Happy and blessed Ostara 2022

by Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram: @thewandcarver

We begin the Sabbat of Ostara with heavy hearts on the one hand, with our friends in Ukraine suffering brutal punishment for something they have not done but we can also find inspiration from these brave people to give us a blueprint for how happiness is so precious and must be honoured. And, it can be found in many ways which have nothing to do with chocolate eggs and bunnies. 

Bouquet of yellow sunflowers in a clay jug on a green background.

Usually, we might place sunflowers on our altars for Litha. Let us do so for Ostara this year.  If you can buy real sunflowers, that would obviously be best, but it is fine to use fake ones if you live where  real ones can’t be found.  You could use sunflower seeds in offering bowls, which is representative of farmers planting seeds. If you are an artist, a painting of a sunflower would be a lovely idea as well. As the sunflower is the national flower of Ukraine, it is a wonderful way of keeping our focus on sending healing and loving thoughts going their way.

Eostre, the goddess of Ostara and Spring, is the very representation of Spring and new beginnings.  It is also Spring Equinox which of course is a change from the dark half of the year over to the light half of the year.  We always hope that new beginnings will be good, however, it may seem to many that the happy new beginnings are not on the table this year. Do not believe it.  We are all going through things, all over the world.   However, I firmly believe that these things will bring us together in ways that we did not envision throughout the pandemic and political upheavals experienced over the last three or more years.

Remember…it is the light half of the year; a new beginning is afoot.  Things will be alright.

Ways to celebrate Ostara

Let us focus then on how we can be the light in each other’s lives and how we can help each other. We can donate money to those who need it most. We can do spells.  We can visit people who need some human companionship [but still wear your masks if visiting elderly and/or immuno-supressed folks].  We can join soup kitchens to cook and serve the homeless. This is a good way to celebrate the feasting that is part of Ostara.  We can do so many things to reach out to those who may need that little bit of human kindness to get through another day.

By helping others, we help ourselves.  Most of us do not go out to help others simply so we get something out of it for ourselves.  I have known a few people who did use doing for others to make themselves feel better and funnily enough, it drove them to do more because the happiness they felt for the doing of these things only made them addicted to doing more.  I call that a win.

If for your own reasons you can not do any of these things perhaps if you can take the time to put forth healing thoughts for others or just ring up someone you know who might be alone to have a chat. This is just as important, perhaps even more so, as anything else. 

What we do not want to do is dwell.  We can not sit and dwell on the bad, we must dwell on the good.  If we focus on the positive outcomes that we wish to see, we will get at least part of it…maybe much more.  Remember the Universe? It listens. 

For the children…

Plush bunnies and chocolate eggs, yes please!   I am not in favour of sugary treats much for young ones [or older ones, either!] but it is Ostara, after all.  As most Wiccan or Pagan families already raise their children with knowledge of Sabbats and the ways of their beliefs and culture, new families of the Pagan community may struggle to help their young ones to understand some aspects of what they believe.  This may be helpful – Ostara Worksheets.  There are 21 pages and look to be easily used by ages 10 and up, some younger depending on the child.  You can find these here – Ostara Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com – KidsKonnect, January 3, 2019

Taking a walk in the countryside with your children is a good way to celebrate. No countryside? Parks are good places to make nature discoveries as well. Even your garden is place of natural discovery. I have no less than thirty naturally growing “weeds” aka worts or herbs, whichever you call them including Chamomile, Nettle, Dandelion, Feverfew and loads of others which I use in my practise, growing in my back garden,. It is how I taught my daughters which ones are useable and which are not.

Whatever you do today to celebrate Ostara, I hope you find joy and peace from the doing of it.  Keep the love going all year round!

Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x

Crystal of the Week, Sunstone

By Isabella @TheWandCarver
Instagram: @thewandcarver

Sunstone
My Sunstones ~ by i.macy

Still keeping up the theme of the upcoming Spring Equinox, I couldn’t help but bring out my Sunstones to talk about this bright and beautiful crystal this week. They can clean away a blue mood straight away – hence my reasoning for talking about them, feeling slightly blue myself today – and keeping them in one’s presence keeps the mood light. Sunstone carries the energy of Ra, the Sun-god, whose energy brings all potential life from within the Earth. What’s not to be happy about with all the new life forming around us this time of year?

