You Can’t Take My Ostara

I love springtime.  I enjoy summer.  Autumn is beautiful.  Winter… well, winter is this waiting time, this period of blankness.  I don’t like the cold, or the wind, or the damp.  I basically stay inside unless I absolutely must go out.  The worst thing for me is that the land is achromatic.  Everything is grey and brown.

But then, something magical happens!  Grey clouds open up to blue skies.  Purple and yellow crocuses poke up between patches of dirty snow.  Sidewalks dry and children draw with rainbow chalk.  Robins return with their red breasts.  Maple syrup starts to flow- the first crop after a winter of canned food and potatoes.  The days are noticeably longer so we can actually take a walk after dinner in daylight.  Though it still could snow, the worst of it is behind us.  Life has returned to our little corner of the world.  For me, spring is like The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy goes from the black and white dusty farm in Kansas into the technocolour world of Oz.  When such a special day happens once a year, of course I want to celebrate.  And luckily, neopagans have a day for that- Ostara.

I am leaning into a Celtic Reconstructionist path.  Many purists poo poo the idea of a Celt celebrating Ostara.  The Solstices and Equinoxes are a Norse and Saxon tradition, not Irish Celtic.  Some would say that I have no business painting eggs or hiding chocolates this time of year.  But, when this day is so moving and meaningful to me, how can I not?

My daughter and I used to have an annual celebration.  We would have our egg hunt Ostara morning.  I would include lots of little outside toys with her candy, like skipping ropes, sidewalk chalk and the like.  Then we would to a local sugar bush.  They have horse drawn wagons, and an outdoor museum about the history of maple syrup.  After our tour, we would enjoy pancakes in the lodge.  She claims she is too old for this, but I cherish these memories.  My nephew comes sometimes, but even he’s getting a little bored of it.  

But the first day of spring has become marred in my life.  Some really crappy things have happened to me on this day.  When I was 15, I came home late from debating team to find that my beloved pet bunny had died.  I was devastated!  Many years later, I see the irony of a rabbit dying on Ostara.  5 years ago, on Ostara, my daughter didn’t come home from school.  There was a court date and a bogus investigation of which I was not informed, and I had lost custody.  And then last year, after spending the day celebrating with my ex, he went for an afternoon visit with his kids, came home, and dumped me.  He said that he forgot that it was Ostara, but it was still a selfish thing to do.  And then this year, on Ostara, crap hit the fan at my muggle job.  I can’t go into detail, but it’s not fun.

This year, I was mopey.  I cancelled my tarot meet up and sank into a bottle of wine.  But then, I thought, that I am giving up something important to me because of unrelated things in my past.  This is something that I look forward to.  Why should I give that up?  People who did crappy things to me on Ostara were selfish.  You wouldn’t do these things to a Jewish person on Passover, or a Christian on Easter.  Being crappy to a pagan on Ostara is a douche move.  Also, just because bad things have happened on the past on this day, does not mean that future Ostaras are going to be full of such events.  I need to reclaim this day for my own spiritual wellbeing.  I need to be vocal that this is a special day for me, and that I deserve my High Days to be respected.  Though I am a fan of celebrating things on the actual day, I did allow myself to have a late Ostara celebration.  I went for a hike with my dog and breathed in springtime.  I gave an offering of my labour by picking up garbage that had collected over the winter and been hidden by snow.  I had some pancakes with fresh, local syrup.  And I painted my living room a pretty green, so that I can have spring inside all year round.

As every year, Ostara represents a fresh start.  I choose to embrace spring.

Answers From Your Ancestors

I’ve been quite hesitant in the past to call myself a medium in the capacity of a tarot reader.  The word felt like a lot of pressure.  But I recently acquired a new EVP meter, and combined it with tarot to get some really amazing results.  Not only is the accuracy blowing me away, but the healing impact on the lives of my clients is simply astounding.

EVP:

EVP stands for Electro Voice Phenomenon.  Through this device, words and phrases are picked up, and are thought to be associated with spirit activity.  Sometimes I get meaningful words.  On a few occasions, my grandmother and brother have spoken to me.  Other times I get nonsense, or at least, nothing that makes sense to me.  And then sometimes I get words or phrases intended to scare me, but that usually just makes me roll my eyes.  It’s clear that, in using this device, like a talking board, it is not a 101 activity.

