Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Witches' Voice, Incorporated?

I was given a link to a Facebook group (or something) called The Witches' Voice, Inc. (NPO)

It says it is "a neutral forum open to all adherents of the various Heathen religions, Pagan, Witch, Wiccan traditions and to Solitary Practitioners who/that follow a positive code of ethics such as The Wiccan Rede or The Ring of Troth's, Nine Virtues."

A NEUTRAL forum for all who follow a POSITIVE code of ethics? I'm sorry but according to my experience, every entity (a person or inc.) who requires their "friends" follow a "POSITIVE code of ethics" a) define by their own standards what is "positive" and thus also what is "negative", and therefore b) are not neutral, how ever much they like to use that word to describe themselves.

So, what is so "positive" about The Wiccan Rede (which is in reality not a rede at all, neither a code of ethics, but a poem that sounds nice, mystical and rhymes) or Nine Noble Virtues of Asatru?

The "positive code of ethics" of "the wiccan rede" reads:

Bide within the Law you must,
in perfect Love and perfect Trust.

Live you must and let to live,
fairly take and fairly give.

Light of eye and soft of touch,
speak you little, listen much.

Honor the Old Ones in deed and name,
let love and light be our guides again.

Heed the flower, bush, and tree
by the Lady blessed you'll be.

When you have and hold a need,
harken not to others greed.

With a fool no season spend
or be counted as his friend.

Merry Meet and Merry Part
bright the cheeks and warm the heart.

Mind the Three-fold Laws you should
three times bad and three times good.

Be true in love this you must do
unless your love is false to you.

These Eight words the Rede fulfill:
"An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will"

"perfect love, perfect trust", "let love and light be your guide" but "with a fool no season spend or be counted as his friend"? "be true in love UNLESS your love is false to you"? Meaning, you don't need to be true in love IF... well, what justification could there REALLY be for you NOT to? How could someone else's actions be any reason for you to act any differently than you know to be right?

And didn't God create the fools as well as non-fools, and who of us actually is anything but a fool, what right do we have to deem others as "fools" and ourselves as "non-fools"? I'd rather be a friend of a sacred fool than a sanctimonious sage, which is what EVERY ONE COUNTED AS A SAGE is.

Also, every sane and moderately intelligent person knows that you can do very little that harms none.
Of course we could walk very, very slowly and brush the earth before us to make sure we won't accidentally step on anyone, but how did we get the brush? A broom is made of freshly cut wisps. You can't make a broom, at least not a good broom, of the dead branches you find in the forest.
Also, what gives you right to even take those? Those serve as home and food for many lives.
So you wipe the earth on which you step with your hands? Or go nowhere. After all, why would you need to go anywhere?
You shouldn't eat anything, because everything we eat is living materia. Something had to die to feed us, whether it is a cow, a carrot or a seed. I suppose one can only eat fruits and unfertilized eggs, and drink water...
But if you don't eat, because that would harm someone or something, and you don't go anywhere, because that might harm someone or something, you will harm yourself, and you too are "someone or something"...
No, I hate that "code or ethics", because it's unrealistic and stupid. Just one of those rules that sound so nice, and everyone likes to quote as "their code", but no-one lives by.
I'd rather pick plants to make medicine to help my fellow human beings,
I'd rather have a garden and sow seeds as I walk, to see there will be plants and food to my fellow life forms on this planet even after I have "fairly taken", and murdered some carrots and pigs to feed me. I'd rather walk and meet other people than sit egocentrically under a tree and get enlightened or something.
I'd rather live and accept that I too am part of the great circle of life, and my destiny will be to one day feed someone or something else. Be eaten, rot and decay, turn into soil and feed plants to feed other animals, who in turn will die, be eaten, rot and decay and feed others. Amen to that!

Also, three-fold law? Now, there's some "bah, humbug", if I ever saw any. The world is "unfair". I shouldn't do "good" to be rewarded or avoid doing "bad" to avoid punishment, but to be able to look myself in the eyes in the morning and like who I see. I cannot and shouldn't use other's conduct as justification to do "bad".

