Springing Joyfully into Ostara

Ostara: Out with the Old and in with the New

We Pagans in the Northern Hemisphere are waving goodbye to winter (of course, my friends in the Southern Hemisphere are doing the same for summer). Tomorrow is the vernal equinox, or first day of spring–otherwise known as Ostara. In my neck of the woods, Ostara officially begins at 5:45 P.M. CDT.

Ostara, of course, is one of the Sabbats in the Wheel of the Year and is, therefore, sacred. What makes Ostara stand out even more this year, though, is that it coincides with a supermoon and solar eclipse: a combination that promises to add oomph to any new beginning.

Ostara, named after the goddess Eostre, is time of budding new life, both literally–with flowers and baby animals of all species–and figurately: this is a time of new beginnings, of putting aside wornout or obselete ideas, habits, attitudes, and mindsets. Ostara is fertile with possiblities.

Ostara Correspondences

Other goddesses associated with Ostara, besides Eostre, include Astarte, Cybele, Persephone, Flora, Freya, Ashanti, Saraswati, and many others.

Ostara is associated with the Element of Air and with Sunrise. The following symbols are linked to this particular sabbat: eggs, rabbits, butterflies, and the equilateral cross (found on hot cross buns or Ostara buns), as well as spring flowers such as daffodils, irises, and violets–and, in my region, bluebonnets.

Traditional foods for Ostara include eggs (no surprise!) but also spring greens, sprouts, lemons, asparagus, peas, and carrots, as well as ham and chicken dishes.

Traditional Ostara activities include planting a garden and balancing an egg at the time of the equinox; spring cleaning is another common activity (personally, I like to spread this activity out for several days). However, since this is a natural time for innovation, any ritual or other activity you dream up in order to bring change into your life is appropriate here.

One way to prepare yourself for a new beginning is through the Radiant Goddess e-course, created by Leonie Dawson. As someone who has taken the course and as an affiliate (I am an affiliate only with services that I can wholeheartedly endorse, with no reservations), I cannot recommend it enough. This course will change your life.

How do you celebrate Ostara? Are you ready to slough off winter? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section. Blessed Be!


This is my Ostara altar.



Blessed Samhain

Samhain: A Time for Reflection and Remembrance

Samhain, pronounced sow-ain or so-veen and literally meaning “Summer’s End,” , is a harvest festival from Celtic origin, occuring on October 31,  that honors one’s ancestors and encourages a look ahead to the upcoming year. For many witches, this is the Pagan new year and a relatively solemn occasion. Other Pagans have a similar holiday and call it by various names, such as Halloween,  Shadowfest or La Festa Dell’ Ombra (Stregheria), Sambain,Samhuinn, All Hallows Eve, and Ancestor Night, among others.

Samhain heralds the time of year when the veil between the mundane world and the spiritual world is thinnest, making Samhain night an ideal time for ancestor worship and communication, as well as divination in general. Now is the best time to use that crystal ball, scrying mirror, scrying bowl, Tarot cards, runes, pendulum, or all of the above.

The Goddess as Crone, often in the guise of Cerridwen, Hekate, or the Cailleach, rules this Sabbat: Samhain is Her special night.

Herbs associated with Samhain include mugwort, the Queen of Samhain herbs, as well as acorn or oak, apple, Dittany of Crete, hazel, mullein, nightshade, sage, and wormwood.

Stones associated with Samhain include amber, black obsidian, hematite, onyx, and smoky quartz.

Foods associated with this sabbat include pumpkins, other winter squashes, apples, pomegranates, nuts, apple cider, and red wine.

Samhain is an ideal time of magickal spells of manifestation, of new beginnings (especially if the moon is new or waxing), or banishings (if the moon happens to be waning). This sabbat is the perfect time to create a Witch’s Ladder as a protection spell.

Other activities for Samhain include carving a jack o’lantern, bobbing for apples (originally a type of divination), setting up an altar or shrine for your ancestors, and setting out a mute or dumb supper for loved ones who have passed on during the year.