I have given two of these readings so far.  Both had results that were powerfully meaningful to the client.  In the first one, the client was researching her heritage.  I was able to come up with names and dates that matched the research that she was doing. Also, how her ancestors can help her with her current goals.  In the second one, the client was interested in connecting with a loved on who had recently passed away.  Names came through of other family members. The personality of the lost loved one showed through clearly.  The client was profoundly moved, and in closing, had a plan to heal and move forward.  I was so honoured to be a part of such a moving and profound moment.

The Process:

So, I have decided to offer this service as a regular compliment.  This is only offered in person, in my tarot room.  I start and end each session with a banishing ritual known as the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. Then, a brief guided cleansing meditation.  This sets the right state for the reading and cleans up any residual energy, either from the outside daily stresses, or other spirits trying to take part.  This also ensures the safety and focus of both myself and the client.  I turn on the EVP and draw the 10 card Celtic Cross tarot spread.  The opening and closing rituals are part of the hour session.  In that time I can do several spreads, depending on the questions being asked.

Dealing with Grief and Emotions:  

Understandably, clients can find this an emotional experience.  It’s okay to cry.  There’s lots of Kleenex.  My ethical standpoint is to always be honest, but leave you better than how I found you.   I take the time and care to make sure that they are okay before you leave.  I see this service about healing- healing from grief, and healing generational wounds.  It is a responsibility not taken lightly.

This service is priced at the same rate as my other tarot reading sessions. I am offering one hour sessions at $80 at this point.  To book your session and connect with your ancestors, click on “Book a reading”.

 

Lughnasadh is Important, Too!

Every year around Lughnasadh, there always seems to be a bunch of posts about this holiday, and how many Neo-Pagans don’t feel connected to this day, and therefore, skip it altogether.  The point of me writing this is not to tell you how to practice your religion, but rather to illustrate that a wheel of the year missing a major spoke may not stay much of a wheel for long.

What is Lughnasadh?  Lughnasadh (pronounced (Loo-NAH-Sa) is one of the four fire festivals in Druidry.  As Druids start their day the night before, Lughnasadh starts on the Eve of July 31st at dusk and lasts until dusk on August 1st.  It translates to “The Games of Lugh’s Mother”, and recognises her passing and his accomplishments through games, athletics, fire, storytelling and of course, feasting.

I fear that, one reason why so many don’t resonate with this holiday is because of its confusing with the Catholic Mass of Bread, or Lammas.  They may fall on the same day, but Lammas does not equal Lughnasadh.  When so many struggle to heal from trauma and conditioning from The Church, it’s understandable why a bunch of Pagans wanting to do a Catholic holiday may be a turn off.  Yes, of course, early Catholics borrowed heavily from their pagan predecessors, as many gods became saints, and many High Days became holy masses.  But Lughnasadh is not really one of them.

I think that the urge to skip Lughnasadh can also stem from a disconnect with the Earth.  In my neck of the woods, so to speak, in SouthWestern Ontario, we very clearly have eight seasons.  Being a Druid away from the land of my ancestors, it’s important to recognize these changes.  Most of today’s paganism is agrarian based, so simply looking around at what’s going on with our farmers is a key indication that something is different.  Dusk creeps up noticeably sooner than it did at Midsummer.  Early morning presents a nip in the air.  Cricket chirps have replaced the frog sounds at night.  And yes, much of our harvest is ready for the picking now, including grain.  I can see how a link with Lammas would be confusing.  Summer squashes, peppers and tomatoes are also ripe, as well as many other fresh produce that we’ve had to import for a year.  Our ancestors would have not had these at all, or would have had to pay much higher prices.  These foods are what we should eat at the post ritual feast.  Corn on the cob is a Lughnasadh favourite of mine.

So if you are celebrating solo, what could you do as a part of your ritual?

Baking bread is a Lammas thing, not Lugnasadh.   But if you want to do that, no one is stopping you.  Personally, I think it’s too hot to bake.

Today we celebrate Lugh and his mother. Lugh was the Skilled One, so anything that you are skilled at, you can do in his honour.

If you play an instrument, you can write or learn a new song about him.

Dance!

We honour his mother through game and sport. Anything athletic and for fun. You could have a water fight, egg race, etc. Think Highland Games.

You can also honour the role of mothers and mother figures in your life, as Lugh honoured Tailtui.

Go to a farmer’s market and pick up some fresh local produce for tonight.

And of course, with any Celtic High Day, fire and feasting… and mead.

So you see, there are plenty of ways to celebrate Lughnasadh.  I’m not here to tell you how to practice your own faith, but perhaps if your only thoughts of this fantastic day are to skip it, maybe you’re doing it wrong.