The Mystical Cauldron


Ostara Edition - March 2003





Table of Contents

Legend of the Ostara Egg

Natural Dyes & Color Significance

Ostara Traditions

Ostara Symbols

Ostara Crafts

Recipes for the Ostara Feast



Ostara

Also known as the Vernal Equinox, Alban Eiber, Bacchanalia, Lady Day and Jack in the Green Day, the Sabbat of Ostara is named for the ancient German Virgin Goddess of Spring (and of course, let us not forget Eostre, from whose name the Christian 'Easter' was born). Archaeologists estimate that the Spring Equinox was first celebrated as a religious festival in tribes and clans as long as 12,000 years ago. It's no wonder then that many of the equinox stories from Greece, Rome, Germany and the Nordic lands tell of the Deity's trip into the Underworld. After being in the land of the dead, they return to Earth and bring new life with them. This death and resurrection theme is a common thread in the stories of Persephone, Hera, Odin, Osiris, Attis, Orpheus, Dagda, Mithras, and even Jesus.

Being an Equinox, Ostara is a time of balance as well as new life. It is a good time to plant an herb garden. Even if you don't have a yard, you can plant herbs in flower pots or window boxes. They can be for medicinal purposes, to cook with, to make tea from or any other reason you can think of to plant and use them.

How the Ostara Egg Came to Be

The modern belief that eggs are delivered by a rabbit, comes from the legend of the Goddess Eostre. Eostre was walking one fine Spring day and came upon a beautiful little bird. The poor bird's wing was badly injured and Eostre, feeling great compassion for the little creature, wanted to heal it. But the little bird' wing was so badly damaged that Eostre knew it would never be able to fly again even after She healed it. So, Eostre decided to help the bird by healing it in a way that would give it mobility and a little something more She turned it into a rabbit!

During the transformation, the rabbit retained the ability to lay eggs. The rabbit was so grateful to Eostre for saving its life that it laid a sacred egg in Her honor, joyously decorated it and then humbly presented it to the Goddess. She was so pleased and so touched by the rabbit's thoughtful gift that She wished all humankind to share in her joy. In honoring her wishes, the rabbit went all over the world distributing these beautifully decorated little gifts of life and continues to do so even today.



Ostara Egg Information

Natural Dyes for Ostara Eggs

Yellow - Carrots, Fenugreek, Turmeric, White grape juice

Yellow Orange - Vanilla extract

Orange - Dandelions, Yellow onion skins, Paprika, Orris root

Pink - Heather, Iris blossoms

Red - Cayenne, Madder root, Red onion skins

Reddish Purple - Purple grape juice, Red raspberries

Blueish Purple - Beet juice, Blackberries, Mulberries

Blue - Black raspberries, Blueberries, Red cabbage

Green - Bracken, Carrot tops

Yellow Green - Daffodils



Significance of Colors for Ostara Eggs

Black - Absorb and dispel negative influences, Mystery, Rememberance, Eternity, Constancy

Blue - Healing, Peace, Astral projection, Fidelity, Sleep, Unity

Brown - Animals, Helps connect to the rythms and energies of the Earth

Gold - Activity, Money, The God, The Sun

Green - Abundance, Calm, Fertility, Prosperity, Neutralize difficult situations, Renewal, Freshness, Hope

Indigo - Clairvoyance, Healing, Past lives

Orange - Attraction, Energy, Friendship, Willpower, Endurance, Strength

Pink - Romantic love, Peace

Purple - Communication with higher level beings, Connection with the Divine, Ending quarrels, Healing, Tranquility, Patience, Trust, Deep Sleep, Healing serious illnesses

Red - Courage, Lust, New life, Desire, Passion, Sexuality, Strength, Enthusiasm

Red Violet - Hidden knowledge

Silver - Psychic abilities, Spirituality, The Goddess, The Moon

Turquoise - Spiritual Knowledge

White - Good fortune, Healing, Purification, Virgin Goddess

Yellow - Creativity, Communication, Intellect, Knowledge, Youth, Mind Power, Light, Purity, Happiness, Wisdom

One form of decorated egg is the Ukranian pysanky. There are many fine books that describe the symbolism on pysanky, not to mention the rich symbolism within Wiccan and other Pagan traditions. If you would like to know more about the meaning behind pysanky, the traditional symbols or the symbolism of the colors used on Ukrainian eggs, please read the 'Meanings of Egg Symbols' section of the Ostara 2002 version of this newsletter.



