as the crone flies

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The Easter Witch

Did you know that witches and trick or treating are part of Scandinavian Easter traditions, which are still celebrated in parts of Sweden and other Scandinavian countries? On the Saturday or Thursday before Easter, young children dress up as witches or Påskkärringar (the kindly, apple-cheeked, headscarf wearing kind, similar to Italy’s La Befana, the Christmas Witch and go door-to-door asking for candy or other treats. How neat is it to have Halloween-like traditions in springtime?!

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La Bafana

This tradition stems from the old belief that witches were a their most powerful during Easter week and that they would travel to Blåkulla (Blue Mountain) via broom (or even ride stolen livestock like cows, goats, sheep, or even cats – see image below) to cavort with the devil on Maundy Thursday through Saturday.

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To honor this old belief, Scandinavian children dress up as witches and go trick-or-treating, like Halloween! In some parts of Scandinavia children leave Easter cards or a small token of thanks to the houses they visit. Many of these cards feature images of påskkärringar, or Easter witches.

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I love how you can find traditions similar to Halloween throughout the year for many different holidays. I love the Scandinavian tradition of Easter witches and it is fun to learn about different holiday traditions from around the world that relate to Halloween.

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These witches don’t look quite like our Halloween witches — no peaked hats or black capes. Instead, these little witches are often depicted with a coffee pot, broom and a cat like the Easter witch ornament below.

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Easter Witch Ornament

This Easter witch ornament resembles Baba Yaga straight out of a Russian fairy tale, with headscarves, kerchiefs, aprons, and rosy cheeks.

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Glad påsk (Happy Easter)!

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Out of the ashes

The sad and devastating news of fire burning Notre Dame I think of words I wrote a long time ago when face with loss from fire. “Out of the ashes the Phoenix rises ever to be reborn”

The phoenix is a mythical bird with fiery plumage near the end of its life, it settles in to its nest of twigs which then burns ferociously, reducing bird and nest to ashes. from those ashes, a fledgling phoenix rises – renewed and reborn. So too perhaps with rebuilding of this beautiful structure.

phoenix-rising-from-the-ashes

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A New Journal

Spring has arrived here in north Florida with dry crisp air in the early mornings and bright sunshine that doesn’t make you wilt after twenty minutes. It’s very short lived so I try to enjoy it while it last.

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This week a few surprises arrived in the mail along with some expected items I ordered one which is The Tarot Journal coloring book by Amy Cesari, I love her “coloring book” series and have several of her books, they are both fun and functional.  As a woman who has a life long love of coloring these books evoke all sorts of pleasant memories while I use them.  Here is the link to Amy’s website so you can see inside the book http://www.coloringbookofshadows.com/

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These wool pieces came a few days ago along with this sweet little wool applique kit, I have wanted to try my hand at wool applique for a while so I thought why not start with a little kit so I order one which I will make for my little niece. I saw the squares of pastel wool and ordered those too.  I eventually want to make a Greenman piece is wool so I thought I would practice on small project to get the feel for it.  I haven’t done very much applique so my skills are a bit rusty but practice makes perfect.

Speaking of the Greenman, I am embroidering a new piece, this one to complement my Greenwoman piece.  The pattern is actually from a set of decals I bought a while ago and enlarged. The first photo is my stitching on the center leaf, the second photo is of the completed greenwoman, after I finished the greenwoman I thought perhaps I should have crayon tinted her but I used the stitch and wash away product because of all the detail so coloring wasn’t an option.

All those heavy black lines disappear once the product washes away and all that is left is the stitched threads.

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Here is a crayon tinted piece I made a few years ago, the Holly King is a pattern from Urban Threads. I left the face uncolored I may do another and color it.  Here is the link to Urban Threads

https://www.urbanthreads.com/products.aspx?productid=UTH5391

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Preparing for Ostara

The Spring Equinox or Ostara is the perfect time to welcome spring, and revel in all that it provides.

use this altar

Days are growing longer, the soil is warm and new green starts to appear on trees and in the garden as spring returns. The Spring Equinox or Ostara is the time to celebrate new beginnings, growth, love and fertility in all of it’s aspects of nature and your own life.

