The Whispering Winds
"We dislike in others that which we dislike in ourselves"
March Issue 2003
Featured Article - Ostara (pronounced O-STAR-ah)
This is one of the Lesser Sabbats, and is usually celebrated on the Vernal or Spring Equinox right around March 21. The name for this Sabbat comes from the Teutonic lunar Goddess, "Eostre". She is also known as the Saxon Goddess of fertility. Ostara is a Goddess of the Dawn. Fertility, agriculture, health and Grain. Other names for her are Ostern, Eastre, Eostre, and Ostera.
Ostara first appears in the writings of the Venerable Bede (672C.E. - 735 C.E.), a Benedictine monk, in his De Ratione Temporum or De Temporum Rationale, which he penned in 703 C.E.
Her chief symbols were the bunny (for fertility) and the egg (representing the cosmic egg of creation). Ostara is a fertility festival celebrating the birth of Spring and the reawakening of life from within the Earth.
At Ostara, the Greek goddess, "Kore" (Persephone) returns from the underworld and
reunites with her mother Demeter after a long winter time, absence. The Norse God "Odin" hanging on the "Tree of Life" (Yggdrasil) for nine days and Kore's annual underworld sojourn represents sacrifices which are followed by resurrections.
Pagan Anglo-Saxons made offerings of different colored bird eggs to her at the Vernal Equinox. They placed them mainly at graves, probably as a talisman of rebirth.
In ancient Rome it was the practice to carry eggs in a sacred procession to be offered at the Temple of Demeter.
It was common in ancient times, for people to carry a rabbit's foot or wear rabbit fur as part of a Spring fertility rite.
The egg holds a deep symbolism, for the golden orb representes the Sun God and the white shell is seen as the White Goddess and the whole egg, symbolizes rebirth.
The hare was a symbol of rebirth and resurrection, and was a sacred animal to the goddess Ostara, whose escort was a rabbit.
According to one legend, Ostara saved a bird, whose wings had become frozen in a severe winter storm, by turning the bird into a rabbit. The result was a rabbit who could lay eggs. According to another legend, Ostara was once good friends with the Hare. She loved it so much, that she gave it the gift of being able to lay eggs once a year. At some point the Hare angered Ostara, so she cast it into the heavens. You can find the constellation Lepus (The Hare) at the feet of Orion.
Plants and herbs associated with Ostara include crocus, daffodils, ginger, jasmine, and snowdrops. Colors associated with Ostara are white and pastels in shades of pink, yellow, blue, and green.
This is the time when the Mother Goddess is now joining with the Sun God, who will be re-born at Yule.
This is the time that the "Great Rite" (hieros gamos, or sacred marriage) is perfomed. Celebrating the unity of the Sun and the Earth in a rite of fertility.
This is an excellent time for personal growth, and for putting aside old grievances. It is a time to clear away negative influences. This is an excellent time to do spell work for improving communication. This Sabbat occurs when night and day are of equal length. It is a celebration of balance. On this day, pagans light new fires at sunrise, rejoice, ring bells, and decorate hard-boiled eggs.
Like many of the Pagan festivals, the Spring Equinox was transformed by the christian church into their religious holiday of Easter, which represents the resurrection of the christian "Christ".
And so as Mother Nature goes from the barren, lifeless winter, to Spring, a time of new beginnings and regrowth. Perhaps then, we shall take this opportunity to shed the negatives in our lives in order to further our spiritual growth.
Featured Recipe - Glazed Irish Tea Cake
3/4 cup butter- room temperature
1 cup Sugar
2 tsp pure Vanilla extract
2 lg Eggs
3 oz Cream cheese- room temperature
1 3/4 cups Cake flour
1 1/4 tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp Salt
1 cup Dried currants (or dates)
2/3 cup Buttermilk
1/2 cup Confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 tsp Fresh lemon juice
PREHEAT OVEN TO 325F, with rack in center of oven. Generously grease a 9-inch (7-cup capacity) loaf pan. Dust with flour; tap pan over sink to discard excess flour. Cut piece of parchment paper or waxed paper to fit bottom of pan. Set aside. FOR CAKE, use mixer to cream butter, sugar and vanilla until fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating each until fluffy. Add cream cheese. Mix until well combined.
Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Put currants (or dates) in small bowl. Add 1/4 cup of flour mixture to currant and stir until well coated. Add remaining flour to batter, alternating with buttermilk. Mix until smooth. Use wooden spoon to stir in currants and all of the flour. Stir until well combined. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Smooth surface with spatula.
Bake until well-browned and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour, 25 minutes (time will vary with individual ovens). Cake will crack on top. Let cake rest in pan for 10 minutes. Use flexible metal spatula to separate cake from sides of pan. Carefully remove cake from pan to cooling rack.