No, I don't consider this as "positive code of ethics".

Then the Asatru "code of ethics". "Passivity is for sheep" and "Gods are not for the weak". "We refuse to be spectators, we act and seek to fulfill our quest, whatever it may be..." for example, genocide.
There is no compassion, kindness and solidarity, understanding that we all have our weaknesses and strengths and no-one of us stands alone. We all, everyone of us, need others, each and everyone of them. We might not know how, when and why, and it's not for us to know either, but the girl you mocked yesterday might be the one on whom your success depends tomorrow... maybe the geek of the class will be responsible for the computers in your plane. Do you really want to put your life in the hands of someone whose life you made to hell in High School? I wouldn't...
Strength and courage is not everything.
What's so "positive" in these "nine virtues"?

I cannot quote any "code of ethics" as mine. I happen to agree with most Confucian and Epicurean wisdoms, but not with all of them, so I cannot say I'm Confucian or Epicurean, or following those codes of ethics.
Nietzsche and Schopenhauer sound often true to me, but sometimes not, so I don't follow them either.
The Golden Rule is not worth much in my mind, the so despisingly named Silver Rule is much better, even though people who don't think much see no difference in them... except that one is "positive" and other "negative", and they think "positive" must be "better", thus "Golden".

I'm Ketutarian. Naturally, *I* consider my ethics "positive", or "good", but not everyone agrees with me in that. How do I know if The Witches' Voice is open for me?

Frankly, none of this matters one bit. Most Wiccans and Asatruende don't follow the official "code of ethics" of their religion either, but adjust them to their own, personal "code of ethics", and deem it just as "positive" and "good" as I do, just like every other human being on this planet. Nevertheless, I think Witchvox should be a little more... how do I say it... perhaps, be a little more careful with what they actually believe and what code of ethics they actually follow, and what they actually tell people.  My little writing about trolls and sockpuppets is the most read entry in this blog, and the truth is that if you are ok with yourself, if you are satisfied with your life, happy with who and what you are, you don't give anyone else the power to shake your serenity, and no trolls in the world will disturb you. But... who in this world is okay with herself?
Not many of them are in discussion forums and Facebook :-D

Monday, March 21, 2011

Some bits and bobs that didn't get in

Feather wreath tutorial

gumdrop wreath

Here's the button wreath tutorial, and a large egg template to print, if you think it's intimidating to make an egg shape.

You can also make the egg mobile by printing out the large egg on construction paper, cutting smaller egg shapes into it and covering the eggs with pretty paper. Then you sew the eggs back together, but from top and bottom only, so that the eggs can swirl.

Here's easter egg wreath, with a smaller egg template, which you can enlarge for your purposes.

Melissa's scrap fabric ornament is no longer available, but I suppose it's made a bit the same way as this rag ball ornament, or this one. Use cheap plastic eggs inside.
You can also find more things to do with the plastic eggs here.
You can also make this kind of wonderful wreath with different scrap fabric balls.
It isn't rocket science to make patchwork balls. You can use likesided triangles, cut 20 and sew them together into a ball, like the paper ball you can make of old Easter cards. If you cut the triangles of scrap fabric and sew the allowance inside the ball, you'll have a scrap ball.
Here's how to make a pentagon ball and here's how to make a ball of segments.

Ming makes wonderful cupcakes and I think her n:o 23 would be very Ostara-y

I love these lemonade bottles with the summer flower tags :-) Can't you just see them with spring flowers and daffodils for Ostara?

I think these bunnies would make a pretty easter basket: crochet four of these panels, a square base and then crochet them together into a basket, add a handle and starch it hard.
Here's one lonely bunny that would work as a book mark or insert on an album or book cover.

