Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Ostara---Spring Equinox

Vernal Equinox

The Wheel turns again and with this turn comes the Vernal Equinox or Eostara. At this time the hours of daylight and night are balanced against each other. After this time, and until the Autumnal Equinox, daylight will have the ascendent influence. The goddess awakened from her deep winter slumbers and returned from the underworld, now wears the aspect of the Maiden of Spring and meets the young god, now the Youth of Spring, who was born into the world at Yule. Together, the coupling of masculine and feminine energies will plant the seeds of life and growth upon which all the continued survival of the world depends.

Whatever your path, you will welcome the balance of the light against the dark as an indication that longer days, required for greater growth and productivity are soon on the way. The theme of renewal has not been lost throughout all the changes this world has seen and this is a traditional time for people, pagan and non-pagan alike, to look toward those things they would like to renew in their own lives and to nurture the things they would like to see grow stronger.

Ostara, Spring Equinox

A sabbat of balance and beginnings. A traditional time to prepare for future planting and bless the seeds of physical, spiritual, and ritual gardens.

Wheel Legend: The Sun Prince meets the Young Maiden.

Purpose: To celebrate the meeting of the Sun Prince and the Young Maid through celebrations of all that is youthful, innocent and new. To bless the seeds of future new beginnings.

Needful Things: A painted eggshell. Garden seeds and written "seeds" of hope for the future. (penned in spring green ink on light yellow paper, or choose colors that rule the type of magic charged in each "seed" [Yellow=education, green=money etc...]). Fruit Juice or Herbal Tea and muffins for the simple feast. Spring flowers for decorating.

Decorations: Spring blooms in fresh, new, pastel colors.

Cleanse: With fresh herbal or light floral scents.

Quarters and Aspects: Call Spring Breezes, The Warming Sun, Morning Dew and Fresh Green Earth.

Hearthkeeping matters: Keep the painted eggshell no more than one month, then bury it. If you have made offerings to the quarters, pour them out onto bare earth. Keep the ritual "seeds" with the garden seeds and bury them also in the garden when you plant.

Here is an example of a ritual you may use in your own Eostara observance

Shield Envision a protective "egg" around you in spring colors of green, pink, blue, and yellow. Use your projective hand.

"Protect this child and guard her aim
from any evil, harm, or bane."

Center-- When ready, step into your ritual space.

Cast Circle-- Envision a circle of new budding flowers and fresh spring grass following the tip of your hand, wand, or athame as you cast from your projective hand beginning at the eastern quarter and moving deosil (clockwise).

"In balance now the day and night
are matched in darkness and in light
we bless the seeds of future plans
greet spring again in heart and hands"

Call Quarters Facing East
"Spirit of the spring breeze
stirring new growth
bring now your clarity,
fragrance and hope
Spirit of the air, Welcome."

(light the yellow candle)

Call Quarters -- Facing South
"Spirit of the warm sun
encouraging seedlings
bring now your purity
softly revealing
Spirit of the fire, Welcome."

(light the red candle)

Call Quarters -- Facing West
"Spirit of the soft rain,
gentle and new
bring now your empathy
fresh morning dew
Spirit of the water, Welcome."

(light the blue candle)

Call Quarters -- Facing North
"Spirit of the greening land,
fresh new earth
bring now stability,
richness, and worth.
Spirit of the earth, Welcome."

(light the green candle)

Invoke the Sun raising projective hand in the symbol of the sun (first finger and Little finger extended, like horns, other fingers folded beneath thumb)

"Child grown to Sun Prince
the wonderment of youth
between the worlds come now to me
and lend my rite your truth."

(light the gold candle)

Invoke the Moon raising receptive hand in the symbol of the moon (hold your whole hand in a "c" shape like the crescent moon)

"Maiden of the springtime
innocent delight
between the worlds come now to me
bring wisdom and bring light."

(light the silver candle)

Invoke your Guardian tracing a pentagram in the center of the sand censor or in the air before you with the incense stick

"Eternal spirit within me,
bless this rite with truth and light
and fill me with your charge as I plant
the seeds of my future."

(light the incense)

Complete the circle with your purpose sit or stand as you please

"The circle is cast and we stand between the worlds
beyond the bounds of time.
Birth and death, dark and light
joy and sorrow, day and night
meet here as one.
Blessed be."

"I come now between the worlds
to celebrate the fresh wonderment
and innocence of youth and
to bless the seeds of the future
which begins anew with
this turn of the wheel."

Lay the painted egg on the altar.

"This is a new beginning filled
with the hopes and dreams
and goodness and laughter of childhood."