How do you celebrate Samhain? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section. Blessed Be!


Be sure to stop by my store, Lune Soleil Enterprises, for a harvest of ritual and other spiritual products. From now until January 1, 2015, enjoy free shipping on orders of $25 or more (coupon code: HOLIDAY).

Cerridwen: Deity of the Month

Cerridwen: Wise Crone to be Honored near Samhain

Each month, I pick a specific deity to honor and celebrate. This month, the honor goes to Cerridwen, Welsh goddess of transformation and wisdom, aspecting both as Mother and Crone. Cerridwen shows that the boundary between fertile Mother and wise Crone can be blurred.

Cerridwen was mother to two children: Creirwy, a beautiful and shining daughter; and Afagddu, an ugly, misshapen, morose son. The goddess wanted to give her son the gift of all-encompassing wisdom to compensate for his ugliness, so she created a brew that would instill Awen, or shining knowledge, with three drops. Now, this special potion had to be brewed for a year and a day; being the busy goddess she was, Cerridwen, quite sensibly, chose to outsource the stirring and brewing of this potion. That job fell to Morda, an elderly blind man, and young Gwion.

When the potion was ready, after a year and a day, an accident happened. Gwion spilled three drops of the potion onto his thumb. Automatically, he licked his thumb and then consumed the potion (the rest, in the cauldron, was not fit for consumption: in this case, this was not a cauldron of plenty).

To say that Cerridwen was furious would be an understatement. Gwion, knowing that Cerridwen would be after his head, changed first into a hare; she changed into a hunting dog. He then changed into a fish; she changed into an otter. He then changed into a small bird; she changed into a hawk. Cerridwen chased Gwion through the seasons until finally, when he shapeshifted into a grain, she shapeshifted into a hen and consumed him. As a result, she became pregnant with Gwion.

She swore that she would kill the infant Gwion when he was born, but when the time came, she could not bring herself to destroy him. Instead, she placed him in a leather bag and set him afloat on the sea. He was found and brought up as Taliesen, who would become the master bard of all time.

The transformation of Gwion into Taliesen is obvious. Cerridwen, however, goes through her own meaninful tranformation in the process.When we invoke and work with Cerridwen, we invite this spirit of transformation in and around ourselves. Blessed Be!

One  excellent way to work with Cerridwen, and many other aspects of the Goddess, is through the Goddess Tarot Deck by Kris Waldherr, available at my store Lune Soleil Enterprises. Stop by today to check out the Goddess Tarot Deck and numerous other Pagan supplies for ritual and for personal enrichment.

Cauldron Witchcraft tools Cauldron symbol of Cerridwen


Mabon: A Time of Balance

Mabon Has Arrived!

Today, on September 22, 2014, we see the glorious arrival of Mabon, or the autumn equinox, in the Northern hemisphere. Mabon,  also known as Equinozio di Autunno and alban Elfed, among other names, appears with resplendent colors of red, orange, yellow, and brown–most dramatically in the New England states (sniff).

The equinox is a time of balance, when day and night are of equal length; after the autumn equinox, in the Northern Hemisphere, nights will gradually get longer until we reach Yule, or the winter solstice. In the Southern Hemisphere, in contrast, residents see the arrival of Ostara, or the spring equinox, and will see days becoming increasingly longer until the arrival of Litha, or the summer solstice.

Within the Wheel of the Year, Mabon marks the time where the God has either died or is significantly weakened, depending on tradition. This Lesser Sabbat is the second of three harvest festivals –the others being Lughnassadh and Samhain–and is an excellent time to mark your own personal harvests in your life. What has come to fruition in your personal, professional, or spiritual life? What are you reaping from the seeds of promise you have planted earlier in the year? Ritual activities might revolve around this reflection.

Increasingly, Mabon is also the occasion that sees many Pagan Pride observances; many of these Pagan Pride events involve, among other things, collecting nonperishable foods for the hungry.

