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April 15 – May 12
Strong, loving, stable and sure are the watchwords for the bulls of the Celtic lunar year. Cows/bulls are the ones you turn to when you need a shoulder to cry on, honest opinions and solid advice (particularly in relationships). These Celtic animal signs have bullseye intuition and can spot a liar from a mile away. Because they’re highly intuitive, they can be misunderstood as moody or over emotional. They also come by stubborness honestly. They have excellent taste, and have a flair for classy elegance in fashion and home décor. These signs are as trustworthy as the day is long, and know how to keep a secret.
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Aries: March 21 - April 20 As the first sign of the tropical zodiac, Aries is seasonally associated with spring and according to astrologers represents a strong, sometimes creative thrust and powerful expression of energy. The sign is governed by Mars, the planet of activity and assertiveness, which astrologers believe adds the traits of competitiveness, impulsiveness, and the instinct to act spontaneously. The Sun is also strongly associated with this sign, which it governs by exaltation. The solar-association is seen as adding expression of the ego, and the desire to make a mark as an individual. Joanna Watters (2003) defined a keyphrase for this sign as “I am”. Martin Seymour-Smith (1981) suggested “Initiative is expressed aggressively, impulsively and probably very emotively”. As a suggestion for keywords he offers:
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Fox March 18 – April 14 The fox sign is amazingly cunning and knows how to work a room with sly, sexy humor. Full of guile, vigor and bright intelligence the fox is an untamable force. This Celtic animal sign is the one to take with you on exotic vacations, they will wind your ways into amazing adventures. They have a knack for story telling, and every experience is fodder for their tales. They are tender-hearted, although they don’t show that soft side too often because they’re too busy playing and cracking jokes. However, they aren’t shy about showing their loyalty; if you are the friend of the fox, you have a friend for life. Highly energetic and courageous, the fox has an indomitable spirit.
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St. Patrick is known as a symbol of Ireland, particularly around every March. One of the reasons he’s so famous is because he supposedly drove the snakes out of Ireland, and was even credited with a miracle for this. What many people don’t realize is that the serpent was actually a metaphor for the early Pagan faiths of Ireland. It’s important to note that he did not physically drive the Pagans from Ireland, but instead St. Patrick brought Christianity to the Emerald Isle. He did such a good job of it that he began the conversion of the entire country to the new religious beliefs, thus paving the way for the elimination of the old systems. And while it’s true that snakes are hard to find in Ireland, this may well be due to the fact that it’s an island, and so snakes aren’t exactly migrating there in packs.
The real St. Patrick was believed by historians to have been born around 370 c.e., probably in Wales or Scotland. Most likely, his birth name was Maewyn, and he was probably the son of a Roman Briton named Calpurnius. As a teen, Maewyn was captured during a raid and sold to an Irish landowner as a slave. During his time in Ireland, where he worked as a shepherd, Maewyn began to have religious visions and dreams — including one in which showed him how to escape captivity. Once back in Britain, Maewyn moved on to France, where he studied in a monastery. Eventually, he returned to Ireland to “care and labour for the salvation of others”, according to The Confession of St. Patrick, and changed his name to Patrick, which means “father of the people.”
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John Andrew Boyle cites commentary contained within an etymology dictionary by A. Ernout and A. Meillet, where the authors write that “Little else […] is known about [Ēostre], but it has been suggested that her lights, as goddess of the dawn, were carried by hares. And she certainly represented spring fecundity, and love and carnal pleasure that leads to fecundity.” Hares are the representative of this because the female can get pregnant while still pregnant with another litter.
Researchers have used selective breeding and high-resolution ultrasonography to demonstrate that a male hare can fertilize a female during late pregnancy. The resulting embryos will develop around four days before delivery of the first pregnancy. The embryos don’t have any place to go at that time, however, since the uterus is occupied by the embryos’ older brothers and sisters. So the embryos hang out in the oviduct, rather like when you wait in your car for a parking space to open up. Once the uterus is free, the embryos move in.
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Mother or Mary worship is one of the most powerful and emotional phenomenon in the Roman Catholic Church today. This mystical cult is given credence by the multitude of accounts about supernatural phenomena involving statues, apparitions and healings.
Since Mary worship is found nowhere in the writings of the first Christians, it is strongly suggested that its origin is found in the universal adoration of the mother goddess all throughout paganism before the time of Christ. It was adopted into the rising Roman Church early in its history - some suggest after the 4th century A.D.
