Ostara Activites

Ostara Activities

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Spring is nearly here!! Let’s find ways to celebrate the return of life and longer days to come! Ostara is the spring equinox which means that the day and night are again the same length but this time, the days are going to get LONGER than the nights!

Listed below are a few ways to celebrate and honour the returning light and life:

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Greet the Dawn

Its not all that early yet, so get up and greet that sunrise. You can mediate; do yoga; perform a ritual with your grove, family, solo or just take a moment to make an offering to the sun.

Get outside

The days are warming up and the weather is slowly improving. Get outside and enjoy it. Throw yourself a picnic if possible, if not, take a little walk. It can be fun to look for the new emerging life, breathe the fresh air and maybe even take on the #trashchallenge if you are feeling it.

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Do some planting

This is an excellent time to refresh the pots in your home if it is cold outside or, take some time to start your seedlings. You can also head outside and clean up your yard a bit from winter’s ravage. While you are doing this, focus your intent on your own personal growth and the beauty you bring to the world each day.

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Decorate Eggs

This tradition spans many religions but a great Druid or generally pagan twist on it is to decorate the eggs with symbols to help focus and manifest things you need in your life. They can be used as charms for the home and make a lovely display on their own or as an addition to your alter. Check out this link on Naturally Dyed Eggs and enjoy crafting with intent. https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/holidays/easter-ideas/how-to/a31737/natural-easter-egg-dyes/

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Donate to a Rabbit Shelter or Group

Looking for something a little different? Try donating money or supplies to a rabbit shelter. Rabbits are a long-accepted sign of spring. The Ostara Hare has many a TAIL (god, I love puns). Check your local area for some bunny love and help a fuzz bucket today. Here are some local to our grove.
https://www.10000carrots.com/

https://www.facebook.com/honeysbunniesrabbitrescue/

Whatever you decide to do, take a moment for you. Breathe in some new life of your own and thank yourself for taking the time to connect spiritually. You’ve made it through the winter and things are literally looking brighter ahead.

Blessed be

Little Rituals

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Paganism to me has always been a topic of conversation I highly enjoy. What does paganism mean to you? What does it mean to be pagan in todays day and age? What makes paganism, stand out from any other religion or spiritual belief system? These questions for me always seem to boil back to the same question though of why? why paganism? What has brought me here and what roots me into this path.

I am personally a creature of habit and someone who really appreciates a set schedule and system for my week. I enjoy my Thursday night AD&D sessions with friends. I use to enjoy my Friday night Magic nights with friends. I enjoyed my Sundays with my family, etc etc. I like pattern and schedule in my life. Now do not get me wrong. I very much enjoy spontaneity. I enjoy being able to last minute decide to go out with friends or a last minute drive to Woflville for the sake of it. You may be reading this though and ask, wait… what does this have to do with paganism. Well for me Paganism isnt what I just believe. It’s what I do.

Over the last year our Grove has been fortunate enough to have been visited by the Arch Druid of ADF Jean Pagano (Drum). During his visit here in Nova Scotia we discussed a lot about bringing paganism and ritual into our daily lives. We talked about small daily rituals that he felt benefited him. and connected him to his path and this really connected with me.

It made me realize that in my day to day life small things I do over and over are what could connect me to the earth below me and ground me in a way. Something I am happy to discuss with anyone I can is shaving. Now this may sound silly but the small ritual I have created for my own personal care I found has really grounded me as a person. It lets me connect with my inner self and it calms me great. It’s also nice that shaving in general involves water which is an element I have felt very disconnected from over the past few years. I lay out my razor, my creams, my brushes each time I shave and then I perform my tiny personal ritual, from washing my face, too bringing the blade to my skin, to once again use the waters to cleanse my self. this is just one of many small rituals I perform for my self personally that connects me to something. in this particular case no Gods are involved, No spirits are thanked, this is a ritual just for me.

