Garden Blessing for Ostara


Ostara Comments

Garden Blessing for Ostara

 

Say a blessing over your garden as you prepare it for spring.

The earth is cool and dark,
and far below, new life begins.
May the soil be blessed with fertility and abundance,
with rains of life-giving water,
with the heat of the sun,
with the energy of the raw earth.
May the soil be blessed
as the womb of the land becomes full and fruitful
to bring forth the garden anew.

 

Author: By Patti Wigington, Pagan/Wicca Expert

Article found on & owned by About.com

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Magically Decking Your Halls and Walls

By Patti Wigington To view images go to: http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/yulecrafts/tp/YuleCraftProjects.htm?utm_source=exp_nl&utm_medium=email&utm_term=list_paganwiccan&utm_campaign=list_paganwiccan&utm_content=20150609

There are so many great ways you can decorate your home for the Yule season. Adapt store-bought Christmas decorations, or make your own Pagan-themed home decor for the season. Here’s how you can put together a Yule log of your own, some fun and simple ornaments, a Pagan twist on the “manger” scene, some seasonally-scented potpourri andincense, and more!

Decorate a Yule log for your family’s celebration.Image by Steve Gorton/Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

Decorate a Yule Log

The Yule log is an ancient tradition, but you can make one for your own family’s holiday celebration. Put one together with items you find outside, and include it as part of your Yule ritual.

Use salt dough and cookie cutters to make your own Yule ornaments. Image by ansaj/E+/Getty Images

Salt Dough Ornaments

These easy ornaments can be assembled in hardly any time at all. Once they’ve baked, paint them and hang them around your home for Yule! More »

Inscribe ornaments with symbols, or decorate with icing before you hang them on your tree. Image by Dorling Kindersley/Dorling Kindersley Collection/Getty Images

Cinnamon Spell Ornaments

Use a blend of cinnamon, applesauce, and spices to make these spell ornaments – decorate with magical symbols, and hang them on your holiday tree this year

Use dried juniper berries, along with cedar and pine, to make a Yule incense blend. Image by Ed Reschke/Photolibrary/Getty Images

Winter Nights Incense

Scents have a way of making time stand still for us sometimes, and the aromas of the winter holidays are no exception. For many people, re-creating the smells and emotions of our childhood, or even of some distant ancestral memory, is part of the magic of the Yule season. More »

Make a magical gingerbread poppet for yourself or a friend!. Image by PhotoAlto/Michele Constantini/Getty Images

Magical Gingerbread Poppets

Gingerbread men are everywhere during the Yule season – and they’re the perfect shape to use for a magical poppet. Why not get crafty and make some magic for the season? More »

Use your favorite spices to make scented pinecone ornaments. Image by Mike Bentley/E+/Getty Images

Pine Cone Ornaments

The pine cone has long been a symbol of the winter solstice. Make these nature- friendly ornaments to sparkle and shine during your Yule celebration. More »

Make an herbal sachet to hang on your Yule tree.Image by Patti Wigington

Yule Herbal Sachet

This sachet is simple to make, and combines some of the most delightful scents of the season. Make them small and hang on a tree, make them a bit larger and give them as gifts! More »

Use three chenille stems to shape this pent — one makes the circle, and the other two get folded around to form the star.Image © Patti Wigington

Easy Pentacle Ornaments

This is a super-easy craft project you can get your kids working on, and have them create a whole bunch of pretty pentacles to hang around your house during the Yule season. More »

Use pine boughs and other natural items to make an outdoor Yule scene. Image by Cultura RM/Jonatan Fernstrom/Getty Images

Make a Pagan “Nativity” Scene

So your neighbors all have cute little mangers in their yards, complete with plastic baby Jesus, light-up sheep, and a couple of Wise Men who have probably seen better days. Are you feeling a bit left out? Don’t worry — you can still set up a Nativity scene (or something close to it) that represents your Pagan or Wiccan beliefs, and honors the birth of the sun, rather than the son of another religion’s god. More »

