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(September 13, 2008)
Ostara is one of the four lesser Wiccan holidays or sabbats of the Wheel of the Year. Ostara is celebrated on the spring equinox, in the Northern hemisphere around March 21 and in the Southern hemisphere around September 23, depending upon the specific timing of the equinox. Among the Wiccan sabbats, it is preceded by Imbolc and followed by Beltane.
In the book Eight Sabbats for Witches by Janet and Stewart Farrar, the festival Ostara is characterized by the rejoining of the Mother Goddess and her lover-consort-son, who spent the winter months in death. Other variations include the young God regaining strength in his youth after being born at Yule, and the Goddess returning to her Maiden aspect. Celebrating the new life and fertility of the land.
Ostara celebrates renewed life in many forms; eggs, a symbol of rebirth, are painted in bright colours and used in sacred rites before being eaten. Baby animals, especially chickens, ducks, and rabbits, are symbolic of the season. It celebrates the returning fertility after the dormant winter months. It is customary to take walks through parks, make daisy chains and celebrate nature. Place a small pot plant on the Altar and decorate yourself with fresh flowers during Ostara rituals. An Old Teutonic custom has people wearing new clothes that they have made to Ostara festivals. A good time to plant new crops. Ostara is a time to start anew. One traditional spell to do a week before Ostara is to write down of all injustices you have done to family and friends. Spend the week trying to set them right and restore balance. Pay back debts, apologise etc. When you have done them, burn the paper and symbolically "wipe the slate clean". Keep an acorn from the previous Mabon and plant it at Ostara. This represents that which you wish to see grow with the turning of the Wheel of the Year. A time of new beginnings.
Other names: Eostar, Spring Equinox
Aphrodite: the Greek Goddess of love, beauty, procreation, pleasure and sexual rapture. In the Roman pantheon she is known as Venus.
The most favoured story of her birth comes from Hesiod. It is said she was born when Uranus was castrated by his son Cronus. Cronus threw his fathers severed genitals into the ocean from which the sea began to churn around them. From the "aphros" (sea foam) arose a most beautiful maiden, Aphrodite. Zeus was afraid that the Gods would fight over Aphrodite because of her amazing beauty that he decided to marry her off to the smith God Hephaestus. Aphrodite was not happy at all being the wife of a dirty, hard working God, she saw him as beneath her. Hephaestus couldn't believe his luck though, and used his smithcraft skills to make lavish jewels for her. He made her a girdle of finely wrought gold and wove magick into the filigree. This was a bad mistake on his part because no man could resist her when she wore it and she was all too irresistable already.
Aphrodite loved, and was loved, by many Gods and mortals. The most famous of her mortal lovers was Adonis. With Adonis, Aphrodite bore a daughter named Beroe.
Women and men turned to her for aid to ease their longing. She was seen as gentle, fierce, pure, whorish, unpredictable, complex, fickle, steadfast and above all beautiful.
Most associated with Aphrodite are the dove, apple, scallop shell and mirror.
Powers/Qualities: Wisdom, transformation, communication, love, eloquent & persuasive speech, birth-life-death, fate, fertility and prophecy.
Patron of: Children, midwifery, sexual mysteries & mysticism, hunting, arts, culture, peace and unity.
Terms derived from her name:
Adonis; Greek God of desire. He is an annually-renewed, ever-youthful vegetation god, a life-death-rebirth deity whose nature is tied to the calendar.
The most commonly known version of Adonis' birth is that his mother Myrrha was in love with her own father Theias. In the darkness Myrrha coupled with her father without him realizing it was his own daughter. The scheme was helped along with Myrrha's nurse. When Theisas discovered he hate mated with his own daughter he flew into a rage and pursued her with a knife. Aphrodite came to her rescue and turned her into a pregnant Myrrh tree. When the tree split open, Adonis was born from it. He was so beautiful that Aphrodite hid him in a chest and sent to him to be kept safely in the hands of Persephone in the Underworld. Persephone though, like Aphrodite, was entranced with his beauty and refused to give him back. An argument ensued between the two Goddesses as to who would have Adonis. In the end Zeus stepped in and decided that Adonis would spend 4 months with Aphrodite, 4 months with Persephone and would have the remaining 4 months to himself. Aphrodite has him in the Spring and Summer and during Autumn and Winter he goes down into the Underworld to live with Persephone.
Ares, who was smitten with Aphrodite, was furious that she had a gorgeous mortal lover. He turned himself into a boar and killed Adonis with his tusks. Aphrodite was devastated and begged for Adonis to be brought back from death. Her request was granted and now Adonis spends 6 months each with Aphrodite and Persephone.
Entering the circle from the Western Quarter; before each person enters they are asked, "Do you enter this circle in perfect love and perfect trust?" In response their foreheads are anointed with saltwater.
Casting the circle...
(all to say)
The new day dawns in the east. Visions of blue skies fuel our minds and fields of flowers fill our lungs. The morning breeze flows over us, giving us clarity and inspiration as we call in the eastern quarter.