Ostara Traditions

Spring egg hunts have origins in many lands. Some think that the egg hunt was symbolic of our ancestors, who would search for birds nests in early Spring. The eggs in them provided much needed fresh protein to add to the diet after a long, lean winter. Of course, egg hunts also have origins in India and China, where they were tied to the Karmic belief that we must each find our own path in each new life. Egg hunts became popular in the United States thanks to Abraham Lincoln, who, in 1862, invited children form the Washington D.C. area to hunt for eggs on the White House lawn. This tradition continues even today.

Eggs were buried by the Teutons to infuse the Earth with the life-giving properties of the egg. They were planted in fields, flower beds, window boxes and even animal barns for fertility. People would eat eggs in order to gain from the life-giving benefits of the egg.

The Teutons believed it was very bad luck to wear your spring clothes before Ostara. They would secretly work all winter on beautiful new clothing for the Ostara celebration. This is where the tradition of having new, fancy clothes for Easter morning came from. It is also the origin of the 'Easter parade' to show off the new, beautiful clothing you now have.



Ostara Symbols

Lilies - These beautiful flowers were a symbol of life in Greece and Rome. During the Ostara season, young men would give a lily to the young woman they were courting. If the young woman accepted the lily, the couple were considered engaged (much like accepting a diamond ring from a young man in today's society).

Lambs - This fluffly little mammal is an eternal symbol of Ostara, and was sacred to virtually all the virgin goddesses of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The symbol was so ingrained in the mindset of the people of that region that it was carried over into the spring religious rituals of the Jewish Passover and Christian Easter.

Robins - One of the very first birds to be seen in the Spring, robins are a sure sign of the fact that warm weather has indeed returned.

Bees - These busy little laborers re dormant during the winter. Because of this, the sighting of bees is another sure sign of Spring. They were also considered by the Ancient peoples to be messengers of the Gods and were sacred to many Spring and Sun Goddesses around the world.

Honey - The color of the sun, this amber liquid is, of course, made through the laborious efforts of the honeybee. With their established role as messengers to the Gods, the honey they produced was considered ambrosia to the Gods.

Faeries - Because of their ability to bring blessings to your gardens, protect your home, and look after your animals, it is beneficial to draw faeries to your life. Springtime is the quinessential season to begin drawing the fae again. You want to be sure to leave succulent libations or pretty little gifts for them. Some ideas for libations or gifts are... honey, fresh milk, bread, lilacs, primrose blossoms, cowslip, fresh berries, dandelion wine, honeysuckle, pussywillows, ale, or shiny coins.

Equal-armed Crosses - These crossesrepresent the turning points of the year, the solstices and equinoxes and are often referred to as 'Sun Wheels'. They come in many forms such as God's eyes, Celtic crosses, Shamrocks, Brigid's crosses, 4-leaved clovers, crossroads, etc.




Ostara Crafts

Make Some Cascarones


You will need the following things for this craft. Fresh eggs, herbs, confetti, or other lightweight item for filling, clear tape, colored pens or tissue paper and glue to decorate eggs with.