Ostara roundup

Well... 30 posts + 2 about this subject, and three comments... and one of them from my husband.
 Celestial Elf posted about a machinima video at YouTube she made for Lisa Thiel's music.
Not bad :-)
Dragonfly shared with me her opinion on my disappointment to that Pagans don't seem to be much interested in the Eight Feasts.
My husband comforted me a little because one of the links I posted had gone dead.

Amazing. I'm totally blown away by the lack of interest.
I have been told it's "interesting", "very good" and such things, but... no-one comments. What am I supposed to think? Am I making ANY difference in ANYTHING? I have a feeling I could have just done this for me and no-one had been any less influenced, inspired, helped...
I am feeling very lonely and... pointless, I guess. As if my work with this blog is futile, totally worthless, of no interest to anyone.

I didn't have a good Ostara. I argued with my husband, I didn't manage to keep up with my timetable, so I was too tired to celebrate Ostara, and I'm very depressed at the moment. Waves of sadness flow over me every now and then, and the walk in the forest with our dog, which usually makes me happy, didn't do anything for me this time. I'm just tired and sad.

I wrote this 30 days' countdown to Ostara with hopes of that someone would have reached out to me and told me I'm not alone, that there are others out there sharing my dream and love of Sabbaths, and homely arts and love of Goddess, and wish to make all the Eighth Days as big and lovely as Yule and Samhain and Beltane.
Most of the Yule, Samhain and Beltane traditions are not older than one or two generations, and in practice all of our traditions are not older than we are. We have created, adopted and adapted EVERY tradition we call our own at some point in our lives. We can create ourselves good, solid traditions today, traditions our children will carry on, create meme heirlooms for generations to embrace and evolve and make their own...

Fran's Free Spells and Witchcraft has some interesting blog entries about Ostara.
Llewellyn didn't bother posting anything about Ostara - or hasn't posted anything about it yet.
Witchvox doesn't seem to be much interested either. There is "Rediscovering the Old Ways" and "The Magical Egg and Celebrating Ostara Through Food". (There's "We Call It Ostara" at Facebook.")
(Which BTW reminds me of this fascinating blog entry at Judeness. Go read it.)

My Life After Loss tells about why not to mix festivities and traditions.
I agree with her and disagree with her...
I think you should celebrate what ever you celebrate any way you like.
But I also think you should be aware of where your traditions come from. WHY you do what you do.
I also think if you find one religion or culture horrible, hateful, unlikable or something bad, don't take their traditions either, how ever nice they are.
I think the Christians lost their "right" to celebrate Jewish feasts during the 1700 years of discrimination, harassment and persecution they put the Jews living among them through, and they lost their "right" to celebrate the Pagan feasts when they chose to be Christian and not Pagan, which happened somewhere between 300 and 1700 in most parts of Europe. But that's me, and my personal opinion, and it has no relevance what so ever to anyone else but me, and as I'm not Christian, not even to me.

Pagan Pages. org has some articles, but nothing I expected to see.

Wildfoxtheoldone reposted the lesser banishing ritual of the chocolate rabbit

Pagan Mom Blog posted some crafts for children at Ostara.

Nestled under rainbows shares a very nice Ostara with us :-)

We have still plenty of snow. The only flowers I've seen are pussywillows.

Spirit Blogger posted today's spirit message. "Celebrate Ostara".

Global Illumination Council posted about the Ostara "Super Moon".
Here's 7 great photos of Saturday's "Super Moon". She is indeed a beauty :-)

Pantheon has some great Ostara related articles; Our Martyr of Easter, which makes me so deeply sad, because this kind of hatred towards everything different and intolerance of how other people choose to live their lives still exists and causes death and misery; 13 songs for Ostara; a playlist of a sort with Ostara music :-) Wyrd Designs - the Holy Tides and two about St Patrick; Irish Snakes Survive and Thrive and Ostara, St Paddy's and Spring

Pagan Soccermom managed to post a couple of things this year: Ostara Page (links to previous postings she's made about Ostara), Ostara Egg Dyes from Kitchen and Ostara Candle Ritual.
(This from a woman who says:
"Why not stretch your celebration out and make it last?    Think about the mainstream holidays.  Not the commercial aspect, but the family traditions that people hold.  Few people do them all on Christmas day, right? Days, if not weeks, are spent making holiday cookies, decorating a tree, creating decorations with the kids.  Not enough pagans, I think, carry that sort of thing on.")

