Strega Jewellry's Blog

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Wheel of the Year: Ostara


imbolc

Gradually warming days, usually with plenty of rain and mud.  The yard looks a mess but you can get out and work on the days without showers.  Birds have returned and fat robins are nesting.  I put out a mesh bag of yarn scraps so they can line their nests.  They are so busy.   I am sure they can use the help.

The moss in my fairy garden turns greener.   It is time to plant peas.  Peas want the cold ground for a good start and this time of year is the best time to plant them.   I got mine in today just before the rain came.   I always soak my peas overnight so they are almost ready to pop open before I put them in the ground.   Yes, it will get chillier again but the peas with thrive in the cold.   Root crops can go in the ground now.   Time to plan where you are going to plant.

My chives stay green even in the ice and snow, but in March they take on a greenier green.  My crocus have all popped out this week and their bright colors give me a lift.  It’s spring for sure.

crocus

I get excited when I spy the soft catkins of the pussy willows.  I always try to bring some branches inside.   The little grey catkins make me smile.   My spirits are uplifted with the warmth and the sun.

pussywillow

It’s a good time of year to start seeds indoors.  I plant by the moon.   Best time this year is from March 9th until the 22nd when the moon is waxing.  Today I started herbs for the herb garden my son, Mort, built for me last fall.   Horehound will grow every year now and be wonderful in teas for congestion from colds next winter.  Anise will make such great licorice flavored teas for stomach flu.  Burnet is an herbb I’ve never seen in the stores.  I love it in salads with its light cucumber taste.  Parsley, of course and basil are started and summer savory.   I’m going to try  some lemon grass and vanilla grass.  I love their wonderful smells.  And lemon grass, basil and hibiscus make a great tea to give you a mental lift!

Ostara is my second favorite “holiday”. It marks a major change in light and after the equinox, the days are truly noticeably  longer.  More light means more new growth.  Beneath the ground, plants are stirring.  Buds are beginning to form on tree branches.  In our hearts, we are ready to plant new “seeds” also.   We all have projects we look forward to starting.  We have new ideas we want to express.   We begin spring cleaning in our homes.  The windows are open and the pine smell of cleaners replaces the dust and cobwebs of winter.   In our heads and hearts, the dust and cobwebs we have collected over winter are cleared away and we sweep them away to make room for fresh starts.  Getting rid of old angers, fears and habits is the best way to mark the spring.

With increased times of light, the hens begin to lay more eggs.  Did you know that hens lay best when their retina is stimulated by 12 hours of sunlight?   It’s probably one of the reasons  why the ancients used eggs as symbols of fertility at Ostara.   The new layers would begin production when the days grew longer.

chickens

Ancient cultures drew signs and symbols on eggs to aid the sun in gaining strength.  Eggs are still decorated at the Christian Easter but no longer consciously considered fertility symbols.   Pagans drew symbols for prosperity, fertility and protection on the eggs.  Probably the most well known are Pysanky eggs.   These that are most famous are from the Ukraine.

Pysanky eggs designs are drawn on in wax, then the egg is dyed………..lightest color first.  Then the part that is to remain this color is waxed over and the egg enters another dye bath.  The process if repeated over and over.   Designs are animal, vegetable and geometric.  Most have encircling bands that represent the process of life, death and rebirth over and over.   Triangles represent the Triple Goddess, squares, the Earth, ladders represent various planes of existence while pinwheels and 8 pointed stars are ancient sun signs.   Here are some of my favorite designs.  You can understand why these eggs are considered so magical when you realize the amount of time and work that went into their creation.

pysanky1

pysanky2

pysanky3

You can find a lot more designs on Pinterest.   I think some of the designs would make beautiful beads.

 

 

 

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March 10, 2016 Posted by | holidays, metaphysical, pagan, wiccan | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dandelions


For me, an extremely important part of being pagan is connecting to earth and nature. If you’ve read any of my blog posts, you already know that I love learning about rock and stone lore. It’s one of the ways I connect. If you know me personally, you also know that herbal lore and herbal remedies are another topic really important to me.

