Monday, March 18, 2013

Ostara Lore and Legend

Hey everyone!

Well it's getting close now to the Ostara celebration for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. Since it's happening this week I wanted to do a post or two about all things Ostara.

Ok so Ostara is the celebration that lands on the spring equinox which happens on Wednesday, March 20 this year. The name Ostara is derived from the name of a Germanic goddess called Eostre, who is also the namesake of Easter (though that is a story for another day). Eostre is the goddess of springtime and flowers and much of what we know about Eostre comes from the Venerable Bede's Temporum Ratione which was written about thirteen hundred years ago. According to this April is known as Eostremonth and the goddess Eostre is honored as the patron goddess of the spring. Unfortunately no Germanic, or Norse, mythologies show any reference to Eostre so her existence is contested by some. Regardless she stands as a symbol of fertility and new life at this time.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Spring Has Sprung I am finally going to get back into the swing of things and start posting again...YAY!!!

This is pretty late but I wanted to post something about Imbolc and its tradition and lore.

Imbolc (also spelled Imbolg or Oimelc) refers to the cross-quarter or the halfway mark between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox and celebrates the beginning of spring and the return of daylight.

Though the terms are often used interchangeably, Imbolc is not the same festival as Candlemas. Imbolc is celebrated on January 31-February 1 and is of Gaelic origin while Candlemas is celebrated on February 2 and is of Roman Catholic origin. Within the Roman Catholic church, it is tradition to purify a mother forty days after the birth of a son. February 2 is exactly forty days after the birth of Jesus and this day celebrates the purification of Mary and the presentation of the newborn Jesus.

So back to Imbolc! Like I said before, Imbolc is the festival marking the beginning of spring. It is one of the four Celtic festivals that we have record of, the others being Samhain, Beltaine, and Lughnassadh. Originally Imbolc was directly associated with the lambing season, the time of the year when the ewes begin to lactate. Because it is a festival celebrating hearth, home, spring and light, common traditions involve hearthfires, purification and cleansing rituals, and kitchen magicks. Candles are also a common sight during this festival to celebrate the lengthening days and the return of daylight and warmth.

This festival is most closely associated with the Gaelic goddess Brighid (Brigit, Brid, Brighde, Bridget) also known as Saint Brighid in Catholicism. Legend says that Brighid would visit the households of the virtuous on Imbolc Eve and bless those within. Items of clothing would be left outside in homes that Brighid would bless the cloth and bestow upon them powers of healing and protection. The ashes of the nights fire would be raked smooth and checking the next dawn to see if Brighid's mark would appear.

The main reoccuring concept of Imbolc is the return of light and the beginning of spring. This is a time to focus on new beginnings, fresh starts, and life in general. Do some spring cleaning, take some time to meditate on what you want to change this year, go outside to experience the sights and sounds of Mother Earth reawakening after her winter slumber.

This is all for now, I'll be back though.
As always blessed be!