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(Circa March 21)
by Scott Cunningham

Flowers should be laid on the altar, placed around the circle and strewn on the ground. The cauldron can be filled with spring water and flowers, and buds and blossoms may be worn as well. A small potted plant should be placed on the altar.

Arrange the altar, light the candles and incense, and cast the Circle. Recite the Blessing Chant. Invoke the Goddess and God in whatever words please you. Stand before the altar and gaze upon the plant as you say:

"O Great Goddess,
you have freed yourself from the icy
prison of winter.
Now is the greening,
when the fragrance of flowers drifts on
the breeze.
This is the beginning.
Life renews itself by Your magick,
the Earth Goddess.
The God stretches and rises,
eager in His youth,
and bursting with the promise of summer."

Touch the plant. Connect with its energies and, through it, all nature. Travel inside its leaves and stems through your visualization - from the center of your consciousness out through your arm and fingers and into the plant itself. Explore its inner nature; sense the miraculous processes of life at work within it. After a time, still touching the plant, say:

"I walk the Earth in friendship,
not in dominance.
Mother Goddess and Father God,
instill within me through this plant a
warmth for all living things.
Teach me to rever the Earth and all its
treasures.
May I never forget."

Meditate upon the changing of the seasons. Feel the rousing of energies around you in the Earth. Works of magick, if necessary, may follow. Celebrate the Simple Feast (Cakes and Ale). The circle is released.

Ostara Lore

A traditional Vernal Equinox pastime: go to a field and randomly collect wildflowers [Thank the flowers for their sacrifice before picking them, using a collection formula such as can be found in "An Herbal Grimoire" elsewhere in this Book of Shadows]. Or buy some from a florist, taking one or two of those that appeal to you. Then bring them home and divine their magickal meanings by the use of books, your own intuition, a pendulum or by other means. The flowers you've chosen reveal your inner thoughts and emotions.

It is important at this time of renewed life to plan a walk (or a ride) through gardens, a park, woodlands, forest and other green places. This is not simply exercise, and you should be on no other mission. It isn't even just an appreciation of nature. Make your walk celebratory, a ritual for nature itself. Other traditional activities include planting seeds, working on magickal gardens and practising all forms of herb work - magickal, medicinal, cosmetic, culinary and artistic. Foods in tune with this day (linking your meals with the seasons is a fine way of attuning with nature) include those made of seeds, such as sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds, as well as pine nuts. Sprouts are equally appropriate, as are leafy, green vegetables. Flower dishes such as stuffed naturiums or carnation cupcakes also find their place here. (Find a book of flower cooking or simply make spice cupcakes. Ice with pink frosting and place a fresh carnation petal on each cupcake. Stuff nasturium blossoms with a mixture made with cream cheese, chopped nuts, chives and watercress.)

Book of Shadows © 2001, Dana (Huntress of the Dark)