Spring Festival: Ostara


Ostara Comments

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Ostara is the Spring or Vernal equinox when days and nights are once again equal in length. It is a time of renewal and rebirth. The name Ostara is believed to be derived from Eostre – the Teutonic lunar Goddess (see more on this below). Her chief symbols are the hare, which represents fertility, and the egg, which is a symbol of rebirth.

(In the Southern Hemisphere, it is Mabon that this being celebrated today at the time, with the balance of daylight about to go in the opposite direction, from more daylight to less.)

Ostara is close in symbolism to the Church festival of Easter, but Ostara is fixed at the equinox while Easter is a moveable feast decided by the phases of the moon. The Jewish holiday of Passover also falls during March or April, depending on the moon phases of each year.
Ostara also falls close to St Patrick’s Day amongst other festivals – there’s more detail in this article: Spring Traditions around the World.

Traditionally this day marks the start of Spring, and is a good time for cleaning in the physical, emotional, and spiritual sense.

This year, Ostara falls on the 20 March.

Continue reading Spring Festival: Ostara

Prose Poem: unburdening

“I’m scared,” he says “after what happened last time.”
But there was no response.

“I’m scared,” he says, “after what happened last time.”
“Did you see this thing I did?” the man said as if no words had been spoken.

“I’m scared,” he says, “after what happened last time.”
“Yeah, sure, it’ll be fine,” the woman said barely listening.

“I’m scared,” he says, “after what happened last time.”
“What happened last time?” she asks.

And allows him to finally share his fears.

Review: The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton

The Andromeda Strain is a scientific thriller that is rooted in science while positing a terrifying “what if” scenario. First published in 1969, the book includes some scientific breakthroughs that we have not yet achieved, as well as some dated technology – the paper jam problem, the lack of mobile phones, for example.

The crux of the book is that humankind can be its own worst enemy. The danger comes from an organism brought back to earth from a downed space probe, but twice the actions recommend by the scientists (the major protagonists) almost bring about catastrophe. People’s hubris, biases, oversights, and flaws, are every bit as threatening to humanity as the immediate problems we face. Part of the problem in the novel could be that the scientists are indeed scientists and become focussed on details, where outsiders and artists would look at possibilities.

Told as if reporting on a true event, until this moment highly classified, Crichton’s thriller is still relevant today. His own background and detailed research combined with skilful story-telling, make this a science rich but accessible, enjoyable, and thought provoking read.

Buy from Amazon UK (affiliate link):
The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton (1995) Paperback

Flash Fiction: The Dragon Savers

thedragonsavers

A flash fiction fantasy tale for a series of prompts (see notes at close of fic)

(base banner image by mconnors at Morguefile.com)

Once upon a time there was a fearsome dragon. It had lived peaceably near a village for years, the two separated by a thick forest. The dragon hunted mostly in the woods at night, and slept in the cave at the foot of the mountain range where few people travelled.

Continue reading Flash Fiction: The Dragon Savers

All About Imbolc

Imbolc, also known/celebrated as Imbolg, Oimelc, Candlemas, (St) Brigid’s Day, Groundhog Day, and the Festival of Nut, takes place on or near the 1st/2nd of February and is a festival marking a cross-quarter day in the wheel of the year, heralding the first signs of spring.
Imbolc/Candlemas Comments
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This is a festival particularly associated with Brighid (Brigit, Bride, or Brigid), goddess of healing, smith craft, and poetry. She was Christianised as St Brigid of Kildare.
In the Southern Hemisphere, it is the time of Lammas/Lughnasadh, which is the first of the harvest holidays.


Brighid of the sunrise, Rising in the morning, Rising with the springtime, Greening all the land Brighid’s Kiss, La Lugh, lyrics here

Imbolc is a festival associated with candles, milk, new beginnings, and poetry. The emphasis is on warmth and light and burgeoning spring, being the halfway point between Yule and the Spring Exquinox.

A few ideas on how to celebrate Imbolc:
Make and drink a milkshake
Buy and plant some spring flowers, such as crocuses and early daffodils
Take a photo of something that signifies approaching spring to you
Write a poem
Clean part or all of your home
Scatter nuts, a sign of prosperity, in a garden
Make a candle – try making ice candles. Bless your candles. Burn a candle and think about what you’re grateful for and what your plans are.

This article gives some background about the history of Imbolc and some of the other festivals taking place at this time.

More about Imbolc, symbolism, and ways to celebrate, under the cut

Continue reading All About Imbolc

Ficlet: Drinking in the Moon

moon

“I’m thinking of calling it the ‘Steak and Slayer’,” JJ said, staring up at the currently empty frame atop the signpost. The previous sign was already long gone and the metal post had been given a fresh coat of paint. “With a picture of a stake and the font from ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, and hope Joss Whedon doesn’t find out.”

“I like the pun for a pub serving steaks. But I think you should call it the Moon,” Alex mused.

“Why?”

“So I can say ‘Oh, I was just drinking in the moon’ which sounds romantic, even spiritual.”

“It will be true. Just not those sort of spirits.”

Alex laughed. “And people can say ‘I’m going to the Moon tonight.’ It’s fun.”

“Short-lived romances can be summed up by the walk to and from the village as ‘I loved you to the Moon and back’,” JJ suggested.

“We need a toy bovine to throw,” Alex said suddenly and they said in unison, “because the cow jumped over the Moon!”

Fic: Do You Believe in Magic


base image source

A 3 sentence fic for the prompt “A witch receives a familiar who doesn’t believe in magic.”

“I don’t believe in magic,” Tabitha said, tail swishing idly from side to side.

“You’re a talking cat for crying out loud,” Amber pointed out.

Tabitha blinked her orange eyes and said lazily, “I don’t see what that has to do with anything.”

Yule


Yule Comments & Graphics

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Celebrated at the 21st or 22nd of December Yule marks the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere while Litha is celebrated as the Summer Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. It is of course close to Christmas Day while that is also the feast day of Frau Holle, a Scandinavian spirit who is honoured as the embodiment of nature and the woods. There’s an article at About.Com on the History Of Yule and the various global celebrations held on or near the solstice. In the Southern Hemisphere it is the time of the Summer Solstice, Litha.

This year the solstice occurs on Wednesday December 21st at 10:44 GMT (Universal time).

Holly Kings, Yule Goats, and more winter customs below the cut
Continue reading Yule