Ostara has always been an important holiday. I wrote in THIS POST last week a little about why, but the gist is that it’s kind of my Pagan birthday. As such, it’s probably the holiday that I feel most connected to, and the one that enlivens my spirit.
I’m not a huge fan of warm weather and the bugs that come with it, but you would have to be soulless to not feel a little spark of extra energy as the days get warmer and flowers start blooming everywhere you look. The pollen hasn’t descended yet, and the days are still balmy, but not oppressive. It’s just gorgeous here in Georgia around this time of year.
I originally intended to attend an Ostara ritual with the group that I celebrated Yule and Imbolc with, but the husbear surprised me with my late Valentine’s Day present instead, and he drove me down to Apt to Miss Rd. The last time I was there was near Mabon, and the time before was around Lughnassadh, so I haven’t had a chance to see/photograph it in the Spring. It was gorgeous, and it always feels like I’m coming home.
This time, however, we hiked back into the woods with the intention of getting frisky. This IS a Spring holiday, after all, and if we don’t do our part to ensure the fertility of the growing season, who will? I prayed to Cernunnos before we left, asking him to help me connect with the wild, primal side of my husband in the woods. When I drew my daily card, I drew the passionate, fiery Queen of Wands. All signs pointed to go.
The reality? Well, it might have fallen a bit short. The reality included gnats and mosquitoes. The reality included the fact that neither of us have great backs, and laying on a blanket in the dirt isn’t super comfortable. The reality is that nobody likes having rocks dig into their knees. The reality was that there was a truck further down the dirt road from us, and I was worried that some asshole hunters would happen upon us and hassle us. The reality is that finding ticks on your lover, knowing that it was your half-baked idea that put them there, will fill you with regret.
So, long story short, I sure did enjoy being out in nature, but I wonder if SHE likes ME at all. I can say that my mind is quieter, more at peace, than it has been for quite some time.
I also left an offering, as I did the previous time. Last Mabon, I left a beautiful big apple that I had smeared with a drop of my blood. I wanted to maintain a connection to that place, and the spot where I left it is actually where Vine’s house would be in the story. When I knelt to connect to the land there and leave the apple, I was bitten by an ant. I felt like my offering of connection was accepted, and I took something back with me. I’ve often thought about having that spot tattooed with a small pink dot as a reminder. I actually have a big, wrought iron ant on my desk as a symbol of that connection as well.
This time, I left 3 beautiful, ripe, red strawberries, a piece of rose quartz, a piece of moonstone, and a quartz crystal. Bear and I also burned some devotional incense and added it to the offering. I didn’t notice until after I had left that my very favorite pocket stone, the snakeskin agate that I felt SO connected with, had also slipped out of my pocket during our hijinks, and that became part of the offering too. I miss that stone. I can still feel the weight, size, and smoothness of it in my hand. But the land demanded more of an offering than what I had intended, and it took what it wanted.
In The Altars series the town of Willowisp, which is set there on that road, demands a lot from its inhabitants. Apparently, that’s true in the non-fictional world too. I took a small jar of soil to keep on my desk as well.
We ate some lovely pizza on the way down at Amici’s in Madison (which I highly recommend), and went to a cheap Asian buffet in Milledgeville (which I don’t recommend) on the way back home. We spent some time at Memorial Hill Cemetery in Milledgeville, which is beautiful and has a lot of historic burials. One of those burials is Flannery O’Connor, and after asking permission, I took a very small sample of soil from her grave. I’ll add that to the small jar of soil I took from Conrad Aiken’s grave at Bonaventure, and begin my collection. The idea is that I can keep them as a way to connect with my ‘writing ancestors’.
I do so love my rituals.
I also mentioned in THIS POST that I fast for a few days before Ostara every year. I’ve been doing this for 15 years or more, and the fasts vary in severity depending on how I feel that year. I’ve done 5 day fasts on nothing but lemon water with a little cayenne pepper, and I’ve done a week of vegetarianism if I didn’t feel like being too extreme. For the past few years, however, smoothie fasts have been my mainstay. They’re much easier to follow, and I actually get really excited about the smoothies.
This year, I seemed to have a little trouble with it, even though it was just 3 days. I felt really flighty and disconnected, and I think the reason for that is the fact that I’m on diabetes meds now. It was a completely different experience on Metformin, and I really didn’t enjoy it. I was TOO manic, I had TOO many ideas, and I worried that I was losing my connection to reality. So I’ll have to modify it again next year somehow. Maybe smoothie breakfast and dinner, but with a nice vegetarian lunch or something. We’ll see.
It’s weird when your body changes your routines.