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In chapter 15 of his work De temporum ratione, noted historian and priest, Venerable Bede describes the indigenous month names of the English people. After describing the worship of the goddess Rheda during the Anglo-Saxon month of Hrethmonath, Bede writes about Eosturmonath, the month of the goddess Eostre:
Eostur-monath, qui nunc Paschalis mensis interpretatur, quondam a Dea illorum quæ Eostre vocabatur, et cui in illo festa celebrabant nomen habuit: a cujus nomine nunc Paschale tempus cognominant, consueto antiquæ observationis vocabulo gaudia novæ solemnitatis vocantes.
Eosturmonath has a name which is now translated “Paschal month”, and which was once called after a goddess of theirs named Eostre, in whose honour feasts were celebrated in that month. Now they designate that Paschal season by her name, calling the joys of the new rite by the time-honoured name of the old observance.”
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To celebrate Oestara, you can do any of the following, or use these ideas as a springboard.
Get out in Nature. Take a walk around your neighborhood or favorite park. See which plants are sprouting, which budding, which blooming, which still are in the grips of winter. Feel the air; smell the scents of Oestara.
Clear a space for a garden, or start flowers, herbs or vegetables indoors. It’s too early in this climate to plant fruits and vegetables; frosts can happen as late as April in the Northwest. But you can clear weeds, grass and rubbish from the spot where you plan a garden, or you can start seeds indoors. Check with your favorite garden store what flowers and vegetables might best be started now.
Pick up litter at your favorite park or beach. Help the earth rejuvenate by getting rid of the mess. Even an hour of cleanup can make a big difference.
Ritually color hard-boiled or blown eggs. Eggs, a potent symbol of fertility, figured in pagan spring worship long before their appropriation by the Christian Easter. Ukrainian pysanky, blown eggs with patterns drawn in wax and dyed, are pagan amulets for fertility, prosperity and protection. Pysanky have come to us basically unchanged in form from the hunter-gatherers of Eastern Europe.
For your own rituals, you can draw in crayon or white wax on hard-boiled eggs symbols that represent things you want in the coming sun-year, or write on the eggs these things’ names, or both. You can then use Easter-egg or natural dyes to color the eggs; your wax symbols and writing will stand out against the dye-color. Next, raise energy in ritual for your goals, charge the eggs with that energy, then peel and eat the eggs, taking in the things you want to manifest. Alternatively, you can mark and dye unboiled eggs, then crack tiny holes in both ends with a pin and blow out the matter inside, keeping the eggshell on your altar.
Perform oomancy (divination by eggs). To perform the most common form of egg-divination, separate egg whites and yolks. You then drop the white into hot water and divine from the shapes it assumes.
Perform love or other divination with apples. Apples are a Northern European pagan symbol of spring and of love. You may recall from childhood two forms of love-divination by apple, using the seeds and the stem.
To divine whether someone loves you by apple seeds, choose and eat an apple thinking of your loved one. Next, split the core and count the seeds chanting this rhyme: One I love, two I love, three I love I say, four I love with all my heart, five I cast away; six she loves, seven he loves, eight they both love; nine s/he comes, ten s/he tarries, eleven s/he courts, twelve s/he marries. To divine the first letter of your spouse-to-be’s name, twist an apple’s stem while chanting the letters of the alphabet. The letter at which the stem breaks is his or her initial.
Both these love-divination techniques can be adapted to other uses. To adapt the former, alter the rhyme with words suiting your situation. To adapt the latter, you can simply chant yes and no while twisting till the apple stem breaks; you can also chant “yes, no, maybe” or use words more specific to your situation.
Meditate on the imagery of the seed. Consider a seed and how it relates to the earth, how it falls from its mother plant into a rich loam made from the breakdown of other dead plants. Consider how the seed is influenced by sun and rain, by the energy from sky and earth. Or contemplate as a seed an idea or situation in your life, then imagine the seed breaking open and sending out roots and sprouts. Study what these roots and sprouts look like, where they find barriers and where they grow most strongly.
Perform magick by planting a seed to grow with your spell. A traditional love-spell runs as follows. (Of course, you shouldn’t perform this spell to draw a particular person, but rather to draw the right person toward you.) Just after the New Moon, plant the seed of some sturdy plant in a pot. Water thoroughly, and charge your spell by raising energy and saying over the plant: As this root grows, and this blossom blows, may my true love be inclined toward me. You can adapt this spell to any purpose naturally achieved over time, such as the success of a business.
