Monday, March 14, 2011

Ostara Issue

This is my favorite Sabbat.  There's nothing better than Spring in the air when you grow up in northern Michigan.  There could be frost on the ground in the morning, but by mid-afternoon, if the temperature reached 5-0, the young generation could be found outside in FULL FORCE - long sleeves off, bikini tops and short shorts in the place of thermals, worshipping the sun and begging for a bit of a tan.  Of course, Spring also brought cold, wet, dirty snow, slushy ice, and all kinds of misery.  The sun was our favorite bright orb though, and the first sign of spring was a welcome sight.

Also, it was my mother's fault that I loved Easter so much.  You see, in Michigan, we don't hide eggs.  We hide the whole basket.  And it didn't matter how old I got, and because I was the oldest, I always got a basket and the Easter Bunny always hid it in the most difficult to find place!  This awful fate befell my mother at a young age, and so she deemed it necessary to bestow it upon me.  My mother's Easter Bunny hid her basket (she was the eldest) in a place so hard to find, that she didn't get to enjoy ANY Easter candy until well into the next day!  Now, she did feel sorry for me once and had to tell me where mine was, but I never went very long without my basket.  (That's because I learned to get up early and start looking for mine!)

Anyways, I still have the same basket that was wedged into nooks and crannies where it was hoped I would never look, and I still have some of the toys my mother would put in the baskets, saved year after year and now so special to me.

So I get all kinds of Warm Fuzzies when I think of this holiday.  Then, as an adult, I began attending sunrise rituals on the Sunday closest to the spring equinox, led by a former minister.  After he left the church, and the state, to better places of course, I continued on his tradition, inviting friends and covenmates to an early morning party.  This year we shall repeat of course, and as the sun rises, we will awaken Mother Earth and rejoice in the beginning of another year, another harvest, another spin around the Wheel.

Ostara Altar

I pray you all find balance at this Spring Equinox,


Psychic Fair Coming to a Town Near You!

The two local PPD co-coordinators have determined that they have enough funds to run PPD for the next two years and no longer wish to be associated with fundraising, or the impending psychic fair.  This is great news!  It opens up the possibility of bigger and better psychic fairs with brighter futures!   Although this will continue to be an open Pagan community-lead event, by distancing itself from PPD politics the spirit of freedom and independence will shine through and continue to grow.  Hopefully!  You too can be a part of this exciting venture by visiting:

The Psychic Fair will be August 27, at the House of Spiritual Teachings.


 March 19 - Full Storm Moon
 March 20 - Spring Equinox aka Ostara
 March 20 - Elder Grove Ostara Celebrations (all day)
 March 25 - Palmistry class (private), see Aisha Kandisha for details
 March 27 - Coffee with Oly - Special Guest Sharon: Psychic Readers; 3-5pm at
 April 3 -  Coffee with Oly - International Pagan Coming Out Day; 3-5pm at
 April 8 - Magick Coffee - The Element Fire and Wands; 7-9pm location TBD
 April 15 - Palmistry class (private), see Aisha Kandisha for details
 April 15 - Deadline for submissions for Beltane newsletter
 April 18 - Full Wind Moon
 April 22 - Earth Day
 April 30 - Walpurgisnacht
 May 1 - Beltane
 May 8 - Mother's Day
 May, Friday the 13th - Magick Coffee - The Element Air and Daggers/Athames/Swords; 7-9pm location TBD 
 May 17 - Full Flower Moon
 June 10 - Magick Coffee - The Element Water and Cups/Chalice; 7-9pm location TBD 
 June 23-26 - GOTMO, for more information, 

