Tag Archive | holidays

I’ve never liked Easter

I have no good memories of Easter. Easter was torture from the outfits forced on me, to the egg hunts that were impossible for a blind kid to the hours long torture of never ending church services when I didn’t find anything useful to believe in.

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Don’t I look thrilled.

Little girls in the 50’s and 60’s were forced into hideous outfits bought new for the day. Socks with lace edges that doubled as buzzsaws when they hit the other legs. Petticoats that were so new and stiff and full they threatened to pop up if you didn’t forcibly hold them down and when you couldn’t always do it you heard a chorus of “I see London, I see France”. Hats always dorky and especially dorky if you had to carry a matching handbag that had el zippo inside except maybe a hanky your grandma gave you. A Lilt permanent given the day before that stunk to high heaven and was just gross for a kid with stick straight hair. And my mom hand embroidered my dresses which now would be worth tons of money but at the time all I wanted was to wear a store bought dress. And to the piece de resistance, patent leather shoes that Dad had to take out and sandpaper the bottoms so you didn’t slide and land on your butt.

One year, this lead to an incident at Sunday School. Mom always had to buy them too big because I would “grow” into them. They were too big and since my left foot is 2 sizes bigger than my right, the right one was way too big. Somehow there was a high kicking contest and my new right shoe landed on the roof of the Sunday School building. Can you say swift swat to the keester on the way home?

When I joined the kids choir and we had to get into robes, we had to take off our hated finery or we looked like Rose Parade floats with those petticoats on. And of course, put the flaming things on again after we sang. Church was normally 2 services and an overflow. Church held about 1500 people and on Easter would be full of Easter and Christmas Christians so they had to add a third service. If you were in the adult choir which I eventually graduated to that meant sitting through 3 sermons that were longer than normal that made you start thinking you were going to gnaw your leg off you were so hungry and when you finally got home a big meal with ham or lamb neither of which would I eat.

I only got taken to a public Easter Egg Hunt at the park once. Dad thought it was a fun thing to do but somehow he forgot I couldn’t see very well. Kids were running all over grabbing eggs and by the time I finally spotted one some kid would swoop in and take it. I remember standing there in the park crying because I hadn’t found a single egg and my dad telling me I hadn’t tried hard enough. Yeah, we didn’t do that again even after I had eye surgery. We had them at home where Dad knew where they were all hidden and could help point them out.

It didn’t help that for some reason the minute I saw my Easter basket full of candy I used to have to run and get sick. No idea why except that it happened every year. The only good thing I can remember was way back in the dark ages before backpacks girls carried their books in woven lined book baskets and after I got to Junior High my Easter basket was a new book basket since by this time in the year mine would be thrashed. We all had one hip and shoulder high than the other from carrying all our books around in them because everyone in my neighborhood walked to school.

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Kind of like this one but with raffia handles and lined with bright cotton fabric.

Anyway, Easter isn’t a holiday I remember fondly so as a pagan, I don’t miss it a bit.

Springerli

Time for some of my family cookie recipes!

Springerli

5 whole eggs
1 lb of powdered sugar
½ tsp lump powdered ammonia (Also called Baker’s Ammonia)

2 drops oil of anise
Flour to make stiff enough to knead

Beat eggs well
Add other ingredients
Roll ¼ inch thick
Print with mold
Let stand overnight
Bake at 350 degrees until straw coloured

If you cannot find Baker’s Ammonia you can substitute an equal amount of baking powder. Baker’s Ammonia was used in Northern European recipes pre-baking powder. If you do use the Baker’s Ammonia, do not sample the dough! It’s a leavening agent that is harmless after cooking but your kitchen may stink a bit during baking.

What are you darn pagans celebrating now? Ostara/Eostre/Spring Equinox

So for folks that follow this blog and aren’t pagan how about a primer on the holiday?

Ostara/Eostre/Vernal Equinox/Spring

This is the holiday of the Maiden form of the Goddess. This is not a sex holiday. You have to wait for May first to do the naughty. Hence the poem:

Hooray, Hooray

The first of May

Outdoor fucking

Starts today.

But enough of that, Ostara as I said is the Maiden. The old story of Persephone/Proserpina returning to the world from Hades and to her mother, Ceres/Demeter. Now the world can come alive again and stop being sad because it was winter.

Some people have associated it with Ceridwen and her cauldron and her chasing Gwion because the first thing she changes into is a rabbit. Not so sure about that one.

The Great Bede said: Original Latin:

Eostur-monath, qui nunc Paschalis mensis interpretatur, quondam a Dea illorum quæ Eostre vocabatur, et cui in illo festa celebrabant nomen habuit: a cujus nomine nunc Paschale tempus cognominant, consueto antiquæ observationis vocabulo gaudia novæ solemnitatis vocantes.[4]

Translation:

Eosturmonath has a name which is now translated "Paschal month", and which was once called after a goddess of theirs named Eostre, in whose honour feasts were celebrated in that month. Now they designate that Paschal season by her name, calling the joys of the new rite by the time-honoured name of the old observance.

Some say that birds often lay on the ground and rabbits tend to hide in the same areas ground birds nest in and that people then thought that bunnies laid the eggs but that makes people in ancient times sound very stupid and I’m sure they were no dumber than any Republican is so I doubt that one too.

Some say it’s Freya and her rabbit or cat drawn chariots. In point of fact we really don’t know how people celebrated and Christianity did a pretty good job of stomping it out.

What do we know for sure? It’s the holiday most associated with the return of the spring goddess . The Romans were celebrating Hilaria dedicated to Cybele according to Marcus Aurlelius but Ovid doesn’t mention it?

My coven has a tendency to be literal and parade a globe around the sun who stands shining in the middle of the room so that everyone can see where the light now falls on our rotating ball and how it travels. We know that it’s equal day and equal night and we are scientists for the most part.