(325-365) Happy Mabon!! (6180970374)

Here is a sample Mabon invocation for you, to be adapted as you wish: “Blessed Lord and Lady, forces of balance, aspects of light and dark, sowers and reapers of the harvest, I welcome and embrace Thee in body, mind, and spirit. Blessed Be.”

For a Mabon feast, roasted (or, in my area, barbequed) meats and vegetables are appropriate, as are any squashes, beans, and salads. For Mabon, I like to serve succotash, a mixture of lima beans and corn, as a simple harvest dish. Apple cider and red wine are great as Mabon beverages.

Blessed Mabon to you and yours!

Perimenopause and Meeting the Crone

Perimenopause: Getting Acquainted with the Crone

Hot flashes. Irregular menstrual periods. Night sweats. Moodiness. These are among the many symptoms of perimenopause, a natural life stage for women that can be annoying, intimidating, or even downright frightening. After all, is this not the stage that leads to the specter of old age and the appearance of the archetypal Crone in our lives?

We have all seen the archetypal Crone: the old, no, ancient hunched-over, slow-moving hag with more warts than natural teeth. With this archetype we see the Crone always dressed in a black hooded cape, all the better to hide her thinning skin and hair, as well as any other things that society deems imperfect, such as wrinkles and–gasp! grey hair. According to the archetype, she is a mean-spirited old woman who will cackle loudly–chuckling simply will not do. She is the archetype of the Wicked Witch, the one who, according to folklore, tries to eat children and to prevent one girl, in the wrong place at the wrong time, from returning home.

Wicked Witch2



Meeting the Crone, the Wise Woman part of ourselves, through the stage of perimenopause, need not be a scary experience. True, she is down to earth and will tolerate no nonsense, but she can also be a gentle aspect of our existence, imparting a soothing insight as her gift to us. Plus, if we take good care of the body, mind, and spirit–as we should be doing anyway–we can defy the archetypal image of the crone that recalls a hunched-over, decrepit figure. We can be vital, energetic, even sexy. I have written before that we can embody all three aspects of the Goddess–Maiden, Mother, and Crone–inside of us. Now, more than ever, I believe that all of us who are experiencing the journey of perimenopause need to remember this bit of wisdom. Blessed Be.


Demeter: Deity of the Month

Demeter: Agricultural Mother Goddess of Honor

Demeter, Greek agricultural goddess as well as a goddess of the harvest (literal, but also the figurative harvest of middle age), is the mother to Persephone, also known as Kore.
She is the bringer of the changing seasons, according to one myth: Hades had enticed Persephone into the Underworld to be his wife and queen. She had eaten six pomegranate seeds while in the Underworld; according to the rules, anyone who ate while in the Underworld was doomed never to leave. However, at Demeter’s behest, a compromise was reached: Persephone would spend six months out of the year in the Underworld with Hades and then six months on the earth with her mother and other loved ones. While Persephone was on earth, the warm seasons would ensue and crops would grow. When Persephone was in the Underworld, the colder seasons would arrive, and the earth would hibernate.

Demeter is also associated with Hecate, who helped the Mother Goddess find her kidnapped daughter. Demeter represents unflagging strength through hardship and heartache, as well as a willingness to do whatever it takes to find and to protect Persephone.

Demeter is a Mother Goddess, and this aspect comes out during the warmer seasons of the year, roughly from Ostara through Mabon. From Mabon through Ostara, though, Demeter shows her aspect as Crone as she grieves for her daughter’s imposed time in the Underworld. She shows that while a woman enters one life stage, she does not necessarily discard the others. Demeter teaches us that we can all have aspects of the Maiden, Mother, and Crone inside us: yes, one will predominate, but the spirits of the other two can inhabit us as well.

May Demeter fill you with wisdom and inspiration. Blessed Be!


