Family

By Patrick McCleary

The old story teller paused for a moment to collect his thoughts and puff on his pipe. He looked around at the audience before him, all his grandchildren and he smiled. Then he said, “Now the kiss has wakened the sleeping maiden, but the Earth has been sleeping with her too long. So together the God, King of Sun and Oak and his consort the Maiden of Spring prepare to work the magick required to bring about the springtime and the growth of the plants and animals.

“After deep thought the Goddess and God gathered together the Faeries of the land and made plans to gather together all the eggs in the land. Then, the plan was, they would boil and color the eggs to draw upon the magick of the eggs. Which they would then spread among the lands, bringing new life and springtime.

“But as they gathered the eggs and colored them, they didn’t realize, until to late, that the Trickster was stealing the eggs a little at a time. So before they knew it that sly fox, the cunning coyote had stolen all the eggs and hidden them all over the land.

“As often happens though, the plans of the Trickster wind up tricking and fooling him in the end. For as he scattered the eggs so did he scatter the magick all over the land. Now as you can guess this made the magick work better than the original plan. For the magick was scattered pure all over the land.

“So you see children this is why we hide the eggs after we color them to take the role of the Trickster. We help the Gods spread and work the magick of Springtime.”  “But, grandfather,” asked one of the the children at his feet. “Did they ever find the eggs?”

Laughing the grandfather nodded and answered, “Why yes they did. Then they had a great feast. But the strange thing was that the only people in all the land that could find the eggs were the little children and the Faeries themselves. So that is why you children look for the eggs.”
“But grandfather,” asked one of the children, “what happened next?”

“Well now the eggs, once lost and now found, were cleaned and polished to a high gleam. Almost like gems they looked their, laid out at the feet of the Sun King and the Goddess. Then all kinds of creatures from all across the land, from the birds that fly high into the sky to the moles that burrow within the earth, joined hands and began to dance a circle dance around the Goddess and God and the newly shined eggs. Faster and faster they spun, raising the energy of love and light and of new hope. Around and around the animals spun crying out in their voices both small and large songs of joy until at last, when they could no longer keep dancing, they fell down laughing and magickally around them the Earth turned green and fertile. The last of the snows that were upon the ground melted and finally Spring was here. And for a moment peace rested upon the Earth, the lamb laid down with the lion and was safe. And the children marveled to see all of this. Knowing that they had seen the sacredness in nature.

“Seeing them, the Sun King gathered the little children to him and blessed them and told them about the magick that they had just witnessed. That this magick must be done each year by not only the animals of the Earth but by the people of the Earth also. And if the children will look closely when they dance they may just see Faeries darting between them in joy. Then the Goddess spoke and said that if the children worked this magick, then they would receive the gifts of the season on the morning of Ostara.

“Now you see children this is why when you wake on Ostara morning that you will oftentimes find a basket with gifts of candies and the such that represent Springtime. You see the chocolate bunny represents new life and young children, the hope that the Earth will continue on. The hot cross bun represents the balance of the Seasons, for you see Spring is a midpoint between the cold of Winter and the heat of Summer. And if you get any eggs then they represent the promise of new life that comes with each new Spring.
“So be thankful on Ostara morning and dance for joy. Dance the circle round and hunt for eggs and know that if you look closely then you too may see Faeries dancing around you. Go now little children play and let me rest. I will tell you another story tomorrow.”

And with this the little children went off in search of faeries in the woods around their home.

By Patrick McCleary

Preparation

Start this ritual in silence and darkness lit by a single candle, black or a dark color would be good but is not necessary. Have your children take a moment to still themselves and focus on their breath. Guide them if needed. Breath In, Breath Out. Breath In, Breath Out.

Tell them that tonight you are going to call on the Goddess. Not as the Mother but as Her Mother, the Grandmother. That tonight is a night to listen. For the Grandmother loves to tell stories and through them provide wisdom to the people of the Earth. Take a moment to answer any questions that they may have.

Circle Casting

Have all join hands and still their thoughts. Let the first to speak say;

From Me to You; followed by the next person saying
From You to Me
and repeat until all have said both lines.
For the purpose of tonight’s ritual have the chant move widdershins (counter-clockwise) around the circle of people.

Then when it gets back to the first let them say;

The Circle is Cast and the Temple is raised.
So Mote It Be! (All can repeat)

Quarter Calling

Start tonight in the West the direction of sunsets and endings. Have a cup of water there and have all take a small drink. Have all think about the water and how much we need it.

In the West we call Water.
May we have the vision tonight
To see inside its murky depths.

Now move to South where you have a candle ready to be lit. Light it now. And have all focus on its flame. Carefully let them feel its heat.

In the South we call Fire.
May it light our way
To find wisdom tonight.

Next we come to the East. Have a fan here and wave it at all present so that they can feel the presence of air.

In the East we call Air.
May it clear all obstacles that seek
To block us in our search.

Finally we come to the North. In my practice I like to have a bowl of patchouli here so that we can smell it and be reminded about the Earth.

In the North we call Earth.
May it grant us the strength
To face the wisdom granted us.