Click to join gathonthemtn
Click to join gathonthemtn

 July 8 - Magick Coffee - The Element Earth and Pentacles; 7-9pm location TBD 


Kitchen Witch's Korner  

As with all Sabbat celebrations, food plays an important part in the festivities. If we turn back the clock and look at the conditions our ancestors survived in, by the time of Spring, many of their food stocks, saved from the previous years harvest, and meat saved from the last cull and slaughter of their animals, would now be running out. With the arrival of a new Spring and the renewed regeneration of life and nature, many of their fears for survival were over. Ostara to them marked an end to eating cured and salted meat with dried vegetables. As animals came out of hibernation, fresh game became available, and as the Sun climbed higher, herbs and new young plants replaced the old. As such, the Ostara feast was always one to remember. Hope these recipes assist you with planning your feast! With blessings from the hearth, ~Hestia

Deviled Eggs
Deviled eggs are supremely easy to make, and you can make them sweet or spicy. This recipe is for a tangy, spicy version of the classic spring dish. Prep Time: 30 minutes

1 dozen eggs
1 TBSP brown mustard
¼ cup mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip)
1 tsp curry powder
½ tsp white vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the eggs in a pot and cover with water. Bring to boil and let them boil for 11 minutes. Turn off the burner and allow the eggs to set for 30 minutes. Cool the eggs with cold water and then peel. Slice each egg in half lengthwise and remove the yolks to a bowl. Mash the yolks up with a fork, and add the mustard, mayonnaise, curry powder, vinegar and salt and pepper. Blend it all together. Place the yolk mixture into a ziplock baggie, remove all the air and seal. Cut a small hole in the corner of the baggie to allow you to pipe the yolk mixture into the egg whites. Sprinkle with paprika. Enjoy!
Sausage Quiche
4 eggs
1 cup whipping cream
¼ TBSP salt
¼ TBSP pepper
8oz breakfast sausage, browned and cooled
¼ cup diced onion cooked with sausage
1 cup cheddar cheese
9 inch deep dish pie crust (thawed)

Whip eggs, cream, salt and pepper together with a whisk. Place the sausage and onion in the bottom of the pie crust. Evenly cover with the cheese. Pour the egg mixture over the top. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 300° for 30 more minutes or until knife inserted in the middle comes our clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

Spring Salad
Mixed salad greens of your choice
Green onions, chopped
Can of mandarin oranges, drained
Caramelized almonds

Caramelized Almonds:
1 cup slivered almonds
1 TBSP butter
3 TBSP sugar.
In a small fry pan, melt butter and sugar over medium heat. Add almonds. Stir till toasted.
Remove from heat and spread on waxed paper to cool.

½ tsp salt
¼ cup canola oil
1 ½ TBSP sugar
Dash of black pepper
1 TBSP parsley
2 TBSP salad vinegar (I like to use rice vinegar)

Combine all ingredients in a bottle and shake until mixed thoroughly.

In a bowl, place the salad greens, the oranges and the almonds. Pour dressing over salad and toss. This salad will not keep. Must be served immediately.


Ostara, celebrated March 20th or 21st, is also known as the Vernal Equinox. This is a time of birth and of balance, when light and dark are equal. This is the time when you are ready to burst forth from the womb of the Goddess and begin this years incarnation. Whether you celebrate with an elaborate ritual or just a simple spring blessing, remember this is an ideal time to put plans into action for growth in our own lives, to actively encourage change. Correspondences include:

Rituals: welcoming spring, fertility rites, rituals of balance, spells for prosperity, new beginnings, Garden/plant blessings, seed blessing, balance, growth

Activities: planting seeds, coloring eggs, egg hunts, starting new projects

Incense: African violet, jasmine, rose, sage and strawberry

Herbs/Plants: pine tree, acorn, celandine, cinquefoil, crocus, daffodil, dogwood, Easter lily, Irish Moss, ginger, hyssop, linden, strawberry, gorse, honeysuckle, iris, jasmine, jonquils, narcissus, olive, peony, rose, tansy, violets, woodruff and all spring flowers

Stones/Gems: Jasper, amethyst, aquamarine, bloodstone and red jasper.

