As the Wheel of the Year effortlessly drifts into the next moon phase and light and dark tenderly embrace each other in measureless equilibrium, all I ask is that you follow these simple guidelines I send out every year in the Wicca What?! community newsletter and effing set up your blankety-blank Ostara altar the right way! It’s not a matter of just lining up candles and planting seeds in a window garden. Any frapping monotheist could do that and reap no elemental bounty from it.
Look, our belief system hinges on a unique responsibility toward our environment, and your consideration in setting up your personal Ostara altar speaks to your commitment to this foundation of our religion. It’s not like I’m asking you to master crystallomancy in a weekend. Just a little care and attention is all it takes! That means doing more than just picking random green things from the litter-choked field on the far side of the campground and raiding the Easter bargain bin at Walgreens.
Your altar says a lot about you and how you choose to call the Spirits – the Divine Force, the Universe, your Ancestors. So if it’s just a plastic crate covered by a Minions tarp (you know who you are), you aren’t putting forth the bare minimum of effort. When you signed the rental agreement for this unique and welcoming community, you were being accepted into a safe place where you are free (and encouraged!) to practice our beliefs to their utmost. But you also signed a legal document with specific guidelines and maintenance standards! These principles are for your protection and spiritual edification, not some means of control. That being (politely) said, here are some reminders of what to include in your celebratory altar to get the most out of this season of renewal and reflection.
Flowers and herbs: daffodils, roses, dandelion, honeysuckle, jasmine.
“Celebrating local flowers” doesn’t mean snatching up whatever’s in arm’s reach of your screen door. Take up your preferred grimoire or alchemist’s handbook (Incantations For The Modern Pilgrim penned by yours truly will do just fine) and let your spirit wander on a healing journey of discovery. Just stay the früeck within the property boundaries! Sweet Horned God of the Forest, how big does the game lands sign have to be for some of you to see it? You drift around like burned-out hippies after a music festival that ended without your notice. There are hunters hunting with real rifles right next door to us! Our religion never demands you affix antlers to your head like that poor girl in True Detective, but if you choose to do so, be warned. Oh, and Cait – you do not suffer from hyperesthesia. It’s allergies – that’s what makes you itchy. So maybe you should stay inside and astrally project yourself through the woods like you erroneously claim you can.
Lay a few flowers on the altar, then arrange some in a circle on the floor or leave them strewn about the ground. But look – there’s purposefully strewn and there’s lazily strewn. I swear by the scales of Tiamat, I will know the difference!
Incense: jasmine, rose, sage, orange peel, magnolia, ginger.
One or two sticks will do! No need for your trailer to look like you’re staging a Civil War reenactment inside.
Colors: pastels – yellow, pink, green, blue.
If your first thought was, “Oh, I’ll just head to Michaels for crepe paper and ribbons,” please come see me for a list of preferred local vendors. Of course what Michaels has is fine, but there’s fine and there’s appropriate. Again, I’m only talking about the renewal of your spirit and your continued successful communion with the elements. If you’re content with half-assing your entire life, go for it, and by go for it I mean go somewhere else where I don’t have to see you. Aradia, Queen of the Witches, please give me the strength to continue leading this community of cattle-faced half-wits.
Stones: rose quartz, aquamarine, amethyst, moonstone.
Just rocks. Yep. Just walk around your patch and pick up some rocks. That’s all you’re hearing me say anyway, so that’s all I’ll write.
Food: eggs, honey, breads, green vegetables.
A bagel sandwich from Bruegger’s with garden veggie spread hits all those points, right? Go in on a dozen like you always do and giggle at how clever you are. Then paint some plastic eggs and act like you’re being ironic since you’re more committed to your sense of humor than our principles.
Once the altar is arranged, you can then light your candles and incense. Feel free to invoke the Triple Goddess in words that are meaningful to you. Don’t just mumble some guttural dark magick spell and flail your arms like you’re conducting a seance. Say something meaningful, like, “Our life renews itself by your magick, and my inner world is bursting with the promise of summer,” or I’ll be bursting with the promise of smashing your Chelsea Wolfe and Stevie Nicks records on the cinder blocks you call a coffee table.
Visualize yourself traveling through the roots and stems of the grasses and flowers, tapering up into the air through the smoke from your sticks and candles. But for Artemis’ sake, do so quietly! We aren’t a community of shrieking hill people, and scattershot tongues’ speaking isn’t a requirement of living here. We are here to attune ourselves with the natural rhythm of the life forces, not audition for some sort of exorcism karaoke night (again, you know who you are).
Garbage collection and recycling have been suspended by the county due to the large number of smoldering items found inside bags. Oh, I wonder who left what burning where? Effective immediately, each member of this community is responsible for transporting their own waste to the northside landfill. A nominal fee is charged by weight, so keep that in mind when you’re ignoring my suggestions and heading straight to Walgreens and Michaels.