Ostara is a celebration of the Spring Equinox, when the sun hits zenith, the point on the celestial sphere directly over the equator. It is the official start of Spring! From now on, the days will grown longer (if you’re in the northern hemisphere, that is).
A spoken word poem for Ostara:
This is a time to focus on the world that is blossoming outside of ourselves. During this virtual gathering, you will learn about some Gods and Goddesses associated with Springtime, rebirth, and renewal. We’ll share ancient folklore and stories.
Dionysus & Persephone
We will discuss modern ways to practice seasonal magic, and set new intentions for Spring. Your host, Jamie, will share traditional Ostara rituals, recipes, and spells. You will be guided on a special meditation, and bathed in reiki energy. Connect with a supportive group of like-minded people who are finding magic in the modern world.
Carter from Success in the Stars Astrology will share all of the latest astrology updates for the season. Where we came from, energies of the present, and where we are headed, according to the power of the celestial bodies.
Carter is incredibly knowledgeable, she holds a Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree from Emory University with certificates in Women in Theology and Ministry and Clinical Pastoral Counseling. She received the Zen Buddhist Jukai ordination from Roshi Joan Halifax at Upaya Zen Center in 2011 and is a 2nd Degree Reiki practitioner.
All attendees receive 50% off the Ostara Spell Kit on Esty!
Everything you need for your Ostara altar, step by step instructions for a ritual, and prompts for journaling, meditation, and sigil work. Attract rebirth, renewal, and manifesting abundance as we move into Spring!
The kit is not required for the class, just a delightful compliment. Available while supplies last! You will receive a 50% coupon code, and the zoom link for the class, when you register.
One of my absolute favorite offerings for my clients is a 45 minute reiki and halotherapy session at Saltitude in Lincoln, RI. Reiki can also be done long-distance, if you are not near Rhode Island. Learn more about distance reiki.
What is halotherapy?
Halotherapy comes from the Greek word “halos,” which means “salt.” Saltitude has an active salt room that filters dry aerosol micro-particles of salt into the air. Halotherapy is believed to improve respiratory issues such as asthma and allergies. It also has a positive effect on asthma, acne, COPD, sleep disorders and more. Learn more about halotherapy at Saltitude on their website.
What is reiki?
Reiki is often called, “energy healing.” It is a form of alternative medicine that originated in Japan. Reiki practitioners use hands-on healing to transfer universal energy through the palms of the practitioner, to the patient, in order to encourage emotional or physical healing. I am certified in the Usui Shiki Ryoho method, which addresses the whole person on the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels. Learn more about The Usui System of Reiki Healing.
What does reiki feel like?
After a reiki session in the salt cave, clients report feeling lighter, often saying that, “a weight has been lifted.” Some experience change in body temperature, tickling, butterflies, or pins and needles. Some report seeing visions or hearing messages. Sometimes it can be emotional, other times clients relax so deeply that they fall asleep. Just like every person is unique, so is every reiki experience.
What should I expect?
When you come in for a reiki session, you’ll want to wear something comfy and cozy. Bring white socks to wear inside of the salt cave.
Inside, you will settle into an antigravity chair, and you have the option to remove your mask. You will listen to a guided meditation to help you drop into your happy place. I will call reiki energy in, and seal the four corners of the room to create a safe space.
Then I will scan your aura and to get a sense for any blockages or problem areas. I will work with the energy of your chakras to help you feel deeply relaxed while I clear your energy using reiki, sage spray, crystals, etc. The guided meditation will bring you back to consciousness and we will discuss the experience together. I might make recommendations to improve the state of your energy moving forward. After your session, you should drink plenty of water and take more time to rest.
All appointments are 45 minutes long. COVID regulations require youto wear a mask in main areas. Your mask can be removed during halotherapy. Private groups from the same household or social pod can share a session.
Individual: $85 total
Couples: $150 total
Trio: $65 per person
4-5 people: $55 per person
If you want to know more about having a virtual reiki session, contact me directly! I will work with Saltitude to reserve our appointment.
Imbolc is an ancient Pagan holiday based on Celtic traditions; it marks the halfway point between winter solstice and the spring equinox in Neolithic Ireland and Scotland. This is the time of year when we start to emerge from the darkness of winter in preparation for the Spring.