Colors: Light green, lemon yellow, pale pink, pastels, gold, grass green, robin’s egg blue

Symbols/Decorations: baskets, eggs, lambs, flowers, chicks, bunnies, budding twigs, flowers, pussy willows, four leaf clover, sprouting bulbs, colored ribbons, any spring flowers, eggs, butterflies, cocoons

Foods: jelly eggs (jelly beans), chocolates, lamb, eggs, seeds, leafy green vegetables, spiced or flower cupcakes, fruits, hot cross buns, sprouts, honey cakes, unleavened bread, hard-boiled eggs, sprouts, fish, maple sugar candies, milk, punch, egg drinks

Goddesses: all love, virgin, and fertility Goddesses; Anna Perenna (Roman), Aphrodite (Greek), Astarte (Canaanite, Persia, GrecoRoman), Athena (Greek), Cybele (Greco-Roman), Eostre (Saxon Goddess of Fertility), Gaia (Greek), Hera, Ishtar (Assyro-Babylonian), Isis (Egyptian), Libera (Roman), Minerva (Roman), The Muses (Greek), Persephone (Greek), Venus (Roman), Ostara (the German Goddess of Fertility), Kore, Maiden, Isis, Youthful Goddesses. Faerie Queen, Lady of the Lake(Welsh-Cornish), the Green Goddess

Gods: all love, song & dance, and fertility Gods; Adonis (Greek), Attis (Greco-Roman), Cernunnos (Celtic), The Great Horned God (European), Liber (Roman), Mars (Roman), Mithras (Persian), Odin (Norse), Osiris (Egyptian), Thoth, Pan (Greek), the Green Man, Hare, Youthful Gods, Warrior Gods, Lord of the Greenwood (English), Dagda(Irish),

Animals/Mythological creatures: rabbits, hares, robins, dragons (associated with eggs the earth and fertility), lambs, chicks

Essence: The beginning of spring, new life and rebirth, the God and Goddess in Their youth, balance, fertility, strength


I watch-day by day
Lady Bug is first to sing of the Mother
Skeletal trees, tall and lean
from the Winter
suddenly transform...
from Masculine to Feminine
in the glorious display
of blooming crowns...
each branch a miracle
soon to be birthing the fruit
that will seed the seasons...


Northeasterly winds
Pink glow born on the horizon
Morning chill on the run
A new day begins
Red and gold rays reach out
Sending her warmth
To the world Good morning children
Let us begin anew
Grasp this moment of magic
Until we meet again on the morrow
~Jason Stanley~

 By Momma Witche

Movie review—“Rango” rated PG (2011)

“Rango” is the animated story of a chameleon with a theatrical turn of mind that falls out of his humans’ car in the middle of the desert and winds up in the town of Dirt.  There, he uses his acting “talents” to become the latest sheriff to try to defend the town bank and its supply of water which is in extremely short supply.  If you are a fan of westerns then you pretty much know where this one is going to go, but the trip is really fun.  The animation is good and at times it was hard to believe it was a cartoon.  The characters were fun and the allusions to the old classic westerns were fun to pick out.  I especially liked “The Spirit of the West” and all of the references to Clint Eastwood’s Man with No Name.  Lil’ Witche had fun picking out the voices and it is a great cast—Johnny Depp, Ilsa Fisher, Ned Beatty, Alfred Molina, and Bill Nighy to name just a few.  Johnny Depp does an excellent job as a slightly not all there chameleon who is not used to having to deal with the consequences of his actions.  There are some adult themes in this one, which does seem a bit odd considering it is a cartoon and is being marketed to kids.  But I am a firm believer in the parent controlling what the child consumes so I’m not having an issue with this.

Go see this either alone or with your little witchlets.  There is enough adult humor and references to keep you entertained and the little ones will love it.  We give it 4 owls.

Movie review—“Gnomeo and Juliet” rated G (2011)

To start this review off I have to say that I do not like the story “Romeo and Juliet.”  I never have.  Having had to read it twice during high school and once at university and having seen several movie versions, I still dislike it intensely.  It glorifies teen suicide and the impression a lot of young girls are given that “I can’t go on if HE doesn’t love me.”  What a crock.

