Welcome to the Order of the Sacred Star! This Pagan/Wiccan group, based in Winnipeg, Canada, is committed to teaching the Craft to all those who wish to learn. Our goal is to provide a complete and fulfulling learning experience. Our public classes are offered through the Winnipeg Pagan Teaching Circle.

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Sabbat of Ostara — Eggs as Amulets and Talismans

The magick of eggs has a long and varied history. From being used for spells and rituals to being decorated as gifts for the Goddess, the archetypal symbolism of the egg is powerful indeed. However, egg magick doesn’t have to be as complicated as a structured ritual or spell. There are many ways in which a simple egg can be used as an amulet or talisman.

Egg Talismans to Promote the Growth of Crops

In eras past, both the Teutons and the Anglo-Saxons would bury eggs near gardens and fields in the hope that this practice would bless gardens and farmland with abundance. The idea of using eggs to encourage crops to grow quickly spread across Europe and Asia. This is still practiced by many Wiccans and Pagans today.

If you wish to follow this tradition, take a raw or hard-boiled egg and draw upon it symbols of fertility and growth. This can be done with a brown or green crayon, as both are colors of the earth. Dig a small hole near or in your garden using your bare hands. Place the egg in the hole while visualizing your garden as lush and healthy. Cover the egg and continue tending your garden as normal.

Eggs as Fertility Talismans

The Teutons often used eggs as talismans. They would bury eggs under animal dwellings to encourage the livestock housed there to breed. To encourage human fertility, eggs were sometimes placed beneath beds.

Some modern Wiccans and Pagans will use crushed eggshells to create a fertility amulet. This can be done by making or purchasing a small green drawstring bag. Into this bag can be placed the crush eggshells, fertility stones such as geodes or holey stones, and two or three fertility herbs or other natural items. Consider:
  • Honeysuckle;
  • Juniper;
  • Rice;
  • Acorns;
  • Pine cones;
  • Cedar;
  • Barley; or
  • Lemongrass.
Place these all inside the bag and pull it closed, visualizing your end goal; in this case, you probably would focus on a baby. Ensure that the bag is closed well enough that the contents cannot fall out. Wear this amulet as often as possible.
Other Egg Magick
There are many other ways to use eggs for magick that do not involve spells or rituals. To bring abundance and fertility into your home, use a broom to sweep a hard-boiled egg from outside your home to inside. You could also decorate a plastic or wooden egg as a fertility talisman.
Brown eggs are particularly associated with animals. Brown eggshells can be added to protective or healing magick for your pets or livestock. Traditionally, brown eggs were placed around an animal in labor, as these were thought to help ease the birthing process. This is still occasionally done today.
In times of old, when food could quickly become scarce in the winter, eggs were sometimes used to keep everyone safe and ensure an adequate supply of food. This was done by burying one egg at each of the cardinal points of a property. The cardinal points are: north, east, south, and west. Some Pagans still follow this practice, and it has seen a resurgence in recent years.
Eggs are often used for magick around the time of the Spring Equinox. They can be decorated, buried, eaten, or crushed (only the shells, of course!) to invoke their ancient power.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Hedonistic and Sexual Nature of Ostara

With the spring comes the irrepressible urge to experience joy and indulgance. The sun begins to warm the earth, and us as well, and we revel in our ability to remove the heavy winter clothing of past months, exchanging parkas for T-shirts. The arrival of the Spring Equinox breathes new life into all of the natural world.

The Atavistic Hedonism of the Vernal Equinox

There’s no doubt about it. Ostara’s arrival causes a primal shift in our consciousness, no matter how hard we might try to repress it. At the first hint of warm spring weather, we move our activities outdoors under the sun. We bask in the gentle caress of the sun upon our bare flesh. And we anticipate the sensual feeling of cool water over hot flesh on a steamy afternoon.

We also rejoice in more practical things, such as the sudden companionship of other that is often curtailed by the cold of winter. We find it easier to get out of bed in the morning as the sun begins to rise earlier. We head to the local swim shop to purchase new bathing suits, and gather on beaches and in parks with those who feel a similar impulse.

These powerful impulses are still with us today, even in a world full of air conditioning, electricity, and convenience stores. Imagine, then, what spring must have meant to our ancestors. The long winter months brought with them the very real possibility of starvation or freezing to death. Spring brought relief from all of this.

There was also very little entertainment to be had. Theaters and libraries, if they existed at all, were difficult to access with the roads covered in ice and snow. Shopping malls didn’t exist in their current form. The only mobile forms of entertainment — poets, storytellers, and musicians — had as difficult a time traveling as anyone else. It wasn’t until spring that minstrels could make their rounds once more. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that music and dance are intimately tied to the rites of spring.

Sex and Ostara

Spring brings with it the necessary impulse of shedding heavy winter clothing. As this clothing is replaced by bathing suits and shorts, we cannot help but feel just a little sexy - sexier than we did in heavy parkas, at any rate. This feeling is implanted in the human psyche, and has been since the time of our earliest ancestors.

