It was an exciting Easter-Ostara weekend for me. I have a new blog up at Huffington Post about my relationship to both the Pagan Ostara and the Christian Easter in: “A Witch Looks at Easter.” It was inspired by a hilarious interview I did on a British morning radio show earlier in the week, which you can find, here. These guys remind me of a British Click and Clack. I come on around 1:13:30.
Ostara with little ones
I usually go up to Connecticut with my Coven for Ostara, but this year it was scheduled on my husband’s birthday weekend, so I stayed home to fry chicken and bake a cake. I celebrated the weekend after the actual holiday itself, in Central Park with my goddaughters.
In my book, I talk about the Brigid twins. These are those girls!
The girls spent most of the afternoon running around in the North Woods of Central Park. I brought a packet of watermelon seeds I’d received at a UN peacekeeping award ceremony at which my friend Patrick McCollum was honored for his work. The packet was marked ‘Seed of Change.’ They carried the energies of that evening in which so many people came together to celebrate peace. They seemed like the perfect thing to bring to the park.
The girls’ mother and I followed them while they looked for a special spot to plant the seeds, as well as their Easter eggs (which they wanted to bury). In many Pagan traditions, including Progressive Witchcraft which their mother and I practice, the space where three roads meet is a very special sort of Crossroads. To have a tree or trees grow in that spot denotes even more power. We didn’t mention this to the girls, but they still gravitated toward a spot in the park where three paths came together and three young trees grew.
The girls were hesitant to sit on the ground at first, until their mother told them that the dirt was okay–better than okay, the dirt was good! We sat in a Circle. Normally, this would be the time when my Coven would call Quarters and formally cast a Circle. But, we were already in a space of Magick. We didn’t need to “call in” what was already there. Instead, we each focused on what we felt the air, the sun, the soil beneath us, and the water deep down below the soil wanted us to know. The answers were lovely: “I think the air wants us to have a nice day.” “I think the sun wants us to be happy.” “I think the soil wants us to have a nice day.” “I think the water wants us to have fun and love each other.” “I think the water wants us to love each other and to have a nice day.”
We each then took three seeds and made wishes with them. The first seed was a wish for the world. The second seed was a wish for the people we love. The third wish was for ourselves. I won’t share them because wishes are private, but as I’m sure you can imagine, I learned a lot about what kinds of things make good wishes from these two little ones. We then buried the seeds and held our hands over them in prayer to the Mother Goddess, thanking Her for accepting the seeds and asking her to look out for them and see that they grow. We then shared what we were thankful for.
It was a simple, but perfect ritual. The girls spent the rest of the afternoon digging up worms, which was another perfect ritual considering we just passed the Worm Moon. The Worm Moon is synonymous with the return of the robin in this part of the world, and sure enough, several brave little robins clustered near the girls, watching them dig up and play with their lunch.
We reminded the girls to be gentle with the worms and make sure that the worms found their way back into the ground. The land needed them to do their important job of eating and pooing the soil, making it soft and fertile. The robins needed to get those juicy worms and go back to their nests and feed their babies. When I was about their age, a robin built a nest in the tree at our kitchen window. We could see right into the nest. Our whole family gathered around when the eggs hatched. We watched the mother robin feed the new, wet babies and a father robin (or a co-mother robin??? I’m not too familiar with robin relationships.) showed up with a beak full of worms for the new family.
Springtime truly is so very, very Magickal, particularly when you can share it with little ones.
Ancient Tarot in NYC
If you’re within a day’s drive of NYC, shut down your computer and get to the Cloisters Museum and see the The World in Play: Luxury Cards, 1430-1540. It includes two Tarot decks from the artist Bonifaco Bembo. The other playing cards might as well be oracular cards themselves. They are all so very, beautiful. What is it the kids say these days? I literally died.
Despite rumors to the contrary, the Tarot might have had a couple of oracular moments, but in the Middle Ages, it was much more likely to be used as a parlor game for the rich. The cards on display were all hand-painted and commissioned for wealthy patrons. Yet even though they were meant to be playing cards and not fortune telling devices, the cards themselves tell such intricate stories, it’s impossible to imagine that they wouldn’t ever be used as an oracle. As you may notice, these cards ranged from strange to creepy to outright gross, but all still managed to be stunningly beautiful in their gross, creepy, strangeness. Gods, I love Tarot……
Those are just a few of the beautiful cards on display at the Cloisters right now. It is so very worth the time to go.