1. Empty egg shells by making a small hole in the larger end and a slightly larger hole in the small end (be sure to puncture the yolk). Be careful not to crack the rest of the egg). Then gently blow on the larger end of the egg to gently push out the egg's innards. (save these for scrambled eggs or omlettes)

2. Rinse out the eggs with cool water and let them dry overnight.

3. Close the bottom hole with a tiny piece of tape or a bit or glue.

4. Carefully fill the shells with herbs, confetti or other light-weight filling.

5. When full, seal the top hole with tape or glue.

6. Carefully decorate the outside of the egg.

7. On Ostara morning, catch your loved ones by surprise and break the egg over their head. As the filling rains down over your loved one and you, you are both showered with blessings, love, luck, and new life of the season.



Making Eggs into Animals

You will need the following things for this craft. Hard-boiled eggs, Egg dye or felt-tip pens, glue, construction paper, tissue paper, pipe cleaners, small stones, miniature marshmallows.

Owl: Color egg with black or brown felt pen. Glue on beak made of triangle of construction paper. Use two small stones for feet.

Pig: Dye egg pink. Glue on miniature marshmallow for snout. Make a curly tail and legs from a pipe cleaner (legs could be marshmallows if you prefer). Draw eyes with a felt pen.

Mouse: Glue on large pink ovals of construction paper for ears. Add a pipe cleaner tail; draw on whiskers and eyes with a felt pen.

Bird: Dye egg whatever color you want your bird to be. Glue on Construction paper head, beak and wings. You can either paint the wings on or make them out of constructions paper (or tissue paper). Draw eyes with felt pen.

Fish: Dye (or color egg shell witth paint or felt pen) whatever color you want your fishy to be. Cut eyes tail and fins from construction paper and glue on.



Chicks in Nests

You will need the following things for this craft. Brown Yarn (cotton works the best), Three 1" Yellow Pom Poms, Orange Craft Foam, Six Wiggly Eyes, One Small Round Balloon, Liquid Starch, Tacky Glue, Scissors, Bowl, Newspapers

1. Blow up balloon to about 4". Tie off. Use a piece of yarn to hang it over your work area. (Working on the kitchen counter and hang the balloon from an upper cabinet knob works well.)

2. Place newspaper under balloon to catch drips.

3. Pour a cup of Liquid Starch into an old bowl. Cut several 4' pieces of yarn and place them into the starch. Make sure each strand is coated evenly with starch.

4. Wrap starched yarn pieces around balloon in all directions until balloon is covered to look like filigree. Cut and dip as many pieces of yarn as you need. There will be empty spots where the balloon shows through. Let dry overnight.

5. Cut down your yarn covered balloon. Pop the balloon and pull it out. Cut the yarn ball in half. You may want to set one half of the nest inside of the other for a fuller looking nest or use each half to make one nest.

6. Cut six small triangles for beaks. Glue two on to each pom pom to make it look like the chick's mouth is open. Glue on eyes.

7. Glue chicks in nest.

This craft idea came from http://makingfriends.com/chicks&nest.htm



Eggshell Mosaic Pictures

You will need the following things for this craft. broken eggshells from dyed eggs (seperated into colors), heavy paper or thin cardboard to make your picture on, white glue, clear lacquer spray (if desired).

1. Draw a picture or design on a piece of paper. You can draw anything you like, but the more detailed the picture, the more complicated your mosaic will be. (That's okay, though; grownups may want to experiment with something more elaborate while the little ones work on theirs.)

2. Decide what colors you want in which areas of your drawing by placing them there first. Once you know what you want where, carefully remove the shell pieces and set them aside.

3. Spread a thin layer of the glue over one section of your drawing at a time. Then place the colored shells carefully back into place. You can even sprinkle a little glitter over the area if you like.

4. As each section dries, you can do another section until your picture is finished.

5. If you want a shiny glaze on the completed project, use a clear spray lacquer to coat the entire mosaic.



Ostara Recipes

Candied Flowers



This recipe is from Edain McCoy's "Ostara"

Ingredients:

Petals from any edible flower (These flowers may be safely eaten and are suggested for this recipe: Pansy, violet, rose, nasturtium, gladiola, carnation, dianthus, calendula, squash blossom, lilac, marigold, dandelion, peach blossom, plum blossom, orange blossom, hibiscus, geranium, bachelor button, snapdragon, jasmine, gardenia, and angelica.)

Several well-beaten egg whites

Vanilla extract

Bowl of granulated sugar

Directions

1. Mix a few drops of vanilla into the egg whites.

2. Dip a paintbrush in the egg whites and coat the petals.

3. Dip petals into sugar until coated, then spread on wax paper to dry.

4. Use to decorate cakes, cookies or anything else you like.

***You cannot use flowers bought at a florist for this recipe!! Many commercially-bought flowers contain pesticides and it is not worth it to ingest poison. Please obtain all flowers from organic retailers or from home-grown sources.
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Pashka



2 1/2 Lbs. Small Curd Cottage Cheese

1 1/4 Cups Sugar

3/4 Cup Chopped Almonds or Pecans

3/4 Cup Chopped Peaches

1/2 Cup Maraschino Cherries or

Dried Cherries

1 1/4 tsp. Vanilla

2 Sticks Butter, Melted

1/4 tsp. Salt

2 Cups Evaporated Milk or Cream

2 Eggs

Directions

1. Mix all ingredients except the cottage cheese in a large pan over low heat until it thickens to the consistency of pudding.

2. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.

3. Mix in the cottage cheese and beat well for about 3 minutes.

4. Place in a cake pan and chill over night.

5. Decorate with candied eggs, flowers, chocolates, or other spring delicacies. Surround with fruit if you like. Keep refrigerated.

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Ostara Egg Hunt Pie



1 Ready-made Graham Cracker Crust

8 oz. package cream cheese , softened

1 can (14 oz.) Eagle Sweetened Condensed Milk (Not evaporated Milk)

3/4 cup cold milk

1 pkg. (4-serving size) instant vanilla (or your favorite flavor) pudding and pie filling

1-1/2 cups non-dairy whipped topping, thawed

16 mini chocolate eggs or other holiday candy

Directions

1. In large bowl beat Cream Cheese until fluffy.

2. Gradually beat in condensed milk until smooth.

3. Add milk and pudding mix; beat on low speed until smooth.

4. Spoon half of filling into crust.

5. Place chocolate eggs evenly over filling. Top with remaining filling.

6. Chill 3 hours

For young Children ... use Holiday marshmallow Candies or other soft Candies !
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Whole Wheat Hot-Cross Buns



1 tablespoon active dry yeast

1 1/4 cups warm milk (110 degrees F)

2 eggs, beaten

1/3 cup butter, softened

4 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup currants

3 ounces candied mixed fruit peel

1/3 cup honey

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup shortening

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons milk

Directions

1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over half the warm milk. Let stand until creamy, about 15 minutes.

2. In another bowl, mix two eggs and butter into the remaining warm milk.

3. Place the whole wheat flour in a mixing bowl and add the salt, nutmeg, currants, and candied citrus peel. Make a well in the center and put in the yeast mixture, butter and egg mixture, and honey. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and supple, about 8 minutes.

4. Lightly oil a large mixing bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, make the crosses for the buns: Mix together 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup shortening to make a pastry. Roll out the pastry and cut in thin strips, set aside.

5. Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 16 equal pieces and form into round buns. Place them on lightly greased baking sheets.

6. Hanging the prepared strips of dough over the buns loosely so that they touch the baking sheets on each side. This allows for the expansion of the buns. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

7. Beat together one egg and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk. Brush the buns with this mixture and leave them in a warm place for 20 minutes to rise.

8. Place a tray of hot water in the bottom of the oven to make it steamy. This gives the buns a thin, soft crust. Bake the buns at 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) for 20 minutes, or until they are golden-brown.

9. Cool them on wire racks and serve them split and buttered.





Table of Contents

Legend of the Ostara Egg

Natural Dyes & Color Significance

Ostara Traditions

Ostara Symbols

Ostara Crafts

Recipes for the Ostara Feast



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