Tuesday, 20 March 2018

A Round-up of News about the Spring Equinox

Today is the Spring Equinox, when the day and night are of equal length. It is also the Pagan festival of Ostara and is the first day of spring in the astronomical calendar.

The meteorological calendar counts the first day of spring as starting on March 1, because of normal weather patterns. Mind you, this year's late snows make it feel as though winter really did only end yesterday.

Here is a round-up of news stories about the Spring Equinox:

"Spring equinox 2018: When is it, what is it and why is it significant?" - Story at the Independent: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/spring-equinox-2018-meaning-definition-date-first-day-march-vernal-northern-hemisphere-a8263191.html

"Celebrate the spring equinox with these 8 traditions – egg laying bunnies to the Horned God" - story at the Metro: http://metro.co.uk/2018/03/20/celebrate-the-spring-equinox-with-these-8-traditions-egg-laying-bunnies-to-the-horned-god-7388947/

"5 Things You Didn’t Know About the Spring Equinox" - story at How Stuff Works: https://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/earth/geophysics/5-things-didnt-know-about-spring-equinox.htm

"The 2018 spring equinox has arrived — here's what it is and how it works" - story at Business Insider: http://uk.businessinsider.com/when-spring-equinox-happens-march-2018-03

"Why do people try to balance eggs upright during the spring equinox?" - story at Tri-City Herald: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article205817339.html

"Why does spring make us happier, more sociable and more optimistic?" - story at iNews: https://inews.co.uk/news/uk/spring-optimistic-positive/

Monday, 19 March 2018

Pagan Eye: The Rollright Stones in the Snow

This atmospheric photo of the Rollright Stones in the snow was taken by a friend yesterday.

I know that many pagans had been intending to celebrate the Spring Equinox over the weekend, but were unable to get to their usual sacred site due to unseasonable weather. It looks as though the Rollrights were still accessible, even if the scene was more appropriate for Yule than Ostara.

It is a lovely picture though.

My Pagan Eye posts show photos that I find interesting - seasonal images, pagan sites, events, or just pretty pictures. If you want to send me a photo for a Pagan Eye post, please email it to badwitch1234@gmail.com Let me know what the photo shows and whether you want your name mentioned or not. For copyright reasons, the photo must be one you have taken yourself.

The photo is copyright the photographer, who chose not to be attributed on this post.

Links and previous related posts:

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Weather Magic: A Spell to Make the Sun Shine

Are you bored with the bad weather? Fancy trying a spell to make the sun shine?

Here is some folk magic I was taught by a friend many years ago that is intended to part the grey clouds and help the sun show its face.

All you need is a stone with a hole - sometimes called a hag stone - and a length of yellow wool. Tie one end of the wool through the hole. Then wrap it around the stone, threading it through the hole and around the edges.

Continue around the stone, wrapping it with wool so you get something like the stone in the photo to the right (although you might be able to do it more evenly than I did).

As you go, visualise grey clouds being dispelled and the sun shining in blue skies.

As with most real-life spells, you won't get an instantaneous result. However, with a bit of luck, you could see an improvement in the weather over the course of the day.

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Friday, 16 March 2018

A Woodland Walk and Ritual with Found Objects

I wrote this ritual for a group of friends to do after a woodland walk. If you are thinking of heading out into the woods or countryside now that spring is here, and want to combine it with a ritual, by all means give this a go:

The idea of this ritual is that, while on a woodland walk, to look for something to use as a wand something to represent the God Herne and something to represent the Goddess Diana - and also things to gift to them in the ritual.

Once your walk is over, find a nice place in the woods to cast a circle. Put the God and Goddess in the centre of the circle and dance around them, and then give them the gifts.

Things you will need to bring: 
Bottle of water, food and drink to share afterwards.

All stand in a circle – place the objects to represent the God and Goddess in the middle, place the food and drink in front of them.

Pass the bottle of water round the circle, everyone pours a little over their hands and says: “May I be cleansed of all doubts and fears” and silently considers all the things that are bothering them being washed away.

Everyone takes three deep in breaths and out breaths, meditating on breathing in peace and breathing out love.

Cast circle:
One person walks around the group, casting a circle with the wand.

Calling the quarters:
Turning to the east, south, west and north in turn, welcome the quarters.

All dance around the God and Goddess singing:

Goddess we call to you
Green Lady we call to you
Diana we call to you
Be with us this day

Horned God we call to you
Green Lord we call to you
Herne we call to you
Be with us this day

Giving gifts to the God and Goddess:
One person says: “Diana and Herne, Lady and Lord of the Woods, we thank you for your blessings and your presence. Please accept our gifts to you”

People take it in turns to come forward and lay their gift at the feet of the Goddess and God.

Food and drink:
One person says: “Diana and Herne, Lady and Lord of the Woods, we ask that you may bless this food and drink”

The food and drink then gets passed around, with some being offered to the God and Goddess.

Dismissing quarters:
Those who called the quarters thank them and say goodbye to them in reverse order.

Opening circle:
One person says: “Lady and Lord of the woods, we thank you for your presence. Go if you must, stay if you will. We open the circle, but may peace and friendship remain.”

All join hands and do a circle dance.

Tidy up afterwards and take your litter home with you.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Review: Wicca Moon's Ostara Ritual Kit

I love nice surprises. Especially when they come gift-wrapped in boxes and packed with sparkles like Wicca Moon’s ritual kits. I tried out the Imbolc kit in February and recently received the one for Ostara – or the Spring Equinox.

The Wicca Moon Ostara ritual kit contains lots of goodies including handmade bath salts, incense and ritual oil; two beeswax candles; a crystal; a plant pot and acorn; a gorgeous altar cloth and a lovely goddess figurine. It also includes information about seasonal traditions and a Spring Equinox rite to perform, neatly rolled up and tied in a ribbon with a bow.

My favourite item is the goddess figurine. I must admit I have long wanted one like it - in fact ever since I saw one at the Wicca Moon stand at a festival one time. I'm delighted to now be a proud owner. It currently has pride of place on my altar.

I always find it useful to do a run-through of any rituals before I do them for real, just to check I have everything I need. The last thing you want after casting your circle is to find you don’t have an essential ingredient for the rite!

The photo at the top shows the altar I set up for my practise run. The main focus of this Ostara ceremony is to plant the acorn in the pot as a symbol of planting the seeds of your desires for the year to come. I think it is a lovely way to celebrate the time of year when we are looking forward to brighter days ahead.

The kit provides most things, but you will need to add a few of your own – including the soil or compost to plant the acorn in, a charcoal block for the loose incense and some fruit juice as an offering. You might spot in the photo that a few items from the earlier Imbolc kit are also on the altar – the light-coloured altar cloth under the new one, the chalice for fruit juice and the pentacle. The candle holders, censer, small cauldron, salt bottle and water goblet in the picture are my own.

If you don’t have a proper censer for burning incense you can use any dish designed to withstand very high temperatures. If you don’t have a small cauldron, which the ritual suggests putting the compost in before potting the acorn, then I would say just put the compost straight into the flower pot. Or, of course, you could buy extra bits and pieces from Wicca Moon if you pop in there to get the kit!

The people at Wicca Moon are really helpful, so if you have any questions about the kit or how to do the ritual, just ask them.

Wicca Moon is at 50 Well Hall Road, Eltham, London, SE9 6SH. The website is http://www.wiccamoon.co.uk/.

Links and previous related posts