Spread glaze on warm cake. Let cake cool completely. Cake can be stored 3 days at room temperature in foil. Cake can also be frozen up to 3 months, wrapped airtight.
FOR GLAZE, combine sugar and lemon juice in small bowl. Stir until smooth.
I Am A Witch
Essay submitted by Esmerelda
Living as a Witch is gazing at the heavens on a brisk Mabon eve, calling the constellations by name and sending them blessings. Winking back at mighty Saturn who just reversed and went retro. Knowing the phase of the moon and the magickal opportunities that are accessible to me should I desire them. Being a Witch is watching the wheel turn, knowing that the deep sleep of winter will wake on Imbolc, rupture from the ground on Ostara, and evolve to primal lust that will encase the Earth at Beltaine - ensuring another turn of the wheel. Being a Witch is the bliss I feel when I see "Merry Meet" on a passing car, or when I spy a pentacle on a stranger at the mall, without speech I know we share the mysteries and that we are extraordinary. Being a Witch is a motivation to get up in the morning and to challenge the day, it's my reason for conducting myself as a proper person, being careful not to enhance the tarnished image Salem has bestowed upon us. Living as a Witch is a unity I share with the Earth I nurture and guard her from harm. Being a Witch is the elation I feel when my children cast circle and call the quarters, witnessing, as they invite the Goddess and God into their souls, I am a teacher of values, morals and tradition.
I am a Witch.
Featured poem - Sacred Norse Myth: The Eddas
An excerpt from the Poetic Edda called the "Havamal," written by unknown persons circa 13th century AD. Presents the story of Odin discovering the Runes.
Submitted by Rev. Dina Ely
This poem was translated into English by Lee M. Hollander, but stylistically the translation is presented in a far more archaic English than is commonly spoken today. Where you see references to "the tree," it is Yggdrasil, the World Tree, which in Norse mythology is the tree of Life with its roots in the Underworld and its limbs in the heavens. According to the poem, Odin (or "Othin") hung by his heels from one of Yggdrasil's limbs until he spied the Runes beneath him. Grabbing them, he was freed from his bounds. From there his insight and wisdom grew steadily, as seen in stanzas 141-142. Eighteen pieces of Runic wisdom imparted from Odin to his children are discussed in stanzas 146 to 164.
138. I wot that I hung on the wind-tossed tree
all of nights nine,
wounded by spear, bespoken to Othin,
bespoken myself to myself,
[upon that tree of which none telleth from what roots it doth rise].
139. Neither horn they upheld nor handed me bread;
I looked below me-
Aloud I cried-
caught up the runes, caught them up wailing,
thence to the ground fell again.
140. From the son of Bolth
I mastered mighty songs nine,
and a drink I had of the dearest mead,
Got from out of Othroerir.
141. Then I began to grow and gain in insight,
to wax eke in wisdom:
one verse lead on to another verse,
one poem lead on to the other poem.
142. Runes wilt thou find, and rightly read,
of wondrous weight, of mighty magic,
which that dyed the dread god,
which that made the holy hosts, and were etched by Othin
143. Othin among AEsir, for alfs, Dain,
Dvalin for the dwarfs,
Alsvith among etins, (but for earth-borne men)
wrought I some my self.
144. Know'st how to write, know'st how to read,
know'st how to stain, how to understand,
know'st how to ask, know'st how to offer,
know'st how to supplicate, know'st how to sacrifice?
145. 'Tis better unasked than offered overmuch;
for ay doth a gift look for gain;
'tis better unasked than offered overmuch:
thus did Othin write ere the earth began, when up he rose in after time.
146. Those spells I know which the spouses of kings
wot not, nor earthly wight:
"Help" is one hight, with which holpen
thou'lt be in sorrow and care and sickness,
147. That other I know which all will need
who leeches list to be:
(on the bark scratch them of bole on the woods
whose boughs bend to the east).
148. That third I know, if my need be great
to fetter a foeman fell:
I can dull the swords of deadly foes,
That nor wiles nor weapons avail.
149. That fourth I know, if foemen have fettered me hand and foot:
I chant a charm the chains to break,
So the fetters will fly off my feet,
And off my hands the halter.
150. That fifth I know, if from foeman's hand
I see a spear sped into throng,
Never so fast it flies but its flight I can stay,
once my eye lights on it.
151. That sixth I know, if me someone wounds
with runes on gnarled root written,
or rouses my wrath by reckless speech:
him blights shall blast, not me.
152. That seventh I know, if o'er sleepers' heads
I behold a hall on fire:
However bright the blaze I can beat it down-
That mighty spell I can speak
153. That eighth I know which to all men is
needful, and good to know:
when hatred runs high, heroes among,
their strife I can settle full soon.
154. A ninth I know: if need there be
to guard a ship in a gale,
the wind I calm, and the waves also,
and wholly soothe the sea.
