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This Ostara comes on the heels of an extremely trying winter.  A breakup, health issues, household stress, and the constant feeling that nothing I attempted to nurture would ever thrive made it almost impossible to focus on much of anything at a time of year that is generally when I’m the most productive.  As we approached Imbolc things began to lighten just a bit, but it was enough to give me enough hope to ride the waves that seemed to be carrying me way deeper than I thought I could find my way back from.

Then I was asked to be a voice.  I was invited to speak to a small group of women about my experience and the lessons learned doing Good Girl and how my life has been changed by it all.  I talked for a long time, and I’m sure I said a lot of useful things, but the one thing that stuck out in my mind was the very first bullet point.

Healing is not a one time event.

Let me repeat that.  Healing is NOT a one time event.  

Well, hell, guys.  For a year I’ve been beating myself up because I thought I was failing, convinced that all the progress I thought I’d made was a lie, when really I was learning how to live again in a whole new way.  I needed to cut myself a little slack and acknowledge how far I’d actually come, even if it seemed like I’d been stumbling and bumbling my way through most of it.

I tried to keep that in mind as Ostara approached, and yesterday as the sun rose around my plane I felt it filling me with a new energy I’ve never felt before, and it dawned on me. I haven’t been failing all winter.  I haven’t been fallow.  I haven’t neglected my seeds.  For the first time in my life I went deeper into the dark season than ever before, and when I emerged I was truly transformed.  I was taken to the brink, and yeah, I had to die a little to really complete my chrysalis.  What Ostara brought me this year was not just new light or new growth but new life, new eyes, and new  breath.

Is all the stress and pain gone?  No, that’s real life.  Healing and lessons and growth don’t wait until it’s convenient for mundane life, but the choice is mine to focus behind me on the cold darkness of winter or look ahead of me to the bright warmth of the coming seasons.  The dark will return as the wheel turns, but I know I can not only survive it but pull from it the lessons of my deepest fathoms.

No, healing is not a one time event, and I don’t in any way believe it’s all over, but along with that healing I have grown to a new level of awareness and empathy, of intuition and intensity, of passion and power.  I have claimed my place in the universe.  I am ready to use the stardust with which I was born.

This Ostara, despite weather in the low 40s, Hubby and I attended the first Ostara ritual we’ve been to in, I’m ashamed to admit it, a couple of years.  When the invitation came through I felt it was something we had to make happen.  Our family has been extremely blessed this year, and I needed to offer some of that fertile energy back to the earth to show my gratitude.

“Spring”, the High Priest started as I stood in the circle on a close-to-freezing March afternoon and tried to wrangle the sun’s warmth to sustain me, “is a work in progress.  It’s not summer.  It’s not there yet.”  Nothing could have exemplified his meaning quite like my own breath visible in the air around me, when just days before I had been in sandals and a skirt eating ice cream in the park.

His words struck a very strong chord this week.  After five weeks of training and a week of recuperating, I started a job that has been a personal goal for over six years, to become a flight attendant.  I knew I had all the training, but I was terrified.  Would I know it all at the right time?  What if I really messed up?  Would I be ok?  The confidence that had pushed me onward in training quickly deteriorated around me the night before my first day, that morning, and well into my first flight.  Just before landing my crewmember looked at me and said, “Breathe.  You’re doing just fine”. The ice in my nerves melted, and as we got through each flight over the next few days I began to feel more comfortable.

On my last day of the trip I made a mistake that I considered pretty big.  As much as my crew told me it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was, I beat myself up about it for the rest of the day. The ice returned, but so did the words from our ritual.  A work in progress.  I, too, am a work in progress.  I am not yet the flight attendant I will be.  The nerves will subside, but they also may return sometimes, and that’s OK.  I am OK, and I will continue to be OK.  I’ll get there, but the only way to do so is to keep moving forward.

The summer will come.  My summer will come.  Hail, and welcome.

Go now, push forward.

Aloha

 

I was going to write this year’s Ostara piece on spring cleaning, as it has been in the forefront of both my mundane and magickal lives on an almost constant basis.  Then our coven met for ritual, and it managed to throw that thought process into a tailspin that changed the scenery of that forefront quite a bit.

This year Ostara was all about balance and equalization, internal and external harmony.  As I reflected quietly on where I needed a little more equilibrium in my life, the term “help not hinder” came to mind.  It is here that I see a fork in my path, and I must make a choice.