It isn’t a particularly important holiday unlike Passover or Good Friday/Easter. There are no records of huge celebrations or pageants in history for Ostara. It’s a good day to welcome spring if you can and celebrate the warming of the earth and the beginnings of the planting season.

So go out and plant your seeds and water them well and get growing.

Inch by inch, row by row

Gonna make this garden grow

All it takes is a rake and a hoe

And a piece of fertile ground

Inch by inch, row by row

Someone bless these seeds I sow

Someone warm them from below

Till the rain comes tumblin down

Pullin weeds and pickin stones

Man is made of dreams and bones

Feel the need to grow my own

Cause the time is close at hand

Rainful rain, sun and rain

Find my way in natures chain

Tune my body and my brain

To the music from the land

Plant your rows straight and long

Temper them with prayer and song

Mother Earth will make you strong

If you give her love and care

Old crow watchin hungrily

From his perch in yonder tree

In my garden Im as free

As that feathered thief up there

Words and music by Dave Mellett

Some Symbols of Halloween

When we look around at this time of year we see all kinds of things that are witchy most of them have a deeper meaning.

The witch’s hat was originally the everyday hat worn by Welsh women, To us is symbolizes they cone of power we raise in ritual for spell work.

The carved Pumpkin is a New World version of what the Old World carved in turnips. European turnips are a completely different vegetable than the one Americans call a turnip and is much larger. They started carving vegetables after they were stopped from bringing their ancestor’s skull to dinner. Celts believed wisdom was contained in the head and kept their relatives and worthy opponent’s skulls in niches on the walls so they could consult them for their knowledge. These ancestors were incited to dinner at Samhain time when the veil between the worlds was thin.

The broom had more than one function. Where better to hide your wand than in plain sight? You could sweep the negativity away with the cobwebs and dust. Plus if you wanted to take a ride apply your flying ointment to the broom and hop on.

Black wearing witches – since black was a very expensive dye I’m not sure any village wise women would have worn anything but what their gardens would have yielded as a dye colour but black does make moving around in the dark easier especially in pre-electricity days.

Green witches you can thank L. Frank Baum for.

Long- nosed warty looking women. Witches (Village Wise women) due to their use of herbs probably lived longer than most of their neighbors. People’s noses and ears never stop growing, the longer you live the longer your nose gets. Lack of dentist and basic dental hygiene would cause tooth loss hence the long nose collapsed look you see in representations of witches and what’s more ugly than adding a wart or mole on the nose. The mole as beauty mark of the 16th and 17th centuries gone bad.

Ghoulies and Ghosties and lang-legged beasties and things that go bump in the night?
This is the day when the veil between the worlds is thinnest. The Celts and their neighbors thought these were three days that spirits and the Fae such as the Wild Hunt would go roaming the world looking for unwary and unhospitable humans that weren’t properly respectful to take back across the Veil.

And the good old Hallowe’en Bonfire was originally a bonefire from the slaughter of the animals that year also was later associated as a bon or holy fire as it was Christianized.

Oidhche Shamhna or Samhain Night or Hallows Night

A night that challenges our fears and our assumptions of who we are and what the world we see in daylight really is in the dark.

What are you most afraid of within yourself? What can you do even in a small way to face that which you fear? Is it worth the cost or is the fear in a strange way a comfort? Does the fear keep you from being happy? Does it give you Nightmares? Does it keep you from taking chances that might improve who and where you are in your life?

This holiday is when the harvest must be in or it will be left in the fields for the ancestors, spirits and the animals. This is the harvest of the root vegetables that have spent their long time in the dark. What have you kept in the dark that is ready for harvest now?

This was the time the herds and flocks were culled and those that would not make it through the winter or those whose numbers could not be supported through the winter were killed for food and preserved in the winter. What needs to be culled in your life because it can not be supported? What must be preserved?

It is a time of celebration of the living and a time to celebrate our much loved dead. What wisdom have they passed down to us? What love did they kindle within us to love in others? What love will always last? How do we share that love for and with others?

This is a feast that honours our family and our ancestors.
This is a feast of love.
This is a feast of what grows within and without.
This is a feast of death and life.
This is our feast for the New Year.
This is our feast as Witches who change and touch the world.
This is our Feast!

Yule Trees

 The tree you place in the living room of your house is a prayer or at least it used to be long ago. So think of what you need as you place the items on your tree. And because it’s sympathetic magic by their shapes they remind us. The Church banned decorated trees as pagan symbols until the 16th century.

Tinsel – is a prayer for rain.

Balls – were a prayer for the Sun’s return and to reflect the evil eye away from the house.

Nuts – are a prayer for fertility. Acorns of the druids were hung when gilded. Walnuts were hung on trees by the Romans long ago as it was the nut of the gods.

Fruit – is a prayer for abundance. And the Apple because of its star inside. Grapes for friendship.

Birds – are a prayer for good fortune, happiness and joy.

Pinecones – were to attract faeries

Lights – were once candles and celebrated the sun’s return also and lighted the dark northern European night.

Candy canes had the blood shed by women and the semen of men as it’s original fertility message in the colours of red and white. And the same colours in holly and mistletoe’s berries had the same message. 

The pig for it’s sacrifice of food for the winter. 

And the tree itself as being evergreen and bringing the promise of green in spring even in the cold dark of winter. 

So whether you celebrate the tree of Yggdrasil, Yule, Jol, Winter Solstice, the Tree of Knowledge, Kikellia, Saturnallia, Mithras, Jesus, Odin, Buddha, Channukah, Christmas, Kwanza, St Lucy’s Day, Boxing Day, Bodhi Day or any other holiday, blessings on you and those you hold dear. And hold them tight for no one knows what the new year will bring.