Tag Archives: druid

Prayers

Prayer Flags
Personal photo by Lianne

The celtic New Year begins with the festival of Samhain (pronounced ‘sow-wen’), also known as the ‘Feast of the Dead‘.   The ancient Celts, Druids, Picts, and Vikings,  believed that since in darkness we are born (from the womb) so is life renewed each year amid the season of darkness. (Samhain is celebrated at the half-way point between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice).

In Australia, where I live, Samhain is celebrated in April.  (It is celebrated very close to A.N.Z.A.C. day, which is interesting because that is also a time of remembrance and the honoring of our deceased defence force members).  This is because celtic paganism does not follow a calendar for spiritual events but instead follows the seasons.

In the southern hemisphere, the seasons are opposite to those in the north.  So Australian celtic pagans have their New Year, then, whereas northern hemisphere celtic pagans don’t have theirs until October 31.

(There are many non-pagan people in Australia who follow the American tradition of ‘trick or treat’ on this date, so we do answer the door to costumed children with bags to fill on that same October night, though Australians don’t celebrate with the gory exuberance Americans do).

The festival of Samhain (also known as Holy Eve, All Hallows Eve, and Halloween)  is celebrated in much the same way as the ‘Day of the Dead‘ is in Mexico.

For celtic pagans, it is a time when the portal between our physical world of Earth and the ‘otherworld (where spirit and the supernatural resides)  is open – sort of like having an ‘open day‘ for visitors.

During this time, humans can interact with deceased relatives and friends, place plates of food for them at their table and drink toasts in their honor (as if they are still alive).

Like the ‘Day of the Dead‘ celebrated by christians in Mexico, it is a lovely day for expressing love and affection for those who are no longer able to be with us on a daily basis.

Even before christianity overrode celtic paganism and plied superstitions of ghouls and demons being out and about on Halloween, ancient celtic pagans acknowledged that when the portal between worlds was open, darker and mischievous entities could come visiting.

Celtic pagans don’t believe in ghouls and demons the way christians do, though.

The word ‘demon’ is derived from a word describing demi-gods (partial or lower realm gods) and the word ‘devil’ describes similar by referring to devas or devis  (gods of the spiritual stream of Vedism, in Hindu culture).

There are no demons or devils in celtic pagan lore.  There are only people, from our physical realm, or from the ‘otherworld‘, behaving badly.

So such warnings like the jack-o-lanterns and sigils carved in doors were basically ‘stay away if you can’t behave yourself’ signs.  Any ghoul (or spirit ‘yobbo’) would be challenged if they wanted to cause mischief.

(The halloween pumpkin or jack-o-lantern, carved to become a candle holder to warn off unwelcome visitors at the front door, was once a carved turnip or swede in times of yore.  They didn’t have pumpkins back then).

In celtic paganism, there was an acknowledgement that, even in the supernatural realm, people with bad character traits existed who you had to be careful dealing with.

On the night of Halloween, those people could be partying in your vicinity, and their parties could be of the ‘smash ’em up’  kind.  (Mischief makers are not just human).

The ancient world was, however, an unsafe place, in general.  Anyone who took a fancy to what you had could forcibly take it from you, if you weren’t careful to make sure you could defend it.

Often, such defence could mean the loss of your life, or of your loved ones lives.  So it’s not surprising that when faced with supernatural entities who could cause trouble, people found a need for a different kind of protection.

It’s not surprising that they put out jack-o-lantern warnings, that they invented magical sigils, or asked their spiritual leaders for metaphysical methods to protect themselves, to thwart bad influences, and to ensure that their lives continued to thrive.

Nor is it surprising that they learned to pray for blessings and protection.

For ancient celtic pagans, the ‘otherworld‘ not only contained their deceased, but every type of supernatural entity, both good natured and bad.

It was only a small step to think that if the good natured entities lived in the same realm, they must have found a way to handle the bad natured entities.  Therefore, calling upon their help was no different to calling on the help of anyone who has more skill handling a particular situation.

I am a great believer in the supernatural.  My own experiences have come into direct contact with the supernatural and its entities throughout my life.

While I do believe in the basic ‘god essence of the cosmos‘ and its detached ‘in a dream‘ point of view, I also believe that what god ‘dreams‘ manifests as ‘reality‘ for us, and that what can be manifested does not just pertain to the physical level of existence we inhabit as human beings.

Therefore, I do believe in all manner of supernatural entities – ghosts, spirits, angels, demons, devas, and others.

For me, all manifestations are divine elements from the ‘mind of god,’  even supernatural ones.  All manifestations are basically avatars enabling the ‘divine elements of god’ to experience relationships, of one kind or another.

That’s the bottom line for me.  There is no ‘good’ or ‘bad‘ in that equation.

On the other hand, in the ‘pre-programmed laws and codes defining existence’, both in our world and in supernatural realms, all manifesting elements are given ‘in-built modes and mechanisms’ of expression.

If an ‘avatar of god‘ is in-built with certain modes of behavior and attitude, then they can express ‘good’ or ‘bad’ depending on their ‘purpose in the mind of god‘.

For me, what god thinks or dreams, manifests. (This is how I believe the coding is embedded).

As well, as a manifesting element of divine energy (albeit in human form), if I believe angels exist, then they exist.  Then, whatever form I wish to see them in is the way they will manifest to me, and whatever powers I give to them, they will have for me.

You might say that this is a very powerful ability indeed, but it has its drawbacks.  The drawbacks come from being incarnate in a human form, living a human life, and being embedded with the same ‘in-built modes and mechanisms of expression’ that other human beings are embedded with.

This means that my thoughts are not always as pure as they should be, that old conditioning from my earlier life on planet Earth is still hovering in the background, and that association with others and their less salubrious ideas still overshadows even my best intentions or alignments.

(That’s why ascetics do their best to overcome such weights, and to purify themselves of the past, so they can see the truth clearly).

In some ways, this ‘in-built mechanism‘ is a good thing. Imagine if a child thinks there are monsters under the bed.  With the ability of their divine self, in thinking there are monsters under the bed, they could actually manifest them!

The mechanism of ‘clouding divine abilities‘ enables us to live a human life with less confusion.

(Ancient spiritual streams believed that only those who can accept and manage both good and bad, light and dark, equally and without fear should be free in their ability to manifest their thoughts).

During the festival of Samhain, I hang buddhist prayer flags in my yard, stringing them between my upper balcony and a tree in my garden, as well as on my front porch where people enter my house.

(Prayer flags are traditionally hung during the buddhist New Year, but since my New Year is celtic oriented, I hang mine then).

I follow a self-styled form of celtic paganism, including rituals aligned to neo-druidic modes, but because my spirituality is extremely eclectic so is my expression of it.

It therefore doesn’t matter to me that these prayer flags are tibetan or buddhist.  (I am also buddhist in many of my spiritual modes).  What matters is the feeling that the flags manifest in me.  What matters is the concept of reaching out into the cosmos and asking for help where I am unable to help myself so effectively.  What matters is what the flags symbolize.

By using such symbology (or rituals) to foster correct modes and feelings, I am able to override the embedded conditioning long enough to seed better elements in my life.

Like many others, I also often pray to god and my angels (supernatural helpers and mentors), asking for help, advice, and guidance.

This is not a denial of the ‘basic truths of existence‘ I have defined in the ‘seeder‘ god and the ‘illusions of reality‘.  It is just an acknowledgement that I am incarnate in human form, beset by the conditions of ‘physical reality‘, and that sometimes in this ‘game of life‘ I don’t have everything I feel I need to ply it effectively.

When that happens, I call on those I think can help, in much the same way as others call on friends and relatives, mentors and patrons for opinions or assistance  – only, via prayers and rituals, I am calling on my ‘supernatural peers‘.

People often find themselves uplifted when gathering en masse in churches, temples, or at other spiritual events.  In those moments, the spiritual focus is intensified and miracles can happen.  This is because, with so many elements gathered together focusing on the same thing, ‘god’s mind’ becomes more focused on that same mode.

You can think of that with an image of neurons firing in a brain.  The most activity and thoughts occur where most of the neurons are firing.  So, if you can think of human beings as being ‘divine neurons in god’s brain‘,  then you can see how what those ‘neurons‘ are focusing on becomes a ‘center of activity in the mind of god‘.

Prayer is like that, too.  Through prayer we call on the help of supernatural entities, like angels and guides (or the over god, itself.  The over god or ‘oversoul’ is different to the ‘seeder’ god, but that’s another story).

With their assistance, more ‘divine neurons‘ are fired in the same area, and with that focus ‘miracles‘ can happen – e.g. things occur that don’t normally occur within the ‘coding‘ embedded in our physical realm.

Such beseechments don’t always work, just as asking for help from others in our human lives doesn’t always get us the help we need, or in the way we feel we need it.

Not getting the full help we need from others in our physical lives doesn’t stop us from capitalizing on it when it is available, though, even if we do have to ‘push on‘ and ‘do so much stuff by ourselves‘ until we get that relief and help.

Nor should any concept of ‘having to do it all by ourselves‘ stop us from reaching out to whatever help is available in the supernatural realm for us.

Just as our human friends and family don’t always know what needs we have, or won’t step in uninvited out of respect for our personal choices, so does the supernatural realm often behave.

We have to express a great desire for that help, either through the emission of misery and sense of loss, or through prayer.  (I know which I would prefer to invite with).

After all, being a level detached from our physical realm, supernatural entities know very well that what happens to us here only pertains to us here.

After death, we are with them – still alive, still thriving, but in a different layer of existence.  So of course, they will only respond to a direct request of some kind, or because their sympathy is aroused by our misery.

Samhain is not just about honoring the deceased.  It is also about honoring the supernatural, and all the ‘invisible‘ help available to us.

It is a way to give thanks for the help we have received in the past, and to give respect to those who answered our prayers.  In the ‘cosmic scheme of things‘, they didn’t have to.

As spiritual beings like them when we shed our ‘body coats‘,  our problems and assails are proven to be only temporary (in the cosmic scheme of things).  What brings them to our aid is their empathy and sympathy for our travails.

For me, they are my family and friends as much as any living being in the physical realm.

Blessings!
Lianne

Lilipily Spirit – Empower Your Life, Connect with the Divine 

 

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Water Dragon

Water Dragon
My husband and son went to check the chemical balance in our swimming pool one morning, recently, and were astonished to see a dark creature swimming frenetically, deep in the water.

Our swimming pool has pale water like the beautiful warm ocean surrounding the Whitsunday islands that we once swam in, so the creature was easy to see.

At first, they thought it was a snake. A snake was not something we want swimming in our pool because snakes can be dangerous in Australia. So my husband went looking for a tool to fish it out with.

By the time he got back, the creature had stopped and was resting on the bottom. It was quite obviously not a snake. It was actually a lizard, called a ‘water dragon‘.

(Check out this link to view a video clip of our ‘water dragon’).

We have often seen ‘water dragons‘ as they are common, here, but we had never seen one actually in the water before. We knew lizards could swim but we never knew they could swim through deep water like a serpent.

The lizard stayed still on the bottom for so long that they began to wonder if there was something wrong with it. My husband prodded it with the pole he had brought but it responded sluggishly, so they got worried that it had forgotten its way out of the pool and was now exhausted. Neither wanted the poor creature to drown…

It wasn’t until it moved slowly to one corner and climbed up the pebbled walls, then peeked above the water just long enough to get a fright when it saw my husband, that they realized the ‘dragon‘ was perfectly fine. It jumped back beneath the water to swim away, obviously well able to climb out of the water at any place. My husband breathed a sigh of relief, and felt happy that it was just enjoying the water of our crystal clear ‘lake.’

I didn’t get to see the actual ‘water dragon‘ but I did get to see the video clip my husband took of it. It’s fascinating to see it swimming and you can imagine very well that a larger one of these could well be the ‘Loch Ness monster‘ from Scotland…

We love ‘water dragons’ but have never seen one around our home before. Usually, the lizards around our home are ‘blue tongues‘ or skinks, both of which are dry land animals. The weather has been unusually dry for some time, though, so water is probably scarce in the scrub where lizards live. We don’t mind sharing our resources with the wild life.

Leaning toward the druidic in my spiritual modes, I also find meaning in such unusual visitations. I decided to look up the meaning of ‘water dragon‘ to see how it gelled with my life right now.

In Celtic symbology, the dragon is a powerful magical animal that denotes transformation and eternal wisdom. There are four elemental dragons, for earth, fire, water, and air.

The ‘water dragon‘ has a meaning of connection, depth and passion, as well as of memories and wishes that have possibly been long forgotten or hidden and are now being brought to the fore.

I find this very interesting, since not long ago I began adding my own writing in our Lilipily Spirit blogs, here, and in that process have been remembering many events from my earlier life, both good and bad.

It is said that the ‘water dragon‘ enables us to face the painful experiences of the past, so that a sense of peace and balance can be restored to our lives. Certainly, by writing blogs containing elements from my earlier life, I have been able to reconnect with the magic and wonder of many experiences that had long been smothered beneath the pain and suffering that ensued from other events.

The ‘water dragon‘ is said to bring courage and compassion to help us face these challenges and I find that interesting since, before the ‘dragon‘ entered our pool, I was wondering why it was suddenly so easy to publically write things I usually feel vulnerable about. I definitely found the courage to put these memories, thoughts and ideas ‘out there‘ when they have not been aired for many decades.

By the end of the day, the ‘water dragon‘ had gone. My husband and son felt a residual sense of wonderment and joy after the visit.

If you are interested in the other elements when it comes to dragons, the ‘fire dragon‘ is known for transmutation, and enables enthusiasm, courage and vitality that helps us overcome obstacles, step up to the plate as a leader, and express mastery in the world. The ‘fire dragon‘ is also symbolic of powerful protection surrounding the circumstances we find ourselves in. Mythical salamanders are known as ‘fire dragons‘, but a more physical example would be any lizards living near volcanoes or volcanic mud.

The ‘air dragon‘ is said to bring insight and inspiration, including powerful flashes of psychic illumination and clarity that can help us get to the bottom of all problems so long as we learn to trust our ‘inner voice‘. It is also said to foster a sense of vitality. Lizards that live in trees or high in the mountains are seen as ‘air dragons‘.

The ‘earth dragon‘ is said to show us our potentials and what power we are capable of manifesting, including riches. It helps us to discover our true inner beauty and how to ground and focus our energies instead of scattering them. This dragon is said to nurture us with the beneficence of Mother Earth. Any lizard that spends most of its time deep in the ground or under rocks might be considered an ‘earth dragon.’

In druidism it is believed that the Earth itself is a dragon and that its blood vessels create a network of lines in the land. These are known as ‘ley lines(or dragon lines) and wherever they meet or cross a ‘power node‘ is said to exist. At these points, the Earth’s energy is strong and healing waters can often be found.

Dragons did not have wings in druid lore but were known as wyrms (worms) and there were many stories about giant worms in the earth. (You can see how a lizard or skink might be considered a dragon when you understand they originally didn’t have wings). These giant ‘wyrms‘ or ‘worms‘ referenced the ‘ley lines‘ and the ancients are said to have built their sacred stone circles upon the ‘node points‘ in these, including the well known Stonehenge. When the ancients talked about the ‘lay of the land‘ they weren’t mapping just geological structures but were referencing this network of power.

Since the word ‘dragon‘ means ‘to see clearly‘ and the ancients believed that the special powers of vision, wisdom, prophecy and knowledge were birthed from the Earth at these power nodes, such special places were under the guardianship of kings who were known as ‘Pendragons(protectors of dragons).

The nodes are also said to have been portals between our world and the supernatural or ‘otherworld‘. Since the druids believed in reincarnation, crossing through such portals was a regular occurrence at the beginning and end of each lifetime. This reincarnational cycle is symbolized in the image of a dragon swallowing its own tail, denoting the never ending cycle of life, and it was very important that nothing blocked the exchange between worlds or opened the portal at the wrong time. Which was another reason for dedicating such points as sacred sites.

I’d like to think that the little ‘dragon‘ in our pool was attracted by the energy coming from our land, and that it found the water in our pool healing.

I remember walking across our plot soon after clearing work had been done many years ago and when the scaffold of our home was going up. An elemental energy rushed through my body with a clear sense of entity. I told it not to worry and said that all the plants and trees we had removed would be replaced – that it would have its garden back again.

Thus appeased, I’ve often found it interesting since that every shrub or tree I planted grew much bigger than the potting labels said they would. I’ve also often been reminded of the entity protecting our land when so much wildlife, and insects like butterflies and dragonflies, have enjoyed passing through despite our land being only one suburban plot amid many.

Over time, I came to believe that our spiritual rituals and the blessings we laid upon our home and land might also be the attractors, but perhaps it was the land itself all along?

My eldest son and I were born during the season of Imbolc, which is a fire festival.

In the Celtic zodiac, this means that our signs are dragons. In the southern hemisphere, where we were born, the dragon rules the period between July 21 to August 17. In the northern hemisphere, it rules the period between January 21- February 17.

It’s also interesting to me that the Druid tree for this period is a rowan. I have a few mountain ash trees (also known as rowans) growing along the borders of our land.

Birds often use our pool as a giant bath when we’re not out there (which is why my husband is assiduous with keeping the pool chemicals balanced). Our dining table overlooks the pool and it’s lovely watching them take a dip.

There used to be a group of four laughing kookaburras who sat on the fence and took turns to have a flutter in the pool each day, but then the mock orange hedge grew to thirty feet (instead of the ten on the tag) and they had nowhere to sit any more. That hasn’t stopped beautiful blue winged smaller kingfishers and other birds dropping by regularly, though.

I hope we see the ‘water dragon‘ come back one day.  (The birds had better be on the alert, then).

Next time, I’d like to be there, too.

Blessings!
Lianne

Lilipily Spirit – Empower Your Life, Connect with the Divine

Ostara, and a bit about my pagan modes…

Photo courtesy of cepolina.com
Photo courtesy of cepolina.com

We are celebrating Ostara tomorrow. This year, we are going up into the mountains to visit our friends and will break feast with them.

Our friends call themselves wiccans, though the title is flexible – just as the general title I give myself in much of my spiritual rituals is druid. Both spiritual modes stem from the same roots and have eight of the same festivals (called the Wheel of the Year).

Being a pagan is a difficult thing in the world I live. Mainstream faiths still reject paganism, though forms such as buddhism are now found more acceptable, mostly due to the promotional efforts of the Dalai Lama of Tibet.

Our friends love being pagans and have even erected a small circle of stones on their property, where they enjoy holding their rituals, or just hanging out and communing with nature in – but they get worried that their neighbors live too near and may see them through the shrubbed borders. They worry that their neighbors will find them unacceptable if they know they are pagans, so even as they do rituals on their land they are always keeping an eye out for any who might be hanging around.

In Europe or America, perhaps paganism is more ‘out there’. The traditions are more firmly rooted and, even if other faiths don’t accept paganism, they don’t bat an eyelid when they see it.

In Australia, I often get an immediate sense of withdrawal from people when I tell them I am a pagan (unless they are also a pagan). There is a sense of horror that comes from them even if they are not practicing christians, etc.

I’ve formed a very clear picture of how mainstream religious propaganda has worked its way deep into the bloodstream of even the atheists, and many people seem to instantly believe that pagans kill little babies and drink their blood. (That’s just a metaphor. Some people don’t think that way, but they do seem to think that pagans are up to no good).

It doesn’t happen like that. (I’m referring to sacrifices). I don’t know that it ever did. I do know that a couple of thousand years ago the romans were having trouble keeping the celtic people down so they spread a deep propaganda about their lifestyle.

Such things were normal in ancient times. Even the ancient egyptian pharoahs rewrote obelisks with their own version of history when they came to power and usurped previous rulers.

The romans were trying to assert their authority amongst a very widespread and varied conquered community. Having failed to manage the still unconquered celts and stop their raids on roman settlements, the best way to undermine them was to take away their ability to find shelter in the lands they traversed as they rebelled against roman rule.

Malign gossip does that. Spread malign gossip and even people who like you look at you with questions in their eyes. If that malign gossip says you make human sacrifices and especially prey on newborns, whole communities will stand against you without even discussing the matter first, just so you don’t get any opportunity to do it to them. That’s how propaganda embeds.

Once the romans became christians, they upped their ante on the celts. The romans were opportunists who had absorbed the good elements of every society they managed, and made them their own. Take a look at the columns on roman buildings and you will see the ancient designs from greek architecture. If you go to Greece, those columns are made from solid rock, carved and slotted together with superb precision. The columns you can see in ancient Pompeii, however, are pseudo greek columns. To save time and effort, the romans created a rubble filled column, veneered it with a brick shell and plastered that with concrete to make it look like carved stone.

They did a similiar thing with religion. When they decided they liked the greek gods better than what they had at the time, they usurped the whole kit and caboodle and just renamed the gods and modified some of the story-lines to suit roman taste. Soon, all the romans were visiting Jupiter and Venus, Apollo and Diana, etc., in their temples, (who used to be Zeus and Aphrodite, Helios and Athena in Greece).

When they finally did quell the celts, they did the same with the celtic spiritual faith of druidism. By that time, the romans had also become christians, so they melded two faiths into one and chucked out the old roman (used to be greek) gods.

Celtic spirituality and christianity had something in common which the romans admired. They both brought the masses together in firm obedience of spiritual law.

Since the romans were always on the alert for opportunities to benefit themselves, they realized that these faiths could control the people across their widespread conquered communities in a far better way than strong arming them with soldiers ever did. It took up a lot less resources, too.

So that’s how christianity got the festivals of Yule (or Christmas), and Easter.

There were no such festivals in the original christian faith. The original christian faith was an offshoot of judaism. If anything, they would have celebrated hannukah, passover, and similiar. It wasn’t until the romans absorbed christianity and druidism at the same time that christianity became druidic.

Druidism was the spiritual belief system of the ancient celts. While they had names for gods, goddesses, and elemental energies they also believed in reincarnation, so names in the long term of immortal life were really irrelevant.

When you have thousands of names from thousands of lifetimes, it’s really a matter of ‘pick one.’ So when the romans took over the celtic spiritual faith of druidry and renamed the same gods and goddesses and elemental forces as saints, angels, and patrons of christianity, the celts didn’t bat an eyelid. So long as the meanings were the same and the rituals were similiar, the celts were very adaptable in their spiritual modes. That’s how the celts became christians (or christian themed druids, per se).

Honestly, you could say that druidism never really died out at all. Modern christianity is today very different from judaism, and it’s all to do with its celtic roots.

Celtic festivals such as Ostara (called Easter in christianity) were also very long events in ancient times. They could go for two to three weeks at a time, because people gathered from far and wide to attend and they didn’t want to just roll up for a ritual and go straight back home again.

Feasting and dancing and getting together with friends, and also taking the opportunity to do some political groundwork and law-making, all happened in this period, and the main ritual was semi-flexible around the solstice or equinox of the season. That’s why christians were able to move the solstice ritual of Yule to the fixed point of a roman calendar day in December (Christmas day).

To understand this flexibility, you need to know that celtic rituals were not calendar oriented but season aligned.

That’s why we are celebrating Ostara this weekend. Ostara is a spring festival, the Feast of New Life. In Australia, spring is now. The spring equinox happens this week. here. In the northern hemisphere, it’s autumn (or fall, in America). They will be celebrating the ritual of Mabon at this time, which revolves around the autumnal equinox. Both are seed rituals. Ostara seeds new life in the world. Mabon seeds new life in the spirit.

You might ask why did I choose to align myself with druid modes rather than wicca, as my friends do? Because I resonated better with the modes of druidry, that’s all.

Paganism is like that, especially celtic sourced paganism (although buddhism has similiar choices). You don’t really have to follow any particular theme to be a pagan other than an honoring of all life, worldly or spiritual, and all its connections.

I can go to the rituals of our wiccan friends for Ostara because, even though they call the names of animal and bird spirits to witness their rites,(where I call archangels and mother/father god), it’s all about the intent and the energies being called upon, not really about names.

There are some other reasons why I loosely call myself a druid (at least in my rituals).

Druidry is now a recognised religion in the United Kingdom.

It used to be just a spiritual faith but it has finally got its well-deserved kudos. (All those solstice events at Stonehenge really paid off… just kidding).

That wasn’t why I aligned to it, though. I was doing that for years before druidry became official. For me, druidry was my choice because of its adaptability, and because of its acceptance and absorption of all other religions and spiritual faiths.

Druidry believes in all people being on the same path toward the divine. Actually, it believes we are all elements of the divine, and that everything and everyone that exists is connected as parts of the divine.

I’m not sure how things are done in the United Kingdom now Druidry has become a religion, but in the days when it was a simple spiritual faith you could be a buddhist, a christian, a jew or a muslim, or any other faith at all and still be a druid.

(This may help you to understand why I can also happily attend any religious or spiritual event, in temples or churches of any faith. The divinity I honor is an archetype, and archetypes cross all lines or demarcations).

You begin to see why and how the druids allowed the romans to take over their faith and even align it with christianity – because it’s all about the energies, the expression of those energies, and the connections – about all humanity, no matter from what country or language or whatever modes they use to forge life in this world, existing as one being in spirit.

Tomorrow, my closest family will celebrate Ostara. This feast is named after the celtic goddess of new life.

The words oestrogen and oestrus come from the goddess Ostara’s name, which is also spelt Oestre. These words relate to hormones that make a woman an entity who can become pregnant and give birth, and the sexuality and desire that makes her amenable to be impregnated. (If you have ever seen the statuette of the archaeological find called the ‘Goddess of Willendorf’, the goddess Ostara is expressed in this child-bearing figure).

The symbols of Ostara have long been the hare (now an Easter rabbit) and the egg (now an Easter egg). These elements are about virility (sexuality for intense breeding, as the hare or rabbit does) and new life (the egg and all its potential).

In Australia at this time, Ostara does not align with the christian period of Easter. Those events do happen around the same time in the northern hemisphere in spring but not here. We only get our store-bought chocolate eggs at Mabon, which is another type of egg (seeder) ritual. We have to cook and paint our own eggs for Ostara.

Usually, we have a brunch with friends or family on the weekend closest to the equinox, so we can all get together on a day when we don’t have to work. That brunch often has eggs in it. We love making omelettes.

It’s a day of being thankful for what we have, and of noting the new elements of life coming into being, the seeds of the future ahead of us. It’s about feeling blessed by the divine and making sure we look at all the ways divinity does that for us, so we don’t miss anything and certainly don’t take it for granted.

Yes, we will be making a sacrifice, but only of part of our delicious feast, which is spilled onto the ground to return it to the cycle of life. (The birds, animals, and insects polish this off…)  In this way we give our tithe to the divine and say thank you for all we have been given.

The ritual of Easter, celebrated by the christians, has similiar themes of new life. While christ dies on the cross, his body is taken down and then reborn in a spiritual manifestation. In his resurrection, he wipes away the sins of the past and enables new beginnings.

These are the same modes used for Ostara, just with a different story. Each spring, we are given the opportunity to begin again, to seed a new life, and to honor all life in its divine manifestation.

(Well, we can actually do that any time, but since many people forget that they have the ability to do it, we can use rituals to remind us… Pagan rituals are no different to the modes of any other religion or faith attending temple or church, but our temple is the world, itself).

The rituals of paganism are always reflections on the rites of passage in life.

The elements expressed touch on birth, death, relationship, sorrow, joy, and many other subjects that people may often find difficult to express or deal with in the course of their lives.

In using ritual this way, pagans enable a learning or processing experience for these mundane events. They also transform them into simple phases of existence in the life of the divine.

Blessings to all, and may the year ahead be full of wonderful new beginnings, fresh starts and youthful exuberance!

Lianne

Lilipily Spirit – Empower Your Life, Connect with the Divine