In today’s modern world, we are far removed from the hardships of Winter, compared to our ancestors who lived thousands of years ago. At this point in the year, people have been hunkered down inside for months, living off root vegetables, salted meat, and what little they could fish or hunt. Their sheep, who naturally tend to breed in Autumn, are ready to give birth right around Imbolc. The ewe’s milk flows for the first time all Winter, and fresh milk and cheese were the first signs that Spring is about to arrive. Imbolc was a time to celebrate the coming of brighter days, surviving the harsh Winter, and planning for the year’s sowing season.
Being mindful of the natural energies, the ebbs and flows of the year, can help us stay connected to the elements, the season and the earth. Ancient Pagans followed the Wheel of the Year, eight Sabbats consisting of four solstice festivals, and four fire festivals.
All about Brighid (Brigid)
On Imbolc, ancestors in Ireland and Scotland particularly, honored the Goddess Brighid. Brighid can take on any appearance she wants, young or old, human or snake. She is a Triple Celtic Goddess, the embodiment of the child, the maiden and the crone. She is the Goddess of the Eternal Flame, the trinity also represents three types of fire: hearth fire, forge fire, and the fire to create and transform. She is also known as the Goddess of the Sacred Well, protecting healing waters. Brighid was the patron of poets, healers, and magicians.
Imbolc Correspondence for the Modern Witch
Foods associated with Imbolc are milk, butter, yogurt, and cheese (and nondairy alternatives will do just fine). This is the time to savor creamy soups, spring onions, leeks, potatoes, and Irish Soda Bread. Oils associated with Imbolc are spruce and fir, cinnamon, rosemary, patchouli, jasmine, and vanilla. Colors are white, light blue, and light pink.
Imbolc is sometimes referred to as Candlemas, and a common practice is to make and bless candles. You can make corn dollies or Brighid’s Cross out of any kind of grass or hay you have available.
Ceromancy, or candlewax divination, is a great way to connect with the magic of the season. Imagine a goal you are working towards, a seed you wish to plant. Really meditate on this goal, and develop a question with a yes or no answer. Use a paper plate and draw a line down the middle. Label on side yes, the other no. Light a small spell candle or tealight. Journal about your vision or meditate more (while supervising the candle). When it has burned all the way down, observe which side of the plate collected the most wax. That is your answer!
Learn more about Brighid, the Roman Goddess Juno, and the Egyptian Goddess Renenutet. Pull tarot cards, receive reiki, and relax during a guided meditation that will help you plant your own fire seed of intention.
In Person workshop at Saltitude Sunday 1/31 1:00-3:00 pm (learn more)
Virtual workshop on Zoom Monday 2/1 5:30-7:00 pm (learn more)
Neal, Carl F. Imbolc: Rituals, Recipes & Lore for Brigid’s Day. Llewellyn, 2016.
Moura, Ann. Grimoire for the Green Witch: a Complete Book of Shadows. Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd, 2018.
Join me in my Zoom Room on Monday, February 1st from 5:30-7:00pm to celebrate Imbolc, a time to emerge from the darkness of winter in preparation for the Spring. If you want to create new plans, sweep away old energies, and plant the seeds of abundance for the season, then don’t miss this event!
Imbolc is an ancient Pagan holiday based on Celtic traditions; it marks the halfway point between winter solstice and the spring equinox in Neolithic Ireland and Scotland. This is the time of year when we start to emerge from the darkness of winter in preparation for the Spring. Learning about ancient traditions can help us connect with the seasons of the Earth in the modern world.
During this online workshop, you will learn all about the Goddesses of the season: Celtic Goddess Brigid, Roman Goddess Juno, and Egyptian Goddess Renenutet.
The winter solstice translates to, “the sun stands still;” it is the longest night of the year. From this point forward, the light returns as days grow longer into Spring. Learning about ancient beliefs and archetypes makes me feel more connected to the season, and it can help us understand where some of our long-standing traditions come from. Did you ever wonder why we kiss under the mistletoe or why there are twelve days of Christmas? The answers are in our ties to ancient Roman, Greek, Celtic, and Norse mythology.
Setting the stage – Yule and the Winter Solstice
Yule descends from the Old English word geól and may refer to Christmas Day or Christmas tide. It is also connected to the Norse word jól, a heathen fast lasting twelve days, while Odin and his ghostly hunters swept through the dark forest. Since the mid-1800s, the word is widely used as an informal term for all Christmas festivities meaning joy or jolly.
The Romans recognized Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, the Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun, the Solar God Mithras. In the 4th century, the Church, in an attempt to promote Christianity, substituted the birth of the sun with the birth of the son. Some believe this to be the reason that we celebrate the birth of Jesus in December, even though he was more likely born in the Spring.
