Ostara with a Kitchen Witch: Cabbage Dyed Ostara Eggs

Every year, I try to do something inspired and kitchen witchy for this most decidedly food-friendly holiday.

Perhaps you’ve noticed the concept of naturally dyed Easter eggs floating around Pinterest the last few years.

I thought this made for a perfect Ostara activity.

I tried tumeric, spinach and cabbage.

Spinach was a dud.  I boiled and boiled, but the dye wasn’t strong enough.

Tumeric worked okay, but it stained everything!  I can see why they use this in India to dye cloth!

But the humble cabbage, at 79 cents, proved to be both the cheapest and most effective option.

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The idea is pretty basic.  Start with a base for extraction.  In this case, we have our head of red cabbage.

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Shred it and place it in a pot with a 1 to 1 ratio of water.  I did 4 cups shredded cabbage with 4 cups of water.

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Meanwhile, make your hard boiled eggs.  Some recipes call for boiling the eggs with the dye, but I like my eggs cooked a certain way, so I did them separately.   (Place eggs in pot with cold water, bring to boil, turn off heat, let them sit for 10 minutes in a covered pot, then rinse with cold water—perfect every time!)

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Once your dye is done, allow it to cool and add 1 tablespoon white vinegar per cup of liquid dye.

Then submerge the eggs in the dye for 24-28 hours in the refrigerator.

But before you do that, there are some creative options that I didn’t try.  The internet rumor is that if you write or draw on the eggs with crayon, it won’t dye there.  You can imagine all the possibilities for spell work there!

I wanted to keep my eggs as natural as possible, so I skipped this, but I might try using beeswax in the future for a similar effect.

I really loved the way the dye turned out.  It felt so earthy and wholesome.  I see myself using this for a lot of things, maybe even cloth.

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And there you have it!  Charming, naturally dyed eggs for your Ostara ritual.  Use them on the altar as an offering, or for your Ostara meal as a beautiful table decoration.

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With eggs on sale at my market for 28 cents a dozen, my total cost for this project was a mere $1.08.

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Make a Winter Hair Wreath

Most people associate the beloved hair wreath with Beltane or Litha, but I was inspired by the winter foliage to do one for Imbolc (and then I dragged a poor model out into the cold to pose in it.)

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If you’d like to do the same, here’s how!

You will need:

An embroidery hoop.  I’ve seen other people use wire, an old hanger or other bases, but these seem to work best for me and they are fairly cheap.  Available at any craft store.

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Thread.  Any thread will do, but I like a neutral color or green.

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Some natural foliage.  You can use fake flowers, too, but I think natural looks best for pictures or a one-day event.  I just looked around the landscape until I spotted some color.  The leaves and berries from this holly bush were perfect.

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From there, it’s very simple.  Take a section of the greenery and hold it firmly between your thumb and fingers.

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Then wind the thread around the bunch and the embroidery hoop securely.  Keep going, adding sections of greenery as you continue all the way around.  Don’t worry about getting it perfect or even.  A little wildness makes it look more natural.

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I like to save the colors for last so they stand out on top.

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And there you have it!  Gorgeous.  Everyone at the Sabbat circle will want one!

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How to Host a Samhain Party

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

If you’re wondering what to do this joyous festival season, get planning and host a Samhain party.

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Decide whether or not to invite the little witchlettes.  Including children at a pagan party often changes a lot of the decisions you need to make.  If you want little feet everywhere, be certain all the parents are okay with allowing them to participate in the ritual, and plan at least one activity just for them.

Pick a main event.  Whether you hold a seance or a dumb supper (or both!), pick a main event to focus on and make it the theme of your invitations.

Consider an additional, smaller activity.  Particularly if you expect children to attend, a lighter additional activity like bobbing for apples or a pumpkin decorating contest tends to round out the evening nicely and leave everyone feeling grounded.

Honor the departed.  Remember your departed love ones.  In keeping with the spirit of the season, do at least one thing to acknowledge the deceased, particularly if you or someone in the group lost someone this past year.  This need not be heavy or too serious—a few photographs included in the centerpiece or serving a dish the deceased enjoyed during life fulfills this tradition nicely.

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Plan a menu.  If you’re doing a dumb supper, you might want to opt for potluck.  But if you plan a ritual not centered around food, most guests appreciate a few simple, fall-themed appetizers and some autumn ale.