Stone Cottage on the Hill talks about Spring Wanderings.

Gus in A Pagan's Blog gives 8 ideas for celebrating Ostara.
Considering that we Pagans are supposed to be creative and imaginative people, it's surprising we don't seem to be able to produce more ideas... it's the same old activity lists and magical correspondences being posted in most blogs over and over again. (Like Kris Bradley does in Examiner or Rik Potter in his/her blog.) Can't we do something new like Gus does?

I promise to try more and do better for 30 Days of Beltane, which countdown begins on April 1st. :-) I sincerely hate, hate, HATE "practical jokes", which is nothing but bullying and mental torture made "justifyiable and acceptable" by naming it "jokes". But common day of silliness, doing something silly, foolish, daring and childlike, would be lovely.

 Rose Ariadne's Witchcraft Blog shares how she celebrates Ostara.
Rowan Pendragon talked about St.Patrick's Dayshared a spell for Ostara and an audio-video Ostara Sunday.

Raymond Lawrence Gallery has a long blog list on Ostara.

4ofWands has some interesting blog entries at this time of the year. I love her Hail Hekate, Full Of Light... Moon is still lovely.

Lizzie posted a nice poem on her Serenity Sunday for Spring and Ostara.

I was sitting on the sofa watching television with our dog, when we started hearing "pip-pip-pip", repeatedly, from kitchen. It sounded like an electronic alarm, and we looked at each other. It wasn't the egg clock, neither my mobile phone, and my hubby had taken his with him, so it wasn't that either... I wondered about this puzzle for good 5 minutes, until I realized it was a Great Tit singing to his chosen one :-D
They used to sing "titityy, titityy", two short and long, now they sing just two or three short ones... They learn new songs from somewhere, possibly from the electronic alarms. Pity.
But still lovely :-D

Rhythm of the Home shares a St.Patrick's Day's Story Bag idea... one could make it about Ostara.

Mystic Moon Coven has a pretty good page on Ostara.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

30 days of Ostara; Day 30

How to make ribbon pansies

tag monster - I just see a hen, perhaps several, and a rooster, with feathers made this way...

Sew a fabric bowl
pretty fabric flower bowls
scrap fabric bowl

Make yourself and everyone else happy, and don't serve salads made with jello, marshmallows and mayonnaise, but something fresh and green. Use fresh, sweet spinach and dandelions, early strawberries, if you are lucky to live so low South there are strawberries,

Today's ornament is Victorian paperdoll.  Add the girls some bunny ears or Easter bonnet, a basket and flowers and ribbons all over. :-)
(Remember that you can change colors with your paint program, like Paint, Photoshop or Paintshop, if you have such.)

Go and get yourself cute overload! And happy Ostara!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

30 days of Ostara; Day 29

Make candy necklaces
You can also make candy garlands and wreaths the same way.
You can also make the candies of fabric, and get a healthy and long-lasting candy garland.

You can also make "conversation hearts", in any shape you like, for example doughnuts, and thread into a rubber string to make the "classic" candy necklace, or make "conversation eggs" for Ostara.

Grow egg heads. Now, this should have been done already two weeks ago, but better late than never, huh? Try different seeds, like cress or herbs.

This pretty ATC is clay on stained glass... 
looks like velvet applique and embroidery on batik.

 Puff pastry eggs

Stained glass tulip cookie pops

They say that "Amethyst, Aquamarine, Bloodstone, Moonstone, Red Jasper, Rose Quartz" are stone correspondences of Ostara. I wonder how they come to that conclusion? Moonstone I can understand, but the rest?

