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Spring Musings

From my journal:

I awoke to sunshine on my face–with warmth spreading from my cheeks to my neck and shoulders. How wondrous it feels to be warm again after the long cold of winter. All Hail Sunna!

As I look around me I see that Mother Earth is also responding to the arrival of the Sun–daffodils are pushing up through the soil to embrace Her warm rays, the finch and wren are singing her praises, and  frogsong fills the evening air. I am honoring the return of the Sun by wearing Soweilo on my forearms. It is small and inconspicuous due to my public job; but I can see them and it keeps the Sun in my consciousness.

I live in the Pacific Northwest, and it has been a protracted winter and very cold spring so far this year. I can only imagine that the cold is deeper in Scandinavia; how much more the Sun’s return must have been celebrated  in ancient times. A long cold winter could literally mean starvation and death for the herds and the peoples. I believe this is why the Sun is seen as a life giving and benevolent entity by people living in northern lands. All living things respond to the return of the sun by expanding and bursting forth in new growth–the buds,  blooms, leaves, birth of the herds are timed to the growth of the grasses so the new arrivals have something to graze on by the time they are off mother’s milk.  In the hot, southern lands such as Egypt, the Sun is seen as a destroyer;it is the Nile river that is the life-giver in their mythology.

Our mainstream culture in America celebrates Easter with a Christian focus  which does not work for me. I choose to celebrate the arrival of spring with connection to the Earth and Her annual renewal; rising-up of the seed into the new plants–heading to bloom in the coming summer. As a child we colored Easter eggs every year and I remember how beautiful my Grandfather Tony’s eggs always were. He only did a few; but he had the patience to let them really absorb the color. As a child, I wanted to do everything quickly–a trait that has stuck with me. But in reflecting on what I could do to make a ritual out of dyeing eggs, I tried to focus on what would really be meaningful symbols that could be used all year long.

What I decided to do was dye the eggs with natural food dyes and mark them with the runes. I used onion skins to color the eggs a rusty, burnt umber color, beets for a red/pink and spinach for a light green. I used electrical tape to shape the runes on the eggs after they had been hard boiled, then I place them in pans on the stove on simmer and let them soak for several hours–ensuring the eggs were completely covered. All of the dyebaths needed a couple of tablespoons of vinegar to help set the dye.  The spinach didn’t work so well, so I have to admit I added some commercial food coloring to help them along. I will try different greens next year. I plan to use these egg runes with my intentional healing work, prayer work, and spellwork to charge and focus the energies of the runes appropriate to each working. As long as the eggs are not cracked, there will be no smell and no need to maintain them as a food product. Just handle them carefully as they really stink if you break one by accident!

This is a great way to teach kiddos about the runes; and if you want to do this with eggs that you eat, you are literally absorbing the energy of the runes that you are eating. Another fun thing I have done this time of the year with kids is to write the runes on lima or other big beans and put them in jars of water so they can watch them sprout. Then you can transplant them out in the garden or eat the sprouts. It’s just a great time to observe how nature embraces renewal and we can capture that energy to use all year in for form of eggs, seeds, and bulbs.

I apologize that a abbreviated draft of this post appeared earlier–I was trying to send a draft from my phone-FAIL. But I learned something and that is worth the embarrassment.

Blessings of Spring,

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Sowilo The Sun Returns This Solstice Day 2010.12.21


Ahhhhh, the Sun returns on this longest day. We lifted our eyes to the hills and we saw the Sun arrive in all her golden splendor. How reassuring to people’s of old that the Sun stopped its progress across the sky and started its return signaling that warmer days were ahead. Especially in the lands of the Rune Readers—where the Sun nearly disappeared in the deep Northern winter. People lighted their homes with candles, created blazing bonfires on the hills and in their hearths in acts of sympathetic magic to encourage the Sun to return. It really was a matter of successful crops, enough fodder for the herds, and literally life and death. Part of the feasting in the deep winter was practical—the animals that would not make it through the winter became the feast—leaving more grain/grass for the younger and stronger stock to survive the winter. Sowilo is the life giver; that which banishes the darkness, heals and nourished us. All that lives on Earth owe their existence to the Sun.

Our family practices a Pagan Advent, and we gather on the 4 Sundays before the Winter Solstice. I learned of this tradition from my dear friend Joanna Powell Colbert—who is the creator of the Gaian Tarot and hosts absolutely Fabulous Santa Lucia Parties every year. Every culture has a story about the return of the Sun—and our family gathers together to read several stories and light a candle for each week of advent. On Solstice we light all 4 candles of Advent and a middle candle for the Solstice Sun.


Tonight it is just my husband Michael and myself. We read the stories of Solntse and Grandmother Spider.  We sang Santa Lucia and the lyrics that I rewrote to the tune of “Angels We Have Heard on High”. The second verse was inspired by the northern myths and features Sowilo. The third verse was inspired by the Japanese story of Amaturasu being lured out of hiding in her cave.

As the seasons turn around, darkness starts to lose it’s hold.

Longest night turns in to day, lighting up the sky with gold.

Mo-ther, Mo-ther, Mo-ther Sun

Bring your rays to warm us;

Mo-ther, Mo-ther, Mo-ther Sun

Bring your rays to warm us all. 

Thaw the lands that She has stole,

Isa Queen of Frost and Snow.

As you have since days of old,

Ransom them with Rays of gold.

So-wi-lo, So-wi-lo, So-wi-lo

Bring your rays to warm us;

So-wi-lo, So-wi-lo, So-wi-lo

Bring your rays to warm us all.

Hidden deep within your cave,

Darkness reigns there is no day.

We laugh and dance with gaity,

You peek out, yourself to see.

A-ma-tur-a- su, A-ma-tur-a- su, A-ma-tur-a- su

Bring your rays to warm us;

A-ma-tur-a- su, A-ma-tur-a- su, A-ma-tur-a- su

Bring your rays to warm us all.

—and then we gave thanks for the promise of another year. Health, joy, mirth, rebirth. Welcome Yule! Welcome Yule! Welcome Yule!