Altfaiths.com

Seeking Unity in Diversity

Gems, Crystals and Stones: Quart

I remember as a child, I would always dog through the rocks in the playground at school just so I could find these shiny quartz. I had a huge collection as a child. (not sure what happened to it). I was fascinated with this gem. They are the most common of gems. I have 2 rose quartz and three clear quartz on my altar. Below I did not include any pcitures of these gems since they will all be/have been covered in future/older blogs.

 

HISTORY:

Quartz has been around since pre-historic times. The most ancient of quartz is said to have been around since 300-325 B.C.E, Rose quartz beads date back to 7000 B.C. Rose quartz jewelry was crafted by the Assyrians  around 800-600 B.C. The Assyrians and the Romans are said to be the first people to use this gem. Ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians often used rose quartz as potent talismans. People in the middle ages would use quartz in love potions. Early Americans also used quartz. They often used them for amulets. It is believed by ancient people and healers today that the quartz crystal is actually a living thing. Its said it takes a breath every hundred years. Ancients also believe its a crystal closest to the creator. The quartz has been of value since possibly Atlantis times.

 

COLOURS: 

Due to there being so many types of quartz it can come in a variety of colours. It can be clear, pink, purple, orange, green, purple and orange. It can also be black, blue, green and brown.

 

SPECIAL PROPERTIES: 

As mentioned before they used to be used in love potions. They still often are. Quartz is known to have healing properties. The quartz has the ability to open your mind and heart more during meditation for higher guidance It helps with spiritual growth. It helps to translate a spirit form into a physical one.

 

TYPES OF QUARTZ:

  • Rock Crystal is pure, clear Quartz, often with a milky base. Its properties are listed on this page.
  • Amtheyst is pale purple to deep violet; known as the Bishop’s Stone, it represents royalty and spirituality, and is a crystal of creativity.
  • Ametrine is a combination of Amethyst and Citrine in the same stone; a “stone of the muses,” it connects spirituality, action and overcoming fear.
  • Aventurine may be green, blue or reddish-brown with a metallic iridescence; it is a stone of optimism, leadership and prosperity.
  • Blue Quartz is clear Quartz with tiny blue inclusions that create a pale to mid-blue color; it brings harmony and order, mental clarity and eases fear.
  • Citerin is transparent and pale to golden yellow; it promotes imagination and magnifies the powers of personal will and manifestation.
  • Milky or Snow Quartz, also known as Quartzite, is opaque white quartz; it is supportive for lesson learning, realizing limitations and utilizing tact.
  • Pink Quartz forms in rare clusters of small, well-formed crystals, pale to deep reddish-pink, translucent to transparent; a “stone of innocence and discovery,” it nurtures self-love and respect of others.
  • Rose Quartz is a massive form of Quartz, pale to deep reddish-pink, opaque to translucent; a “stone of beauty and love,” it promotes compassion, appreciation and soothing calm.
  • Prase is a leek-green Quartzite (rock rather than a mineral) with actinolite inclusions; an “earth mother” stone, it resolve conflicts and calms nerves.
  • Prasiolite is Green Amethyst; leek-green and rare naturally, it is often heat-treated; it provides a bridge between the body, mind and spirit.
  • Smokey Quartz s transparent smoky brown to dark gray; it is a premiere grounding stone, dissipating emotional and environmental negativity.
  • Tiger’s, Hawk’s, and Cat’s Eye is Quartz layered with chatoyant strips of asbestos and hornblende; Tiger’s Eye is golden brown, Hawk’s or Falcon’s Eye is blue-black, and Cat’s Eye is green to greenish-gray. These are stones of action, pride, protection, and reflecting back negative energies.

Fibrous varieties:

  • Agate is usually banded in layers and forms in every color; it is a stabilizing and strengthening stone, facilitating acceptance of one’s self.
  • Carnelian is translucent pale orange to deep red-orange; it is a stone of motivation and endurance, leadership and courage.
  • Chalcedony varies in color and pattern, blue is a favorite; the “speaker’s stone,” it encourages peace-making and carefully choosing one’s words.
  • Chrysoprase is green, usually opaque, and one of Chalcedony’s rarest; it is a stone of the heart and promotes love of truth, hope and fidelity.
  • Onyx is opaque layers of black, brown, gray, black/white or red/white, and is often carved in cameos; it provides inner strength, stability and fortitude.
  • Sard is brown Chalcedony with a reddish hue; it is a protective stone, dispelling negative influences and providing inner strength.

Grainy Varieties:

  • Chert is brown, gray or black and resembles Flint, but is more brittle; it aids memory, and is a stone of stability and daily productivity.
  • Flint is brown, gray or black, solid or layered, and very hard; a stone of grounding, it promotes understanding, communication and integrity.
  • Jasper is opaque, large-grained and found in all colors, most always layered or patterned; a “supreme nurturer,” it is revered as sacred, protective, and encourages humility and compassion.
  • Heliotrope or Bloodstone is dark green with red spots; a stone of the sun and legendary bearer of Christ’s blood, it promotes healing, selflessness and idealism.

