This holiday marks the end of winter, the end of being shut-in. It is a fertility point in the Wheel of the Year - but more than that, it is a reawakening. The bonfires that were lit in the old days symbolize the awakening of life it speaks to us of inspiration and illumination.
As this is also a time for 'spring cleaning,' I always like to start the Wheel of the Year out by getting rid of the "baggage" that I have been carrying around. With the upcoming promise of spring and renewal, now is the time to start out the Wheel of the Year with a fresh start - a sort of 'spring cleaning ' of the soul.
This is the day we celebrate the wooing of Gerda, the Maiden Frost Giant by Frey, the God of Fertility.
Barri Day Cream Soup
4 medium potatoes
3/4 pound of broccoli
2 cups of heavy cream
1 Can of Cream of Chicken soup
Clean and chop the vegetables. Put them to the side. Add heavy cream and soup to pot. Slowly warm while stirring. You can add milk to thin this mixture, or corn starch to thicken - it all depends on your tastes.
Add the chopped potatoes to this mixture. Let cook on low with lid on pan for hour or so. Now add the rest of the vegetables. Let this all cook on low until they are tender, or the right consistency for your taste
Do not boil this soup.
Serve warm with fresh sunflower seed, poppy, or any type of nut bread.
Barri Day Magick
Since the seasonal energy at Barri Day is about renewal, we like to work with that flow in casting off those things that no longer serve a purpose. In this way we ready ourselves for the renewal that is to come.
On a piece of paper write out the thing(s) you wish to get rid of. With Banishing Oil draw the rune of Uraz on the paper over the words. During your Blót or Sumbel, throw this paper into the fire with the appropriate words or chant. Realize what you are doing. This is an act of magick. With the flames consuming this, you have taken it from your life, and given yourself the strength to overcome this obstacle! The things you release now will never carry weight in the future; it has no existence, no ties to bind it, you have just broken them!
Turn your back to it and walk away. It is done.
Mix equal parts of these herbs. Or, you can use the herbs mentioned in the "The Nine-Herbs Charm".
Burn this on a charcoal briquette for a recel, or place some in a bottle of oil (olive oil for example) for a Banishing Oil.
While you're at it, why not also take care of any left-over negativity or bad luck that may be around. You might want to consider taking the above mixture and sprinkling it around your home, then sweeping it out the back door, and out of your life. You may already know this, but I feel it important enough to mention - Whenever you do a banishing in your home, you must be aware of two things:
The Spring Equinox is a time of balance - winter and spring. On Ostara the hours of day and night are equal - this is the first day of true spring, as light is overtaking darkness.
Even the name Easter comes from the Saxon Goddess Eostra. She is the Goddess of innocence and enchantments, the Goddess of rebirth and renewal; resurrection after the death of winter.
The Teutonic people so loved this beautiful Goddess, that they refused to allow the Church to degrade Her to the rank of a demon, like many of their other Goddesses and Gods had been. Instead, they transferred Her name to the Christian feast of Easter. It had long been a custom to exchange presents and brightly colored eggs on this day.
In Northern Europe, traditional Easter egg paining still reproduces the ancient and sacred motifs of their culture. Eggs encircled with lines which bind in the energy, and symbolize the eternal circle of life. The tangled thread pattern, binding in the energies is a common motif; as are grids, which serve a magickal function. The eightfold heavenly star and sun wheels commemorate the seasonal cycle.
Eostra's Magickal Eggs
Pysanky comes from Ukrainian. This technique predates Christianity. We have used this technique, but added our own touches to it - like boiling the eggs...
First boil the eggs, then dye them red (choose any colors that are appropriate to you). Red symbolizes strength. Next paint green symbols on the eggs. Green is the color of fertility.
I like to decorate my Ostara eggs with the Sun Wheel symbol. It looks like nothing more than an equal-arm cross with a circle around it. As I draw the equal arm cross of the Sun wheel, I remind myself of the balance of the holiday, the balance that Mother Earth is in need of. I then encircle this balance (equal arm cross) with a circle which is the symbol of continuance; neither a beginning nor an end. These are then given to my friends; all of them knowing the meaning behind the symbols. One is then 'planted' or given to the Mother Earth.
I would like to point out here that I tried once to eat a red boiled egg. It didn't go over well. My kinsfolk were all braver than I, and gobbled theirs up. I was very weak-kneed about the whole thing. It was all I could do to take the smallest of bite!
Spring Equinox Magick
Plants symbolize hopes and wishes that will bloom and come to fruition during the coming seasons. They are also a part of Wort-Cunning. If this is something that would appeal to you, try the following: Hold the seeds in the palm of your hands. Place the energy of your desire into these seeds. Blow softly three times, then plant the seeds.