Spring is coming soon, at least I hope it is and with it, all the buds and blooms. Along with the flowers we all know and love come the so called weeds, the undesirables. So, I’m thinking that some of my Pagan Blog Project posts will be about these much maligned yard and garden “upstarts”.

I’m starting off with dandelions, the nuisance plant of every yardman. It seems that no matter what you do, there is a dandelion popping up right where you just mowed! They are one of the most prolific of the summer plants. Most people think they are good for nothing. Oh sure, they know you can use them for salad greens, but why would you do that when there is a perfectly good head of lettuce in the frig and the dog has probably peed on them anyhow?

gardener's nemisis

gardener’s nemesis

Here is what else they are good for.

First of all, they are loaded with vitamin A.  Yes, I know you can take a pill and get vitamin A, but if you run out of pills, remember where there is a natural source.   Be sure and pick them when they are young and tender.  They are just a tad bitter………well, quite bitter as a matter of fact.   You can drink a tea made from them to cleanse your system:  the bladder, the urinary tract, the spleen and kidney.  Dandelion tea is good for gout, insomnia and rheumatism.

Now, I hear you saying, why would I want to drink some nasty old tea when I can go to the doctor and get medicine?  I’ll tell you what got  me started using herbs.  My oldest son was born allergic to everything, soap, his crib, milk and was in the hospital probably half a dozen times with allergic bronchial asthma before he was one year old.   Doctors gave him Benedryl.   So much medication rotted all his baby teeth and he had to have 11 teeth all pulled at once because those teeth were making him sick.   I wanted to stop giving him medication.   I feared he would have false teeth before he was 10!  So, all summer, I gathered “weeds”, anything that I thought might cause allergies.  My idea was to build up immunity.    I dried all the leaves from dandelions, goldenrod, clovers, violets and lots of other plants.   After they were dried, I kept them in a jar.  When I cooked, I tossed in a pinch.   I put them in pancake batter, in biscuits, cookies, chili, soup, and hamburgers.   The next spring, summer and fall, we had no problems with the hospital, no oxygen tents and no Benedryl.  After that, I started learning all kinds of remedies.

I taught my kids:   If you are out in the yard and get stung by a bee……….you pick THIS plant and rub it on the sting.   My grandson was playing with the boy next door one time.   I heard the other kid screaming and Josh, as calm as could be, came running in, dragging him by the arm yelling “MIMI!   Show him how to put this plant on his sting!”

The gypsies say that the juice from dandelion stems will cure warts.   Rub that juice on the warts at least twice a day.

Oh, and dandelions make some really potent home brew wine.   I’ll never forget my first batch.   I told my folks it was a science project down in the basement.   My dad just looked at me.   A week or so later, he told me I had better check on my experiment because it was about to blow up.   No, dad, I got it under control.   Next morning……….all over the basement……..dandelion wine, broken glass and a huge mess.   I was more careful the next time.

dandelionblow

And what about these?   How much joy has blowing dandelions fluff given to hundreds of kids all over the country?   Dandelion lore says that its a sure sign of rain when the fluff flies off the dandelion and there is no wind.     And, everyone knows that when you blow dandelion fluff, you are sending love to someone special, don’t they?

If you are interested in herbs and what uses they have, the best book I ever found was Jeannie Rose’s book,  Herbs & Things.   I wonder if it is still in print?   I will have to look on Amazon.   I still have a much battered and ragged copy I first bought in 1981.   You can find cures, recipes for hair care, herbal baths and douches and some oddball lore that is just plain fun to know.

P.S.   I checked on Amazon.   A new copy will cost 39.99 but there are 4 used copies starting at 2.99 so hurry over and get one if you want to learn a lot.   She also has a Herbal Body Book with bath salts, bath herbs, cosmetics and more but the first book is like my Bible.   I bet I could not get 10 cents for my old raggedy wretched copy but I would not take 20 bucks for it.