WHERE TO FIND THEM: 

All types of quartz can be found in almost every continent. Clear Quartz is very common in North America, Australia and Madagascar. It can also be found in Israel, Russia, Brazil, Uruguay, Namibia, Morcoo, Switzerland, Scotland and France.

 

Facebook
Google+
http://altfaiths.com/2017/03/29/gems-crystals-and-stones-quart/
Twitter
Pinterest

MODERN WITCHCRAFT IN A WICKED WORLD-BY SEAN RANDALL

WICCA SHOULD BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY BECAUSE IT INCREASES SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT AND INSTILLS GREAT APPRECIATION AND CONCERN FOR THE PLANET AND ITS RESOURCES. “Witchcraft is a spiritual system that fosters the free thought and will of the individual, encourages learning and an understanding of the earth and nature thereby affirming the divinity in all living things.” Witchcraft involves the belief that the divine is present in nature, and everything from animals, plants, trees, and stones should be honored and respected. Wicca, or practitioners of witchcraft whom sometimes refer to themselves as witches, are very tolerant of other religious views. Wiccans are commonly misjudged by others due to a lack of understanding, therefore Wiccans do not typically involve themselves in criticizing the beliefs of others. Wicca should be taken seriously and respected because although its nature is severely misconstrued, it increases spiritual development and instills great appreciation and concern for the planet and its resources.

Due to a history of misunderstood information, a considerable number of people deny acceptance of Wicca and witchcraft. Although it is predominantly peaceful, it has fallen victim to ignorance. People commonly tend to judge the religion based off fictional assumptions or false information. The typical representation of witchcraft portrays a witch having a villainous role. From the seventeenth-century Salem witch trials, to modern media, the truth about Wicca remains incognito. As a result, witchcraft is generally seen as evil or for devil-worshipers. Another huge factor in why Wicca is seen in such a sinful way is due to conflicting religious views. There are many individuals that are extremely faithful to their own beliefs.

The views of Christianity, for instance, have a predetermination set in stone that steer Christians away from associating with Wiccans: There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you.(New King James Bible, Deuteronomy 18 10-12)

Disregarding other religious reasons, common misconceptions about Wicca can be understood after looking at a survey conducted at Macomb Community College, in Clinton Township, Michigan. As seen in the figure above, the evidence concluded that of the twenty students who participated, 85 percent of them were not familiar with Wicca. Although the religion may be heard of by many, it is understood by few….

Continue reading

Facebook
Google+
http://altfaiths.com/2017/03/24/modern-witchcraft-in-a-wicked-world-by-sean-randall/
Twitter
Pinterest

5 Reasons All Feminists Should Try Witchcraft -Jasmine Garnsworthy

It’s Thursday night, and I’ve just arrived at my second event for the evening: the launch of a new health- and tech-focused mattress brand. After the publicist excitedly spells out the features of the mattress (Wi-Fi–enabled, impressive), she takes me to try a “sleep cocktail” and then to have my palm read. This is my second occult-ish experience of the night—I just left an activewear launch in Tribeca where a tarot card reader counseled me on stress and my “grounding chakras.” Yesterday, I received an invitation to a lipstick launch complete with a witch-led workshop on casting love spells. Next Tuesday I have a Victoria’s Secret event during which the invitation promises attendees will have the opportunity to “shop the latest Dream Angels collection” and “have [their] auras read.”

I’m not telling you this because I like to overshare my agenda. As an editor, I’ve always found health and beauty media launches to be a breeding ground for the next big wellness trend. I remember coconut water and chia bowls being served at fitness studio openings long before both landed on hip and healthy cafe menus. Smoothie bowls were eaten at just about every launch throughout the final months of 2015 before they really blew up on Instagram. Now, it seems witchcraft—and in fact, everything occult—is infiltrating the mainstream wellness space.

Women, wellness, and witchcraft have been intertwined for ages—since before the Bible. There’s a long and troubled history here: Witches were essentially herbalists, midwives, and healers until the patriarchy and Christianity brutally spun witchcraft as evil. Violent witch hunts convulsed Europe throughout the 15th to 17th centuries, killing millions of women—some feminists even question whether witch hunts were really just women hunts—until the 1700s.

Fast-forward to the 21st century and a political climate in which threats to women’s reproductive health rights are a major talking point, and we also see witchcraft gearing up for a resurgence. Self-proclaimed modern witch, and owner of home and healing store says this timing is no coincidence: While a politically motivated feminist movement grows and also becomes increasingly inclusive, she says, “the witch is a good archetype of that strong, powerful, gives-zero-f*cks attitude that women are trying to channel right now.”

More insiders I spoke with expand the concept of modern witchcraft to not just include traditional ideas of herbal healing and holistic medicine but also other less tangible ways to spiritually and physically recharge in times of political uncertainty crystal healing, energy healing, tarot card chakra work, meditation, spell casting, smudging, lunar rituals, and astrology. Essentially, it’s all about self-care—something even the most cynical person can get behind.

Ahead, we break down five ways to integrate a little witchcraft into your wellness routine.

1. CAST A SPELL:

Emily Thomas, witch and founder of a space for magic, crystals, and alternative medicine, wants you to rethink spell casting. There will be no cauldrons; expect no cackling. Instead, this modern breed of magic centers around mindfulness and being intentional about how you spend your time. “The wellness community is becoming a spell-friendly place because we’re more and more interested in attaching mindfulness and meaning behind what we do,” she told me over email. “Why take a regular bath when you can infuse it with sea salt and herbs for energetic purification after a bad day? Why not channel a meditation toward the well-being of your friend who is sick?”

An easy thing to do at home that Thomas says can bring a little magic into your life and open yourself up to love and romance is to blend a few drops of rose, ylang-ylang, and jasmine into a base oil like or sweet almond oil. “If you can get your hands on some crystal chips put some charged emerald and rhodochrosite into your mixture,” she suggested. Use it to massage your body or to make candles.

“The essences of rose, ylang-ylang and jasmine all work toward opening us up to feel love. They’re connected to the element of water, which supports connections, beauty, and healing,” Thomas explained, adding that emerald is a favorite for “releasing our fear of being vulnerable to others” and is a “potent unblocker for good vibes coming in and out.”

2. GET WITCH-FIT:

It’s 2017, and “Fitcraft” is an actual thing that exists—only in Brooklyn, admittedly, but I bet it starts to catch on in other major cities. Led by self-titled “fitness witches” Shanda Woods and Russ Marshalek of New Jack Witch, the class combines yoga, rituals, personal training, “ecstatic dance,” meditation, and “f*cking great music” for a workout Russ says will make you “sweat, connect with yourself, [and] be empowered.”

So why the need to mix fitness with witchcraft? It’s all about empowerment through exercising the body and mind. Russ explains, “In the current sociopolitical climate, empowering others to live their best lives through self-actualization and self-improvement—witchcraft and fitness—[is] incredibly important and, well, empowering. Also, exercise is a ritual; it’s a spell; it’s an actualization of self,” he told me.

If you can’t make it to BK for a class, Russ says you can integrate the basic concept into your own workout regimen by “[setting] an intention at the start of the workout that you draw on to push yourself. Focus on breath and repetition, as that mindfulness is what grounds the practice in ritual, and be grateful for your body.”

3. PROTECT YOUR ENERGY:

In case you haven’t realized by now, modern witches are very into sending out and receiving good vibes. And one way to do that, says Feldmann, is to spray a crystal-infused concoction of essential oils around you. “The first product I ever stocked in the Hauswitch store and one of my personal favorites is called Boundaries in a Bottle ” she told me. The spray is witch-crafted on the full moon eclipse to “purify and protect you and your surroundings” with essences of black tourmaline, smoky quartz, yarrow, devil’s club, echinacea, and other “magical gem and plant essences.” Basically, you spray it whenever you’re coming into contact with other people and don’t want to absorb their bad juju.

Before you roll your eyes—and yes, I know it’s tempting—even if you don’t buy into energy healing and the power of good vibes, remember that the very act of being intentional about your own positive energy can go a long way toward making you feel good. And hey, it’s also scented, so at the very least, you’ll smell great.

4. TRY TAROT CARD CHAKRA WORK

Is there anything more achingly millennial than having a healer use tarot cards to unblock your chakras? Melinda Lee Holm is a tarot reader, jeweler, and crystal guru with 25 years of experience in the metaphysical arts and, unsurprisingly, is also mega fan of using tarot to bust stress, achieve your goals, make good decisions, and bring positive energy into your life. “Calling on tarot archetypes to light up energy centers can be extremely effective, especially in combination with candle work and crystal therapies,” she told me.

Specifically, if you are feeling confused or unable to make a decision about something important, tarot readers will focus on your sixth chakra (third eye) and third chakra (solar plexus). “The third eye is where our intuition comes in, our inner knowing. The solar plexus is where our confidence and sense of self lives. If there are issues here, then even with a keen intuition, we’ll have trouble trusting the intuitive answers,” she told me.

If you want a DIY fix, Holm suggests taking the “High Priestess” card and the “Sun” tarot cards, placing them somewhere in your home or office where you would regularly look, and also taking a few moments to meditate on the images each day. Together, they are connected with intuition and the center of the body.

5. INFUSE CRYSTALS INTO EVERYTHING:

Crystal healing has been slowly working its way into mainstream wellness circles for a couple of years now. The concept itself is simple: Each shiny stone carries different properties that can work to heal the mind, body, and spirit. They also happen to look great in a flat lay, which is probably also why so many wellness bloggers are integrating crystals into their #aesthetic.

Seeress and shaman Deborah Hanekamp of Mama Medicine told me that rose quartz is one of her favorites for anyone new to the practice “because it opens us to our love, and love is always a wonderful place to begin.” Feldman, on the other hand, suggests meditating while holding dark crystals like tourmaline or garnet to “align your body and energy centers” and feel more grounded.

Crystal therapy isn’t just limited to meditation. Hanekamp suggests a bunch of ways to incorporate crystals into your life: “Put them in your drinking water, hold them, place them on your heart, sleep with them under your pillow, and put them in your bath.”

Beauty brands are also embracing the healing properties of crystals, infusing their cremes and serums with gemstones. Take Gemstone Organic Rose Quartz Skin Créme, for example, which claims to bring the user “loving energy” while also hydrating skin, or Glow by Dr. Brandt Ruby Crystal Retinol Hydracrème that incorporates “micronized ruby crystals” to revitalize skin and “blur imperfections.” Of course, if you would like to save yourself $60, you could just style a geode on your desk, ‘gram it, and call it a day.

What’s your take on witchcraft wellness? Are you for or against it? Tell us in the comments!

source:http://www.byrdie.com/witchcraft-wellness/slide5

Facebook
Google+
http://altfaiths.com/2017/03/24/5-reasons-all-feminists-should-try-witchcraft-jasmine-garnsworthy/
Twitter
Pinterest

The Origin of the Witches Hat

The exact origin of the witches hat is unclear to us. In images of witches drawn by artists, especially in those aimed at a younger audience, we often see witches depicted as wearing cone shaped hats. While these may seem to be comical attire, which are part of artist designed costumes for the intent of entertaining the viewer of the image, there is actually a deeper symbolism behind them. One of the earliest images of the witch wearing a pointed, cone shaped hat can be seen in 13th century artwork in the form of woodcuts in which the witches are depicted as being naked with nothing covering their heads. Other clothed images with other various head-wear such a head scarves were much more common than that of the cone shaped hat.

Bronze age ceremonial headdresses have been found in Central Europe, one of which was found in Switzerland and was studied in the Berlin Museum. Their appearance is of a hollow cone made from gold. Historians have made the conclusion that they are indeed headdresses due to the remaining material left inside the hats, which include what looks to be a chin strap to make wearing the hat more comfortable. Before this discovery it was thought that these artefacts were vases of sorts. The golden headdresses were thought to have been worn by king-priests, or oracles, who were priests who were believed by the people of the time to have magical powers, including the power of prophecy and divination.

There is some speculation that the pointed hat holds its origins in the peaked caps that were worn by Jews in the 13th century. Pope Innocent III decreed that all Jews must wear this pointed hat in 1215. This anti-Semitic ruling, among other anti-Semitic sentiments, lead the people to associate this particular pointed hat with many things the church taught them to fear and to view as evil or against God. This did not stop wealthy noblewomen of the 15th century wearing tall peaked hats called hennins in the name of fashion, who wore these hats despite protestation from the Christian Church who greatly disliked the conical hats, possibly due to its horn like shape, which in turn may have reminded them of the Christian devil. While both of these hats were pointed or conical, they were quite different in appearance which is likely why they were not associated with anti Semitism by 15th century ladies. Pointed hats were still in fashion among commoners until 1600’s.

These pointed hats were also associated with the dunces hat in this century. However the dunces cap dates back as early as the 13th century and was devised by John Duns Scottus, a Scottish scholar of theology, philosophy and the metaphysical. The original purpose of which was not as a humiliating punishment to children, as it was used in the 19th century but rather to help children who had difficulty in learning to read to focus. This was done by asking them to focus on the point, which was situation behind the head in an elevated position. This was meditative and allowed the children to focus long enough to grasp the reading material. The halo with which saints are painted wearing is situated in the same position as the point. When working with magic, or the energies of the universe, it is important to be able to focus in order to direct those energies successfully. While it is unclear whether witches of earlier centuries did indeed wear pointed hats, it is clear that they would have understood the importance of focus. This also links in with the dunces hats previous association with scholars of the highest quality. The knowledge needed to practice witchcraft needed equal, if not more dedication to study that scholars gave to their pursuit of knowledge in various fields which may have influenced. There is also some speculation that the wearing of the conical hat not only helps the person to focus, but traps the metaphysical energy in the hat, near the head, making it easier to draw upon in ritual.

It was not until the 18th century, that artists, which the increased popularity among the population, of the dark and mysterious, began to create art showing witches wearing cone shaped hats. Often these images were part of chapbooks aimed at children and other literature in later years, most of which were illustrated fairy tale books in the Victorian era.

The cone of power is also linked the witches hat. This is a visualisation, and energy raising technique used by pagans in ritual. This energy is drawn from their surroundings. The energy, as the name of the rite suggest, is directed from the middle of the circle into a cone shape. The witches hat is thought by some to be a physical symbol of the direction in which this energy is raised. Using the cone of power in ritual can greatly improve the working that is done, which makes the witches hat a tangible symbol of successful work achieved by employing effective techniques. The cone of power and witches hat also symbolises masculine and feminine energy in equal parts. When in an upright position it becomes a phallic symbol, taking on the masculine and when in an upturned position it can represent the womb, giving it feminine energy. It is theorised by some that the witches hat can be seen in parallel with the Lingam- Yoni, a sacred object in Hinduism. It consists of a basin which resembles a vagina and another conical object set inside it. This is symbolic of fertility and creation between the God Shiva and the Goddess Parvati. It is a rite that is very like the Great rite in Wicca. Overall, the witches hat represents balance, which is important in ritual work. This however is very likley to be a concept devised by modern witches due to the more intense hostility witchcraft faced in previous centuries. Going back to masculine symbology, there is also some resemblance in the shape of the conical hat, to horns of the horned god, which are a symbol of power. While there is little evidence that the witches hat was used in ritual by witches of the past, there is more solid evidence that horned helmets, which were made materials too soft to be used in battle were worn in ritual in the 12th century BC, a practice which continued into the first century BC

Wherever the witches hat holds it origins, and whether or not it holds symbolism for the majority of pagans, it certainly has become an iconic image of the witch flying high in the sky, shrouded in mystery and magic.

Facebook
Google+
http://altfaiths.com/2017/03/22/the-origin-of-the-witches-hat/
Twitter
Pinterest

Ostara Ritual

(Disclaimer: This is not a ritual I created)

 

Spring is the time of year when the cycle of life, death, and rebirth is complete. As plants bloom and new life returns, the theme of resurrection is ever present. As Ostara, the spring equinox, arrives, it’s the season for that which has gone dormant to become revitalized, alive, and reborn. Depending on your particular tradition, there are many different ways you can celebrate Ostara, but typically it is observed as a time to mark the coming of Spring and the fertility of the land.

By watching agricultural changes — such as the ground becoming warmer, and the emergence of plants from the ground — you’ll know exactly how you should welcome the season.

This ritual includes a symbolic rebirthing — you can perform this rite either as a solitary practitioner, or as a part of a group ceremony. Feel free to substitute the names of your tradition’s deities where appropriate. Also, if you’ve ever thought about rededicating yourself to the gods of your tradition, Ostara is an excellent time to do this.

In addition to setting up your Ostara altar for this ritual, you’ll need the following supplies: a black sheet for each participant, a bowl of soil, water, a white candle, and incense. For this rite, the High Priestess (HPs) or High Priest (HP) should be the only person at the altar. Other participants should wait in another room until called. If you’re doing the rite outside, the group can wait some distance away from the altar.

If your tradition calls for you to cast a circle, do this now.

The first person in the group waits outside the circle, covered from head to toe in the black sheet. If your group is comfortable with skyclad rituals, you can be nude under the sheet — otherwise, wear your ritual robe. Once the HPs is ready to begin, she calls the first participant into the altar area, cutting an opening in the circle as the person enters and then closing it behind them.

The participant, still covered in the black sheet, kneels on the floor before the altar.

The HPs greets the participant, and says:

Today is the time of the Spring equinox.
Ostara is a time of equal parts light and dark.
Spring has arrived, and it is a time of rebirth.
The planting season will soon begin, and
life will form once more within the earth.
As the earth welcomes new life and new beginnings,
so can we be reborn in the light and love of the gods*.
Do you, (name), wish to experience the rebirth of spring, and
step out of the darkness into the light?

The participant replies with an affirmative answer. The HPs takes the salt from the altar, and sprinkles it over the sheet-clad participant, saying:

With the blessings of the earth, and the life within the soil,
you are reborn in the eyes of the gods.

Next, the HPs takes the lit incense and passes it over the participant, saying:

With the blessings of air, may knowledge and wisdom
be brought to you upon the winds.

The HPs takes the burning candle and (carefully!) passes it over the participant, saying:

May the fire of the spring sun bring growth and harmony
into your life.

Finally, the HPs sprinkles water around the participant, and says:

With the blessings of water, may the chill and darkness of winter,
be swept away by the warm spring rains.

Rise! Step forth out of the darkness, and climb into the light.
Awaken once more in the arms of the gods.

At this point, the participant slowly emerges from the black sheet. Remember, this is a symbolic rebirth. Take your time if you feel you need to. As you pull the sheet back away from you, remember that you are not only stepping into the light, but putting behind you the darkness of the past six months. Winter is over, and spring has arrived, so take a few moments, as you emerge, to think about the magic of this time of year.

The High Priestess then welcomes the participant, saying:

You have stepped once more into the light,
and the gods welcome you.

Repeat the ceremony until all members of the group have been “reborn”. If you are performing this rite as a solitary, obviously you would speak the lines of the HPs yourself, and bless the area around yourself with the dirt, incense, candle and water.

Once everyone in the group has gone through the rebirthing, take some time to meditate on the balancing energy of Ostara. Light and dark are equal, as are positive and negative. Consider, for a while, the polarity of this season. Think about the balance you wish to find in your life, and consider how you may work harder to find harmony within yourself.

When you are ready, end the ritual, or move on to a cake and ale ceremony, spellwork or other healing magick.

Facebook
Google+
http://altfaiths.com/2017/03/21/ostara-ritual-for-solitary/
Twitter
Pinterest

A Bit about Ostara

On the equator, at the moment of both the Vernal (Spring) and Autumnal (Autumn or Fall) Equinox, the lengths of night and day are equal. In Latin, that’s what the word equinox means: equal (equi) night (nox). Humans have been aware for thousands of years that light and darkness balance at the Equinoxes; this balance, and, by extension, the balance of other aspects of our lives, have long been a focus of Spring rituals.

Ostara on or around march 21st (sometimes spelled Eostara or Eostre) is named after the Anglo-Saxon goddess of Spring. Her sacred symbols are eggs and hares. Not surprisingly, She’s a Maiden Goddess rather than a Mother or a Crone. she is the namesake of the Christian holiday Easter. pagans celebrate Her festival is celebrated on the Vernal Equinox, the first day of Spring. Her name is thought to mean “to shine”, therefore Eeostre is seen as a goddess of the dawn. However it is also thought that Eastre is the ancient word for “spring”. There are also links to the name Eostre and “east”, the direction of the sky where the sun first rises, which gives Eostre the name “Eastern Star”. Eostre is connected with growth, renewal, abundance, new beginnings and fertility. As symbols of rebirth and fertility, eggs and rabbits are sacred to her, as is the full moon.

Eostre represents the transitional time between childhood innocence and adult passion, and reminds us that life is full of untold possibilities and adventures.

Through her association with dawn, Eostre may be related to the Greek Eos, Roman Aurora, or Indian Ushas. In some Pagan myths, the idea is that the Goddess has been taken, or takes Herself and Her buds and flowers and fruits, into the Earth, to the Underworld for the Winter, and is rescued or returns of her own accord in the Spring, which explains why everything sprouts and buds again.

Most pagans and wiccans acknowledge the role of the Sun (God) in all of this: as the days get warmer from Yule, the Earth thaws, and there’s enough light and warmth and water for things to grow again. Wicca respects the myths that come from other cultures, We tend to see various goddesses as aspects of the Great Goddess, so we’re more likely to speak of the Goddess resuming Her Maiden aspect than of, to borrow a Greek example, Demeter recovering her daughter Persephone from Hades’ arms

though the christian easter was born from the pagan eostre: the dawn goddess of fertility, or ostara, they don’t fall in the same month every year, they share at least one custom every year, and it’s a custom that predates both Wicca and Christianity. We know that the Romans also dyed eggs, using bright colors to encourage the growing Sun to keep growing, to tip the Equinox’s balance from darkness to light.

At Ostara, it’s likely that we need to catch our breath and our balance. (If we look carefully, we see that most Ostara customs are concerned, one way or another, with balance.) We need to take some time to breathe deeply and relax, to reorient ourselves toward the waxing light, to set worries and wish-we-hads aside and think about what we can do with what we have, and how what we do now will affect what we have to work with later on.

Our inner gardens need tending as much as the ones in our yards or on our patios. Our minds need clearing as much as our closets and garages and basements need cleaning; our hearts need encouragement as much as the dining room needs a new coat of paint.

The goddesses of springtime, Persephone, Ishtar, and Ostara, bring us the message of awakening and personal growth. Their gift is the motivation and the energy we need to pursue our dreams. As the tender green buds begin to leaf out around us, our own lives are refilled with vital energy.

Spring is the time to make room in our hearts for a passion for all things new. And it helps to use a little bit of magic and new ideas. Since our own bodies and spirits echo the earth’s changes, spring is an ideal time to head out in new directions.

Has any stagnation or lethargy crept into your life? Let it go! Now is the ideal time to open yourself to all things that facilitate your growth and evolution. whatever you do, don’t let your perception of any “lack of capability” stand in the way of your hopes and dreams.

Facebook
Google+
http://altfaiths.com/2017/03/20/a-bit-about-ostara/
Twitter
Pinterest

Ostara and the Dance of the Bunnies

In the dawn of the age of man, when the tribes of men were new formed, and taking their first halting steps upon Midgard, Ostara was often seen bringing the springtime to field, forest and fen. The tribes of men watched with amazement as Ostara would walk upon the earth, and it would rouse to wakefulness behind her. As she walked did the first shoots push aside the snowmelt rubble and greet sweet Sunna’s sunshine, as she smiled the first flowers would blossom, and the air turn sweet and fresh. At her side flew a white bird, graceful and joyous. Always the song of her companion bird would call the spring birds from the far south, to return again to the northlands, and with them bring the ocean breezes that fire the hearts of young men.

The tribes of men were thankful to Ostara, and wished to give thanks to her in a way that was pleasing to her, and for this, they watched the rabbits. All winter long, Ostara sleeps, for she cannot abide the touch of Ymir’s get, and flees the coming of the snow. When Sunna turns her face again to the world, and the snows and Frost Giants retreat back to their mountain fastness, the rabbits call Ostara to wake. In the spring, the rabbits dance. Upon the earth in wild abandon, the rabbits wassail hard, and in their joyous measure stir the sleeping Ostara, for her return brings the spring.

Year on year Ostara waked to the dancing of the rabbits, year on year her graceful companion bird would watch the dancing rabbits, and hunger to join their measure. In a year known only in song as the year of the rabbit, came the great change. In that year was grown a rabbit of heroic proportions, a champion of his breed who scoffed at foxes, and defied falcons in his strength. His eye was taken with the gentle bird of Ostara, for her grace and beauty called to him as no she rabbits could. Come the spring in the year of change, he danced for her. He danced with the wild abandon of his breed, he danced with the fire that Freya grants to lovers, and the rage Odin grants the doomed.

It was a dance of dances, from a champion fired by a love that could not be, and it cast a spell more powerful than any spaewitch’s rune. While Ostara laughed at the display, her companion watched transfixed; her bird eyes fixed like a hunting falcons, her head bobbing with the measure. No longer able to contain herself, she flew from Ostara’s shoulder and lit upon the ground. At first stately in feathered grace, then swiftly in wing fluffing abandon she danced with her feathered suitor. Round and round they danced, as wild as any Alfar circle, as lit by Freya’s fire.

No longer smiling, Ostara watched her companion dance with her furred lord. It was clear her bird had lost its heart to this rabbit prince. Striding forward to the circle, Ostara halted the dancers with a glance. The rabbits trembled before the gaze of the goddess, but the champion stood forth fearless in his love, the white bird at his side. Ostara smiled softly, and the bird bowed deeply and sang a song of love; love for a friend of long centuries, love of a woman for a man; love that would trade eternity for fulfillment. Ostara heard the song, and her heart was moved. She knelt and kissed her companion, and when she rose again, there was only a shining she-rabbit in a pile of soft feathers.

When Ostara walked away, the rabbit champion took his new won love into the warren, and her new home.

As the snow retreated, the rabbits began to dance again, to wake Ostara. In the wake of the Year of Change, Ostara woke sadly. She walked upon the world alone, and her coming brought no life; for her heart was heavy. The tribes of man were worried, for the spring brought no life, and the priests and wise woman said to watch the rabbits, for they held the secret of this dire spring. The fastest and best hunters coursed the land, not to kill, but to watch the rabbits for the secret of the dire spring.

When Ostara reached the lands of the champion, and her lost companion, she beheld all of the rabbits in a dancing circle, and in the center two rabbits stood before a mound of feathers. As Ostara neared, the dancing rabbits parted, bowing her in. As she gazed with sadness on the aging of her now mortal former companion, the two rabbits stood aside showing Ostara the secret they concealed. Inside the nest of feathers were a dozen eggs, one of which was busy trying to hatch a wiggling little bunny.

As the bunny burst forth with a triumphant cheep! Ostara’s heart melted like the departing snow, and she began to laugh, picking up this flop eared chick, she danced a merry measure with her rabbit folk. As she danced the spring burst forth, the field erupted with flowers, the trees grew bright with new growth, and the sky full of song from the returning birds.

The hunters carried word of this back to the several tribes of men, and it was whispered amongst the wise how not only the dance, but an offering of eggs won Ostara’s heart and brought forth the spring.

Henceforth Ostara was honoured by the tribes of man with offerings of eggs in spring time. Here ends our tale for today.

Facebook
Google+
http://altfaiths.com/2017/03/20/ostara-and-the-dance-of-the-bunnies/
Twitter
Pinterest

Gems, Crystals and Stones: Labradorite

This beautiful gem is a Labradoite. I’m very fond of them although I don’t own one. My boyfriend does have one and wears it as a pendent. Its used for many which I will discuss below.

 

HISTORY: 

In Inuit people lore, it is said that a piece of labradorite fell from the frozen fire of the Aurora Borealis (North Lights). It was an ordinary stone that turned into this beautiful gem. It is said to be a the stone of magick. It is used by shamans, diviners and healers. As well as anyone who travels the world and embraces it for knowledge and guidance. The stone was discovered in Labrador Canada in 1770. It was founded by Moravian missionaries who named it because of the location it was found in. However, the as mentioned before it was part of a Inuit lore and so truely would have been discovered long before 1770. The labradoite was used by the Boethuck people of Newfoundland and Labrador,  The gem became popularized in Europe in the nineteenth century.  Another kind of Labradorite was found in Finland in the 1940’s.

 

COLOURS: 

Labradorite can be all sorts of colours. It can be rainbow as shown above, gold, transparent, dark blue, light blue, greenish blue, pale green or a coppery red.

 

SPECIAL PROPERTIES:

As mentioned before it is known as the magick stone. It’s used much for healing and those who seek guidance and knowledge. It also helps decrease anxiety and an overactive mind. Labradoite helps bring people’s magick to the surface. It enhances metal and intuitive abilities such as clairvoyance, telepathy, prophecy and coincidence control. It also assist in communication with our guides and spirits around us when accessing the Akashic records. As well as being good for psychic readings and past life recall. Labradorite helps people int he world place by allowing them to be fully aware and friendlier.  The gem also helps decrease depression symptoms. It assists in reducing anti-social and reckless behaviour. Its also able to help those who are going through addictions of drugs and alcohol but less so with hard drugs.

 

TYPES OF LABRADORITE AND WHERE TO FIND THEM: 

  • Spectrolite is the most popular types of labradorite. It was found in Finland.
  • Black Moonstone can be found in Madagascar, and Oregon.
  • Canadian Labradorite can be found in Newfoundland and Labradour and in the territories.

 

Black Moonstone

 

 

Canadian Labradorite

 

Facebook
Google+
http://altfaiths.com/2017/03/14/gems-crystals-and-stones-labradorite/
Twitter
Pinterest

Winter fire festivals in the UK celebrate Viking heritage

UNITED KINGDOM — Winter in the UK is often a dull and dreary affair. The winds are cold and biting, the skies are grey and loaded with drizzle. Any snow, with its temporary sense of wonder and magic, tends to be short-lived. So what do we have to get us through the Winter Fire festivals!

Britain, Scotland in particular, has a long history of winter fire festivals to mark the end of Yuletide and welcome the returning spring and days of more sun. Two well-known festivals are the Burning the Clavie and the world famous Up Helly Aa. Burning the Clavie takes place in the Moray region and harkens back to the old custom of tar barrelling. Up Helly Aa is described by Bryan Peterson of Shetland Arts as “36 hours of lawlessness, where by-laws are bypassed, marital vows are suspended and health and safety becomes very subjective.”

Peterson adds: “For many Shetlanders, it’s bigger than Christmas and New Year put together.”

Over recent years, the Up Helly Aa festival has seen an explosion of popularity. The event, whose name roughly translates as “End of Holy/holiday time for all,” marks the end of Yuletide on the Shetland Isles. Its date can alter as it is celebrated on the last Tuesday in January.

The Up Helly Aa tradition is an old one and originally involved the practice of tar barrelling, where barrels of tar were set alight and rolled around the streets in a procession with accompanying mischief making. This is likely to be a nod to the Lord of Misrule antics that often traditionally accompany festivals around such as this time. Since Christianity’s arrival, these traditions have been more associated with Epiphany.

Continue reading

Facebook
Google+
http://altfaiths.com/2017/02/24/winter-fire-festivals-in-the-uk-celebrate-viking-heritage/
Twitter
Pinterest

Partisan Pagans

They cast spells and they cast ballots. In Indianapolis, they hexed Donald Trump, taking to Instagram with grainy photos of Beelzebub. In New England, Vermont’s Feminists Against Trump — a group of college professors — cast spells of love to “destroy the Great Orange One.”

In Brooklyn, Portland and beyond, black-clad activists identifying as witches — finding inspiration in the 1960s feminist group known as the Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell (W.I.T.C.H.) — marched amid a sea of pink “pussyhats” during the Women’s March. They clasped hands, and with lips snarled in a spell, declared in unison that they would resist.

Feminists the nation over are reclaiming the word “witch.” Some identify with the word simply as a means to invoke power, to take back a history of violent persecution against women. Others are becoming public with their faith, with their practice of witchcraft.

In Spokane, however, many area witches traded in their black pointed hats for red baseball caps. These witches — both women and men — came out of the broom closet and went public with their pro-Trump politics. The election of Trump has divided not only families seated at the dinner table, but covens of witches from the four corners of the earth.

“People are so divided politically, even amongst us witches,” says Lola Stardust ( her “craft” name), a 45-year-old Spokane homemaker. “There is a certain stereotype that all Christians are conservative, right-wing, and that people running around casting spells in the woods are bleeding-heart liberals.”

Continue reading

Facebook
Google+
http://altfaiths.com/2017/02/24/2085/
Twitter
Pinterest
« Older posts

© 2017 Altfaiths.com

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial
Skip to toolbar