Experiments in … The Wheel of the Year: Ostara

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Photo taken from http://www.patheos.com

 

Gather round, kiddos! It’s time for another episode of Wheel! Of! The Year!

Wild applause.

Today’s celebration is the Vernal (Spring) Equinox, also known as Ostara or Eostre. Ostara is a Saxon goddess of fertility. Eostre is a Germanic goddess of the Dawn, and, hence, also fertility. Fertility plays a big role in this holiday’s revelries. This is largely due to the fact that The Wheel of the Year is made up of holidays that celebrate the cyclical changes in our Natural environment. With the Vernal Equinox comes the victory of light over dark. Flowers begin to bloom. Trees begin to pollinate. (Thank you bees and breeze.) Animals are giving birth. New life is making itself known all throughout the Natural world. Ergo, we celebrate the evidence of this Natural fertility, this renewal of life.

Ostara is a Natural time to honor new beginnings. Start new projects now. Take action on plans you’ve laid in the darker months. Plant seeds, actual and metaphorical ones. If you haven’t already, take stock of where you are in your life and where you want to be.  Then take solid steps towards cultivating the year, decade, life of your dreams.

Ostara is also a great time to get outside. And to wake up your body/mind/spirit after the long dark Winter season of introspection and stillness. Walk in the woods. Sit in the sun. Do some gardening. Or, if gardening’s not your jam, visit a local botanical garden and spend some time delighting your senses with the emerging buds and blooms that surround you. Do whatever it is that brings you joy, enlivens your spirit, and tickles your senses.

The Equinox is also a time of balance. It is a day in which there is equal representation of sunlight and moonlight, day and night. As such, it’s a great time to explore balance in our lives. Taking some time to meditate on what balance actually means to us, looks like for us, can be especially helpful here. It’s difficult to begin the work of cultivating balance if one doesn’t have a clear idea of what balance is for one, personally. Once you have your clear idea of balance, you can begin working through the challenges that might be keeping you from living in balance already. Then it’s up to you to start creating your shiny new balanced life, knowing that the energy of Ostara will be working with you to help you along the path.

As for my Self, my celebration will definitely involve some time in the woods. I’ve made some new floral-scented facial mist and oil, recently, and I’ve been waiting to charge it with Ostara’s energy for extra potency. I’m also bringing some beautiful spring flowers into my home as a lovely reminder of the bounty that Mama Nature always provides for us. Lastly, per my resolutions, I’ll be creating an entry in my grimoire for this rejuvenating holiday.

However you choose to celebrate Ostara, I hope it’s a beautiful one for you. And I hope this energy of new life and new possibilities permeates your life in the most blissful ways.

Love and light!
Melanie

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Falling.

This is a love story. Like many love stories, the love part came slowly, unexpectedly, in spite of (or because of) an obstacle course of challenges. This is a love story between me and Failure. That’s right: Failure. And, as is often true, too, in many love stories, this one’s sometimes uncomfortable to watch as it unfolds.

“The wound is the place where the light enters you.” – Rumi

I have been wrestling with the return of some old familiar feelings lately. These are feelings that rise up slowly, but persistently, growing from subtle whispers to fierce howls, but that I eventually subdue by stuffing them into whatever trap I can manage in the moment. It’s an ongoing cycle. And, let’s face it, it’s not really very productive. Instead of going through the cycle again and again and again, I really should just stop, investigate the feelings, get at the root of the issue, and make some changes to improve the situation. That’s the only way to move on up to the next rung on the Ladder of Life.

So, that’s what I’m trying to do now. I’ve danced with these feelings for far too long. I’ve made some half-assed attempts at intimacy with them in the past, but have always played it safe in our dealings. It’s time to lose the safety net. “We only find fulfillment when we let go of comfort, when we risk losing everything.” I read this recently in a blog post by Jeff Goins. And, by gum, he is absolutely right.

Part of my unwillingness to really deal with these feelings of unease, boredom, and the discomfort of not fitting in to the accepted Social Construct, has been, I’m realizing, a real fear of failure. But, what I deeply believe to be true, but often conveniently forget when it comes to personal application, is that failure – especially big, balls-to-the-wall, capital F Failure – is where the sweetest rewards are garnered.

What’s so scary about failure anyway? Why is there such a dark veil of taboo around it? How boring would life be if we always succeeded at every challenge? Would there even be such a thing as challenge? How challenging can a task be if success is guaranteed? Not. At. All.

I am finally beginning to understand what so many before me have already learned: Failure is necessary to success. Risk is necessary to achieve fulfillment. I’ve skirted, avoided, hid from, and danced around any opportunity to really risk failure. And so I’m continually nursing these feelings of discontent.

Well, no more! I’m ready to take some risks! Yes, it scares the crap out of me. But I am finally more afraid of succeeding in this current life I’ve created than I am of failing at any attempt at a better one. As Anais Nin put it so beautifully: And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. I’m ready to blossom, goshdarnit! I’m falling in love with failure. I’m stepping away from the wall and out onto the dance floor with Risk as my partner. And I’m looking forward to the dance.