Visualize a small creature, maybe a butterfly or a dragon, or Pegasus emerging from the egg spreading it's tiny wings to dry. Let it take it's first uncertain steps onto your cupped hands. Infuse it with all the love, laughter, hopes and dreams you had as a child. When ready blow this fledgling into first flight.

"Find a child like me.
Bring her these hopes,
dreams, love and laughter
and make your home
within her heart.
Harming none, this be done."

Lay your seeds for this years gardens on the altar.

"These are new beginnings
filled with life, health,
vigor, and abundance."

Visualize the garden as it grows, ripens, flourishes and reaches harvest.

"Bring to my gardens this life,
health, vigor, and abundance
that it may sustain my hearth and home.
Harming none, this be done."

Take the written "Seeds" for your spiritual garden and place them upon the altar.

"These are new beginnings filled
with success and satisfaction
and growth and knowledge."

Visualize achieving these goals. Do you have more tools? Are you able to wield with greater ease? Do you feel stronger connections? Picture yourself at the peak of your desired power.

"Bring my ritual garden this success,
satisfaction, growth and knowledge
that it may sustain my spirit.
Harming none this be done."

Meditate on the new beginnings that have come to successful fruition in the past. Thank the elemental powers for these past successes. Visualize a growing spring herb like willowbay or dandelion unfurling from the earth, blooming, blossoming, and seeding in a sudden gust of astral wind. Blow or fan these seeds onward yourself and release energy!

Ground (touch something from the earth with your projective hand, or just feel the excess energy drain from your body back through your feet to replenish the earth below you)

Simple Feast---
Herbal tea or Fruity Juice
and cookies or crackers.
Make liquid offerings to the elements.

Thank the Guardian-- Make the sign of the pentagram with smoke from the incense stick (if it is still burning) or trace it in the air before you with your hand, wand, or athame.

"Spirit within me, my thanks for
the blessing of your attendance
at my simple and solitary rite.
Stay or go as you shall please.
Hail and farewell."

Thank the Moon-- raising receptive hand in the symbol of the moon (hold your whole hand in a "c" shape like the crescent moon)

"Gentle Maiden, my thanks
for the blessing of your attendance.
Stay or go as you shall please.
Hail and farewell."

(quench the silver candle)

Thank the Sun -- raising projective hand in the symbol of the sun (first finger and Little finger extended, like horns, other fingers folded beneath thumb)

"Young Sun Prince,
My thanks for the blessing
of your attendance.
Stay or go as you shall please.
Hail and farewell"

(quench the gold candle)

Thank the Quarters -- facing the appropriate directions as you thank and release them and quench each candle as you bid them farewell.

"Earth Spirit of greening land,
Water Spirit of soft rain,
Fire Spirit of warming sun,
Air Spirit of gentle breeze.
My thanks for your attending me,
stay or go as you shall please,
hail and farewell, and blessed be."

Release the Circle -- beginning at the Eastern quarter and moving widdershins (counterclockwise) draw the energy into your receptive hand, wand, or athame. When you have finished re-calling the energy, compress it into a little ball in your receptive hand and absorb it into your body.

"The circle is open
yet still unbroken
merry met,
and merry part,
and merry meet again."

Ground (touch something from the earth with your projective hand, or just feel the excess energy drain from your body back through your feet to replenish the earth below you)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

10 Things About Being Wiccan

1. No conversion or recruitment is necessary.

Wiccans have no insecure compulsion to convert everyone to their way of thinking. People come to Wicca when and if they are ready/interested. Furthermore, you are not required to accept or do anything that you're not comfortable with.

2. No artificial code of morality.

Out of all of the creatures of this Earth, only humans are forced to live under unnatural moral codes. Wiccans believe simply: "An It Harm None, Do As Ye Will."

3. Progressive Reincarnation.

Wiccans believe we are here to learn and to progress, not suffer eternal damnation if we 'slip-up' in someone else's eyes.

4. No Discrimination.

There is no such thing as being the 'right' race, color, gender, sexual orientation, national, or ethnic origin to be Wiccan; ALL ARE WELCOME!

5. No middle man (or woman)

Once you know all of the basics, you can be your own "minister" or "priest", you need never bow before (or rely upon) some religious dictator for spiritual guidance, you go straight to the source.

6. Be yourself.

By sharing a common interest with others in Wicca, you do not lose your identity as an individual. You are unique and can and should stay that way without becoming a blob in a homogeneous mass.

7. No repression.

Wiccans are not forbidden from reading, learning, eating, drinking, or saying anything. You can actually even disagree with someone without being "excommunicated".

8. Contribution

NO!! Not money, but knowledge. The craft has always, and will always be an experimental religion. If it works, we use it. Then share it so that all in the Craft may benefit.

