My Spring/Summer altar. I like to blend Ostara,Beltane and Litha.
Practicing a nature-based religion poses unique challenges in a city environment, where space is limited and nature is . . . well, hard to come by.
1. Window boxes. A simple window can make a great herb garden in city apartments where even a patch of lawn can be pricey. Almost any herb can be grown in a window box, but rosemary, mint, thyme and catnip are all easy options.
2. Wall altars. There’s no reason you need an enormous altar. A small shelf can be mounted to even the tiniest wall space. Be selective, and choose only your most important pieces. If you are concerned about prying eyes, you can even mount in inside a closet door. Just swing it open when it’s in use!
3. Take advantage of what the city DOES have to offer. Scan local event pages for pagan festivals, gatherings and shops, which are much more likely to be abundant in a metropolitan area.
4. Make nature a day trip. Quiet natural settings are scarce in big cities, but usually not far outside them. Get some like-minded friends together and take day trip to a nearby outdoor attraction.
5. Looking for a quiet place to meditate? Try a temple. Almost every major city has at least a few Buddhist or Hindu temples. They are great places for meditating and exploring new traditions.
6. Consider training a familiar. If your apartment allows you to have pets, this can be a great way to stay connected to the natural world and form a spiritual bond with another creature. Snakes, cats and tarantulas all make great apartment pets.
7. Make use of your bathroom. If you have roommates, this is a great place to find some assured privacy. If you’re lucky enough to have a tub, transform it into a place of ritual cleansing with lots of candles, essential oils and incense. If you just have a shower, bundle herbs and tie them to the shower head for a burst of magical cleansing.
8. Make use of your kitchen. If you’re an apartment dweller, you have the perfect opportunity to explore kitchen witchery! The art of marrying food with spell craft is a great way to get into folk magic.
9. Check out international markets. You are probably surrounded by specialty markets from around the world. These are great places to find statuary, inexpensive herbs and oils, incense and incense burners.
10. Tarot cards. They are lightweight, portable and take up very little space. Spread them out when you need them, fold them away when you don’t. They can be taken anywhere, hidden easily and make a fantastic way to connect immediately with like-minded people.
Hope this was helpful!
My favorite thing to contribute to group rituals is Cakes and Ale because there are so many creative ways to do this.
I made these little pies for our Beltane ritual tomorrow. Beltane is associated with the colors red and white, so I thought this would be a nice way to bring that symbolism to the altar. These are from scratch because most pre-made pie crusts have trans fat in them and it’s not that hard to make yourself.
Crust (adjust proportions to your liking):
-2 cups flour (I used unbleached)
-1 cup butter
-2 tablespoons sugar
-pinch of salt
-7 tablespoons water
-splash lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350.
Combine dough ingredients and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Shape into pie crusts in a cupcake tin.
Combine filling ingredients and cook on low heat on stove for a few minutes.
Bake 25-30 minutes.
Just wanted to share a glimpse of our Ostara festivities for 2014 and maybe give you some ideas for next year!
I love how this fresh spring centerpiece turned out! You can do this with any random container. You just start it a couple weeks in advance with grass seed and potting soil.
These little napkin ties were so easy. I just got these glitter eggs from the dollar store, glued them together and then tied off the napkins with twine.
We went for a walk in the local park to enjoy some of the new wildflowers emerging. It was a nice way to get calm and centered before guests arrived.
Brownie crumble plus mint sprigs in seedling pots for dessert. .This can be done with any brownie recipe. Just break it up in a bowl and then use it like soil to “plant” the mint.
Fill nests from the craft store with chocolate eggs for a charming touch.
Fresh fruit is a must!!
Love how this super simple wreath project turned out!!
To Make One of Your Own, You’ll Need:
-fabric or Styrofoam black bird.
-foam wreath base
-a hook or 10″ of black ribbon
-1/4 yard bold black-and-white fabric
-black branches or other embellishments
-black twine or fine black roap
I found the bird at the dollar store, but you can find something similar at any craft store during Halloween/Samhain.
1. Secure the fabric first. Cut into strips and wind around the base of the wreath.
2. Next, secure the bird by the feet so it looks like it’s “perching.” Wind the black twine or rope around the feet and the base of the wreath until it’s firmly in place.
3. Arrange the branches to one side for an asymmetrical look.
4. Attach the hook or a loop of black ribbon to the back from which to hang the wreath.
Voila! You’re done!
1. Wake up early and toast the sunrise. Ostara is about light! How rare it is in our busy lives we get a chance to appreciate the simple beauty of a sunrise. Pour yourself some orange juice or a mimosa, take a tray outside and honor the life-giving morning light.
2. Have breakfast for dinner. In honor of the returning sun, make a morning meal at night to drive away the winter darkness. Eggs have special symbolism for Ostara, so a plate of omelets is a perfect addition your table.
3. Take a walk. Bring back some early spring flowers, moss or bird feathers for your altar.
4. Clean the house!! Really clean it. Do all the things you put off. Clean out drawers, cabinets and dusty corners. Open the windows, sage, and let your living space air out winter. Be sure to finish off your ritual cleaning with a round of smudging to cast off an residual negative vibes.
5. Bless seeds for planting. Gather seeds you plan to plant when the ground thaws, and bless them for good fortune,
6. Set up your Ostara/Spring Altar. Turning over your altar for the seasons is among the most conscious ways to “turn the wheel of the year” and stay in tune with the seasons. Fresh baby grass, decorated eggs, and bulb flowers are all traditional Ostara symbols for the Spring altar.
For more ideas, check out my Ostara section.
Note: Live butterflies can be found here:
*picture of your loved one
*cardboard or wooden box
*as many blue candles as you can gather
*cauldron or fire-safe bowl
*cinnamon (for healing and strengthened spirituality)
*lavender (for peace)
Timing: Saturday, about an hour before sunset. Do this after an appropriate period of mourning. Two days after the funeral is not a good idea. People just aren’t ready. Wait at least a month, or even on the first anniversary of their death, if they died during the warmer months.