Below is a very small list of herbs. You must tend to these seeds throughout the upcoming months, making sure you nurture them and your wish.
Marigold may be used for such things as; heals wounds as well as internal and external ulcers. As an antifungal agent, it can be used to treat athlete's foot, ringworm, and candida. The tincture applied neat to cold sores encourages healing . Marigold cream is believed to be good for acne and diaper rash.
Lore has it that this herbe will bring prophetic dreams.
"Meadowsweet is actually a corupt version of an older name, meadsweet, which, like meadwort (it oldest English name, going back to Anglo-Saxon times) probably refers to the plants use as a flavoring for mead."
The world owes a debt to the herb, for in 1835 salicylic acid was first obtained from this plant. Use for flu, arthritis, rheumatism and fevers.
'Like a camomile bed -
The more it is trodden
The more it will spread,'
See article Chamomile
...have become a favourite, however, for among the long familiar gardenplants which the Pilgrim Fathers took with them to their new home in America, we find the names of Lavender, Rosemary and Southernwood, though John Josselyn, in his Herbal, says that 'Lavender Cotton groweth pretty well,' but that 'Lavender is not for the Climate.'
"Dried Lavender flowers are still greatly used to perfume linen, their powerful, aromatic odour acting also as a preventative to the attacks of moths and other insects. In America, they find very considerable employment for disinfecting hotrooms and keeping away flies and mosquitoes, who do not like the scent. Oil of Lavender, on cotton-wool, tied in a little bag or in a perforated ball hung in the room, is said to keep it free from all flies.
Not only are insects averse to the smell of Lavender, so that oil of Lavender rubbed on the skin will prevent midge and mosquito bites, but it is said on good authority that the lions and tigers in our Zoological Gardens are powerfully affected by the scent of Lavender Water, and will become docile under its influence. "
Introduced from Europe to the US, Cinquefoil Medieval Knights vied to emblazon Cinquefoil five-fingered leaf, symbol of the five senses of man, on their shields. This was because the right to use the heraldic devise was only given to those who achieved self-mastery.
Used for fevers and as an astringent for nosebleeds, diarrhea and the like.
Use this herb as an ingredient with others to bring a natural balance and to allow the idea to manifest.
"Its virtues are praised by old writers, and the name itself, as well as the folk-lore of all North European countries and nations, testify to the great antiquity of a belief in its merits as a protection against contagion, for purifying the blood, and for curing every conceivable malady: it was held a sovereign remedy for poisons agues and all infectious maladies. In Couriand, Livonia and the low lakelands of Pomerania and East Prussia, wild-growing Angelica abounds; there, in early summer-time, it has been the custom among the peasants to march into the towns carrying the Angelica flower-stems and to offer them for sale, chanting some ancient ditty in Lettish words, so antiquated as to be unintelligible even to the singers themselves. The chanted words and the tune are learnt in childhood, and may be attributed to a survival of some Pagan festival with which the plant was originally associated. After the introduction of Christianity, the plant became linked in the popular mind with some archangelic patronage, and associated with the spring-time festival of the Annunciation. According to one legend, Angelica was revealed in a dream by an angel to cure the plague. Another explanation of the name of this plant is that it blooms on the day of Michael the Archangel (May 8, old style), and is on that account a preservative against evil spirits and witchcraft: all parts of the plant were believed efficacious against spells and enchantment. It was held in such esteem that it was called 'The Root of the Holy Ghost.' "
Angelica is used mainly for it's value in stimulating the digestive system.
It is one of the most valuable "Herbes of Protection."It has long been used in spells against enchantments, and other forms of evil. This herb will not only banish negativity out of your life, but will replace it with positive energy – bringing in good fortune.
To making an Oil, mix
all the herbs/flowers together in a sauce pan. Place just enough
oil (Mineral oil, Sweet Oil or a Glycerin) in the pan to cover the herbs.
Heat slightly. Add Cocoa Butter to make it thicker for a lotion base.
Whenever you heat herbs in a sauce pan, make sure that it is a non-aluminum pan.
To use as a recel, place the herbs on a briquette (from occult store, not the B-Bque kind!!) And burn. I also use my mixtures as a Potpourri.
Ostara (May) 1st
This holiday is the celebration of life in bloom. Today we honor Freya, Goddesses of Fertility and lusty love. Mother Earth is full of life, and her Nature Spirits (Faeries) are out and about. Walburg is more of a care-free time, a time of playfulness, It does not contain the passion that Midsummer does. Now is the time for fertility magick.
Beltane is celebrated the night before. Beltane is exactly opposite the Celtic Samhain, when the veils between the worlds are at their thinnest.