Ritual Body

Now you can read the Song of the Grandmother. Feel Her join you in Circle this night as you read.

Song of the Grandmother

Come nearer my grandchildren. Gather in close and listen to the words of my song. I sing of my life. Long has that life been yet its end is near.


My names are many. I have been called Cerridwen, Baba Yaga, Hecate, Morgana and by many other names. I am wisdom embodied and all of life’s knowledges resides with me. Be heartened and know that I watch over you always.


So if you seek wisdom, advice, or knowledge come and ask. But do not mock me because I am old. For once was I young and beautiful. Once was I the Maiden daughter and the Mother. And to some I am those people still. So listen well and learn my lessons.


Listen for my stories in the wind. Look for me in the weaving of the winter bare branches and hear my ancient voice singing in the crackle of the fire.

If your children are old enough, you can spend some time scrying whether it is with the candle on the altar or a fire, if you are lucky enough to have a yard or space to have one.

To finish up have a goblet full of some dark juice. And hold it up the sky and say:

Grandmother, Grandmother shine on us
Imbue this goblet with your darkling rays
So as we drink we can find answers
So Mote It Be!

Then all can drink after asking, silently or aloud, the question(s) that they need answers to.

When all have finished you can do Cakes and Juice to ground or feast afterwards.

Cakes and Juice

Touch the plate of cookies or cakes and say; Flesh of my Flesh
Then touch the juice in the goblet and say; Blood of my Blood

We are of Them as They are of us.
Joined in Love and Light
Married in Strength and Truth
Showered in Power and Blessings
We Drink from Her womb
We Eat from His hand

Drink from the chalice and then eat from the plate of food feeling Their Love and Strength.
So that we always remember our Love for Them and Their Love for Us
Pour out a libation and leave some food for the Earth and for the Gods.

Closing

Grandmother we thank your for your presence
This evening as we came to honor you
And to seek wisdom.
Hail and Farewell! (All can repeat)

Return to the North;

Element of Earth we thank you for your presence
Hail and Farewell! (All can repeat)

East

Element of Air we thank you for your presence
Hail and Farewell! (All can repeat)

South

Element of Fire we thank you for your presence
Hail and Farewell! (All can repeat)

West

Element of Water we thank you for your presence
Hail and Farewell! (All can repeat)

To close circle have all join hands. And the first to speak at the casting releases his grip on his left hand and says; We open the Circle.
Moving deosil (clockwise) have each member repeat until the chant moves back to the first person. Who says; But we remain a Circle. Family united in spirit. Circle open but unbroken.

Then have all have a group hug. Remembering that we are all one family.

 

By Danielle McCleary

 

Ok all you crafty witches! Here is a fun thing to do for Ostara.

You will need:

  • a balloon
  • paper
  • flour
  • and paint
  • easter egg grass
  • candy
  1. Blow up the balloon to the size you want.
  2. Make a paper mache paste by mixing 3 cups water and 1 cup flour.
  3. Tear the paper in strips; newspaper works best but any paper will do.
  4. Soak each strip in the paper mache paste and place on the balloon the thicker the layers of the paper the stronger the egg.
  5. When done allow to dry usually takes 2 days depending on how thick it is.
  6. When dry decorate egg how you like.
  7. Finally cut out a hole and place easter grass inside and then fill with candy.

 

By Patrick McCleary

One of the most iconic symbols of Ostara is the painted egg. But for those of us concerned with using synthetic dyes or just don’t want to waste the eggs, what are we supposed to do? Well rest assured there are natural alternatives.

Below is a list of some of these natural dyes. The trick is to add about 2 tsp of white vinegar to the water before boiling. When the water begins to boil then carefully add the eggs and your coloring materials. To get different shades you will have to experiment with how much material you will add. And how long you boil the eggs and natural dyes together. I recommend to simmer for at least 20 minutes.

  • Red/pink: paprika
  • Purple: concentrated grape juice (Welch’s works nicely, about half a can)
  • Yellow: Skins (only) of a half dozen yellow onions
  • Gold: Curry powder or tumeric
  • Light green: frozen chopped spinach (1/3 to 1/2 package)
  • Blue: 1 Cup frozen blueberries (with juice)

If you want to put images or sigils on the eggs you can draw these symbols (before putting them in boiling water) on the eggs with a wax crayon and when you are done the images will show up as white. Here is a small list of suggestions for what symbols to put on your eggs and their meanings;

  • Circles: Protection, everlasting life, continuity, completeness. The Sun, and cycles of life.
  • Suns: The life-giving, all embracing nature of God, especially as the Sun is seen as the God. Fire and warmth, enchantment, prosperity, good fortune.
  • Curls: Protection.
  • Spirals: Mystery of life and death, divinity and immortality.
  • Crosses: These are usually equal-armed crosses, though not always. Represents the four directions, the four ages of man, the four elements, rebirth and eternal life.
  • Eternity Bands: Dividing elements on the eggs such as meanders for harmony, motion, infinity, immortality. Waves for wealth, rain. Lines and ribbons for the thread of life or eternity.
  • Triple Moon for the Goddess
  • The symbol of the Horned One
  • The Triskele

Good Luck and Blessed Be!