Make a batch of potpourri to simmer on your stovetop. Image by sozaijiten/Datacraft/Getty Images

Yule Simmering Potpourri

Make a batch of Yule potpourri, get it simmering on your stovetop, and enjoy the scents of the season! More »

Living a Magical Life – Tips for Day to Day Magickal Living

Living a Magical Life

Tips for Day to Day Magical Living

By , About.com

 

People find themselves drawn to Paganism and Wicca for a variety of reasons. Some may be trying to escape some other religion. Others may be looking for a sense of personal empowerment. Still others may realize that the beliefs they’ve held all along are in tune with those of a Pagan path. Regardless, once you’ve found your new path, there comes a time when you may ask yourself “How can I make this spiritual system part of my daily life?”

Are you someone who thinks about the principles of your tradition all the time, or only when it’s convenient? If you honor a particular deity in your path, do you do so just on the eight Sabbats, but not bother the rest of the time? Are you constantly reading and learning, or do you figure everything you need to know is contained in the three books you already own? In other words, are you a “weekend Wiccan”?

Living a magical life is something that one does twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Depending on the needs of your tradition, it may involve something as complex as daily ritual, or as simple as taking a moment to thank your gods each morning when you get out of bed. It means being in tune with the spiritual world around you, and staying in balance physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Does this mean you need to run around shouting “The Goddess loves you!” all day long? Not at all… in fact, the rest of us would appreciate it if you didn’t do that. What it does mean is there’s a difference between seeing Paganism and Wicca as something you “do” versus something you believe.

How can you bring more magic into your daily life? Try one, or more, of the following — and if something doesn’t apply to your particular flavor of Paganism, don’t sweat it. Use what you need, and set the rest aside.

  • Pay attention to the phases of the moon. Know what’s happening in the skies, and notice how (or if) it affects the way you feel.
  • Recognize that you don’t know everything there is to know. Continue learning and growing, and be willing to accept that sometimes new knowledge will come from unexpected sources. Don’t assume that you’re always right, just because you’ve always done or thought something.
  • Show respect for nature — do things on a daily basis that are good for the planet. Recycle, compost, cut back on excess energy consumption. If you believe the earth is sacred, treat it as such.
  • Get in touch with the land. Plant a garden, study the changes of the seasons. Realize how good it feels to grow your own herbs and vegetables.
  • Be empowered. Know that you have control over many of the things that happen to you. If someone or something makes you miserable, make the changes that are necessary to bring yourself happiness.
  • Understand that just as you have control over your life, you are also responsible for your actions. Take ownership of everything you do — even if that includes admitting you’re wrong sometimes.
  • Find a way to honor the Divine in your daily life, rather than just at monthly Esbats or the eight Sabbats each year. Even if you just start your day with a morning “thank you” to your gods or to the universe itself, it’s not a bad thing to acknowledge the gifts that we have in our lives.
  • Behave in a way that is honorable — if you make a promise, keep it. If someone needs help and you can provide it, offer it.
  • When you do something, think about how you can use it in a magical application. For example, when you’re baking cookies, consider what sort of magical working you can incorporate into the recipe.
  • Consider the impact that your words and actions have on not only the environment, but also on other people and on yourself.

 

Beltane Fire Incense

Beltane Fire Incense

By , About.com

 

At Beltane, spring is beginning to get seriously underway. Gardens are being planted, sprouts are beginning to appear, and the earth is returning to life once again. This time of year is associated with fertility, thanks to the greening of the land, and with fire. A few fire-associated herbs can be blended together to make the perfect Beltane incense. Use it during rituals and ceremonies, or burn it for workings related to fertility and growth.

Fresh herbs will likely be too young to harvest right now, which is why it’s a good idea to keep a supply on hand from the previous year. However, if you do have a fresh plant you wish to dry out, you can do this by placing it on a tray in your oven at low heat for an hour or two. If you have a home dehydrator, these work just as well.

