Ostara: A Peak Into [Personal] Traditions

With Ostara behind us and Beltaine soon upon us, we realized it might be a good time (even if a bit belated) to share the personal Ostara traditions of one of our members and his family, before moving forward to new celebrations…

On the morning of Ostara, this member, his wife, and their young son get out big mason jars and fill them with water. These jars are then taken outside where they can catch the first rays of sunshine on that blessed day, and are left out to “charge” while the family returns to the indoors to enjoy a good brunch.

Following their meal, the three of them work together to do a clean up of the house, starting from the top floor and sweeping down and toward the front door, symbolically pushing out any bad energy they may have collected.

Following the cleaning, they collect the crystals they have placed throughout their home and, using some of the water from the jars outside, they cleanse or “recharge” the crystals. The rest of the day is devoted to crafts and games, and in the evening they  have friends over for a feasting.

 

Funny hats, Green Beer and Religious Oppression?

It’s a thing… As fun as today is and as much as we all love the comradery, let’s not forget the origins and placement of Saint Patrick’s Day.

St. Partick’s claim to fame isn’t Beer, Leprechauns or Pots of Gold, but the fact that he drove all the “snakes” out of Ireland. During a 40 day fast, it is said that the snakes attacked St. Patrick and as a result he drove them all into the ocean. The snakes, in this case, sadly represent Pagans, Celts to be more specific.

What’s the harm? Let it be? Sure, but let’s look a little bit more…

March 17th isn’t an arbitrary date. It was carefully placed to supersede Ostara (Spring Equinox). I suppose this made the transition easier for some to convert, similar to the inclusion of the Mother Mary for those following a Goddess rich path. How about the traditional symbol of the three-leafed shamrock, a symbol of the Christina Holy Trinity perhaps?

So there it is. Drink your beer and have your fun, but perhaps raise a glass in memory of those who were exiled from their homes for their beliefs.

In preparation for Ostara

Continuing with the theme of family- or Grove-based activities, I thought it might be nice to share a couple of Ostara-based activities. Open yourself up like a blossoming flower and share your splendour.

Firstly, the traditional egg dye. This is always a winner, but why not put a fun twist on it and take the eggs outside! No muss, no fuss! Colour your eggs and set them out around the yard as decoration. You can hide them for little ones or just enjoy adding to your space. Better still, crush them up into a colourful fertilizer for the gardens. The calcium in eggshells will help your plants grow.

Looking for more fun in the new sun? Try a natural walk! I know, Druids suggesting natural walks… this doesn’t seem new. This time, try watching for emerging new life. You can document it by writing it down, drawing it or photographing it. It can be a fun game for those looking to add a little more to their stroll.

How about some Spring Cleaning? You can almost always use a good cleaning, but if your house is already spic and span try going outside and looking for something to clean up. Maybe around your favourite tree or park bench. There are lots of public places that could use a little TLC and if you want to work with your family or grove you can conquer even more. This is a great motivator for yard work as well. Take a moment to reflect and tie it back to your core values; the changing season or new growth and the chores will seem less daunting.

It’s nearly time to start planting flora for those who are interested, why not plant your bulbs with mindfulness? With each bulb that you put in the ground or in a pot, envision the new growth and let it embrace you.

Finally, if it is still chilly and you cant take the cold, get to the kitchen! Make some hot crossed buns and enjoy some icing fun with pretty knots and symbols that are meaningful to your group or family (not to mention a delicious snack).

I hope you all get to enjoy at least one of these fun activities!

-K

Resources for Druid Parents

I want to start this off by saying I have not yet had children of my own, but I do know that sometimes you can be too close to a situation to see or reach out for easy solutions. So, for those of you who are looking for ideas to maintain spirituality in houses with the pitter-patter of tiny feet, here are a few things that might make it a bit easier.

Tried, tested and true, the book for all Pagan paths is Pagan Parenting by Kristen Madden
Some other interesting reads are :
Circle Round by Starhawlk
and Celebrating the Great Mother by Cait Johnson and Maura D. Shaw

If you are looking for story books, try:
A fairy went a marketing by Rose Fyleman
or any of the Lets Talk About books by Siusaidh Ceanadach

Where none of these resources are strictly Druid in nature, they are a great place to start building traditions for your family and introducing your child/children to spirituality at a young age.

If you are looking for activities at home to learn or even just keep kids in touch with nature, try checking out this Pintrest Page : https://www.pinterest.com/tressabelle/adf-druid-kidsparenting/ It is loaded with crafts indoors and out for all seasons, including handmade offering bowls and Goddess Paper dolls. With these activities you can make learning fun!

-K