Demeter mourning Persephone 1906.jpg
Demeter mourning Persephone 1906” by Evelyn De Morganhttp://visionsofwhimsy.blogspot.de/2011/04/happy-birthday-mum.html. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Deity and You: Little Ways to Connect

Deity and Little, Everyday Ways to Cultivate a Spiritual Relationship

Celebrating the Sabbats–Yule, Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane, Litha, Lughnasagh, Mabon, and Samhain is a major way to honor one’s relationship with Deity, as is observing and working with the monthly Esbats. This is beyond dispute. However, one can also choose small but powerful ways, each day, to foster a closer relationship with the Goddess and with the God.

We all have busy, hectic lives, fraught with stresses from work, home, and the occasional emergency that topples anything resembling order. Sometimes in the bustle of everyday life, it can be difficult to take time out for our own spiritual well being. Yet this is exactly what we should do, even for only a few minutes each day, in order to be grounded. Hence, here are some suggestions for stopping, even briefly, to connect with Deity.

1. Meditate in front of your altar first thing in the morning. Light a candle and/or hold a crystal in your hand and focus on the Goddess and the God. You can also do this in the evening, shortly before going to bed.

2. Go on a Spirit Walk. This can take as little as five minutes, but even within this short time focus on nature’s sounds–the leaves rustling, the birds chirping–sights, textures (avoid this one if you see poison ivy or poison oak), and smells.

3. If your workplace or place of errand features any kind of landscaping, go ahead and stop to smell those roses — or whatever else is blooming.

4. Take a few minutes to watch the sun rise and/or set — preferably both.

5. Before eating a meal, take a moment to feel the food’s life energy. Give thanks for this energy.

6. Do a little yoga in the morning or evening. Even fifteen minutes will relax you. Think of the Lady and The Lord as you do your Sun Salutation or similar routine.

7. Take a nice, relaxing bath at whatever time of day is right for you. You’ve earned it. As you soak in this watery womb, think of and give thanks to your special relationship with Deity.

Blessed Be!

Representation of Deity

By Camocon (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons Triple Goddess, representation of Deity

Cleansing and Consecrating Ritual Tools

Ritual Tools: Cleansing and Consecrating Is More Than Making Them Shiny

Recently, we have been talking about various ritual tools: the athame and the chalice, and so on. Whenever you procure a ritual tool–whether you buy it, make it, or find it–you want to cleanse that tool before you first use it, especially if someone else’s negative vibes have touched that tool, and periodically afterwards (several times a year, at least). Then, you want to consecrate that tool, blessing it in the name of the Lady and the Lord for the good of all and harm to none.

Why do all this? First, you want to set these ritual tools off as holy, special, sacred. You want your good spiritual vibes to permeate the tools. And you want to discourage negative energy from trying to invade your tools: this negative energy could seriously interfere with magickal or other rites.

Different ways of cleansing a ritual tool exist: pick the method that is right for you and for the tool. Here are but a few options at your disposal:

1. Cleanse, using the elements. Waft air, using a feather, over the ritual tool. Pass the tool through or above fire (the latter is recommended for candles; make it quick). Sprinkle a little salt, repreenting Earth, on the tool. Finally, sprinkle a few drops of water on the tool. As an option, you can touch the ritual tool with the athame, representing Spirit, as well.

2. You can use just one element to cleanse the ritual tool. You can bury the tool in the earth for a few weeks (don’t forget where you buried it, of course), hold it underneath running water, hold it against a gentle breeze, or let it sit underneath the afternoon sun for a few hours (not recommended for candles).

3. Place the ritual items underneath the light of a full moon and let them absorb the moon’s energy all night.

4. If you are a Reiki practitioner, you can use Reiki energy to cleanse the tools.

5. You can visualize a cleansing light in blue, pink, white, or another color that you associate with cleaning. Visualize that light emanating from your hands and embuing the tool with clean, positive energy.

After you cleanse your ritual tool(s), be sure to bless them in the name of Deity, saying something like, “In the name and service of the Lady and the Lord, for all good works, and for the benefit of all and harm to none. Blessed Be.”