Paralda, Ruler of Air
The noon day sun warms us in the north. Visions of the desert brimming with life in such harsh conditions empower us with determination and courage. With passion in our bellies we call in the northern quarter.
Djin, Ruler of Fire
As the sun sets in the west, we envision the ebb and flow of the ocean; the rain and the waterfalls as they wash over and cleanse us. Our emotions are heightened and we strive for the love of the self and others. With great desire in our hearts we call in the western quarter.
Necksa, Ruler of Water
Midnight has arrived in the south. This is a time of stillness and grounding. We think of the expansive forest, the seeds of growth. From here we can manifest our hearts desires. With confidence in our soul we call in the southern quarter.
Gob, Ruler of Earth
Self Love and Acceptance
Meditation: A rose quartz (or amethyst) crystal is chosen to be held during the meditation. Intent is placed into the crystal afterwards with information received from the Goddess with what needs to be worked on to achieve self love and acceptance.
Take a few deep breaths. Relax your body now, starting from the top of your head moving to the bottoms of your feet. From you head, down to your shoulders, down your chest and arms, down your belly, your buttocks and thighs, down your legs and to your feet. With each breath you take you move further into relaxation.
I want you to imagine a beam of pink light shining down from the heavens, washing over you and through you. As this happens, breathe the light in deeply. As it washes through you, slowly your chakras begin to open, starting at the base. The red base chakra opens allowing the pink light to flow through and cleanse it. The orange of the sacral chakra now begins to open, as the pink light flows through, opening and cleansing it. Moving up to the yellow of the solar plexus, the light washes through, opening and cleansing it. Now moving up to the green of the heart chakra, cleansing and opening as the pink light washes through it. Up to the sky blue of the throat chakra, now also beginning to open as the light cleanses it. Moving up now to the indigo of the brow chakra, opening and cleansing. Finally arriving at the violet of the crown as the pink light flows through opening and cleansing it before dispersing out the top of your head and flowing down and around you like a waterfall.
You slowly stand and step through this curtain of beautiful pink light into a glorious oasis. As you look around you notice the most spectacular gardens you have ever seen. The colours of the flowers are so vibrant and varied. Soft music plays in the background. In the centre of all this amazing scenery is a large round pool of salt water. On four sides are cherub statues all pointing inwards with water flowing from their fingertips into the pool. Nearby stands a temple and from the entrance appears a handful of beautiful maidens who giggle and frolic about, throwing rose petals in their wake. They make their way over to you, showering you as well. You feel the softness and beauty of the rose petals as they flow over your head and body. Your lungs are filled with their sweet and sensual aroma. Some of the maidens scatter petals into the pool before you. They all look around toward the temple and out from it walks Adonis. He is escorted over to you by one of the maidens. He approaches you, greets you with a loving embrace and then stands to your left. All of the maidens now encircle the pool and everyone quietens, looking on with great anticipation. The water in the pool begins to churn, seemingly going faster and faster before abruptly stopping. Suddenly the water seems to suck into the centre of the pool and rising out of it atop a white scallop shell stands the most beautiful woman you have ever laid eyes upon. You step forward with Adonis. You reach out your right hand, as he reaches out with his left, to allow the Goddess Aphrodite to step down off her shell podium to you. She greets you with a kiss and loving embrace. With Adonis still on your left and Aphrodite now on your right, you take a walk through the gardens and admire their splendor, together. Your senses devouring everything that surrounds you. Somewhere in the gardens is a special spot that Aphrodite would like to take you to. There you will sit and talk a while, about life and love. To truly love another, you must first learn to love yourself.
Aphrodite will present you with one key thing for you, personally, to work on to achieve this. Remember this as it is very important.
I will leave you now in her loving hands and when it is time, I will call you back.
It is time now to say goodbye to Aphrodite and Adonis. You thank Aphrodite for her wisdom and hold onto the thought of the piece of information she has given you to work upon. You make your way back to the pool and notice the curtain of beautiful pink light that you originally walked through. Step back through it now. You find yourself now back in the hall and slowly back into your body. Starting from the crown, you now begin to gently close each chakra. From the crown, down to the brow, from the brow down to the throat, from the throat, down to the heart, from the heart, down to the solar plexus, from the solar plexus, down to the sacral and finally, leaving the base chakra open. Slowly now, start wiggling your fingers and toes, stretch your arms and legs and when you are ready, open your eyes.
Take a moment now to put the intent of the information you received from Aphrodite into the crystal you are holding in your hands. This will be a reminder for you.
CAKES & ALE
Consisting of Apple Cider and Chocolate. The Goddess & God representatives walk the circle offering each to every person asking, "Do you accept our gift of love to you?"
ALWAYS LOVE AND ACCEPT YOURSELF
Gob, Ruler of Earth
Necksa, Ruler of Water
Djin, Ruler of Fire
Paralda, Ruler of Air
May this circle be open but unbroken
May the peace of the Goddess be ever in our hearts.
Merry Meet and Merry Part
And Merry Meet again.
* This ritual is a combination of the author's original ideas and information obtained from various books and/or internet sources.