Goddesses, Mothers, Kings, and Gods of Winter Solstice
The solstice is a very maternal time of year, referred to as “The Mother Night” in some cultures. Women are often credited with the birth and death of the sun, the changing of the seasons, and the balance of life itself. Men are shown as heroes, battling adversity or ensuring that proper cycles continue, so life can be sustained. They sometimes represent the sun itself.
Celtic Goddess Cailleach
Cailleach translates to “the veiled one.” She is the crone, the old one, the Queen of Winter. She is part of the triple goddess symbol of the child, the maiden and the crone. The maiden, Brighid, rules from Beltane in the Spring, until Samhain in the Fall, but Cailleach rules the Winter months.
There was a tradition in Ireland and Scotland, where farmers competed to bring in their crops. The first farmer to harvest his fields would create a corn dolly to represent Cailleach, and he would toss it into the unharvested field of another farmer. As each farmer finished, the dolly would be found and passed along, until the last farmer to finish the harvest would have to look after Cailleach for the Winter. The dolly would be burned on Beltane to release the Crone and welcome the Maiden. It was a heated competition, no one wanted to get stuck with the Crone in their home for the Winter.
Greek Goddess Demeter
Demeter is the goddess of agriculture, fertility, and sacred law. She presides over the cycle of life and death. She is a mother goddess. Her daughter, Persephone, is abducted by Hades and tricked into staying in the underworld with him for six months out of the year. Demeter’s grief causes the earth to die for those months until Persephone returns in the Spring. She controls the balance of the harvest, which was the source of life for people at the time.
Norse Goddess Frigg and God Beltur
Frigg is the Norse Goddess of Winter. It is believed that on the longest night of the year, she labored the birth of the sun into the world. This was called “The Mother Night.” Frigg is Odin’s wife, also associated with marriage and fertility. Friday is named after Frigg. She gave birth to two sons, Beltur, and his blind twin Holdr.
Frigg asked all of nature not to harm her sons, but in her haste, she forgot about mistletoe. Loki, a trickster God, fooled Holdr into shooting Baldur with a spear made from mistletoe. He was later brought back to life, and Frigg was so delighted that she declared mistletoe as a symbol of love and vowed to kiss anyone beneath it. It is poisonous though, so don’t let anyone eat it!
The Oak King and the Holly King
In Celtic tradition, the day of the Winter solstice is the day when the Oak King wins the battle against the Holly King. It is the battle of light and dark, of life and death, of Winter and Summer. And cycle that must continue for life to endure. The Oak King will win and the nights will grow shorter until the Summer Solstice when the Holly Kings wins his battle and brings us back to Winter. People would burn fires through the night and sing at dawn to midwife the birth of the sun and celebrate the victory of the Oak King.
Greek God Apollo
In the 10th century BCE, the Roman Emperor Augustus installed Apollo as the reigning version of the solar god. Games and festivities were held in his honor around the winter solstice. He was later superseded by the Persian deity Mithras. Mithras’ birthday just so happened to be December 25th, but scholars seem to agree that there is no connection to Christianity and the cult of Mithras.
Saturnalia and a personal reflection
Another connection to winter gods is the Roman festival Saturnalia, in honor of the agricultural god Saturn, from December 17-23. It was a time of feasting, gift-giving, offering sacrifices, and a special dinner where masters served their slaves.
In late December and early January of this year, I was at the Temple of Shani Shingnapur in Maharashtra, India. The entire village is dedicated to the Hindu God of Saturn. They go to temple and make offerings every day. No one in the village locks the doors on their homes because they trust that they are protected and no one will do each other harm.
The village was humble, and the people were so friendly. I had the best cup of chai of the entire trip and I picked up an ornament there, which I was excited to place on my Yule altar this season. The extra excitement is over the rare conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn today (12/21/20201) as I write this on the Winter solstice. Check out my astrologer friend, Carter’s blog about this! Learn more about the Christmas Star.
My year started and ended with Saturn, the sun, incredible magic, new experiences, and new friends. I am filled with gratitude.
I hope this brief introduction to some archetypes associated with this time of year inspires you to learn more! If you feel drawn to any of these characters, I encourage you to research them and honor them with your yule decorations. This is a good time to clean and organize, to reflect and learn lessons from the past year, and to envision your new future. As the sun is reborn, you can start fresh too. Blessed be!