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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Spring Equinox

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Finding Spring

When we enter the temple, she is gone.

We light from the altar fire and go out to look for her. Up and down we look. Everywhere we see signs of her, and these we gather into baskets; but she herself is nowhere.

We regather. There is only one place she can be. With our fire, we descend.

We walk the winding ways of below. Even here we do not find her.

We enter darkness. In darkness, even fire dies.

While we wait, we sing. In darkness, it ends and begins.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs


    Sheddingb2ap3_thumbnail_January-2015-087.JPG
    releasing
    changing
    renewing
    growing
    healing
    springing

    Letting go
    leaving behind
    casting off
    sloughing
    opening.

    What are we leaping towards
    what wants to push up from cold ground
    what wants to open to the sun
    what is it that we need to know?

    What quiet, steady pulse beats
    below the surface
    what hope watches from the wings
    what light grows broad
    upon a patch of ground...

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Easter is Risen: Philip A. Shaw's "Pagan Goddesses in the Early Germanic World"

Eosturmonath [April] [is] called after a goddess of theirs named Eostre, in whose honor feasts [festa] were celebrated in that month.

This lone sentence from chapter 15 of Bede of Jarrow's De Temporum Ratione ("On the Reckoning of Time"), along with the fact that, from very early times, a Christian festival came to be called by her name, is literally all that we know about the Anglo-Saxon goddess Easter. Literally all.

Under the circumstances, scholars have tended in two directions. The Maximalists have viewed Easter as a pan-Germanic goddess, herself a reflex of a pan-Indo-European Dawn goddess whose sister-selves include Vedic Ushas, Greek Eos, and Latin Aurora.

The Minimalists—many of them clearly driven by pique that so Christian a festival should bear so blatantly pagan a name—deny that such a goddess ever existed at all, and seek alternate (and non-pagan) derivations for the name of the church's great spring festival.

In Pagan Goddesses in the Early Germanic World: Eostre, Hreda, and the Cult of Matrons, Philip A. Shaw, lecturer in English and Old English at Leicester University, in a work surprisingly readable for all its dense erudition, attempts to stake out a centrist ground midway between maximalist and minimalist positions. Of greatest interest to the contemporary pagan reader (to this contemporary pagan reader, at any rate) is his marshaling of new information to shed new light on the subject.

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Egg-Dyeing Secrets of the Elders of Paganistan

There are lots of edible, natural dyestocks that can be used to color eggs. Listed below are those with which we've had the most luck over the years.

The results will vary from batch to batch and from year to year, depending on amount of dyestock used, length of cooking time, and various other imponderables, possibly including (who knows?) the phase of the Moon. The colors you get may not be predictable, but they'll certainly be beautiful.

Most natural dyes are heat-applied; realistically, this means that you add the dyestocks while you hard-boil the eggs. Dyeing eggs is, of course, a controlled chemical reaction in which loose radicals in the dyestocks bond with the calcium molecules of the eggshells, and heat facilitates this bonding. As always in the pagan world, it all comes down to relationship.

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The past few weeks have been wintery indeed. Yes it is March, but there is still plenty of snow in my yard, and there's more snow in the forecast. It was not until yesterday that a sudden warm snap began to hint at the Spring that is due to arrive any time now. So while many of my friends have been chattering at me about tree buds, or cherry blossoms, or legions of daffodils suddenly popping up in a sunny patch of their yards, it all sounds like a fable to me, and I didn't quite believe any of it.

A Rocky Mountain Spring takes its own sweet damn time anyway, and March and April are our snowiest months traditionally. So as weary as one gets to be of Winter by now, we are also grateful for the cold and the snow, for a deeper snow pack, for flowers that bloom in concert with arrival of the birds and insects that feed on them. All of us have noticed the rhythms and cycles of the seasons where we live, and no doubt all of us have noticed changes in recent years. I certainly have—drier, colder Winters that end abruptly, hot smoky Summers. So I am perfectly content for the Winter to go on as long as it needs to. I have lots of work to do in the garden before planting can start. I have plenty to do in my house and office, clearing and cleaning before the new projects of the year can truly begin. I may grumble about having to shift yet another five inches of new fallen snow, or having to run errands in 20 degrees of icy fog, but given the alarming specter of permanent climate change, a real Winter, with a real Winter's bite, is somewhat reassuring.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Equinox People

Tomorrow's one of my favorite days of the year: Egg-Dye Sunday.

We've been doing it every year since 1979 (what they call the Paganolithic). On the Sunday before the Equinox, a whole slew of us get together, stoke up the dye-pots, and (using only the finest natural dyestocks) dye up tens (if not scores) of dozens of eggs.

(With the advent of Paganicon, our local weekend-before-the-equinox Pantheacon North, the egg-dye, like clocks at Daylight Savings, has jumped forward. Old-Stylist that I am, I can't say that I'm best pleased with this turn of events, but the Old Ways haven't survived all these years without staying flexible.) 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Michele
    Michele says #
    Thanks!
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    According to Diana Kennedy (the Julia Child of Mexican cookery), one needs to boil the achiote seeds for 5 minutes, then soak them
  • Michele
    Michele says #
    So glad you left blank pages in the back of the Prodea Cookbook so I can add the recipes for the achiote seeds and liquid chloroph
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    what a wonder post - thank you - we are indeed an Equinox People!
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Will do, Sarah. Watch this space!

Yule, Imbolc, Ostara, Beltain, Litha, Lammas, Mabon--the eight points in the year that we stop and celebrate the seasons. In the six to eight weeks between each Sabbat, changes have been taking place--some so subtle that you might not be aware of them. The nights get longer--or shorter--by only a minute each day. The weather warms up, or cools down. One of the things that the Sabbats call us to do is to stop and look at the changes that have taken place. It's a time to regroup, reflect, and plan ahead. So in addition to the celebrations, family traditions and seasonal crafts, it's a good idea to spend some time grounding or balancing yourself to deal with the season that's coming up. It's not hard to do. It just takes a little time, a little quiet, and some concentration.

In about two and a half weeks we'll arrive at the Spring Equinox. It's time for those things that were stirring to life at Imbolc to "spring" up--thanks to a warmer environment and nurturing Spring rain. The element of water is considered by many people to be the mother of us all. Think about it. Life started in the sea. And what about you? You floated around in your mom's tum for months, breathing, eating, and growing in water. About 80% of the human body is made of water! People really feel it when water is missing in their lives. Periods without rain--droughts--can cause failed crops and wildfires (we've seen that in the past year in Australia, and over here in the state of California). But just like everything else, balance is essential. Too much water kills plants, animals and people. Flooded areas can breed danger and disease. Remember Hurricane Katrina? That happened several years ago, but the people of New Orleans are still recovering from an overdose of water.

...
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