Faery Queen Pie
1 1/2 tbls. gelatin
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup water
2 cups of strawberries
1 pint of vanilla ice cream premium - only the finest will do
9 inch baked and cooled pie shell
Set out the ice cream to soften. Puree strawberries. Add the water to a saucepan. Over a low heat, slowly pour in the gelatin. Stir until the gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat. Add the strawberries and ice cream. Stir well.
Pour into pie shell and refrigerate. You can smooth the whipped cream on top of pie or dollop on top when serving. Actually, you don' even need the whipped cream; but the faeries love it!
For this fertility spell you will need:
Find a suitable pine tree. Touch the tree and ask it's permission to take a branch (one that still has pine cones is ideal). Tell the tree your purpose. If it agrees, cut a branch off, roughly the size from your middle finger to your elbow. Thank the tree, then leave an offering, such as food, wine, etc.
Take the three ribbons and slowly entwine them around the branch. As you do, visualize yourself (or your mate) giving birth to a very healthy baby. Do not include the sex of this child. Take your time with this. The more you concentrate, the more energy you will add.
Hang this above your bed, or place it under the bed.
Midyear ( June)21st
Midsummer's Day is also known as Summer Solstice. The Sun has reached its apex and is now descending. This was symbolized by the old custom of rolling a burning wheel down a hill.
This holiday is also reflected in the theme of the Oak King and Holly King from other pagan traditions. The Oak King is God of the Waxing Year; He is virile and strong. But now at Midsummer, with the Sun in its decline, his twin brother the Holly King who is the God of the Waning Year will slay him so that he may reign. This is a prevailing theme in many myths.
As stated earlier, this holiday is one of love, of passion. Shakespeare knew this when he wrote a "Midsummer Night's Dream." He understood the old customs and the mistakes that people make then they fall in love. Shakespeare seemed to be very versed in the old pagan ways...
On this day we remember Baldr the Bright - a Sun God.
Mid Summer's Ambrosia
2 cups of fresh pineapple chunks
2 cups of strawberries, halved
2 ripe bananas, sliced
3/4 cup of orange juice
1 cup of coconut, flaked/shredded
In a large bowl, combine the first four ingredients. Arrange the fruit and coconut in layers in a serving dish or individual serving dishes. Sprinkle each layer with powdered sugar, sprinkle coconut on top, then drizzle with orange juice. Chill.
For this love spell you will need the following:
Light the recel, then pass the candle through the smoke. Light the candle. Take the ribbon and anoint it with the Attraction Oil. Pass it through the smoke of the incense. Visualize what you want. See yourself out on a date. As you tie each knot, chant the appropriate verse:
By knot of one, this spell's begun.
By knot of two, it shall come true.
By knot of three, thus shall it be.
By knot of four, 'tis strengthened more.
By knot of five, so may it thrive.
By knot of six, this spell I fix.
By knot of seven, the stars of heaven.
By knot of eight, the hand of fate.
By knot of nine, this thing is mine!
Put this under your pillow for the next three nights, then carry it with you as a charm.
Harvest ( August ) 28th
Freyfaxi marked the time of the harvest in Iceland. In most cultures, this is the first harvest. The plants are beginning to wither and die, dropping their seeds that will lie there until Imbolc, when they will once again germinate.
Grains and cereals are usually the first harvest. Today we honor Freyr - God of Plenty, God of the harvest.
3/4 cup cracked wheat
1 cup hot water
1/4 cup margarine, melted
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons honey
3/4 cup nonfat milk
1/2 cup flax seed
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
2 1/2 cups sourdough starter
2 cups whole wheat flour
3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 egg, beaten
In a medium bowl place cracked wheat and pour hot water, (does not need be boiling), over wheat. Add melted margarine, molasses, honey, nonfat milk, flax seed and sunflower seeds and mix well. Cool to lukewarm and stir in the sourdough starter.
With a large wooden spoon start stirring in the flours, 1 cup at a time, beginning the whole wheat then the bread flour. When dough is stiff enough to work, turn out onto a floured surface and knead a good 10 to 12 minutes, working in as little of the remaining flour as necessary.
When smooth and elastic, shape dough into a ball and put it into a greased bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover, place in a warm, draft-free spot, and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours, punch down risen dough and set aside again to rise in a warm spot until doubled, about 1 hour.
When the second rising is complete, punch down the dough and shape into two loaves. Place dough in two well-greased 9x5 inch loaf pans, cover and let rise again until doubled in bulk, or until the dough reaches the tops of the pans, about 1 hour. Brush tops with an egg wash, made by whisking one tablespoon water into one whole egg until well blended.
Bake in a preheated 375 degree (190 degrees C) oven for 30 minutes, after 15 minutes rotate pans and spray with cold water, continue baking until the loaves test done by the hollow sound made when tapped on the top and bottom. Cool on racks in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto the racks to cool completely.