Quite often we focus on the obstacles not the opportunities, and in trying to clear them away we lose sight of new doors opening to us.  I have fallen into a magickal rut centered around clearing away instead of manifestation, and I have resorted to merely chasing my tail in an empty space.  This is where I need my balance.

I’ve always been a purger, the time has come to claim my power of manifestation and intuition when it comes to new paths and clearings.  It’s time to unlock and throw open the windows of opportunity and breathe the fresh air they provide.  It’s time to seize what will not wait for me to notice it.  I cannot stop removing the detritus from my life, but that task alone cannot be allowed to consume me or I will be nothing but empty and stagnant.

Ostara reminds me that this is a time for new growth and rejuvenation.  I will not be able to appreciate the spring in my soul while keeping myself holed up in this dusty old perspective and stale routine.  It’s time to feel the sunshine, and my goddess it feels good to be outside.

After months of bitter cold and more snow that I’ve ever seen spring is upon us.  Lore tells us that this is the time when Persephone comes up from the Underworld and graces us all with sunshine and new growth.  The days are longer, the air is warmer, and there is promise and hope of new life and fresh beginnings.  I have notices blossoms on trees and new sprigs of grass.  Unfortunately, the blossoms were blown from the trees and the dog did his business all over the grass, but the signs were there nonetheless.

The more prominent sign of the season to come sprang up at me last Wednesday.  I was on the porch with the pooch when I saw it, the season’s first spider, a fiddleback or brown recluse to be exact.  It was most likely living under the stone pot on which the dog caught his leash, and it darted somewhat dazedly across the porch in its panic, and I was able to grab the dog’s leash before he tried to eat it.

Let me tell you all what a big deal this is to me.  Though I have curtailed it in the past several years, I am a severe arachnophobe.  Just the word makes me shiver a little.  When I was a child anything that remotely resembled a spider was subjected to my screams and stomps whether they were actual spiders, mosquito eaters, which I thought were flying spiders and couldn’t think of anything more terrifying, or mere dust cobwebs in the corner.  Then fifth grade happened.

My teacher in fifth grade was a wonderful woman whom I still talk to this day.  Her only detriment was her insistence on two things.  One was named Hairy-it and lived in a terrarium a hundred miles too close to my desk.  All year I lived in a sustained state of anxiety and panic.  What if it got out?  What if it decided crickets were no longer good enough to eat and went carnivorous?  What if she had mistakenly been sold a venomous beast?  If this didn’t bring me close enough to dropping out of school in the fifth grade and living out the rest of my life as  circus performer, the second thing would really drive me into madness.

It was a report, but this was no normal report.  We had to catch, you heard me, catch a spider in a jar and observe if for a little over a month.  There were 36 students, which meant there were 36 spiders just hanging out in the classroom.  The jars sat on our desks, and once a week we would open the jars and feed them.  I had a hard enough time looking at the thing.  My grandfather trapped it for me, and I spent the next fortnight trying not to vomit every time my gaze wandered towards the  jar haphazardly sitting on my desk just waiting for an excuse to fall, knock over the other 35 jars, and set all the eight-legged captives free to claim the fifth grade classroom.  The research phase of the report eventually came to an end, and some brave kind soul let my spider free so I didn’t have to chuck the glass jar at a wall and run like mad.  I got an A and lost five years from the end of my life.  I have done research reports and dissection write-ups on some seriously repulsive things, and have done them happily with not even the urge to look away.  None have ever caused me as much turmoil as that one spider report.

I am happy to report that I stayed in school, and even graduated.  I have also noticed that as my arachnophobia matures it takes on strange nuances.  For instance, I am more bothered by spiders in a movie of on TV than I am of real life spiders.  Why?  I think it’s because I can kill real spiders whereas I am forced to watch two-dimensional ones until the scene ends.  There is a quest in Diablo II in a spider cave, and I almost didn’t make it through the level because of it.  Hubby had to coach me.  It’s extremely difficult to kill things and pick up gold and gear with one’s eyes shut tight.

Living with someone who is almost as anxious around spiders as I am has helped me fortify my nerve at least to the point where I can kill them or trap them and toss them outside if weather and environment permit.  I still shriek like a little girl and brush myself off for 20 minutes each time, but I’m a lot better than where I was.  It still doesn’t mean I like it, but I’ll tolerate it if it means sunny weather is here again!

Go now, dear readers, sing the Itsy Bitsy Spider…with the hand motions.  I won’t watch.

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