February 21, 2014 Posted by | folklore, Jewelry, New Age | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pagan Blog Project Week 3


Pagan Blog Project 2014
Over 200 bloggers are participating. Take one word each week and do some soul searching about what it means to you. It’s a great way tor pagans to take an in depth look at the everyday and to probe their personal thoughts and emotions about their faith.

Week 3 prompt is the letter B
My word is BATH

Please note that I stole this photo from Yankee Candle’s WordPress Blog. I am giving credit where credit is due.  It was the absolute best picture of a beautiful bathroom. I sure didn’t want to use mine.  Thank you Yankee Candle even though you did not give permission.   I doubt you’ll be reading a pagan blog,  but just in case…..credit plus advertising, look at it that way.

Picture 207

Baths are one of my favorite ways to get rid of negative energy. You don’t have to be pagan to use visualization with baths.   I use them even if I am not doing ritual.  I’m always prepared.  I make my own bath salts.  You can make your own.   Start with a base of 2 cups of sea salt, one fourth cup of baking soda, add some color with a few drops of food coloring, shaking well to spread color around, then adding an appropriate oil/s, about 15 drops    I use patchouli the most both for purification and for getting rid of negative energy and stressors. With patchouli I use the color blue.  I use orange and lemon oil for uplifting emotions,when I’m discouraged (color it orange).  The other mix I use most is for a change in fortune, when I need an influx of extra cash flow:  patchouli, a few drops of musk or sandalwood with some dried rose petals and toss in some bay leaves.  Color it green.   I would use bay oil but it is frightfully expensive.

Candles, plenty of .them (Yankee candles come in so many soothing scents…………there ya go Yankee, an extra plug for using that shot)  and soft music help create the mood.

Don’t forget crystals around the edges of the tub.   I’ve also put the proper crystals in a glass container with distilled water and left them in the sun to charge the water and poured that water into the bath.   Rainwater, collected during a thunderstorm and even better at the waxing or full moon, is great for extra energy or to give a boost to any ritual you are doing.   Be leery of using it on your hair though, it makes mine a bit hinky.

Visualization is the most important part of the whole process.   For me, it’s not about the oils, the salts, the candles.   It’s my inner eye that I have to refocus, off the mundane world and on a plane where I am aligned, balanced and beautiful.

So, before I dump those bath salts in, I take time to breathe, focus, then turn on the water.   It’s not coming from a bunch of copper pipes that run under my house.   Beyond the bathroom wall is a portal to another dimension and clear magical water is flowing from a pond deep in a crystal cave.   While that water runs, I am visualizing swirls of clear healing and purifying energy and if I am trying to augment my finances, the water is green, the energy is successful.   Once I am submerged, I surround myself with light

whitelight

While I soak, I envision healing, energizing, cleansing light and energy soaking into my pores and filling my spirit.   When I am ready, I take a minute to just breathe.   When I pull the plug, all the negative energy around me goes down that drain.   I sit there till the tub is empty, letting stress, dis-ease, negative thoughts, and bad luck flow away until all the water is gone.   Towel off and go on about the day or night.

If I am doing ritual after the bath, I’m much more focused and far less scattered.  There are other times when my life and all the mundane problems of people around me crowd out my creative energy.   I WANT to make something beautiful just to help me feel better but my whirling brain won’t let go of other people’s “stuff” or worry or fears.   That’s the time to get out my “props”, my candles, bath salts, crystals and stones and let a good bath wash away these cares and frustrations so the creative doors in my mind can open.

Okay, that’s enough about my musings.   I’m off to meet some new people.   There’s a link on my sidebar to the Pagan Blog Project if you want to tag along.

January 17, 2014 Posted by | folklore, Jewelry, New Age | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment