home and clean, organize bills, rearrange the home, and prioritize personal projects. 

Imbolc Cleaning With Intention

Imbolc is the time for Spring cleaning. It is time to clear out the dust and cobwebs and prepare our homes, and ourselves, for the activity and growth that come during the spring season.

  1. Cleanse your Home –  Clean windows and mirrors. Sweep down cobwebs and dust under books. Throw away or destroy any old charms, spellwork, etc.. Out with the old….. Dust, polish, under and over. All the small nooks that get neglected with every day cleaning. This is a great time to dig into minimalism and start to toss out and donate things you no longer need. Now, light a smudge stick (palo santo or sage and lavender) and let the smoke reach every corner of your house; behind doors, under furniture, under the bed, etc! Open the windows and wave the smoke outside, taking the negative energy with it. Next, sprinkle holy (blessed) water around.
  2. Cleanse yourself – Take a ritual bath. Fill the tub with lavender salts or oils. Soak for as long as you like, allowing all negative energy soak away. As the water drains from the tub, visualize it carrying away all the negativity from you, leaving you fresh and clean, psychically as well as physically.
  3. Give thanks – Spray some lavender oil mist or buy some fresh lavender to fill your home with clean springtime aroma. Burn some *frankincense incense. In your prayer, meditation space, or ritual altar (you can cast a circle if you wish to do so) and think about the areas of your life that you would want to be more calm, peaceful (aka cleaner). Ask your higher power for inspiration in doing so. Or if you prefer, meditate and see and feel what inspiration comes to you during meditation. Think about what you want to gain strength in, in your life. Ask for ideas to create that. Thank your higher power for spending time with you and inspiring you!
  4. Have a cup of ginger tea and a piece of cinnamon toast with your higher power, goddess, etc as an offering and celebration of spring renewal. If you opened a circle, it can now be closed.

Imbolc Incense Blend for Purification and Protection

Mix together in a bowl and burn on a charcoal disc in a heat safe incense bowl. Use a fan or feather to waft the smoke into all corners of a physically cleaned home. As you energetically clear the space with the smoke, repeat “This space is cleared, this space is blessed.”

Candle Magic for Imbolc 

Since Brigid is the Goddess of Fire, Imbolc is a great time for candle magic. With an intention in your mind, light your candle and imagine your intentions igniting in the flame of the candle. Burn the candle as long as you wish before blowing it out. As the smoke wafts, imagine your intentions being carried into the Universe. And because we want you to be safe, please remember never to leave burning candles unattended.

Make Your Own Fire Starters

Brighid is a goddess of fire, but sometimes getting a fire lit on a chilly, windy winter evening can be tricky. Put together a batch of simple fire starters to keep on hand, and you’ll be able to get a blaze going at any time!

Egg Carton Fire starters

  • Cardboard egg carton
  • Parrafin Wax or candle stubs
  • Sawdust, wood chips, cotton balls, dryer lint, belly button lint and/or paper towels
  1. Shove whatever you have on hand in the cups of a cardboard egg carton. Lint, sawdust, wood chips, cotton balls or paper towels.
  2. Chop your wax up so it will melt more quickly.  Melt it in a double boiler or in the microwave.
  3. Place your egg carton onto a baking sheet lined with tin foil or a surface you can easily scrape wax drips off of. 
  4. Pour wax into each egg carton cup, let them harden and then pull them apart into individual cups. 
  5.  Easily lights with one match.

Foods For Imbolc

Now this one is tricky for me. I gave up dairy years ago and Imbolc is all about the dairy. But symbolism is just as meaningful so non-dairy it is! Dairy (particularly cheese, butter, and milk), eggs, baked goods (particularly bread), spiced wines and herbal teas. Blackberry is sacred to Brigid and blackberry pies, jams, jellies and wines are eaten in honor of her.


Honey Cakes (Liebkuchen)

1 cup margarine
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup honey
1 cup sour milk
2 Tablespoons vinegar
6 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon mace
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

Prepare sour milk and mix dry ingredients. Set both aside. Cream margarine and sugar, add egg, beat until light. Add honey, sour milk and vinegar. Mix thoroughly. Chill one hour. Roll out to 1/4″ thickness. Cut into 2″x3″ rectangles and place on buttered cookie sheets. Bake at 375° for 6 minutes. Frost with plain vanilla frosting.
* For sour milk, add 1 T. vinegar to 1 c. milk and let stand for 10 minutes.

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*Used in religious and spiritual rituals for thousands of years, frankincense is a symbol of holiness and righteousness. Because it is so fragrant when burnt, it was used by ancient people as a religious offering. In Christian symbolism, frankincense can represent Christ’s sacrifice.