The full moon before Easter is known as the Seed Moon, in celebration of the turning of the Wheel Of the Year to Spring. That is what Easter is about, you know, although to read all the postings of my Christian friends, you would have thought they’d invented it. And the Christian Easter … no offense but what a drag — political hassles, betrayal, torture, pain, death, and big lies. It’s just like watching the news in this election season.
Thanks, I’ll settle for my Wiccan pagan version which is about warm spring days, seedlings sprouting, and renewal. Yes, dear readers, I am a witch, and if you’re still with me, the only reason I’m posting this is because I’m nearly out of my broom closet and you were going to find it out about me anyway.
Usually I think religious postings are a bit embarrassing. My value system is that beliefs are deeply personal and it’s bad form to go on about them. When I go to church, I quietly stand there during the Nicene Creed, I just can’t say what I can’t believe. Sometimes acquaintances email me chain letters about praying for things and what their God will do for me if only I will forward, and I quietly delete them. I promise not to go crazy here, but since it is Easter weekend and also the start of Passover, I feel like writing a bit about Wicca. Please consider yourself forewarned so if you aren’t interested or need to go and pray for my wretched soul or something, I understand completely, and we’ll pick up another time.
There are two small rituals that I try to keep each spring in memory of Persephone’s return. One is to collect the spare hair from combs and hairbrushes, bits of cotton and lint, plus the small collection of sewing thread ends that I pop into a jar as I work, and when the tree leaves burst open, I snag the little mops in the branches where they might be found by nesting birds seeking something soft (and maybe a little eclectic) for lining material. The other ritual is I start collecting the shells from eggs used for cooking and continue through the Summer Solstice. Crushed, these shells will provide calcium for the avian females who have been busy laying.
The process is easy. Rinse and store the shells, and when you have a goodly amount, spread them on a baking sheet and toast in a 250ºF oven for 20-25 minutes to sterilize them. The shells will dry and have a lightly browned edge. Remove them to a large baggie and crush until you have tiny pieces, about the size of a match head. As the spring turns to summer, I spread handfuls of pieces at my backyard bird feeder and cast them wherever birds might feed as I walk the woods and byways. By Midsummer’s Day, nesting is complete and I stop, with new shells consigned once more to the compost heap.
Whatever is not eaten goes back into the ground. What has gone returns, nothing ever ends, nothing is wasted as life cycles on. To me, that is the essence of Eostre. The sun and warmth come back to nourish us with joy. We made it through another winter alive.
On this clear night, the Seed Moon is high and bright overhead. Witches celebrate the moon as a reminder of the constant cycling of time and our lives. The wish I made on the New Moon may well be coming true. The seeds I planted then are beginning to sprout. And so dear reader, blessed be.