Let me start by saying that I love books. Books of any kind….my favorites are books that stir the imagination or cause one to think or fantasize. I love books that you can share with other adults…but more than that…with those witchlings that may be watching us as we practice the Craft. I think that is why I love one book in particular, this time of year. It is Edain McCoy’s Ostara: Customs, Spells & Rituals for the Rites of Spring. In this book, I was re-introduced to Ostara just as one might see an old friend through new eyes. It always helps me to go back at this time of year and see again what symbols and rites and other magick comes with this season of greening.
When I was a child, this time of year brought a renewed excitement for me. My family was never overly religious, so springtime always meant the arrival of the Easter Bunny and colored eggs was imminent. This, in my opinion was even more exciting than Santa. I was taught by my granny at an early age to smell the air and to feel the earth. She told me over and over again that I would always be able to smell the seasons changing and that I would know by the feeling of the Earth Mother’s belly when the birthing was going to happen.
I learned early on to recognize the signs that spring was around the corner. I remember dragging granny out of the house by her skirt-tails to see the tiny green leaves on the hydrangea or the necks of the daffodils bent reverently…holding the heavy bloom that couldn’t wait to show itself. I remember the heady smell of hyacinth that hadn’t quite bloomed yet, but was so anxious to show itself that its scent preceded it out of the sheath.
I finally finished putting my Ostara altar together yesterday. There were a few things I was waiting on. A friend had promised delivery of some blown out quail eggs and an antler. I was so excited to see the box sitting inside the courtyard Friday that I could hardly contain myself. I arranged some of the eggs carefully into a wooden bowl onto some lime green reindeer moss that I had and put the antler behind it. I pulled out two of my favorite lavender-colored candles that are scented with jasmine, put some of my favorite amethysts and other crystals around…as well as my ‘keys to success.’ I lit the candles and just sat in front of the altar absorbing the peace and power that flooded the room.
Growing up, I remember the feelings that Easter stirred in me. Many times, we would go as a family to a local sunrise service given by one of the many churches in the area. One service that remains vivid in my brain was one called the ‘God/ Goddess of Creation.’ The service was done in the midst of a field and during the prayer we were all encouraged to close our eyes and take in the sounds and smells of creation around us. The service was presented by a female pastor who included the Goddess in all of her sermons….thinking back, I am quite amazed that my parents allowed us to stay and be a part of it…..and I also know that this was my first exposure to the thought that if, indeed, there is a God, that there must also be a Goddess. Needless to say, I took that and ran with it.
I haven’t been feeling well this weekend. It is just a cold brought on by the change in seasons. I have lived the past few days hopped up on Alka Seltzer Plus Cold and Elderberry Tea. More than anything, it is just an inconvenience….but I have been sleeping in in the mornings. Last night around midnight, I felt the need to go to the woods. I have found that when the woods call, I have to listen. I sneaked out while everyone was just starting to doze off. I carried my flashlight and necessities. I could feel dampness moving in and knew that today would bring rainshowers. As I walked, I listened. I could hear a familiar crow caw. I think that city living has left Mama Crow’s inner clock a little tightly wound. Then again, one of the names of this full moon is the Full Crow Moon. I love the different names that Mama Moon lives with. Humans will fight all day long over those names….I guess she really doesn’t care as long as we do call on her.
I got my altar ready….everything in its place. I lay down with my cloak wrapped around me, shielding me from that heavy feeling of dampness. I placed my hand tenderly against the earth. I touched…I listened. Oh yes….the Earth Mother’s belly is full to the point of bursting. The Lord of the Hunt started the preparation weeks ago. I lift my head and sniff like a scent hound on the trail of a rabbit. I can smell the earth ready to be reborn. I can smell the seeds ready to show themselves. The plants are excited about showing off their new spring collections. My preparations seem small when I think about the grand party that the Earth Mother will give to usher in another season of renewal.
I close my eyes and listen. I inhale. It is as if I take in the breath of the Earth herself. I have been stressed in the past week. I have held onto things that need releasing. As I listen and breathe, I realize that I am holding onto things that need to be released. As I breathe out, I can hear Mama Crow in the background…laughing. She’s not laughing at me. She is laughing with me…she wants to share the joy that comes with release and rebirth and renewal.
We, as humans, have become adept at hiding the things that make us vulnerable. We can’t let anyone see us in our weakness. The earth is so much more transparent. You can’t hide when a tree has been uprooted or cut down. That sparrow that died from falling during its fledging doesn’t just disappear.
One thing that I have come to realize over the years is that when the root of the problem is hidden, so are the blooms from the solution….and yes there are definitely going to be thorns in between. There is so much inside of each one of us…potential waiting to bloom forth, but we have forgotten to listen for the signs of the birthing. We have stopped closing our eyes and just listening to what is moving around us.
In my own life, I have found that it is now time to stop pretending and time to bloom. For me, that means no more letting myself get in the way of the power that is trying to show itself. It is time to stop making excuses and just move forward. It is time to let that which has been sleeping the winter away, wake up and lead me into darkness, light, dusk or dawn….wherever I will find the most wonderful, undefinable magick and utilize it.
I have finally realized…Life is not about the “Once Upon A Time’s” and the “Happy Endings.” It is about the adventure in between. The alarm has gone off….it is time to wake up and be about the business of magick. I am not hitting ‘Snooze’ anymore.