Friday, March 18, 2011

30 days of Ostara; Day 28

Ostara symbols: baskets, eggs, chicken, ducklings, lambs, baby animals, bunnies (both hares and rabbits), spring birds (esp. cranes), spring flowers, clovers (flowers, leaves, four leaf clovers), budding twigs, pussy willows, sprouting bulbs, colored ribbons

Use these as you would use hearts for St. Valentine's Day or stars and evergreen trees for Yule.

Here's some pictures on how to make millinery flowers
Hatstruck speaks quite a lot about millinery, and here's how to make stamens for millinery flowers.

Then, here's some old bonnet patterns :-D
19th century sun bonnet
Bonnet from 1952 "How to make hats"
make your own sun bonnet in less than two hours
Apron bonnet
1857 sun bonnet, illustration and pattern
here's a bonnet for a doll. You can enlarge it to fit people. :-) (You can just double all the measurements, that is change the grid to 1 inch in stead of 1/2 inch, but I think it's a bit big bonnet then. Make a dummy of paper or cheap fabric and adjust the pattern to fit your head and preferences.)
Regency bonnet or how to triftfully turn a reticule and a straw hat into a bonnet fit for Eliza Bennet
If you don't have a reticule, use this tutorial :-D

That is, if you'd like to make your own "Easter Bonnet", or just a sun bonnet :-)

Here's some recipes for Easter cookies, but the good old-fashioned sugar cookies are the best :-D

Kusudama balls would be absolutely lovely for Ostara :-)
Tutorial part 1 and 2 at Folding Trees :-) It's a wonderful site.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

30 days of Ostara; Day 27

Haven't you always wanted bunny slippers?
Here's also chick slippers :-)
What you do is take any slipper pattern you like, make the ears for the bunnies or pompoms for the chicks/duckies, and sew them on, and give them face. That's it.
Here's free patterns for knitted slippers and here for crocheted slippers
(Yes, they have easter pattern links too. Knitted and crocheted.)

Today's ornament: filet crochet "sun catchers". If you don't want to learn to filet crochet, you can also make them with cross stitches :-)

Animals corresponding to Ostara:
- hares, rabbits, bunnies,
- hens and chickens, all baby birds from ducklings and chicken to wild bird babies, eggs and nests
- sheep and lamb (lambs and kids are born at this time of the year, also sun moves to Aries)
- all baby animals
- snakes (Persephone's animal, symbol of the Great Mother, start to move at this time of the year after long winter sleep.)

What to do with this information? Come on, look around you! There's depiction of these symbols everywhere, bunnies and chicks as long as one can see! Every and each bunnyrabbit or spring chicken is a small prayer to Eostre. Make candy that looks like these animals, make toys, embroider them on dish towels, print them on table cloth, applique them on cushions... you know what to do with them. :-)

How to make jellybeans at home

I recommend using cornstarch jelly as centers. The flavor and color is in the sugar coating, not in the jelly itself. You can leave the lemon from the recipe, but it gives the candy a slightly sour, fruity flavor.

Corn Starch Jelly

5 cups water - a quart and a cup.
1 1/2 cups sugar - 12 ounces.
1 small lemon
3 heaping tablespoons starch - 3 ounces.

Boil 4 cups water with the sugar in it, and juice of the lemon.
Mix the starch with the other cup, and stir it into the boiling syrup.
Let simmer about 15 minutes to become transparent and almost clear.
Pour it into moulds.
(Be careful though, because the "jelly juice" might damage the mold)

How to make cornstarch molds for jellybeans

You can make any shape with any clay, air-drying, paper clay, polymer clay, ordinary earthen clay, as nothing of your negative will be left in the mold. It's just cornstarch.

(This is, BTW, how you make bunny shaped sugar cubes... You just make the sugar and water blend runnier, and use half caster sugar and half confectioner's sugar. It takes a bit longer to dry than the ordinary sugar cubes, but you could dry them in not too warm oven, like meringues, to avoid browning them.)