155. That tenth I know, If night-hags sporting
I scan aloft in the sky:
I scare them with spells so they scatter abroad,
heedless of their hinds, heedless of their haunts.
156. That eleventh I know, if I am to lead
old friend to the fray:
under buckler I chant that briskly they fare hale and whole to battle, hale and whole from battle:
hale where ever they are.
157. That twelfth I know, if on tree
I see a hanged one hoisted on high:
thus I write and the runes I stain
that down he drops and tells me his tale.
158. That thirteenth I know if a thane's son I shall
wet with holy water:
never will he fall, though the fray be hot,
nor sink down, wounded by sword.
159. That fourteenth I know, if to folk I shall
sing and say of the gods:
AEsir and alfs know I altogether-
Of unlearned few have that lore.
160. That I know fifteenth which Thjothroerir sang,
the dwarf, before Dellings door:
gave to AEsir strength, to alfs victory
and by his song and insight to Othin.
161. That sixteenth I know, if I seek me some maid,
to work my will with her:
the white-armed woman's heart I bewitch,
and toward me I turn her thoughts.
162. That seventeenth I know, (if the slender maid's love
I have, and hold her to me:
Thus I sing to her) that she hardly will
Leave me for another man's love.
163. In this lore wilt thou, Loddfafnir,
be unversed forever and ay:
thy weal were it, if this wisdom thine-
'tis helpful, if heeded, 'tis needful, if known.
164. That eighteenth I know, which to none I will tell,
neither maid nor man's wife-
'tis best warded if but one know it: this I speak last of my spells-
but only to her in whose arms I lie, or else to my sister also.
165. Now are Har's sayings spoken in Har's hall,
of help to the sons of men, of harm to the sons of etins;
hail to who ever spoke them, hail to whoever knows them!
Gain they who grasp them, Happy are they who heed them!
Featured Crystal - Hematite
Hematite vibrates to the number 9. It's astrological signs are Aries and Aquarius. Planet is Saturn and it's element is Fire. Its energy is considered projective.
Hematite is said to be a stone of the mind. It is used for mental attunement. It assists in the focusing of energy and emotions. aids in preventing mental distractions It is used to draw illness out of the body, particulary fever from the head.
It is also used for divination by using the light of a red candle to reflect off of it's surface. Ask a question and look for the answer on the reflected surface.
In ancient times, hematite was called bloodstone. Hematite corresponds to the Root Chakra. and is used for grounding and stabilizing during meditation and scrying. .
Featured Herb - Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus)
The plant's name comes from the French word," estragon" and the arabic word, "tarkhun" both of which mean "little dragon".
It's planet is Mars and it's element is Fire.
It is said that if one puts fresh sprigs of tarragon in the shoe that it will ward off exhaustion from standing or walking long distances. Other magickal uses include instilling confidence, courage, passion, and for protection.
It is thought to cure snakebites and to relieve the pain of bee stings.
It is also thought that chewing fresh tarragon leaves will relieve tooth ache. Tarragon leaves are rich in Vitamins A, C, Iodine, and mineral salts.
Tarragon contains an anesthetic chemical, eugenol, which is the major constituent of anesthetic clove oil.
Tarragon is considered a Emmenagogue.
Legend has it that the Greek Goddess Diana, originally gave the tarragon plant to "Chiron", a famous Centaur doctor who resided on Mount Pelion in Thessaly.
On behalf of a special friend, we invite you to visit:
Children Of The Forest
Spiritual, Earth-centered greeting cards
for all occasions, Beautifully illustrated
and poetically written. Visit our web site at
or for a FREE catalog, write to:
P.O. Box 193
Franklin Park, NJ 08823 or
e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
"freelance artwork available"
Did you Know???
At first the Jewish people worshipped Yahweh as God, as well as Asherah as the Goddess. But when the patriarchial school of thought took control, Asherah was expelled from jewish religious dogma with the explanation that she was a foriegn deity.
Need a good Auric cleansing?
Try an aura duster. Take a feather from any large bird such as a turkey buzzard, hawk, and so forth. And then starting at the top of your head, start fanning down and away. This will brush away the excess particles that your aura has attracted. You will feel energized, as this will allow your own aura to shine through. Similiar to sun shining through a clean window.
Chan ann leis a'chiad bhuille thuiteas a'chraobh.
(It is not with the first stroke that the tree falls)
Please send your comments, submissions and so forth to Crickjump@aol.com
Editor in Chief: Crickjumper Subscriber Base: 180 members
Moral support: Whispering Woods coven Website: http:www.whisperingwood.homestead.com/
Subscriber countries: Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, England, Scotland, Canada, United States, Ireland, Germany
To view back issues of Whispering Woods, please go to http://www.whisperingwood.hometstead.com/Archives.html