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Ostara is a celebration of the Spring Equinox the name comes from the goddess Ostara or Eostre It also marks the return of balance once again of the light and dark.

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This time of celebration is also known as Eostre’s Day, Eostre, Spring Equinox, Vernal Equinox.

Here are some correspondences for Ostara (please note this is not a complete list):

Symbols

  • Rabbits/Bunnies
  • Eggs
  • Flowers
  • Birds – Especially Robins and other harbingers of spring.
  • Baskets
  • Lambs

Deities

  • Eostre
  • The Maiden
  • Astarte
  • Aurora
  • Kore
  • Persophone
  • The Green Man
  • Osiris
  • Dionysus
  • Ares
  • Adonis
  • Venus
  • Aphrodite
  • Narcissus

Colors

  • White
  • Greens
  • Light Yellow
  • Light Pink
  • Pastel Blue
  • Pastel Purple

Herbs & Flowers

  • Violets
  • Crocus
  • Daffodil
  • Tulip
  • Jasmine
  • Rose
  • All Spring Flowers
  • Iris
  • Peony
  • Narcissus
  • Ginger
  • Sage
  • Lavender

Stones & Gems

  • Amethyst
  • Jasper
  • Aquamarine
  • Rose Quartz
  • Moonstone

Foods

  • Spring greens & herbs
  • Eggs
  • Custards
  • Quiches
  • Edible Flowers
  • Honey cakes
  • Hot Crossed Buns
  • Violet Jelly
  • Strawberries
  • Chocolate
  • Lamb

    Here are a few simply activities to do

    Egg hunt, Dye Eggs, Plant seeds/seedlings, Enjoy nature/go for a nature walk, Forage for wild spring edibles.

The Spring Equinox is the perfect time of year to embrace new beginnings and nurture new changes in your life. It is also a time to honor the beauty and wonder that is life.

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Welcome March

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The first day of March always makes me feel energetic because I know Spring isn’t too far behind.

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Since I  moved to Florida years ago the early days before Spring are evident with the bursting of flowers in the garden, not at all how it was when I lived in New Jersey and snow on the ground wasn’t a surprise sometimes well into April. I often miss those days waiting for Spring to arrive and you find that first seedling poking through a pot of soil.

I still wait for the seedlings but loving here in Florida our growing season begins in February for many gardeners.  This year I don’t plan to do much gardening because I am house hunting, I’ll plant some herbs and flowers in a few pots so I can keep my connection with the earth.

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On the 9th of March I’ll attend the Spring plant sale for a few new potted plants and maybe a nursery or two this week.  Who knows my garden beds may get planted this year after all.

 

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Happy Valentine’s Day

rose heart

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Happy Imbolc and Blessed Brigid’s Day

 

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Wishing you all a warm and wonderful Imbolc!

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The Wheel Turns to Imbolc

Imbolc

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I have reposted my entry from 2017 with additional photos from 2018 projects.

The wheel of the year is turning toward light, the sun gaining strength through the lengthening days. The festival of Imbolc, in early February, marks the birth of lambs, the thawing of streams, and the first stirrings of Spring. Ostara, the Spring Equinox, marks the moment of balance between light and dark, as the sun prevails and light and life return.

Roughly halfway between the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. Throughout the British Isles, February was a harsh, bitter month for the rural folk to survive. In Scotland, this time was called “Faoilleach” – the Wolf Month, and also “Marbh mhio`s” – the Dead Month. But it was at this most trying time that the first small, undeniable signs of new life would begin to appear. Lambs would be born, soft rains encouraging the growth of new green grass shoots, Blackthorns and crocuses would blossom, ravens would begin to build their nests, and the clear voices of the larks could be heard calling across the snow laden fields. In Ireland, the farmers would now begin to prepare the land for new seed, while fishermen began to look forward to the end of the winter storms and rough sea conditions to launch their boats again.