Try a “fire only” lighting concept.  Use only candles, bonfires and/or tikki torches to light your scene.  You’ll be amazed!  Using only flames creates a powerful, mysterious atmosphere.

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Decorate naturally.  Although many a witch revels in the availability of witch-y looking items at mainstream stores this time of year, plastic Halloween decor just isn’t my thing.  I prefer to make my own or, even better, use what nature provides.  Apples, mums, pine cones, squash, acorns and, of course, pumpkins!

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Make favors.  I love making ritual favors for the Sabbats.   There are thousands of options, but here is one to try.

Agree to meet for the next Sabbat.  With all your like-minded friends in one room on the last day of the Wheel of the Year, this moment makes for a good time to sync your calendars and plan for the next season of moon rituals and Sabbats.

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10 Ways to Celebrate Litha

10 ways to celebrate Litha

Make a batch of sun cakes.  If you’re a kitchen-y witch, celebrate this Sabbat by baking!  Sun cakes are perfect for the “cakes and ale” portion of a Litha ritual if you celebrate with a coven, or you can use them for offering.

Make herbal candle rings with your fresh herbs.   For the green witch:  with your herb garden in full swing, it’s time to make some creative use of it.

Try cloud scrying.   Find a warm, grassy spot and look up to see what messages the sky might have for you.

Go on an extended nature walk Pack a picnic or scout out a local natural swimming hole and dive fully into the Mother’s splendor.

Plan a camping trip.  If you’re feeling adventurous, pack up some gear and spend a night under the stars.

Attend a summer festival.  Litha is the week for pagan festivals.  Find one.  Attend it.  You’ll have a blast, I promise.

Go wildflower hunting.   Identify and harvest some wildflowers to use in your summer spell work.  Press them in your Book of Shadows if you have one.

Leave an offering of honey cakes outside.  Preferably somewhere away from your house, as they will attract insects and even wildlife.  Litha is said to be one of the two times of year when the “Veil Between Worlds” is the thinnest (the other being Samhain.)  According to legend, the fairies and forest spirits are especially active on the night of the summer solstice, and honey is favorite treat.

Speaking of honey, visit a honey farm!  If you’re not allergic to bees (or deathly afraid of them!) this is a nice activity.  Be sure to stock up while you’re there.

Read A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  Or better yet, go see a local production of it.  Full of traditional pagan folklore, Shakespeare’s classic comedy is one of my favorites and a common production for local theater companies this time of year.

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10 Ways to Celebrate Beltane

10 Ways to Celebrate Beltane

Still looking for ways to celebrate Beltane?  Here’s some ideas to help you design the perfect day.

1.  Get busy.  Let’s just get it out of the way.  We all know what this holiday is really about.  We may as well just call it Pagan Boink Fest 2016.  Be creative and adventurous.  A lot of people enjoy the outdoor setting.  I recommend a secluded area.  There’s no need to get arrested.  But you wouldn’t be the first couple, so whatever moves your groove.

2.  Get stupid drunk on a spring wine of your choice.  Rieslings, dandelion wines and floral blends are all popular choices.  Go ahead.  Kill the bottle.  Kill two.  I think we’ve establishing this is a day of indulgence.

3.  Create an epic May Pole.  If you’re the artist in your coven, use your gifts to make a gorgeous May Pole.  It’s the ultimate holiday gift.  I’ve seen some really beautiful ones.  Make it amazing and it will be the center focal point of the party.

4.  Build an enormous fire.  Whether or not you actually jump over it ought to depend on how much dandelion wine you’ve had.  The wrong ratios here can go very wrong.

5.  Cast a love spell.  There is no better time of year for pushing your romantic situation in a better direction.

6.  Decorate your altar in honor of a love goddess.  Aphrodite is my go-to choice, but there are lots of them.  Here’s an example love and passion altar to get you inspired.

7.  Cast a fertility spell.   Both Ostara and Beltane are nice timing for fertility rites if you’re planning on conceiving soon.

8.  Have a red and white themed potluck.  The colors red and white have strong association with Beltane.  Why not throw a pot luck where all the guests bring something edible that is either red or white?  Let everyone get creative to come up with different ideas.

9.  Make flower crowns.  This is fun for a coven or if you have little girls in the family.  Everyone can pick their own wildflowers or perhaps you can make a trip to your local flower farm.

10.  Have a ritual bath.  If you’re a solitary, a ritual bath nice way to celebrate Beltane in a private way.  Fill the tub with flowers, herbs and skin-nourishing oils.

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