Meditate on the season’s flowers. Around us now bloom crocuses, daffodils and early tulips. You can find or purchase cut or living flowers and meditate on them. Sitting before the flowers, consider what is growing in your life. Flowers are the sexual organs of plants; consider what this says to you.
Perform magick to give back to the earth. Raise and send energy to return to the Earth, our mother, some of the bounteous energy and fertility She gives to us.
Meditate on the Moon-Hare. Rabbits provide an obvious symbol of animal fecundity. Meditate on the Moon-Hare, the animal the early German tribes and the Aztecs saw on the face of the moon, and see what comes to you about literal or creative fertility in your own life.
Honor the spring or Earth goddess or god of your choice, or a goddess or god of balance. To honor balance, venerate Roman Janus or his female counterpart Jana, or any pair of twin goddesses or gods. You can also honor goddesses and gods of spring or fertility now. Greet Oestara with rites like those of Aphrodite; drink new wine in honor of Dionysos; celebrate warlike Mars, deep and fertile Hertha or ever-young Iduna. Likewise, you can honor the Maiden, either sole and free or ripe for consummation.
Light around your house pairs of white and black candles, symbolizing dark and light. Each time you pass a pair of candles, you can honor the balance of light and dark we find this time of year, and the balance of light and dark within yourself.
Light a bonfire at dawn on the Equinox to honor the light half of the year. Not only did ancient Northern Europeans burn such fires, but also the Mayans.
Meditate or perform ritual at dawn or sunset. These liminal times are particularly significant now when we balance between dark and light.
Meditate or perform ritual for balance in your life and in the earth’s life. Meditate on that ancient Eastern emblem of balance, the Yin-Yang symbol. Consider what is dark and hidden, rightly or wrongly, in your life, and what is daylit. Consider how you best can create balance, honoring both sides of yourself. Likewise, contemplate what you see as dark and light in the world around you. Meditate upon what this year will bring, dark and light, and how best you can take right action in the world. You can also use these symbols actively, raising energy and asking that balance come to your life.
Do a ritual denoting the passing of the year’s dark half. Medieval Bohemians, after honoring the Christian savior on Easter Sunday, performed a ritual for his pagan rival on the following Monday, or Moon-day. Village girls sacrificed an effigy of the Lord of Death in the nearest running water, singing “Death swims in the water, spring comes to visit us, with eggs that are red, with yellow pancakes, we carried Death out of the village, we are carrying Summer into the village.”
As an updated variation, you can create an effigy of the dark half of the year and imbue it with the things of winter you’d like to leave behind. You can then either burn it in a bonfire or drop it in the nearest watercourse. (In the former case, you’ll want to make the effigy’s components flammable, in the latter biodegradable.) To return with the spring, bring back to your home greenery cut with respect or water from the stream.
Use the energy of the time of year as you would the first quarter of the moon. You can use the energy of this time of year to fuel any new project or goal.
Meditate on beginnings, on the East, on air, on dawn. This station of the year reflects these traditional associations. In meditation, note how these symbols connect organically and how you relate personally to them.
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An equinox occurs twice a year, when the tilt of the Earth’s axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the Sun, the center of the Sun being in the same plane as the Earth’s equator. The term equinox can also be used in a broader sense, meaning the date when such a passage happens. The name “equinox” is derived from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night), because around the equinox, the night and day have approximately equal length.
At an equinox, the Sun is at one of two opposite points on the celestial sphere where the celestial equator (i.e. declination 0) and ecliptic intersect. These points of intersection are called equinoctial points: classically, the vernal point and the autumnal point. By extension, the term equinox may denote an equinoctial point.
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Ash: The Enchanter (February 18 – March 17)
Those born under the Celtic tree astrology sign of the Ash are free thinkers. Imaginative, intuitive, and naturally artistic, you see the world in water-color purity. You have a tendency to moody and withdrawn at times, but that’s only because your inner landscape is in constant motion. You are in touch with your muse, and you are easily inspired by nature. Likewise, you inspire all that you associate with and people seek you out for your enchanting personality. Art, writing (especially poetry), science, and theology (spiritual matters) are areas that strongly interest you. Others may think you are reclusive, but in all honesty, you are simply immersed in your own world of fantastic vision and design. You are in a constant state of self-renewal and you rarely place a value on what others think about you. Ash signs partner well with Willow and Reed signs.
*** All compliments and gratitude to Tom for the Photo. Please click the picture to go to his Blog.
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