While the Horned God, who reined over Autumn and Winter, still held power, The Old Woman of Winter, Cailleach, as she was known in Scotland, was reborn as Bride (Brigid the Light-Bringer, Bright One, Brighid, Brid) – Young Maiden of Spring, fragile, yet growing with strength each day as the sun warmed. She was honored as the Goddess of healing and fertility, fire, keeper of the sacred flame, and guardian of home & hearth. In another version in which the God was reborn at Yule, and the Goddess was Crone, sees the Goddess as mother to the God at Imbolc, feeding him from her own body as the energy of Spring builds.
This festival was central to hearth and home – a celebration involving lighting the hearth fires and bringing out the last of the special foods, like butter and milk, that had been eked out through the hard winter months. Fires – lighting candles, hearths and bonfires, were very symbolic at this time – both in the sense of encouraging the return of the sun’s warmth and increasing power, and in the sense of purification for the new cycle ahead. With winter stores running low, it was important to the people who lived off the land to ensure a good season ahead and a steady supply of food. The Imbolc rituals were performed to bring in this divine energy.
So how does this translate into our modern times? As Pagans, we strive to rekindle our connection with the land, the changing of the seasons – learning to live back in rhythm with natural life. So at this time, we would apply the same philosophies and symbolism (think on all four planes – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual) – in terms of welcoming back the beginning of Spring, purifying ourselves and our space, perhaps going through the kitchen larder, having a feast with loved ones, lighting candles / a fire, and generally preparing to come out of “winter hibernation”. What seeds will you be planting for the season ahead? What would you like to call energy into as the Sun slowly builds in power and warmth?

KEYWORDS/THEMES
Return of the light, renewal of the Maiden, start of Spring, increasing the light, hearth fire, creative fire, healing fire, women and the Goddess, purification, purity, growth, reunion of Goddess and God, renewal of maidenhood, renewal of the land, waking of the earth, returning to work on the land after the winter lull, renewal of fertility, letting go of the old and making way for the new.

ENERGY
Waxing

DATES
February 2nd (Northern hemisphere)

ASSOCIATED GODS
Gods of Love and Fertility, the Horned God, Aengus Og, Eros

ASSOCIATED GODDESSES
All Virgin/Maiden Goddesses – especially Brigid. Aradia, Athena, Inanna, Gaia, Februa

Below are more correspondences for Imbolc. Use these for inspiration rather than rules. You can choose to mark the change in season however you want – ultimately it is about your connection with nature, so do what resonates with you and your loved ones.

PLANTS, FLOWERS, HERBS, INCENSE
Angelica, Basil, Bay Laurel, Cinnamon, Coltsfoot, Heather, Iris, Myrrh, Tansy, Vanilla, Violet, Wisteria

CRYSTALS
Amethyst, Bloodstone, Garnet, Ruby, Onyx, Turquoise

COLORS
White, yellow, pink, red, green, brown

FOOD
Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, poppyseed cakes, muffins, scones, breads, dairy products, peppers, onions, garlic, raisins, soups, spiced wines, herbal teas

IMBOLC ALTAR/DECORATIONS

Besoms
White and yellow flowers
Candle wheels
Brigid’s Crosses

The link below will take you to a site for a Brigid’s Cross Tutorial

http://colorful-crafts.com/brigids-cross-tutorial/

I do quite a bit of projects with fabric I thought I would share this little blessing, I have finished the embroidery for the Brigid’s Cloth just in time, I just need to press it.

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On midwinter’s eve (Imbolc) place a piece of linen or cloth outside. It is said that on this night Brigid travels all over the land and if she sees this cloth she will bless it and give it healing powers with this prayer: Let the cloth of life be mended. Let the thread be linked again, restored, cleansed – the forests growing, native plants in field and fen. Let the cloth of life, in beauty, be restored by will to be. People with the plants and creatures, tending earth and sky and sea.

Above are other embroideries made throughout 2018 in celebration of Brigid as Goddess. This  piece below was made several years ago.

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How ever you celebrate have a warm and wonderful Imbolc!

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After the Eclipse

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After all the hoopla is over she shines on gloriously through the cold dark night. Photo taken via cell phone 2 a.m.

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