How do you cleanse and consecrate your ritual tools? Do you use a method not mentioned here? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section. Blessed Be!

Ritual Tools on Altar

By Fer Doirich (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
A Wiccan Altar with Ritual Tools

Suicide, Mental Illness, and Deity

A Recent Suicide: The Day the Laughter Died (with apologies to Don McClean’s “American Pie”)

Today I had planned to write about consecrating and blessing ritual tools, but yesterday’s news of Robin Williams’ suicide has put that topic, temporarily, on the back burner; I will revisit this topic next time. To say that Robin Williams’ death by suicide is a tragic loss, a heartbreaking blow to the loved ones, friends, colleagues, and fans he leaves behind is a gross understatement. Sufficient words fail here.

Robin Williams had been battling severe depression, as numerous Americans do each year. Depression, and mental illness in general, tend to be widely misunderstood, maligned, and stigmatized: even in twenty-first century society. We have distanced ourselves, somewhat,  from the nineteenth-century mentality, which saw mentally ill people as little more than freaks in a freak show: one fashionable pastime of the day was to go to a local asylum to gawk at the patients. However, how far have twenty-first century citizens come, truly, when it comes to understanding mental illness in general and depression in particular? Could societal ignorance have contributed to Robin Williams’ suicide? Did we fail him? Did he fail himself?

Whatever the case,  it would seem that he fell into a deep abyss and could see no other option than suicide as a way out.

From a Pagan point of view, each soul is born in order to learn a specific life lesson; this life lesson, however, may take more than one lifetime to learn. At death, according to some Pagan faiths, the soul goes to the Summerland, a place of rest and reflection, and also a place to review the life lesson: similar to a final exam, except without the test anxiety: here, Deity fills the role of patient teacher. One who commits suicide says, in effect, “Forget the final exam: I’m not doing this,” leaving the lesson to be learned in another lifetime. From this point of view, suicide is an exercise in futility.

Regardless, Robin Williams’ death is a senseless tragedy. I feel for his pain and that of his family. His is a life snuffed out much too soon.

Rest in peace, O Captain, My Captain.

symbol of depression and suicide

By César Astudillo from Collado Villalba, Spain (Suddenly, a black rose) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons Suicide

Miscellaneous Ritual Tools

Other Tools for Ritual

In our continuing discussion of ritual tools, we come now to the nice miscellaneous category. Within this category are the besom, cingulum, incense, scourge, sword, bolline, and stang–all items that may be useful as you connect with Spirit. Keep in mind that the witch, or other Pagan, technically speaking, needs only herself or himself: the tools merely sharpen the mental focus and cue the mind that ritual–a sacred connection with the Goddess and the God– is happening and  magick is afoot.

The cingulum, sometimes spelled singulum, is a symbol of initiation in some traditions, particularly British Traditional Wicca,  and is a specifically colored cord, traditionally nine feet in length, that is worn around the waist.

 Incense is an herbal blend that is ground and then burned during ritual. You can buy or make incense in joss sticks, cones, or loose.

The scourge is a tool used to flagellate members in some traditions, notably Gardnerian Wicca.

The sword is often used as a ritual tool, instead of an athame, in certain traditions. Like the athame, the sword represemts the God.

The boline is is a curved knife, shaped like a half moon, that is used for cutting herbs–most famously, mistletoe–cords, and other items for and in ritual.

Boline Ritual Tool

Boline Ritual Tool, available at Lune Soleil Enterprises bit.ly/1y908LW














The stang is a staff that has two prongs or horns on top. Robert Cochrane  is usually credited with introducing the stang to Wicca.

We have talked qutie a bit about ritual tools lately. In the next blog post, we will discuss consecrating and blessing ritual tools.

On another note, this upcoming weekend, on August 10. we will see this month’s full moon, and it will be a supermoon–the closest supermoon yet this year. This month’s moon is also known as the Sturgeon Moon, the Green Corn Moon, and the Grain Moon.

Blessed Be!