Jellybean bracelets

Well, it's not rocket science to figure out how to 
decorate cupcakes with jellybeans to make these pretty flowers, 
but here's how...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

30 days of Ostara; Day 26

  Egg carton of curiosities

 egg carton sewing kit

 egg carton bulletin board
egg carton eggs
"whimsicle" flowers :-)
egg carton pendant lamp - absolutely amazing... think in white lilies or yellow daffodils...
cute, cute, cute! egg carton wreath (take a look of the other crafts too, nice :-))

When in Mabon Demeter lost her daughter and we played the first act of the myth of Persephone, in Ostara she returns, together with snakes, and her Mother decorates the world with flowers and greenery.

You can act the myth and make dolls yourself.
Here's how to make papier mache puppets, parts 1, 2 and 3
I suggest you use empty eggs as the core of the heads... it's small and light, but also sturdy.
Here's some alternatives
Here's bunny and chick

here's a suggestion for puppet theater. I have been thinking about this kind of theater, but also simply hanging a sheet or blanket across the doorway high enough so that the puppeteers can hide kneeling behind it, but low enough for them to reach up with their puppets.

Veganizing Ostara
I have to say that it's bad to avoid giving children anything that even reminds of eggs, like felt eggs, paper eggs or tin eggs, in their baskets, or avoiding egg hunts, but then eat fake "ham", "chicken" and "eggs" at dinner.

Today's ornament is this: Easter Embroidered Wall Hanging
Make the squares as small as they are in the instructions, and you have ornaments :-)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

30 days of Ostara; Day 25

In Norse mythology, Iðunn is a goddess associated with apples and youth. Iðunn is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, and the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson. In both sources, she is described as the wife of the skaldic god Bragi, and in the Prose Edda, also as a keeper of apples and granter of eternal youthfulness.

The name Iðunn may mean "ever young" according to John Lindow or "rejuvenator" according to Andy Orchard, or "the rejuvenating one" according to Rudolf Simek.

19th-century scholar Jacob Grimm proposed a potential etymological connection to the idisi. Grimm states that "with the original form idis the goddess Idunn may possibly be connected." Grimm further states that Iðunn may have been known with another name, and that "Iðunn would seem to be an Elvish word, but we do not hear of any other name for the goddess."

Some surviving stories regarding Iðunn focus on her youth-maintaining apples. English scholar H. R. Ellis Davidson points out that buckets of apples were found in the 9th century Oseberg ship burial site in Norway and that fruit and nuts (Iðunn having been described as being transformed into a nut in Skáldskaparmál) have been found in the early graves of the Germanic peoples in England and elsewhere on the continent of Europe which may have had a symbolic meaning and also that nuts are still a recognized symbol of fertility in Southwest England.

  Fertility Goddess Idunn is fetched back by Freya in bird shape (a crow, crows return to Scandinavia at this time of the year), and Idunn is a seed of spring.
- Dannie Druehyld, The Witch's Handbook

In the Ostara pages goes around this recipe:

Fresh Herb Soup

1 tablespoon butter or margarine, unsalted
2 tablespoon fresh chives, minced
2 tablespoon fresh chervil, minced
2 tablespoon lemon sorrel leaves, minced
2 teaspoon fresh tarragon, minced
1 cup celery ribs - finely chopped
4 cups vegetable broth
Salt and Pepper
1 pinch sugar
4 slices whole wheat bread, toasted
Dash freshly ground nutmeg
Grated cheddar cheese

Mix ingredients like you would any other soup, and enjoy! 