- Brian Larter

The Awen

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The Awen (pronounced ah-when) is an important symbol in the Druid traditions. The word itself is a Welsh, Cornish and Breton word for poetic inspiration. It is an inspirational muse for creative artists of all sorts.

The three beams are said to be three beams of light drawing down from three dots that are representative of the triple aspect of diety and also, the points at which the sun rises on the equinox and solstices (the Triad of the Sunrises). 

The lines represent not only inspiration but the inspiration of truth. In other traditions the beams are said to represent Sea, Air and Earth; Body Mind and Spirit or Love, Wisdom and Truth.

The Awen can often be found surrounded by circles. These circles are said to be representative of the cyclical and timeless nature of creation.

I hope this little blurb has helped you to understand a very common symbol in our Druid tradition.

Blessed be!

Staying connected in the winter months

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In a world increasingly leaning toward technology and the long winters we have it can be very hard to stay connected to your spirituality without comfortable and easy access to nature. I know you can still go outside but I get cold very easily and it can be a lot of prep just to try and get out for a little bit of fresh air on really nasty days and weeks.

So what do you do to keep connected? We recently discussed this online in the grove I was surprised to see I was not alone in the struggle. So I really started putting some thought into it…..

If you are a big social media user, try looking for local groups or just online communities. I have recently become slightly obsessed with #pagansofinstagram and #wildwoman_witchcraft on Instagram. I also Liked, The Moon Journal on Facebook. It can sound hokey but sometimes seeing inspiring images or stories can help you to feel connected or inspire you to take on something new.

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Reach out to fellow members of your path or pagans in general and set up “coffee dates”. You can talk about what is going on in the community; discuss pagan intellect or just chit chat knowing you are in the company of people who have similar interests. If coffee isn’t your thing, maybe start a reading club. Check out, The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben.

Bring nature inside. If you have any window space at all, bring in some plants so you can have a little wildlife inside. This goes for your workplace as well. I have a little plant that I keep on my office desk and move to a nearby window on sunny days / over weekends.

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Start planning, shopping and preparing for your upcoming garden. You can start your seeds inside and it will give you a nurturing nature project to focus on. If you don’t have a green thumb (you aren’t alone) draw or make lists of what you would like to plant when the garden centres open up. Check out some gardening sites or books to really get inspired. I bought The Gardeners Bible (I know…. I know…) and I love it! It comes complete with information on soils and also companion planting. It was a truly inspiring read and I find it very easy to reference.

Finally, if you still cannot connect and you are really struggling, try adjusting your perception. Winter is a natural slowing time, maybe your body needs the break and you just haven’t realized it yet. This is a good time to rest and recharge. Aim to be grateful and explore the gratitude path when you embrace the season as she is.

Interfaith 2019 at the UU

As always, we were happy to partake in Interfaith week by attending the Imbolc ritual this weekend at the Unaversalist Unitarian Church.  

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What a fantastic and excited crowd. The intimacy of the space makes it a great venu for exploring new paths and sharing with fellow spiritualist.  

We set set up our table and happily spoke with anyone who was interested in Druidry and ADF. Community outreach effort is one of my favourite things about our Grove. We were equipped with GNSD and ADF panflets as well as little educational Ogham to hand out.

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Thank you to everyone who took part, we hope to see you all next year !

blessed be

Imbolc activities

Imbolc Activities to share with your friends and family

Make a Brigid doll:

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Brigid dolls are often made of straw and, among other things is the patroness od bards, healing and all things craft-like. Her effigies are hung over doorways to bring about protection and inspiration for the arts. They can be decorated with small dresses and if you are lucky enough to have any greenery or flowers this time of year she can be adorned with those.

photo borrowed from Pinterest. hexenwissen

Feasts and Fire:

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Of course, with the days getting longer this is a time to celebrate. Light a fire and have friends and family around for dinner. Choose homemade foods and throw a potluck with seasonal treats.