9. No rigid Dogma

Wiccans DO NOT believe that their path is 'The One and Only Path'. The only 'true' path is the one that works best for you. All paths are valid as long as they HARM NONE.

10. Self-empowerment.

Wicca allows you to truly feel your own power, if you will, and a true sense of self. You are 'allowed' to be the best person that you wish to be with all of the love and support that you can possibly hope for. Wicca allows you to take your hopes, dreams, and most heart's desires and manifest them in this reality. All is possible. All is real.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Spiritual Laws of Witchcraft

Witches know that no truths are absolute. There is no one absolute truth for anything. There is no one way to interpret reality, behave, think, or live. Therefore there is no single way to practice magick, pray, celebrate the seasons or spirituality. The idea that there is only one truth to any question leads to fanaticism, compulsion, and persecution.

Witches understand that the Universe is in perfect harmony and balance. Therefore, everything has an equal and opposite, not necessarily equated to a negative. For example: male and female, light and darkness, up and down, positive and negative, left and right.

Witches realize that for every action there is a reaction. Most of us view this as the Law of Karma. Therefore, if you create evil, you will receive evil in return, create good and receive good in return. Harmony begets harmony, evil begets evil, and balance begets balance.

Witches know and realize that we are all one. We are connected. Everything that you do to another, influences yourself either directly or indirectly.

A Witch should never close his or her mind to knowledge of any kind. It is through the continuous process of learning that we raise our personal vibration and our attunement to Deity.

A Witch acknowledges the Magickal Circle as Holy Ground. Therefore, a Witch shall purify him/herself before entering or casting a Circle. All notions of hatred, arguments, or prejudices of any kind have no place within the Circle.

Witches use the energies around themselves to effect change within their lives and the lives of others. These energies are manifest as the 5 Elements---Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit. The Witch becomes a conduit for the Divine and Earthly energies used during Magick and Ritual.

Witches use common sense and wisdom and do not share the Mysteries with common fools. The Mysteries are not to be wasted in this, or any other manner.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Principles of the Wiccan Belief

1. We practice rites to attune ourselves with the natural rhythm of life forces marked by the phases of the Moon and the seasonal Quarters and Cross Quarters.

2. We recognize that our intelligence gives us a unique responsibility towards our environment. We seek to live in harmony with Nature, in ecological balance offering fulfillment to life and consciousness within an evolutionary concept.

3. We acknowledge a depth of power far greater than that apparent to the average person. Because it is far greater than ordinary it is sometimes called "supernatural", but we see it as lying within that which is naturally potential to all.

4. We conceive of the Creative Power in the universe as manifesting through polarity--as masculine and feminine--and that this same Creative Power lies in all people, and functions through the interaction of the masculine and feminine. We value neither above the other, knowing each to be supportive of the other. We value sex as pleasure, as the symbol and embodiment of life, and as one of the sources of energies used in magickal practice and religious worship.

5. We recognize both outer and inner, or psychological, worlds--sometimes known as the Spiritual World, the Collective Unconscious, Inner Planes, etc.--and we see in the interaction of these two dimensions the basis for paranormal phenomena and magickal exercises. We neglect neither dimension for the other, seeing both as necessary for our fulfillment.

6. We do not recognize any authoritarian hierarchy, but do honor those who teach, respect those who share their greater knowledge and wisdom, and acknowledge those who have courageously given of themselves in leadership.

7. We see religion, magick and wisdom-in-living as being united in the way one views the world and lives within it---a world view and philosophy of life which we identify as Witchcraft, the Wiccna Way.

8. Calling oneself "Witch" does not make a Witch---but neither does heredity itself, nor the collecting of titles, degrees and initiations. A Witch seeks to control the forces within her/himself that make life possible in order to live wisely and well, without harm to others and in harmony with Nature.

9. We believe in the affirmation and fulfillment of life in a continuation of evolution and development of consciousness, that gives meaning to the Universe we know, and our personal role within it.

10. Our only animosity towards Christianity, or toward any other religion or philosophy of life, is to the extent that its institutions have claimed to be "the only way," and have sought to deny freedom to others and to suppress other ways of religious practice and belief.

11. As American Witches, we are not threatened by debates on the history of the Craft, the origins of various terms, the origins of various aspects of different traditions. We are concerned with our present and our future.

12. We do not accept the concept of absolute evil, nor do we worship any entity known as "Satan", or the "Devil", as defined by Christian tradition. We do not seek power through the suffering of others, nor do we accept that personal benefit can be derived only by denial to another.

13. We believe that we should seek within Nature that which is contributory to our health and well-being.