This recipe is for loose incense, but you can adapt it for stick or cone recipes.  As you mix and blend your incense, focus on the goal of your work.

You’ll need:

  • 2 parts Mugwort
  • 1 part dried daffodil petals
  • 1 part Basil
  • 1 part Hawthorn berries
  • 1 part Patchouli
  • 1 part Cinnamon
  • 1/2 part Dragon’s Blood resin

Add your ingredients to your mixing bowl one at a time. Measure carefully, and if the leaves or blossoms need to be crushed, use your mortar and pestle to do so. As you blend the herbs together, state your intent. You may find it helpful to charge your incense with an incantation, such as:

Fire blend and fire light,
I celebrate Beltane this warm spring night.
This is the time of most fertile earth,
the greening of the land, and new rebirth.
Fire and passion and labor’s toil,
life grows anew out of the soil.
By Beltane’s flames, br
ing fertility to me,
As I will, so it shall be.

Store your incense in a tightly sealed jar. Make sure you label it with its intent and name, as well as the date you created it. Use within three months, so that it remains charged and fresh.

Altar Maypole Centerpiece – Make a Beltane Maypole for Your Altar

Altar Maypole Centerpiece – Make a Beltane Maypole for Your Altar

By Patti Wigington, About.com

 

Altar Maypole Centerpiece

 

For many people, a Maypole Dance is the best way ever to celebrate the fertility holiday of Beltane… but let’s face it, you may not have the ability to do that. Not everyone can stick a 20-foot pole in their yard, or you may not even know enough other Pagans (or Pagan-friendly non-Pagans) to have a Maypole Dance in the first place. If that’s the case, there’s a much smaller alternative. You can easily make a Maypole to put on your Beltane altar.

For this simple craft project, you’ll need the following:

  • A 1″ thick dowel rod, about a foot long
  • A wooden circle, about 4″ in diameter
  • Pieces of ribbon in various colors, about 2 feet long each
  • A hot glue gun

Use the hot glue gun to attach the dowel rod to the center of the wooden circle. Once the glue has dried, you can stain or paint the wood if you choose. Attach the center of each ribbon to the top of the dowel rod, as shown in in the photo.

Use the Maypole as a centerpiece on your altar. You can braid the ribbons as a meditation tool, or include it in ritual. Optional: add a small floral crown around the bottom to represent the feminine fertility of the Sabbat, as shown in the photo.

Setting Up Your Beltane Altar – What To Include on Your Beltane Altar

Setting Up Your Beltane Altar – What To Include on Your Beltane Altar

By , About.com

It’s Beltane, the Sabbat where many Wiccans and Pagans choose to celebrate the fertility of the earth. This Sabbat is about new life, fire, passion and rebirth, so there are all kinds of creative ways you can set up for the season. Depending on how much space you have, you can try some or even all of these ideas — obviously, someone using a bookshelf as an altar will have less flexibility than someone using a table, but use what calls to you most.

Colors of the Season

This is a time when the earth is lush and green as new grass and trees return to life after a winter of dormancy. Use lots of greens, as well as bright spring colors — the yellow of the daffodils, forsythia and dandelions; the purples of the lilac; the blue of a spring sky or a robin’s egg. Decorate your altar with any or all of these colors in your altar cloths, candles, or colored ribbons.

Fertility Symbols

The Beltane holiday is the time when, in some traditions, the male energy of the god is at its most potent. He is often portrayed with a large and erect phallus, and other symbols of his fertility include antlers, sticks, acorns, and seeds. You can include any of these on your altar. Consider adding a small Maypole centerpiece — there are few things more phallic than a pole sticking up out of the ground!

In addition to the lusty attributes of the god, the fertile womb of the goddess is honored at Beltane as well. She is the earth, warm and inviting, waiting for seeds to grow within her. Add a goddess symbol, such as a statue, cauldron, cup, or other feminine items. Any circular item, such as a wreath or ring, can be used to represent the goddess as well.