Sunstone is a member of the Feldspar family and is named for its warm shades of gold, orange, reds and browns that sparkle like the sun. Inclusions of Goethite or Haematite refract light between the different crystal layers and produce an iridescent effect as the stone is viewed from various angles. Sunstone may be clear and transparent, or opaque. If you have a red Sunstone, you are very lucky, indeed, for they are very rare.

Magickal Uses and Other Things….
Sunstone as mentioned is a fab mood booster. Wear it when you need to feel enthusiastic and happy… or just carry a Sunstone in your pocket. It literally increases vitality in your being. If you have a high energy job, it will serve you well to keep Sunstone upon you for the day ahead. As mentioned, it not only instantly boosts your spirit but maintains it as well.

Those who hold back because of fears and self-doubt may find Sunstone melts away the sense of unworthiness, feelings of being discriminated against, disadvantaged or abandoned. It emanates a rich and positive spectrum of energies that re-balances one’s emotional patterns and encourages optimism and enthusiasm. It can help transform anger into energy and judgment into joy.

Sunstone provides a source of strength if you are dependent on others emotionally or have suffered the sudden loss of a partner. It helps alleviate fearfulness and stress and protects against those who drain your energies or finances. It is also an excellent crystal for phobia sufferers to ease the fear of the dark, enclosed places, or the presence of other triggers. I’m not claustrophobic, however, I have a challenging time spending 40 to 50 minutes in a closed MRI. Sunstone helps me to endure the clanging, banging, and being in this tube unable to move.

Sunstone is an abundance stone. It encourages independence and originality, is inspirational in revealing talents, and attracts fame and unexpected prosperity. It is an excellent “good luck” crystal. Worn as a ring on the receptive hand, Sunstone helps one receive what is needed and desired. On the transmitting hand, it channels multiple healings and blessings to others. If you wish to use our business spell, it would be an excellent talisman to charge and carry to help your business to be more profitable.

Healing
Sunstone warms the body, increasing metabolism, digestion, and vitality. It stimulates self-healing powers, regulating and bringing harmony to all the body’s organs. With its powers of the Sun and light, Sunstone clears and cleanses all the chakras*, restoring joy and nurturing the spirit. It is particularly energising to the Base and Sacral Chakras, stimulating leadership and will, creativity and sexuality. Since ancient times, Sunstone has been used as a grid around the body to relieve cartilage problems, rheumatism, and general aches and pains. Today it is also used to treat osteoarthritis, cramps, fever, various infections, and athletic injury.

Sunstone is used to treat chronic sore throats, and to reduce stomach tension and ulcers. Placed on the Solar Plexus, it is excellent for lifting depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder and is helpful in chasing away nightmares.

Chakras*
The red and brown shades of Sunstone activate the Base, or Root Chakra, located at the base of the spine that controls the energy for kinaesthetic feeling and movement. It is the foundation of physical and spiritual energy for the body. When physically out of balance the symptoms will manifest themselves as lethargy, low levels of activity, low enthusiasm, and a need for constant stimulation. When its spiritual energies are out of balance, you will feel flighty, disconnected from reality, and distant. When the Base Chakra is in balance, the physical body regains its strength and stamina, and the spiritual energy is rekindled in the form of security and a sense of one’s own power. It often leads to independence and spontaneous leadership.

The gold and orange shades of Sunstone identify with the Sacral Chakra, or Second Chakra, located below the navel and above the pubic bone at the front of the pelvis. It controls the flow of energy and is the centre of gravity of the body. It is the centre of the Life Force of the body and controls the flow of information from the body to the mind and from the mind to the body. Gut feelings, intuition, and other “non-linear” communication come from this chakra. When it is out of balance the symptoms will manifest themselves as confusion, over dependency on others, repression of feelings, inability to feel joy, fear of sensuality or sex, and frustration. When it is in balance you have grace, feel pleasure in life, find you are flexible and can “go with the flow” and do so in good spirit.