We are all a part of the human experience, regardless of our various backgrounds. We all share the same primal coding, though many people in the modern world try to suppress this. Even in denial, it is not possible to ignore the sexual nature of spring. Animals emerge from hiding in search of mates to create offspring. Plants and lowers begin to emerge from the earth. Seeds are planted within the earth, creating new life through an almost miraculous process. Fertility is the one overriding theme of spring. And fertility is inseparable from sex.

Throughout ancient Europe, it was common for a man and his wife to have sex on freshly ploughed fields immediately prior to planting. It was through that this act of symbolic planting would invoke the blessings of the Goddess and help ensure the fertility of the land. Sex was considered a divine process, thoroughly connected to the Goddess and the God. The divine pair were conceptualized as mating in the spring and giving life back to the earth. Spring sex at festivals such as Ostara became a sacrament to ancient man, a way in which to receive divine blessings.

The Use of Symbolic Sex

Sacred sex does not have to involve sexual intercourse. Instead, sex can be a symbolic act, and symbolism can be understood through ritual. Just as the symbol of a stone, glyph, herb, or rune is understood in magick to represent a certain goal, there are many symbols of the joining of male and female. The act of an athame being lowered into a chalice is common in many Wiccan and Pagan rituals. The inverted triangle, often called the Triangle of Manifestation, is the symbol of the masculine and the feminine coming together in an act of creation.

The ritual union of the male and the female, either symbolically or literally, is called the Great Rite. The Great Rite is the foundation of most Pagan belief systems. It is our creation myth, representing the principle of creation that gave birth to the universe. This is reflected in the old axiom, “As above, so below.” In other words, what the deities do in the macrocosm is reflect by what we do in the microcosm.

Spring is a powerful time of year in the human psyche. The atavistic impulses that arise within us should be embraced and appreciated as the cold of winter is banished for another year.

First published at Suite101: The Hedonistic and Sexual Nature of Ostara | Suite101.com http://leigh-ann-andersen.suite101.com/the-hedonistic-and-sexual-nature-of-ostara-a357310#ixzz1lkWsFlSo

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Sabbat of Ostara — Egg Spells for Ostara

Many Wiccans and Pagans practice spells and rituals to celebrate the Spring Equinox. Since eggs are so closely linked to Ostara, it makes sense that many of these spells would involve the magick of eggs. Eggs are typically used for spells relating to fertility and rebirth, but here are other options.

An Egg Rebirthing Spell for Ostara

This is a spell designed to bring something back into your life, such as luck or romance. This spell should not be directed toward a specific person, but is rather aimed at bringing about a set of circumstances to accomplish your goal.

Place a raw egg in boiling water. As you watch the egg boil, concentrate on something you would like to manifest in your life. See this desire as being trapped within the egg, waiting to spring forth. Visualize this as clear as you are able for at least five minutes.

Allow the egg to cool, then decorate the egg in a way that symbolizes your desire. Perhaps a pink egg with a heart for love, a green egg with a dollar sign for money, etc. You may use crayons, markers, paints, dyes, or any other medium to decorate your egg.

Bury your egg near your front door. When you walk past this spot, reaffirm your desire. Soon, the egg will begin to break down and decompose, giving rise to your desire. This symbolic life, death, and rebirth is linked by magick to your intention, and will help to birth your stated desire.

A Caxcarone Love Spell for Ostara

A cascarone is a hollowed-out egg filled with certain things such as herbs, rice, or other grains. Make one by poking two small holes in either end and gently blow into one end. The yolk and white of the egg should slowly emerge from the other end. Wash out the shell and let dry before proceeding.

Fill the egg with an herb associated with attracting romantic love. Some of these include:
  • Yarrow;
  • Apple blossom;
  • Lavender;
  • Rose petals;
  • Daisies;
  • Willow;
  • Rosemary; and
  • Lemon verbena.
Herbs connected to lust may increase the effectiveness of the spell. Consider adding:
  • Dill;
  • Cinnamon;
  • Clove; and
  • Damiana.
You may use any combination you like, but do not fill the shell more than three-quarters full. Begin decorating your egg using dyes, paints, jewels, stickers, or anything else you desire. Focus on your intent as you decorate your egg.
Make sure you seal the ends of the egg with wax or tape and save it until Ostara. Traditionally, you would break the egg over the head of your love, but this may not be appreciated! As an alternative, visualize the face of your love clearly, holding the image in your mind. Break the egg into a flowing river, visualizing the contents finding their way to your beloved.
There are many other spells that might involve eggs. Eggs can also be used for divination or simply for decoration. The possibilities for using eggs to celebrate the Vernal Equinox are limited only by your own creativity.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Sabbat of Ostara — The Magick of Eostre's Eggs

Eggs are a powerful symbol of spring and the decorating of eggs is common throughout the world. For Wiccans and Pagans, however, this is often more than just a craft. Eggs can be used as charms, simply by using colors and symbols to imbue the egg with your intent.

