Indigenize!

Rekindle Your Wild Joy and sense of deep Belonging through spiritual ecopsychology and the arts, incl. bioregional awareness, animistic perspectives, strategies for simple living, & low/no-tech DIY fun.

Joyous Eostre! March 31, 2013

vintage-easter-celebration-chick

Happy Eostre! May the increasing return of that glorious sun bring a corresponding increase of warmth, light and energy into your own life.

Easter is based on a much older celebration (Eostre/Ostara) based on this fundamental recognition of the rebirth of the planet, as it warms from the ever-increasing sun.

Have you noticed how Easter doesn’t fall on a regular, predictable day of the month — or even in a predictable month? That’s because it’s a seasonal holiday based on the actual wheel of the year, not just the Gregorian calendar. Easter is always celebrated (take a breath here) on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal (spring) equinox. That’s when fresh green food begins to grow once more; lambs and chicks are born; the sap rises in the trees, and flowers open their lovely colors out of the dead winter ground. Crocus! Delicate purple petals rising from the snow! What isn’t possible right now?

Easter: note the similarity with the word “estrus”? All of our beloved Easter imagery — bunnies, eggs, flowers, chicks, baskets filled with green grass nests, Christ rising from the grave to live again — are based on the concept of renewed fertility and possibilities for life. It’s all about birth and rebirth.

I began the day with a sunrise ritual created by my pals at  Milk and Honey, a goddess gift shop in Sebastopol, CA. (Yes, I was up before the dawn. Me! That’s very unusual: clearly that sun was calling.) Here it is, if you’d like to do something like that too.

The Ostara Ritual  

Purpose:
To acknowledge the balance between light and dark; to revere the growing strength and energy of the Sun who is now strong enough to conquer darkness; to acknowledge the time of new beginnings; to bless new goals and projects; to thankfully reflect on the gifts of fertility.

Tools:
4 sticks of incense, blanket, 1 hard-boiled egg per person, cauldron & freshly cut flowers.

Time:
Sunrise (is best): anytime between the Full Moon or Easter morning

1. Find a special place outside.  Lay blanket on ground with intention of connecting to the earth.

2. Arrange the egg(s), cauldron and flowers on the blanket facing towards the Sun (East).

3. Plant incense into the ground in all 4 directions, beginning with East, then South, West and ending with North to represent the 4 quarters.  After incense is in the ground start with East, and moving in the same direction, light each incense stick and verbally welcome and honor each direction.

4. While standing, feel your feet on the earth and allow yourself to feel grounded and centered.  Then allow yourself to relax and sit on the blanket.

5. Verbally state the purpose of the ritual.

6. Lift one flower at a time with great intention.  For each goal or new project you want to begin working on:
– Hold a flower in your hands and focus on the positive end desire of your goal.
-Break the stem off and put the stem in a pile to your left
-Slowly, pull the petals from the flower and place them in the cauldron while reflecting on the meaning of Ostara.
-Repeat with a new flower for each intention and goal you are focusing on.

7. Stand up with your egg and throw it into the air as high as you can and let it fall to the ground.
It is said that the higher the egg goes, the better your luck will be!

Then sit back down.
8. Peel the dirt and shell fragments off of your egg and put them in the pile with the stems.

9. Eat the egg and let yourself become energized with healing and positive energy.
It is said that if the egg is eaten at sunrise, you will gain much luck, health and happiness.

10. With your hands dig a hole in the earth in the direction of south.

11. Bury the stems and eggshells.
This is an offering to the Earth!  Verbally thank her for fertility and the gifts she presents us with daily!

12. Grab the cauldron of flowers and heave the contents upward and outward as hard as you can to bless your new projects, and to return to the Earth that which is hers.
Laugh or shout with joy!
The season of wonder is now beginning!

13. To close the ritual, beginning with North, going reverse to West, South and ending with East, face in each direction and thank the direction for holding sacred space for you and then release it.  At each direction turn your incense stick upside down and extinguish it in the earth speaking, “So mote it be.”  (Translation:  So may it be).

May this ritual bring you exactly the energy you need in the days to come.
Blessed Be!