Now... are you really to put the toasted bread in the soup (like for pappa al pomodoro)? Or is the bread, nutmeg and cheese supposed to be topping?
 (I found the answer from Aisha's BOS: "Melt the butter over medium heat in a large heavy pot. Add the herbs and celery and cook, stirring, until wilted and soft, about 3 minutes. Add the broth, salt, pepper, and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
Place a slice of toast in each soup bowl and pour the soup over. Dust with nutmeg and sprinkle with grated cheese)
Here's another green herb soup with avocado
Spring spinach and herb soup

 In ancient Rome, the calendar year began on March 15. The 15th of each of month was known as the ides, from a Latin word that indicates division of a month. At any rate, back in 44 b.c., the legendary emperor Julius Caesar summoned members of the Senate to meet in the Theatre of Pompey on March 15. Previously, a soothsayer had warned Caesar to "beware the ides of March," but since not much had happened that day, Caesar felt confident attending a Senate session. After all, the men of the Senate were loyal to him, so how much harm could he possibly come to?
Unfortunately, Caesar had enemies within his own Senate, and upon his arrival, several members of a group known as the Liberatores fell upon him and stabbed him to death.

Make Ostara egg surprise ball

Make sock bunny

Dye eggs with silk
Now, I would use old silk ties, blouses and boxers for other projects, but the scraps left over from those projects, that are too small for crazy patchwork ;-), like seams, could be used to tie eggs with.

Birdie in a nest game

Monday, March 14, 2011

30 days of Ostara; Day 24

make felt yourself for ornaments
small flowers to decorate felt egg shapes. They can also be made into bird nests, with appropriate fabrics and wool "eggs"

really cute cookies with windows :-)
I'd like to see hens and roosters with colorful feathers...

many popcorn ball recipes - form them into eggs

lentil salad and edible flower decoration :-) Really sweet!

In ancient Italy in the spring, women planted Gardens of Adonis. They filled urns with grain seeds, kept the in the dark and watered them every two days until they sprouted. You can do this yourself with grass seed in baskets. You can then put your decorated eggs on the altar, etc. in your grass filled baskets. Talk about how this custom persists today in Sicily, where women plant seeds of grains–lentils, fennel, lettuce or flowers–in baskets and pots. When they sprout, the stalks are tied with red ribbons and the “gardens” are placed along roads on the Christian Good Friday. They are meant symbolize the triumph of life over death.

Decorating cookie tins - here's another tutorial on the same thing, with a little more modern expression
doilies used to decorate tins. If you don't want to use Martha's stencils, paint the lid first in the color you wish to have the doily on, carefully glue a doily on with rubber glue, and spray with the color you want your tin to be. Remove the doily, carefully as not to smudge the paint, let dry and nudge the rubber off. Varnish.
Pearly treasury tins

something different: cookie tin banjo and tambourine.

Book of Shadows, Book of Light...

The beloved child has many names, and so does a witch's spell book. It can be called the Book of Shadows (BOS), Book of Light and Shadows, Book of Light, Book of Twilight, Book of Wisdom, Book of Spells, (sometimes the simple way is the best :-D), The Book of [which ever word you feel defines your magic best].
Book of the Dead and Mirror Book are other names for this book.
Goddess Unveiled might be a useful name for some people's Spell book.
The word Grimoire (Grammar) is often used of a book of magical wisdom.

At one point the witches felt "Book of Shadows" was "too dark", "too negative" word to be used of their personal magical journal, so some people created "Book of Light". Even though "Book of Shadows" refer to the fact that for centuries witches had to keep their art and craft hidden, not that the magic written in BOS would be dark and shadowy.

Also, I am the daughter of the Dark Goddess, so I believe in the power of facing our shadows, acknowledging and accepting that life is both light and dark, and controlling the smoke and mirrors that is in every person's life, especially in our minds. We all have been conditioned when we were children, by the people who controlled our upbringing. (These people are usually our parents and siblings, but some people don't have those, or those people are not present. Even these people have been influenced, brought up and conditioned by others. We all are.)

Nevertheless, I like the idea of dividing the magical life into dark and light, and having both BOS and BOL.

The structure of BOS is the same as the structure of BOL, but the purpose of BOL is to have something you can go to when the dark of life is too depressing. You are to start reading your BOL and be uplifted, reminded of the good things in life, the beauty, kindness and truth in world, all the happy and joyful things, things you enjoy and love.