Colors for Ostara Eggs

The color you use to decorate your Ostara eggs can have an effect on what the eggs can be used for. Though traditional colors include pink, blue, green, and yellow, other colors should not be ignored. Some colors that might be used are:
  • Pink — one of the most popular Ostara colors, pink is used for household peace and romantic love;
  • Red — the color or blood and linked to life, death, and rebirth, red can be used for charms involving desire, lust, sexuality, courage, and strength;
  • Orange — a solar color, orange can be used in spells involving attraction, friendship, drive, and willpower;
  • Yellow — yellow is the color of the sun and egg yolks, and represents creativity, intellect, communication, and the power of the mind;
  • Green — this color represents abundance, fertility, prosperity, and personal appearance, but it can also be used to induce calm or encourage love;
  • Blue — blue is the color of peace, healing, fidelity, unity, sleep, dreams, and astral projection;
  • Purple — a powerful color in many parts of the world, purple represents spirituality, metaphysical mysteries, past lives, communication with higher beings, and the divine;
  • White — used for healing and purification, white is an all-purpose color that can be substituted when you’re unsure of what color will work best; and
  • Black — though not a common Ostara color, black can be used in spells to absorb and dispel negative influences.
Symbols for Ostara Eggs
There are many different symbols that could be used to decorate your Ostara eggs. Anything that rings true for you will work well. However, runes are easy to draw and very popular. You could use runes that represent wealth, protection, strength, or wisdom. Or, anything else you can think of. There are many rune systems available on the internet, so do your research and pick a rune that represents your intent.
Though Eostre’s eggs can be used for simple decoration, they can also be utilized in the casting of spells and rituals surrounding the Spring Equinox. Egg spells are simple and numerous, but you can make egg talismans as well. They also make a fun craft for children and are an exciting way to teach youngsters about the magick of spring.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Sabbat of Ostara — Decorating Eostre's Eggs

The decorating of eggs to celebrate the coming of spring is a tradition that stretches back to the legend of Eostre’s Bunnies. Often called Easter eggs, these fun crafts are an excellent way to celebrate the Spring Equinox. Commercial kits are available for this art, but natural dyes can also be used.

Egg-Decorating Kits and Their Value

Around the time of Ostara, you can go into almost any store and purchase a kit to dye your Ostara eggs. These kits include dyes and stickers and many little things to make your egg decorating experience complete. The colors are bright and resilient, and most kits are fairly inexpensive and easy to use, and come with specific directions. These artificial dyes, however, are not always very good for the environment.

Natural Dyes for Decorating Eggs

Many Wiccan and Pagans prefer natural dyes for decorating their Ostara eggs. These dyes are better for the environment and allow you to decorate eggs the way our ancestors did. In addition, plant material can be used to imbue individual eggs with specific magickal tasks.

Of course, there are downsides to natural dyes. It is almost impossible to produce colors as rich and dark as commercial dyes, and the finish tends to be fragile. In the case of most natural dyes, it is quite easy to scratch or rub the color off the eggs. Natural dyes also take more preparation, and drying times will also be increased.

Preparing and Using Natural Dyes for Decorating Ostara Eggs

Before you begin dying eggs, you’ll have to choose your plant material. I have personally used the following materials to produce these colors:
  • Carrots — yellow;
  • Daffodils — yellow-green;
  • Dandelions — orange;
  • Heather — pink;
  • Bracken — green;
  • Red cabbage — blue, like a robin’s egg;
  • Blueberries — blue; and
  • Beets — blue-violet.
There are other options, of course. I have heard that grapes produce decent colors, and raspberries will probably also make an excellent dye. Think about what plants stain your fingers when you touch them. These plants usually make good dyes. Experiment and see what works. However, make sure you’re using only non-toxic plants. You don’t want to make yourself or your family ill.
When you’ve gathered you plant material (you will need a generous amount), add it to 3-5 cups of boiling water. Reduce heat slightly (to a low boil) and wait until the water takes on a very deep version of the shade you want. Stir occasionally. You may need to add more plant material to achieve the desired shade.
When ready, strain out the plant material and bring the water to a light simmer. Add a pinch of salt, 2 tablespoons of vinegar, and 3 tablespoons of cream of tartar. These will help to set the dyes. Mix well and remove from heat, allowing the mixture to cool.
Place your hard-boiled or hollowed eggs into the dye until they achieve the desired shade. This may take some time, so be patient. Once removed from the dye, the eggs will have to completely dry before you handle them. Remember that natural dyes might rub off on your hands, so keep handling to a minimum.
Dying your own eggs is simple, whether you use a commercial dye kit or natural dyes. Experiment, have fun, and enjoy Ostara, Easter, the Spring Equinox, or any other spring holiday you choose to celebrate.