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Monday, March 27, 2017

Celebrating the First Day of Spring!

Judith Ashley is the author of The Sacred Women's Circle series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual traditions that nurture the soul.

How did you celebrate the first day of Spring?

This year it came on Monday, March 20. Depending on your spiritual practices, this was your third or fourth turn of the Wheel of the Year. If you read my Romancing the Genre post on Winter Solstice, you’ll know that for me, this Sabbath is the third turn (Winter Solstice or Yule, Imbolc and now Spring Equinox or Ostara).

At the Equinox (Spring and Fall) day and night were in balance or equal. If you pay attention to that sort of thing, they are the only time during the turn of The Wheel that the day and night energies are in balance.

Judith's Life Shield 
I’ve heard friends who have SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) state that their mood lifts because the Spring Equinox is a sure sign that the light has returned. And that is scientifically true. The next day, in this case Tuesday, March 21, there are a few more seconds of light than dark.

Confession time! I have not always honored Ostara even since I became a part of a Sacred Women’s Circle but as I move further down my own spiritual path both Imbolc and Ostara at the beginning of the year and Lammas and Mabon (August and September) have garnered more of my interest.

This year it was cool and a bit rainy so I did not open doors and windows and cleared my house of winter air. (I did that a couple of days before when the temperatures reached the low 60's). I did pick a small arrangement of Daphne and violets from my yard and took special care of my houseplants. Lunch with two friends at an Indian restaurant, a phone call with a good friend and taking the time to finish a book I was reading were the highlights of my day.

In the past I also celebrated with springy foods like hot crossed buns, Reese’s candy eggs, etc. Since I’ve changed my diet and no longer eat flower and obvious sugar, I didn’t do that!

While I did not take a chair out to sit on my back deck, I did pay special attention to the signs of spring in my yard. My Bloodgood Maple in front is almost leafed out. And it seemed my Dwarf Larch Diana in the back went from red buds to green between morning and night. A few daffodils are in bloom, my honeysuckle is putting out new growth...

No list yet for what I want to plant in pots around my back deck but I do know I'll find something other than fuchsias because they get too much sun there. May have fewer pots in back and more in front where the maple will shade them from the worst of the sun. 

Why would I work to find a place in my yard where the fuchsia thrive? They are one of my favorite flowers and they draw the hummingbirds, bees and butterflies.

May day was spent in a variety of ways that brought joy to my heart. Even the squirrels my neighbor feeds did not dampen the happiness I felt seeing the birds that seem to like my yard even now when it is in its worn out winter cloak.

What did you do to celebrate Spring Equinox or Ostara?

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© 2017 Judith Ashley

Monday, March 20, 2017

Ostara

Judith Ashley is the author of The Sacred Women's Circle series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual traditions that nurture the soul.

Today is noted on calendars around the world as the first day of Spring. If you’ve read my earlier posts you have a bit of history about this turning of the Wheel of the Year.

If you want to celebrate Ostara, you can create your own ceremony using eggs and rabbits. As you’ll remember the word Ostara comes from the Saxon Goddess Eostre whose symbols were the hare (aka rabbit) and egg.

If you raise chickens you can appreciate the symbol of the egg. Chickens do not lay as well and at times do not lay at all in the dark days of winter so as the light returns, fresh eggs become more plentiful.

Breakfast on the Spring Equilux traditionally will include eggs fixed in a variety of ways: scramble, omelet, hard boiled. And in some traditions, the eggs are then stacked for eating.

I’ve seen this newer tradition in my own neighborhood. Plastic eggs are decorated and then hung outside on trees or shrubs. Another tradition gaining favor is making a spring wreath to hang on the door using flower arrangement “picks” of chicks, eggs and rabbits to decorate the grapevine circle along with silk spring-themed flowers such as daffodils, tulips, etc.

I’m writing this post almost a full month before the Equilux so I haven’t decided exactly what I’ll do. Come back next Monday and I’ll share all!

And, what about you? What are your plans to celebrate Ostara, the first day of Spring?

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PS: You might wonder why I've featured the cover of Ashley on this post. And, I'm sure you won't be surprised to find out she finds her Happily-Ever-After on the Spring Equilux!

Monday, March 13, 2017

What A Difference A Month Makes!

Judith Ashley is the author of The Sacred Women's Circle series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual traditions that nurture the soul.

The change of the seasons is marked this time of the year. Here’s my view in mid-January. As you can see my world was encased in 12 – 15 inches of snow and ice. Obviously we did weather that series of storms that had me housebound for nine days in a row!

But as we all know, time passes and The Wheel of the Year turns. Even though as I write this post with less than a week left in February, the nights are still in the low 30’s or high 20’s. I wake up to fog and we’ve even had a couple of hail storms. I bundle up to keep warm because the damp cold chills me to the bone especially when accompanied by the East Winds from the Columbia River Gorge.

What I am always in awe of is captured in these pictures. Cold and at times freezing nights, less than a month since being covered by a foot or more of snow and ice and yet…

The urge, the need to grow, to seek the light of the sun is strong. Strong enough that when we see the green of new growth push through and we know for a certainty that Spring is almost here there is a lightness, a gladdening of the spirit that shines through..

What is your favorite herald of Spring?

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© 2017 Judith Ashley

Monday, March 6, 2017

Spring Is Just Around The Corner!

Judith Ashley is the author of The Sacred Women's Circle series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual traditions that nurture the soul.


Spring is just around the corner. Ostara or Spring Equinox is set for Monday, March 20th. However as I was reviewing some information about the Spring Equinox I learned that it can be as early as March 16th and as late as March 22nd.

Also, there is the Equinox and the Equilux. The Equinox means Equal Night and refers to that moment in time when day and night are equal. That moment when the sun hits the equator exactly.

Equilux is the 24 hour period of time during which the Equinox occurs. It also varies depending on where one is in the world. For example: Our Spring Equinox/Equilux is the Southern Hemisphere’s Fall Equinox/Equilux or Mabon.

Of course this makes sense when we stop and think about time zones, the tilt of the earth away from and toward the sun, etc.

Ostara comes from the Saxon Goddess, Eostre whose symbols are the hare and egg. This is the time of balance between dark (winter) and light (summer). In the days before central heat and air conditioning (and I do remember those days), the first days of warmer weather were cause for celebration. Doors and windows were opened wide to cleanse the house of the stale air and energy from being closed up all winter.

The other symbol of this season is ‘balance’. The energy of light and dark are in balance and it gives each of us an opportunity to stop and reflect on where we are in balance and where we are out of balance.

A point to make here is that we are seldom in perfect balance. Just like the Equinox is only a moment in time, we also are in constant flux in order to find that balance we seek. We adjust as the world around us shifts and changes. It reminds me of the analogy Dr. William Glasser uses of a thermostat. We set the temperature to 70 degrees and the system comes on until that temperature is reached. It then turns off and waits until the temperature drops or raises (depending on whether we are heating or cooling the area) before it comes back on.

We are like that thermostat. We constantly juggle our environment, our world a little bit one way or the other until we are satisfied. Then something happens – sometimes it is just a change in the time of day and we move to accommodate.

What I find is true in my own life is that that part of my life most in balance is often ignored until there is an imbalance and then I work to put things right.


What part of your life is most in balance? What part is most out-of-balance? 

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Learn more about The Sacred Women’s Circle series on her website.
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You can also find Judith on FB!

© 2017 Judith Ashley