Spring cleaning:

My personal favourtie. Clean your home! This activity is usually undertaken before Imbolc Eve. Get rid of clutter and clean up with a focus on driving out any negative energy. Scrub all surfaces thoroughly and if you can bare the chill still in the air, open some windows and let the fresh air though the house. Making this practice into a preparation for your ritual can have rewarding results. Have the whole family join in and experience the benefits of a tidy and cleansed home.

Outdoor adventure:

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Traditionally, Imbolc was a time to visit sacred waters. Go on a winter hike and find a lovely pond or stream, you can take a moment to meditate on its peaceful nature and bring back fertility to your dreams. If you are comfortable, make contact with the water to fully set your intention to cleanse and purify. You can also use this little venture to thank the local spirits (they must get lonely in the cold) and pick up and trash you might see along the way.

 Imbolc blessings! The sun and goddess return! 

 

 

Ritual Baths

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With the recent passing of the Super Wolf Blood Moon I had asked some friends how they planned to celebrate (unashamedly looking for fun ideas myself) one, said she was going to have a ritual bath and meditate. This sounded like a great idea and since I'd had a bath without a toddler in it, it felt VERY magical indeed.

It made me start to contemplate the ritual of a cleansing bath.Of course the bath cleanses your body of dirt...we all know that but what more can it do for you?

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The idea behind a Ritual Bath is very simple. The idea being that you use the bath to purify yourself outward and inward using water, herbs/oils and intent. Usually, this is preparation for ritual but not always, sometimes you just need a good emotional and spiritual scrubbing.

This practice isn't unique to Paganism. Many religions use bathing as a means of purification. In Judaism it is known as the Mikveh. In Buddhism, they use a tsukubai to purify your face and hands before practice. Wherever you are and whatever you call it, the idea being that you focus your energy and cleans your mind, body and soul. Use the time to reflect and mediate on removing negativity.


Doesn't this sound awesome? Wouldn't you like to know how to do it? I can help!

Firstly, set the mood. Find yourself a private space with some peace and quiet. The goal is to set yourself up for success and you want this bath to be not only cleansing but empowering. You may want to light some candles or enjoy some natural light. Consider lighting a scented candle or some incense to purify the air while you relax into your warm soak.

Draw your bath and while doing so, consider hanging a satchel of dried herbs on the faucet or carefully adding essential oils to the tub.

I recommend any of the following hers or oils to be used for cleansing:

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Sage

Chamomile

Lemon Balm

Sandalwood

Lavender

Rosemary

Hyssop

Sweetgrass

Peppermint


I also like to add Epsom salts to help relieve lactic acid to further purify and relax my body and thereby my mind.

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Finally, you may wish to add some music or nature sounds to complete the mood.

As you soak in your tub contemplate and visualize any negativity seeping form your body. This may take some time. You will need to unwind and then begin your practice. Focus on the warmth enveloping your body. Breath deeply and enjoy the natural oils you've added. Allow your mind to wander down a path of cleansing and healing. Relax your eyes, close them and tune in to your own personal rhythm, become aware of your body's needs; recognize tensions and slowly allow them to seep away. When you feel that all of the negativity and tension has left your body, refocus on how relieving and mentally / spiritually energizing this process has been. See your body as whole and pure and when you are ready, get out of the tub and retrieve the plug to let all the negative energy go away. You should leave your tub feeling grounded and connected to yourself.

I hope yo have enjoyed this post and that you all have wonderful baths planned.

Blessed Be,

Karen

Yule Ritual

We had a lovely Yule Ritual last weekend and I am happy to be getting this post up before the 21st.

We did ritual, exchanged gifts and enjoyed making hearth protection charms.

Using wooden spoons (a sign of the hearth and common protection symbol) we carefully wrapped them in ribbon while contemplating peace, love and protection along with a couple spare giggles. We said a simple blessing “ Lend us bright blessings on this Yuletide fare, give us love and peace in equal share. With Yuletide warmth our hearths be blessed that lifts the heart of Kin and Guest”. We all took our spoons home and hung them in an appropriate place in the kitchen.