* Get yourself a book, a binder, an album, how ever you wish your BOL to be. You can make every page as an artwork in itself, and bind them together into a book, or make an art journal; found the pages in beforehand and write and embellish afterwards. What ever rocks your boat.
* Decorate the cover and spine. Use colors and embellishments that make you happy, that make the book an object of beauty and joy, something you want to leave on the coffee table. Remember to make the book so that it speaks to your inner child. Use colors, images and embellishments you would have liked as 10 years old, or even younger. Think rainbows, sparkle and unicorns. Don't use black, even if your inner child is an Emo Goth. Use dark colors with iridescent effects, like oil in water, if you prefer dark colors, but don't use black.

* Write the title page, which says what book is this and what is its purpose, and bless the book.

Some suggestions on what to write in the book:

- lists of what you love, count your blessings, gratitude journal, things of bliss and cute overload.
Write down what makes your heart sing, even a little :-) Thoughts that made you smile. Sensations that made you happy of being alive and able to sense.

- make theme pages by your lists

- write down poems, song lyrics and quotation you find good, happy, joyful, soothing, gentle, kind, lovely, wise, funny, upbringing, comforting... words that make you feel good, okay, glad.

- write also down wise words, good advice and aphorisms that remind you of the reward of being good, kind, gentle and merciful.

- write your personal brag book; document the things you have done, achieved, created you are proud of.

- decorate and illustrate every page of your book. Every page should be an art journal page, scrapbook page, illustrated manuscript page, an artwork in itself, an artwork that makes you feel good, happy and appreciative of the miracles of Life. Use colors and pretty pictures. Make collages, add scraps and postcards and anything flat and pretty.

- don't be afraid of tears. Sometimes great joy and happiness is combined with sorrow.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

30 days of Ostara; Day 23

Ostara fun for everyone
The games suggested sound fun :-) has "Countdown to Ostara"

"I will also host a Spring Craft linky party on April 15th for everyone who would like to show off their Easter crafts. To participate in the Spring Craft Linky just grab the button and link up on April 15th."

Perhaps not at Ostara yet, but soon the nettles will be ready to be picked.
"When the nettle is young, its leaf forms an excellent vegetable; when it matures, it has filaments and fibres like hemp and flax. Nettle fabric is as good as canvas. Chopped, the nettle is good for poultry; pounded it is good for cattle. The seed of the nettle mingled with fodder imparts a gloss to the coats of animals; its root mixed with salt produces a beautiful yellow colour. It is besides excellent hay and can be cut twice. And what does the nettle require? Little earth, no attention, no cultivation. Only the seed falls as it ripens, and is difficult to gather. That is all. With a little trouble, the nettle would be useful; it is neglected, and becomes harmful." '
Nettle recipes
You can use it as spinach and make everything you'd use spinach for, like spinach, pine nut and feta cheese pastries or spanakopita.

In the area of Lanark, Scotland, the spring season is welcomed with Whuppity Scoorie, held on March 1. Children assemble in front of a local church at sunrise, and when the sun comes up, they race around the church waving paper balls around their heads. At the end of the third and final lap, the children gather up coins thrown by local assemblymen. According to the Captial Scot, there's a story that this event began ages ago when troublemakers were "scoored" in the Clyde River as punishment for bad behavior. It appears to be unique to Lanark, and does not seem to be observed anywhere else in Scotland.

 For some reason that lamb doesn't look quite as happy as the girl...

One thing that surprised me was that when searching "easter snacks" all I got was sugar, sugar, sugar... cookies, rice crispy treats... don't the kids get more than enough sugar with all the candy and desserts eaten at Holidays?
I found this though: Healthy and fun snacks. I remember coming home from school and being hungry like a bear, and being home alone and capable of cooking and baking already then, I founded a steady base for my obesity. I wish someone had been making a little effort and seeing there was something "healthy and fun" to eat. It would have been nice if there had been just a plate of veggies cut in fingerfood with a bowl of nice dip...
The parents could use this time of the year and make their kids eat "bunny food" (salad) :-D