You will need the following:
Crush your flowers up, again stating their purpose. Anoint the candle with Attraction Oil. Sprinkle some of the crushed flowers on the candle. Light the recel. Pass the candle through the smoke of the recel. Hold the crushed flowers in your hand and pass this through the incense. Now, let the flowers or herbs slowly fall from your hand as you use them to draw a circle around the candle.
As you do this, visualizing you wish to achieve or harvest. Light the candle. Spend time again visualizing your desire.
a handful of Cowslip
a handful of honeysuckle
a handful of Vervain
a handful of Lady's Mantle
a handful of German Flag
a handful of Marsh Mallow
Blend this together. This can be used as a recel or oil.
Pumpkins are usually ready by now. You need to bring them in before the frost comes:
You can make a center piece dish by stuffing a sugar pumpkin (not to be confused with the Jack-O-Lantern that you carve) with a mix of pork(leftover), apples, raisins, walnuts, cinnamon, sugar. All quantities are usually based on what was leftover after the harvest - anything that you haven't frozen, dehydrated, canned or stuffed into a sausage hank! Just scoop out the seeds, stuff, and put the lid back on. Bake in a shallow dish at 350F for 1 hour, or as needed depending on what you stuffed in there. Poke some holes in the bottom of the pumpkin for the grease to drain.
Autumn Equinox Wort-Cunning:
To attract good fortune into your life or to change a streak of bad luck into good, fill a jar with the following magickal herbs. Seal the jar tightly and keep it in your kitchen on a on a window sill, or a shelf that receives the Sun's rays. Each morning after you wake, pick up the jar and slightly shake it as you say:
To the God and Goddess I do beseech,
Let all I ask be within my reach.
To the God and Goddess I ask this day,
Let all good fortune come my way.
Repeat the above chant nine times, then put the jar back.
1 lb. ground elk
½ lb. ground sausage
1 slightly beaten egg
1 tbsp. corn starch
½ C. breadcrumbs or oatmeal
1 finely minced onion
½ C. milk
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp. allspice
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 cans of consume'
Mix all (except soups)
well. Shape into meatballs and brown in (olive) oil.
Place meatballs in a casserole dish. Add thickened soup mixture. Cover and bake at 350* for one hour. Uncover and finish baking for ½ hour.
Serve on top of egg noodles.
Winter Nights Magick
The Dísir are your female ancestors. Dis is the singular form. A Dísablót is a ceremony held to honor your Dísir. This is held at the end of Autumn, beginning of winter. During the dísablót, gifts are given to your Dísir. It is up to you to decide what is appropriate. Remember, you get back, what you give.
You can also use this day to ask your Dísir to empower your herbs: You should have a bowl that is made from a natural material set aside for this use only. Place the herbs or herbs that you need for a specific purpose in the bowl. Sit for a moment thinking about what these herbs will be used for. Love, money, healing, protection? Decide now.
When you are ready... Hold your hands over the herbs and visualize your Dísir doing the same. Now, with both hands, gentle hold, and stir the herbs till you feel the power drain from your hands into the herbs.
Recipe for Wassail for 8
3 red apples
3 oz brown sugar
2 pints brown ale, apple cider, or hard cider
1/2 pint dry sherry or dry white wine
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
strips of lemon peel
Core and heat apples with brown sugar and some of the ale or cider in an oven for 30 minutes. Put in a large pan and add the rest of spices and lemon peel, simmer on stove top of 5 minutes.
Add most of the alcohol at the last minute so it heats up but does not evaporate. Burgundy and brandy can be substituted to the ale and sherry. White sugar and halved oranges may also be added to taste.
The drinking of wine,
ale or mead was of ceremonial importance at all feasts, and it seems to
have been this which ‘hallowed' the hall when men met for sacrifice.
Ale and mead appear in Runic inscriptions where they seem to signify not only the actual drinks, but the whole freight of spiritual/magickal power and "luck" which our ancestors saw the fermented beverages as holding.
You will need 1 large candle to represent the Yule log.
Light your Yule candle
on either Yule eve, or just before sunrise on Yule. This is the lowest
point of the Sun's power. Whenever you choose to light it, keep in mind
the symbology - light in the midst of darkness, Solar Power. As you light
the candle visualize the power (and aspects) of the Sun. As this is also
a time of birth, you may want to write out on the candle what you wish
to give 'birth' to in the following year.
You can obtain a blank or starter wreath from most Arts & Craft stores. Decorate the wreath first with evergreen branches (Yule) which are a symbol of immortality. You can then decorate the other part of the wreath or wheel to represent the other seasons and your hopes and dreams for that season.
This can be used as a central theme piece on each holiday, by turning the wreath or the wheel to represent that season of the year.
Lasaan of Wolfgar Freehold
Use the links:Spæ Craft and Wort-Cunning for more information on herbs and magick
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