———

PS – Just remembered that I posted on Easter last year too. For more: https://indigenize.wordpress.com/2012/04/03/happy-eostre/

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Welcome, Winter December 18, 2012

Holly King - Bret Gold

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Three days till Solstice.

Welcome, Winter.

Welcome the reign of the Holly King.

This Winter Solstice 2012, the world cycle begins anew

Again. Yet again.

***

(The Holly King is portrayed here by Bret Gold, a friend of a friend. I’ve never seen finer.)

 

Happy Imbolc! February 3, 2011

Beannacht Brighdhe – happy Brigid’s day!

May your ewes give plentiful milk; may your awakening plants be safe from frost and bloom abundantly once summer comes; may the pale sun grow to warm your spirit and quicken what is most precious to you.

The prehistoric Irish goddess/woman Brigid, aka Bríg (& later, the female saint Brigit) is the Irish patron of healing, poetry, learning, and smithcraft. The meaning of her name, according to Lady Augusta Gregory, is “Breo-saighit, a fiery arrow.” In a way, she’s sort of a western Saraswati. Besides her main skills listed above, she is credited in early Irish tales for the invention of the whistle (for calling each other during the night before the invention of cel phones) and of keening, a particularly moving wailing cry for mourning the death of a beloved. At this turning of the year back toward the warmth, we remember her by visiting wells or springs, and by lighting candles.

At Kildare, Ireland, one flame burned constantly in her honor for thousands of years, non-stop. It was tended by 19 priestesses in rotation, one each night in sequence. On the 20th day, the flame was tended by Brigid Herself. Men were expressly forbidden to cross the hedges to view the sacred flame. Giraldus Cambrensis reported that males who tried would go insane, die, or have their penises wither off. No messing around here! This was strictly women only.

In the middle ages, this ancient flame was extinguished by the Church in an attempt to snuff out such pagan worship – but the people, in good Celtic fashion, just switched names and began worshipping Saint Brigit instead of the goddess Brid. The holiday on Feb. 2 now became known as “Candlemas.” And Brigid’s flame was lit once more, this time by Catholic nuns, who continue to tend it to this day.

“Groundhog Day” is a remnant of Pagan spiritual practice for this time of year. I’ll admit to feeling mischievous delight every year when weather augury by rodent gets televised.

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At this time around February 2, Imbolc, how might you honor the spirit of Brigid and invite her gifts into your life?

  • You might do so by letting your springs of inspiration flow. Compose a poem, a song, a dance, a recipe, a goofy rhyme, a blog post.
  • Light a candle, with intention of allowing your inner lights of hope, strength, love, perseverance, attention, kindness, etc. to return with the light of the sun. Staring into the flame of a candle for three minutes while stilling the mind to pay attention to only that can be a powerful meditation.
  • Pick some herbs and place them in a cauldron to brew tea for healing.In what way can your health be better attended to? Imbolc offers a second chance to go for those new years’ resolutions. After all, the quickening of spring feels much more like the real new year of life beginning, eh?
  • Perhaps you need to be inside the cauldron: take a long hot bath with candles and lavender and perhaps a really good book.
  • Clean and repair your home – the hearth is another aspect of Her sacred fire.
  • You could bring in white: decorate with white flowers or wear white garments. White is an important color for Brigid’s Day – the melting of the last snows; the rising of the first flowers, which in the cold British Isles are often white snowdrops; the white milk that gives this day its other name, Imbolc (from the Gaelic oi melc, ewes’ milk, beginning to flow around now due to the birth of the spring lambs).
  • Go to a water source with reverent intention to help. Clean the debris from a well or spring, so it can flow freely and cleanly once more. (As without, so within, as the sages say.) Then sit by it and watch the birds. Listen to the frogsong. Make little offerings – perhaps of ribbons or tokens; perhaps of poetic words – and ask her blessings.

I once saw such a well deep in the forests of Brittany, the tree overhanging it festooned with petitions and offerings. It was a moving sight, and a beautiful reminder to tend the spirit of our living world.

Whether you prefer to think of her as pagan deity, Catholic saint, or the manifested qualities her name invokes: inspired eloquence, skill at forging, and healing, may the blessings of Brigid fall softly upon you this Spring like petals from an abundantly flowering tree. And may they smell sweet.