What intrigued me was the whole gnome idea.  Maybe this one would be worth seeing.  It is a kid’s movie after all.  Gnomeo and Juliet surely can’t kill themselves in the end.  Can they?

Don’t worry, they don’t.  To quote Gnomeo when he is speaking to a statue of Shakespeare “That’s not how this one is going to end.”  And that is not the only reference to Shakespeare and his other works.  The moving van is Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.  Juliet tells a dog “Out, out.”  And in the background you hear the owner say “Damn Spot.”  It was fun picking out the various references.  And the voice cast was incredible.  James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Maggie Smith, Michael Caine, Jason Statham, Ozzy Osbourne, and Patrick Stewart to name a few.  Dolly Parton even makes an appearance as a hillbilly girl gnome.  And the music is wonderful.  Elton John and Bernie Taupin did the soundtrack and Elton John makes a brief appearance as a gnome in pink and purple with blinged out glasses.

Lil’ Witche and I give this one 3.5 owls.  I’m still not thrilled with the source material, but it was handled well and the music was good.  The animation was not up to the standard of “The Legends of the Guardians,” but it was a good reminder of an earlier time in animation.

Movie review—“The Eagle” rated PG-13 (2011)

This movie is based on the book The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff which in turn is based on the legend of the Ninth Legion of Rome that marched into the north of Britain in 120 CE and vanished from the pages of history.  The movie is set 20 years later when the son of the Centurion in charge of the Ninth is made Centurion of the 4th Gaullish Cohort and is posted to Britain.  After being wounded in battle and honorably discharged to his uncle’s British estate, Marcus Flavius Aquila is given a British slave Esca.  He hears rumors of the lost eagle being held north of Hadrian’s Wall and Marcus then decides to salvage his family’s honor by retrieving the lost eagle.  He sets off alone with Esca to travel north of the wall.  This is a quest/road trip movie set in 140 CE and I loved every minute of it.

The history is handled very well, the scenery is wild and wonderful (as it should be since it was shot in Scotland), and the acting is good.  I appreciated that while this movie does deal with conquest and warfare, most of the blood and guts are off camera.  When the scouting party is beheaded in front of the Roman fort, you see the Druid pull the sword, the Roman’s head pushed down and then you watch the faces of the soldiers on the fort’s wall watch the beheading.  No massive spurts of blood and no bouncing head.  I think it made it more gut wrenching than if we had seen slash, splash, and bounce.

I’ve read other reviews that complained about the acting, but I enjoyed watching the two leads overcome their ingrained prejudices—Roman versus Britain—and learn to trust and care for each other.  They each learned that the other was not a soulless, heartless monster, but a man with flaws and talents and honor.  I think one of the last lines of the movie sums up this lesson best when Marcus defends Esca to a Roman politician “He is not a slave.  And he knows more about honor and freedom than you’ll ever know.”  You can see on Esca’s face that he feels the same about Marcus.

See this one when you can.  Lil’ Witche has already said that it will be added to our collection.  And if I can find the soundtrack there are some songs that would work wonderfully in ritual.  We give this one 4.5 owls.


App Review
by Luna

 An App review, you wonder?  Well, what else have I been doing ever since Randy got me an iPod Touch?!  Yes, I've been racking up the charges at iTunes.  Something I spent 99 cents on was this app:

 Wicca Spells has almost 100 spells, so that's about a penny apiece.  Most of them are money or love spells.  However, during Doug's presentation of Grimoires, he brought quite a few for show and tell.  I went through the spells in a couple of them, and the majority of those spells were ALSO money and love spells!  I guess money and love are always in demand!

I like the pretty pictures in this app.  My iPod has the retina something or other *insert Geek-like terminology to describe why it shows such purty pictures.*  This app looks nice, and it has a bunch of spells that you can take anywhere.  Plus, it's fun to look through.  You never know when you'll need The Beautiful Voice Spell (when you want to sing well in a performance) or a dozen money spells.  There is no way to index these spells.  You simply go from one to the next, but you can distinguish certain spells as your Favorites and thereby you would have a smaller list to go through.  Plus, I wish there was a way I could add my own spells.  But for 99 cents, it's a fun little app that has been updated a time or two already.  Also available: Pagan Rituals app and Magic Potions app. 


