Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Season Of The Witch

I've been thinking this week about what it means for a crone to celebrate Ostara.

Ostara, one of the eight major Wiccan holidays, is generally associated with the maiden aspect of the Goddess (when the Goddess is seen as maiden/mother/crone). It's Spring! New life! Bunnies! Lambs! Flowers! Persephone! Flora! What does that mean for a crone? (Yeah, I like the flowers and I love the returning warmth. And I can look fondly back upon the (v. confused, but v. brave) maiden that I was. That's not a Sabbat.)

But Ostara is also a holiday of balance. On the Spring Equinox, there is an equal amount of day and night. For me, the tarot cards associated with balance are Temperance, the High Priestess, the Moon, Justice, the Two of Pentacles, and, oddly, the Hanged Man. So many major arcana (hence, v. important) cards. Balance is clearly an important archetype and an element of many archetypes or it wouldn't show up so often in the tarot. And, yet, when the Hanged Man showed up recently in a v. important reading that I did for myself, it meant: the only way to succeed at this is to turn your own life upside down. To quote Rumi: "Now my loving is running toward my life shouting, What a bargain, let's buy it." Let's turn you upside down!

Balance is an important issue in the lives of so many witches. My own Moon in Taurus is always begging for balance, while my Ascendent Gemini longs to throw all caution to the winds and GO ALL OUT and my Sun in Pisces queries, "Balance? What's balance? Look at this v. exciting extremism that someone else is practicing!" When I was younger, my Sun and Ascendent signs won the battle. Now that I'm older, my Moon, often associated with the Inner Child, wins as often as not.

I keep preaching that magic is supposed to help one to live a more, not less, effective (well-balanced) life. What does that mean for members of an essentially ecstatic religion? Ecstasy, itself, is an oddly unbalanced state. And yet, those who practice balance -- eating a healthy diet, doing yoga, meditating, caring for their material needs so that they don't impinge -- those people are often the ones most able to throw themselves into ecstasy. From the greatest discipline, someone once said, comes the greatest freedom.

Tonight, my madcap friend R. gifted me with a lovely triptych of Tara. I'm drawn (that way, no wait, I'm not Jessica Rabbit!) to extreme Goddesses: Hecate, Baba Yaga, Cerridwen. Yet, those are not the Goddesses who have come to me in dreams. The Goddesses who've visited me in important dreams have been Mary, the Blessed Mother, Quan Yin, Brigid, and Green Tara, sweet, comforting, supportive goddesses (at least in my dreams) all. Balance. Balance between the dark, windswept crossroads and the warm and comfortable Irish kitchen in a downpour. Balance between the wild woman of the forest and the smiling, kind, Mother Mary, who, on my mother's kitchen plaque, offered a warm loaf of bread to the baby Jesus. Balance between the serious magician, stirring a witch's brew within which all things melt, recombine, become something unexpected and new, and the kind, black covered in green, Goddess who wants to hand out practical goodness. Balance between the champion way that I worry and the way that the kind Goddess and her consort who showed up at an important time in my life tell me: It will be ok.

For this crone, Ostara is a time to celebrate balance, to welcome balance, to dream of balance, to do divination looking for balance, to live, as a witch must live, as the Earth, right now, lives, in balance.

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