Flowers and Faeries

Beltane is the time when the earth is greening once again — as new life returns, flowers are abundant everywhere. Add a collection of early spring flowers to your altar — daffodils, hyacinths, forsythia, daisies, tulips — or consider making a floral crown to wear yourself. You may even want to pot some flowers or herbs as part of your Sabbat ritual.

In some cultures, Beltane is sacred to the Fae. If you follow a tradition that honors the Faerie realm, leave offerings on your altar for your household helpers.

Fire Festival

Because Beltane is one of the four fire festivals in modern Pagan traditions, find a way to incorporate fire into your altar setup. Although one popular custom is to hold a bonfire outside, that may not be practical for everyone, so instead it can be in the form of candles (the more the better), or a table-top brazier of some sort. A small cast-iron cauldron placed on a heat-resistant tile makes a great place to build an indoor fire.

Other Symbols of Beltane

  • May baskets
  • Chalices
  • Honey, oats, milk
  • Antlers or horns
  • Fruit such as cherries, mangos, pomegranates, peaches
  • Swords, lances, arrows

 

The Ardanes: The Old Laws of Wicca

The Ardanes: The Old Laws of Wicca

By , About.com

 

In the 1950s, when Gerald Gardner was writing what eventually become the Gardnerian Book of Shadows, one of the items he included was a list of guidelines called the Ardanes. The word “ardane” is a variant on “ordain”, or law. Gardner claimed that the Ardanes were ancient knowledge that had been passed down to him by way of the New Forest coven of witches. However, it’s entirely possible that Gardner wrote them himself; there was some disagreement in scholarly circles about the language contained within the Ardanes, in that some of the phrasing was archaic while some was more modern. This led a number of people – including Gardner’s High Priestess, Doreen Valiente – to question the authenticity of the Ardanes.

Valiente had suggested a set of rules for the coven, which included restrictions on public interviews and speaking with the press. Gardner introduced these Ardanes – or Old Laws – to his coven, in response to the complaints by Valiente.

One of the largest problems with the Ardanes is that there is no concrete evidence of their existence prior to Gardner’s revealing them in 1957. Valiente, and several other coven members, questioned whether or not he had written them himself – after all, much of what is included in the Ardanes appears in Gardner’s book, Witchcraft Today, as well as some of his other writings. One of Valiente’s strongest arguments against the Ardanes – in addition to the fairly sexist language and misogyny – was that these writings never appeared in any previous coven documents. In other words, they appeared when Gardner needed them most, and not before.

The dispute over the origins of the Ardanes eventually led Valiente and several other members of the group to part ways with Gardner. The Ardanes remain a part of the standard Gardnerian Book of Shadows. However, they are not followed by every Wiccan group, and are rarely used by non-Wiccan Pagan traditions.

Do Pagans Celebrate Earth Day?

Do Pagans Celebrate Earth Day?

By , About.com

 

Question: Do Pagans Celebrate Earth Day?

I know that there are eight Pagan sabbats during the year, as well as a bunch of Esbats, but I also notice you’ve got Earth Day on the calendar. Is Earth Day even a Pagan or Wiccan holiday?

Answer:

Well, no, it’s not, but then again neither is Tartan Day or the anniversary of Bewitched, but those are on the calendar too. It’s important to note, however, that many Pagans and Wiccans view the environment as something really important. Although it’s not an “official” Pagan or Wiccan holiday, if you’ve sworn to be a steward of our planet, then Earth Day is as good a reason as any other to honor Mother Earth.

The first Earth Day celebration was held in 1970, and sponsored by the Earth Day Network. This annual celebration is a time when people worldwide honor our planet and (hopefully) take a few minutes to try to make a difference in the world.