I must begin this with a HUGE apology.  I cannot find where I originally got this spread.  So I can't give credit to the author.  If you know who wrote this, please let me know.

Tarot Deck Spotlight
by Luna

The deck I am choosing today is a new one, a birthday gift from a great friend!  I'd had my eye on this deck for a LONG TIME and not only did I get a brand new deck and the companion book, but my copy was signed by the author and creator of the Whimsical Tarot - Dorothy Morrison.  The cards are illustrated by Mary Hanson-Roberts, and she was the perfect illustrator for this adorable deck.  I always thought that this would be the deck I would gift a child as many of the card scenes are from fairy tales and nursery rhymes.  You can see the Ugly Duckling on the 5 of Pentacles, Jack Sprat and his fat wife on the 2 of Pents, the Princess and the Pea are the 4 of Swords, and an indignant Little Bear has busted Goldilocks on the Justice card.  It's not totally all cuteness and kittens though.  The Fool (the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz with Toto at his feet) is just about to head over the cliff into the flames (of hell?) below.  The Tower card shows the ravenous Wolf blowing down the Pig's house of straw, a frightening scene.  The 3 of Swords show clueless Hansel and crying Gretel hopelessly lost as the birds eat up their trail of crumbs.  It's scary, although in the cutest way possible.  

Because I get in touch with my Inner Child at Ostara (especially), I wanted to use this deck which also is for my Inner Child.  

Here we have Last year's issues, 1 year ago: 9 of Swords

What you controlled, 1 year ago: Wheel of Fortune

Outside influences, 1 year ago: 7 of Cups

Spiritual guidance, then: 9 of Rods

This year's issue is: 9 of Cups

Spiritual guidance (now): 2 of Rods

Outside influences, this year: 2 of Cups

What you control (this year): 6 of Pentacles

BALANCE card for this year: 8 of Rods

What do you think about this reading?  What do you think of this deck, the Whimsical Tarot?


Dear GWBW,
I am a member of a circle that has always been very inclusive of all seekers.  The majority of us are older, not elderly just over thirty, and have jobs and families.  There have been a few younger people on the fringes who seem to think that we should just drop everything and take care of them spiritually and, unfortunately, financially.  When we are unable to cure all of their problems, they go off and rant and rave in language that my children would get their mouths washed out with some of my vegetarian lye soap for.  Frankly GWBW I'm tired of all the drama.  What should we do?
Thank you,
Mother Demeter

Dear Mother Demeter, 

I feel for you and your circle.  Drama like this can be very tiring and cause a person to rethink their relationships with those around them.  And that’s the way it should be.  I believe that the Goddess sends us these little trials as a way of not so much testing our faith, but as a learning experience.  Beef up your own personal protection, and that of your immediate family.  Personally I keep an apache tear(for grounding and protection), hematite(to repel negativity) and snowflake obsidian(for protection) with me at all times.  You can use this time as an opportunity to rethink your structure as a group in order to discourage this from happening again.  It can also be a teaching experience for YOUR children.  They are watching how you respond to this and you can show them proper adult behavior in the way that you respond to this crisis.  In this way, you can help future groups by creating mature, responsible pagan youth.  And remember that old adage “Kill ‘em with kindness.”  If they are having troubles financially, help out by collecting job applications for them so that they can better their employment opportunities.  Bring them meals, and include herbs such as rosemary and oregano, and others that can broaden their minds.  Just remember, it’s not only our children who are watching us, but the wider community.  To quote my old granny “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”  How you all handle this will not only have an impact on your pagan community, but also on the outside community.

May the gods watch over you,
Good Witch

Bad Witch has finished her lunch and sends this answer -