Blessed Yule everyone!

Samhain Activities

Samhain quickly approaches and among all the candies and costumes it can be easy to forget the purpose of this day — Honouring our Ancestors.

It is believed that at this time of year the veil between this life and the otherworld is at its thinnest and it is therefore easy to connect with the dead. This can take many forms but if you are looking for ideas that may be more group or family friendly here is a good place to start.

Take a walk

I know I put this in every blog but… WALKING! Take a nature walk and discuss or contemplate the nature sloughing off its colourful garb. The flowers wilt and the trees have begun to drop their leaves. The ground is cold and things are rapidly preparing for winter. Remember that this is a cycle and like the plants and creatures around you, life will return.

Host a feast

Invite family and friends around out of the cold and offer them some comfort with food and drinks. This is a great time to share stories of those who have passed. It can be reflective and morose or jovial. There is no obligation to take any one path and often one will lead to another. Celebrate those who came before us and honour them by keeping their stories and memories alive.

Review and share photos

Bring out the old photo albums and sit with friends and family to talk about “that time when…” it can be a great way to remember our ancestors. You may even become inspired to create a collage or scrapbooking page for your altar.

Create the change you want

This is also a good time of year to let go of things. If you have a bad habit, feeling or activity that you would like to let go of, there is no time like the present. If you want to bring it into ritual or even just make the letting-go seem more tangible you can write it on paper and burn it or you can collect all the items that bring you to that action and discard (or donate) them.

Dance and Sing

Many people find that they feel a greater connection to their spirituality by moving or singing. Dig out some music that helps you connect and embrace what your body needs in that moment. This is extra fun to do with friends but I am a big fan of what I call “Solo Dance Parties”. This can also be a great way to shake off some of the impending winter blues and help you to remember that Death is a part of the cycle. It is just as important as Birth and embracing that is the reason for the season.

How ever you choose to celebrate please do it safely and take care of each other. Give thanks to the beautiful Autumnal world around you in whatever way feels best for you; your family/friends and your Groves. If you are alone, be mindful of your body (and mind’s) needs. If you are in a group, help those around you but never neglect yourself. This can be a trying time of year for some but remembering it is all part of the natural cycle will help to strengthen everyone.

Blessed be

Making your own incense

This week we looked at making our own incense as another means of being creative and further connecting with out grove members / values. We had a blast and we documented the whole thing for you so have a look.

Firstly you will need a few simple tools:

Blank Incense Sticks

Dropper

Small Dish

Oils of choice

An Olive Oil Dish

Jars

I say you need these – you don’t NEED all of them but they will make it a whole lot easier and tidier.

Firstly, you should know the difference between Fragrance and Essential oils. There are many factors to consider but to put it simply, Fragrance Oils are chemically created, and Essential Oils are naturally derived. Each has its merits, and some may be stronger than others so be sensitive to those around you and to yourself when you are choosing. You should also know that some of these oils can be corrosive so be careful and cover any surface you deem precious.

Lets get started:

Set your Blank Incense Sticks out in your Olive Oil Dish.

Each stick will require about 20 drops (1ml) of oil to fully saturate the stick. Grab your bottle or small dish if you have mixed oils and your dropper. Have fun with it — mix and match your scents.

Load the Dropper up and start to work your way down the stick one drop at a        time watching how the oils spreads. Go all the way from one end to the other but stop at the stem, that wont burn anyway. Because the sticks aren’t all perfectly uniform you may need a couple more or fewer drops depending on the size of the stick.

Once you are confident the sticks have been fully covered set them in a Jar to dry for a minimum of 24hours.

There! You did it! You made your own incense sticks! Find what connects/relaxes you and enjoy.

Always remember to burn your incense safely with a proper holder. I have seen people stick incense in potted plants and regret it later. Never leave your sticks burning when you are not around to supervise, where there is an ember, there could be a flame.

Blessed be.