Some things you can do to make a difference in your own space? Try one of the following:

  • Turn off the lights you’re not using
  • Pick up some garbage that isn’t yours
  • Ride a bike to work instead of driving
  • Plant a tree
  • Use cloth grocery bags instead of paper or plastic
  • Recycle your stuff
  • Plant a garden of your own, or buy from local growers
  • Build a birdhouse
  • Adopt a stream
  • Shut off appliances that don’t have to be on all the time

Regardless of how you observe this day, even if it’s just for a few minutes, take the time to thank the earth for her gifts, and take a moment to be glad we’re part of it.

Setting Up Your Ostara Altar

Setting Up Your Ostara Altar

By , About.com

It’s Ostara, and it’s a time of year in which many Wiccans and Pagans choose celebrate the balance of light and dark that heralds the beginning of spring. It’s a time to celebrate new life and rebirth — not only the physical embodiment of renewal, but the spiritual as well. Try some — or all — of these ideas to ready your altar for Ostara.

Colors

To get an idea of what colors are appropriate for spring, all you really have to do is look outside. Notice the yellows of the forsythia blooming behind your house, the pale purples of lilacs, the green of new leaves appearing in the melting snow. Pastels are often considered spring colors as well, so feel free to add some pinks and blues into the mix if the idea strikes you. Decorate your altar in any of these colors — try a pale green altar cloth with some purples and blues draped across it, and add some yellow or pink candles to carry the color up.

The Balance of the Equinox

Altar decor can reflect the theme of the Sabbat. Ostara is a time of balance between light and dark, so symbols of this polarity can be used. Use a god and goddess statue, a white candle and a black one, a sun and moon, even a yin/yang symbol.

New Life

Ostara is also a time of new growth and life — add potted plants such as new crocuses, daffodils, lilies, and other magical spring flowers. This is the time of year when animals are bringing forth new life too — put a basket of eggs on your altar, or figures of new lambs, rabbits, calves, etc. Add a chalice of milk or honey — milk represents the lactating animals who have just given birth, and honey is long known as a symbol of abundance.

Other Symbols of the Season

  • Seeds and bulbs
  • Caterpillars, ladybugs, bumblebees
  • Symbols of nature deities — Herne, Flora, Gaia, Attis, etc.
  • Gemstones and crystals such as aquamarine, rose quartz, and moonstone
  • Ritual fires in a cauldron or brazier

Keep a Dream Journal

Keep a Dream Journal

By , About.com

Many Wiccans and Pagans put stock in dream meanings — for a lot of us, it’s important to keep track of what our dreams are telling us, because it may be important. Dreams can be prophetic, in that they may tell us of things yet to come, or they can be therapeutic, a way of our subconscious acknowledging problems that have to be resolved.

One great way to get in touch with your dreams and their meanings is to keep a dream journal. By keeping a dream journal, you can help yourself remember what you dreamed about even when the dream is no longer fresh. Also, you can begin looking for patterns and themes that may recur in dreams.

To make a dream journal, you’ll simply need a blank notebook. You can use a simple composition book, or if you’d like to use a fancier, journal-style book, that’s fine too. Keep this by your bedside.

When you wake up each morning — or even in the middle of the night — jot down as much as you can remember from your dreams of the night before. Your notes don’t necessarily have to analyze the dream, merely document what took place. Things to keep in mind when you’re writing your dreams down might include:

  • Did you meet any people? Who were they, and what did they say?
  • Did you travel anyplace? Were you in a house? Did you spend any of your dream outdoors?
  • What sort of natural occurrences did you see? Was there flooding, mountains, thunder, bright sunshine?
  • Was there something in your dream that seemed out of place, as though it didn’t fit in with the other parts of the journey?
  • How did you feel during the dream? Were you afraid, content, happy?

Later, you can go back through your notes and evaluate what you dreamed. Look for patterns and symbolism — there are a number of excellent dream dictionaries out there on the market which can help you determine the meanings of the symbols in your dreams. You can then use the information gained from your dream journal as a guidance tool.