Correspondences:
Chakras: Base/Root and Sacral
Deity: Ra, Cerridwen
Powers: Healing, Vitality, Prosperity, Sexual, Strength
Element: Fire
Planet: Sun
Astrological: Leo, Libra
Numerical Vibration: 1

Many thanks for reading our blog and warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x

Sources:
Cassandra Eason, The New Crystal Bible [London: Carlton Books Ltd., 2010]
Judy Hall, The Crystal Bible [Cincinnati, OH: Walking Stick Press, 2003]
Judy Hall, The Crystal Bible 2 [Cincinnati, OH: Walking Stick Press, 2009]

The Magickal Gorse Tree

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram: @thewandcarver

Gorse Ogham Onn
Gorse Ogham

I have been saving Gorse for Spring. Yes, I am a week early but I have other plans for that day. Gorse is an ogham tree, but not a Celtic Birth Tree. It is the symbol of the Spring Equinox… the beginning of Ostara/Eostra. Gorse is the second vowel of the ogham and it is called “onn”. There are several folk names for Gorse, but it seems “Furze” is most predominately used. It is a perennial evergreen shrub belonging to the pea family. It forms a much-branched, stunted shrub usually no taller than six feet high, therefore, I almost want to call it an ogham shrub, but it is still considered a tree. The plant’s thorns and its dense habit make Gorse/ Furze an excellent hedging plant. It can also be used as a barrier to protect young tree seedlings in coppices. The thorny nature of the plant means that it is often viewed as having protective powers. In Wales, it was said to guard against witches. The flowers are a deep yellow and have a pungent coconut scent. Although the main flowering period is from March to August, flowers can be found on bushes throughout the year. This lengthy flowering led to the country saying: when the Gorse is out of bloom, kissing is out of fashion.

Gorse9AW
healingherbs.co.uk

As well as its use as a hedging material, furze was traditionally gathered into faggots and used as tinder to start fires. In 1864 it was cultivated in Surrey and other English counties especially for this purpose, being popular with bakers to whom it was sold as fuel for their ovens. The bark and flowers produce a fine yellow dye. In Eire the flowers were also used to flavour and add colour to whiskey and the Danes were reputed to use them to make beer. They can also be used to make wine and tea. Flower buds collected and potted with a blade of mace and some peppercorns, in white wine vinegar and salt solution, make a fine pickle.

[Nicholas] Culpepper states in his Herbal, that Gorse was good to open obstructions of the liver and spleen.

A decoction made with the flowers therof hath been found effectual against the jaundice and also to provoke urine, cleanse the kidneys from gravel or stone ingendered in them.”

Nicholas Culpeper was a seventeenth-century English botanist, herbalist, physician, and astrologer. Published over 350 years ago as a practical health guide, The Complete Herbal (1653), is still the most complete and definitive herbal available today. It contains a rich store of pharmaceutical and herbal knowledge, including herbs and where to find them, herb preparation, plasters, and much more.

Medicinal properties:
There is a Bach Flower Remedy that is given to the hopeless, those who feel they are beyond help or suffer a serious illness. “Greenman Essence of Gorse” helps ease frustration, restlessness, and jealousy, and helps promote emotional security and a feeling of deep inner joy.   Edward Bach was an English homoeopath in the 1930s.

Gorse flowers are high in protein and can be eaten raw in salads, made into fruit tea, cordial or syrup. It adds extra flavour and colour to beer, wine or spirits, and a whole range of sweet delights like chocolate and ice cream. The buds can be pickled in vinegar and eaten like capers. Don’t overeat! The plant contains slightly toxic alkaloids.

Gorse has surprisingly few medicinal uses, though its flowers have been used in the treatment of jaundice, scarlet fever, diarrhoea and kidney stones.

Magickal properties:
Herb of Love, Protection against evil. Restoration of Faith, Hope and Optimism. Gathering of Strength. It also attracts gold, so it is used in money spells.

Associated with love, protection, romance, and weddings. Used to further the romance of a consensual relationship. Protects against negativity and dark magick.

Carve the name “Gorse” into a gold or yellow candle. Face east, light the candle, and meditate on the light. Ask for protection, money, love, whatever it has to offer that you desire

In Wales hedges of the prickly gorse are used to protect the home against fairies, who cannot penetrate the hedge.

Correspondences:
Planet: Mercury, The Sun
Element: Fire
Colour: Yellow and Gold
Bird: Cormorant, Harrier Hawk
Stone: Topaz
Deity: Lugh, Celtic God of light and genius
Folk Names: Broom, Frey, Furze, Gorst, Goss, Prickly Broom, Ruffett, Whin

Thy yellow blooms – oh, they to me Are gold and sunshine blent together – Moses Teggart 1908

Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x

Sources:

Culpeper’s English Physician: And Complete Herbal (Classic Reprint) by Nicholas Culpepper

The Bach Flower Remedies, by Edward Bach, 1998 reprint

Druidry.org

Wikipedia.org