Spring Equinox, Ostara: Southern Hemisphere

Midway through Spring!
This is the time of equal day and equal night, the balance of light and dark,
and so at this time we have the chance to invite balance into our lives.

Add this to the energy of Spring, and as we see in our gardens, we also have the opportunity for new growth, fresh starts and new beginnings.  Now would be the appropriate time for the Easter Egg hunt!

The trees have come back to life, blossoms are blooming, the grass is growing, the sprouts are ‘taking off’, growth is everywhere! Beautiful smells, sprite-liness and baby animals…
During Spring, everywhere in nature, we see and feel and hear, the energy, the pulse, the sound of new growth.

And so we have the opportunity to consciously align with this energy
and ‘use’ it to fuel whatever new beginnings we are creating in our lives.

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The Spring Equinox & Ostara

Ostara is a modern Neopagan festival. It is loosely based on several holidays which were celebrated around the spring equinox. The modern holiday does not have a strong relation to any known historical Pagan religious observation.

In the northern hemisphere, the end of March is the focus for a number of religious and traditional celebrations. As the sun appears to cross the earth’s equator on the 20th or 21st of March, entering the Zodiacal sign of Aries, day and night will be equal in length. This astronomical phenomenon is a day anciently revered amongst Pagan peoples. Their festivals included Alban Elfed, the Teutonic festival in honour of Eostre, Roman Hilaria Matris Deûm, Welsh Gwyl Canol Gwenwynol (‘Day of the Gorse’), the Christian Feast of the Annunciantion of the Virgin Mary (Lady Day) as well as Easter itself. The Wiccan Eostar (Ostara) Sabbat (one of the four lesser Wiccan holidays or sabbats of the Wheel of the Year) is a more recent addition to the Spring time festivities.

Here in the southern hemisphere the spring equinox will fall this year on Tuesday September 23, 2008 at 1:44AM. Many southern hemisphere pagans choose to celebrate Ostara when it is seasonally appropriate, in September, rather than following the northern dates.

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Ostara (Spring/Vernal Equinox) Sept 20-23

Northern Hemisphere Date: March (20-23)
Also known as Eostre.

The Equinoxes are the balancing points in the cycle of the seasons, when the day and night are of equal length, reminding us of the harmony of the whole. Buds of flowers and leaf, all manner of eggs and just-born life are celebrated in decorations and imagery as Pagans rejoice in the Earth’s reawakening. The urge of spring is to do, create and bring in the new. Here light overcomes darkness with lengthening days bringing the magic of new growth. Ostara is associated with childhood and new life, and the God and Goddess are perceived as children, personifying youth and innocence before their entry into adulthood. The Goddess, as the Maiden, covers the earth with flowers and love while the God grows to maturity. This is a time to honour the masculine and to celebrate everything that is great about being alive.

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The Hidden Occult History of Moldavite

Moldavite is a very popular stone among witches, mystics and healers. It is considered a high vibrational stone, so much in fact that the term “Moldavite Flush” was coined for the experience of the energetic warmth that tends to flood many people when holding it. The stone today is believed to enhance psychic and healing abilities, give access to the Akashic Records, accelerate the personal evolution of the light body, induces astral projection and shamanic journeying and open one up to higher levels of compassion. Moldavite is believed to stimulate all the chakras, with particular focus on the heart chakra. Just as moldavite is the union of heaven and earth, so is the heart chakra the union of higher and lower chakras. However, it has a rich history in occult lore that many are unaware of.

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The ‘Dark’ Side of Paganism and Witchcraft: Death, Curses, and the Otherworld

A witch dressed in all black sits in front of her altar, lit candles, bones, and a cauldron adorn it. She takes an athame and cuts open her hand to provide blood for her magic. Speaking an ancient language, she casts curses and hexes upon her enemies. – Now be honest, this is what you probably think of when you hear the word “witch”, most people and even Pagans are guilty of thinking this.

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Seekers and Guides: The Three Degrees of Wicca

Wicca has changed a great deal from its founding in its modern form with the New Forest Coven.  Once, degrees and initiations were an essential part of the practice, but now, with solitaries and eclectics outnumbering most other forms of Wicca, such ways have been almost forgotten.  Most Witches today do not understand the purpose or need for initiations.  They tend to view them as excuses for “trad Witches” to be arrogant and hierarchical.  Unfortunately, even some initiated Witches seem to see it that way.  My background includes eclectic and solitary practice, as well as initiation in two very different traditions, so I thought I ought to take some time to explain what initiation and the Three Degrees of Wicca are all about.

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Seeking the Liminal: It Starts as a Search for Self

Everything that is creative is spiritual. It can be argued that the reverse applies—everything that is spiritual is creative. Which isn’t to say that spiritual means religious, because that’s not it at all. Rather, creativity taps into something liminal; a venn diagram centered between reality and imagination and, when good, blends them into a seamless space.

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Agathos Daimon

Agathos Daimon means “good spirit” and is a religious observance held on the second day of each lunar month, immediately following the Noumenia.  It is the third celebration of a trio of household monthly observances.  A good spirit usually refers to a type of divine being that is less powerful than a God, is personal to each family, and can bring the family good luck, protection, or some type of assistance.  Household spirits are usually seen as either snakes or a s a young man with a horn of plenty in hand.  

I celebrate the Agathos Diamon by pouring a libation to the spirit and asking for his continued blessings on our family.  If there is something in particular that our family wishes help with, I may give an additional offering to our family’s protective spirit.  Although I know I can always approach the Gods directly, the Agathoi Diamones are seen to be helpful intermediaries between the Gods and man.  

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This Is Witchcraft: That Which Cannot Be Named

Something Worth Witching For.

To attempt to define witchcraft is like trying to capture smoke or bottle moonlight.  It is constantly changing, shifting and evading definition.  Just when we think we have captured its essence another veil is lifted only to reveal a deeper mystery.  The answer to this question will never suffice to capture what witchcraft is in its entirety.  Any verbal or written definition will be superficial; a finite container attempting to contextualize something infinite.  Even the most eloquent descriptions of the art of witchcraft leave something to be desired.  Human language, especially English, does not have the nuance to capture something that can only be experienced.

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The Practice of Esoteric Herbalism

When many people begin exploring the world of magic, myth and legend one of the first places they turn to is plant magic.  There are hundreds of resources on plant based practices, herbalism, and the creation of botanical preparations for both healing and ritual.  Some people are interested in the chemical components of plants, others look to their astrological and elemental correspondences or the large body of plant folklore.  There are numerous authors that write on the many different facets of plant based practices, and there are still many that are yet to be explored.  New ways of working with ancient plants are being revealed and practitioners are finding that there are new plants waiting to be discovered and worked with.  The practice and process of esoteric herbalism is about exploring the subtle nature of plants and how they can be worked with in a ritual setting.  Plants can open us up to new insights about ourselves and the world around us, and act as magical catalysts that enhance our own working through their unique combination of energies.

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