Monday, 26 March 2018

Eostre Eggs

At this time of year the shops are full of chocolate easter eggs and bunnies.
    Around this time, the Spring Equinox, is the feast of the Spring Goddess known as Eostre or Ostara. The christian Easter festival takes both its name and its timing by the moon from this ancient Goddess.
     In many cultures the egg is the obvious symbol of new life. At this season the birds are nesting and laying eggs, and there are many ancient legends which say that the Universe first appeared in the form of an egg, which then cracks open to reveal and release the stars and planets.
     In ancient Greek myth it was Cronos, Old Father Time, who was originally a giant serpent, who wrapped his coils around the cosmic egg, together with his wife the equally serpentine Ananke (Inevitability). Their movements cracked open the egg, giving birth to the Universe and it is said that it is their undulations which keep the planets rotating and spinning about the sun.
     This is a very similar tale to one of the ancient Egyptian myths which says that the Great Cackler, a giant goose, laid the cosmic egg on the only piece of dry land which had risen from the waters of chaos.
     In Voodoo the serpents are Damballah and his wife Aida-Wedo, the Rainbow Serpent. The pictograph or veve for Damballah is an egg with a serpent wrapped around it.
     So why do we have eggs and rabbits in our shops? From all the foregoing it would seem that we should have chocolate serpents to go with our eggs.
     The rabbit or hare is another creature associated with Spring time. If you are very lucky, at this time of year you may come across pairs of hares boxing in the fields, these were known as Mad March Hares. It was thought that these were male hares, competing for the right to mate, but we now know that these are pairs of male and female hares. The female is fending off the amorous male by boxing him until she is ready to mate.
     The hare or rabbit is also associated with the Moon and the Moon Goddess. In China it is the shape of the Moon Hare that people can pick out on the surface of the Moon. The rabbit/hare is said to be the messenger of the Moon Goddess - although he is not altogether a reliable one.
     One story I heard is that the Goddess was awake in early Spring and walking through the forest came across a little bird which had died from the cold.The Goddess felt that at this time of new life, no creature should die, so she breathed into the bird and brought it back to life. But then she thought to herself, that as it was still liable to be cold and frosty, to give the creature a better chance of survival perhaps it ought to have a fur coat rather than feathers. So she turned it into a rabbit.
     But the little creature was now rather confused, and every year around the festival of Eostre, the rabbit of the Goddess lays a nest of eggs, and anyone who finds them is especially blessed.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Equinoxing About

Although it is often said that the Equinoxes are a time of 'balance', we often find that there is a lot of messing about and disruption around this time.
    For example:
    We are at the moment preparing our next Mail Shot - this one will be mainly on Tarot packs, incidentally - orders are thinning out, so it is time we reminded our customers that we are here.
     So today I have dealt with five orders, none of which was straight forward, and it is surprising how much time sorting them out can take. We always get order completed before we take the money from Credit/Debit cards, just in case there is something out of stock or unavailable for one reason or another and can therefore amend the total value, so today:
     We had two who were trying to pay by Credit Card and for one reason or another the card machine rejected them. One person has obviously written down the wrong card number - probably just one digit wrong - and that was rejected as an 'invalid card', so they had to have a letter written to explain that we would not be sending their order until we received payment. The second was rejected as out of date, even though the date given to us was September this year, so that needed another letter.
    A third was an order for something we don't stock - this is not unusual - and, you guessed it, needed another letter writing.
    A fourth said they had enclosed a cheque - there was no cheque, so guess what, yes that needed another letter writing.
    The fifth one was all wrapped up and ready to go, when the customer rang and asked if she could add something to her order. I agreed, then found it was not just one item but several, including three oils which needed me to hand make them.
     Happily her credit card did go through the machine (yay!) so that saved me having to write another letter!

    Today is only the 15th of March - still 6 days to go before the Equinox!



Sunday, 4 March 2018

Old News

I am currently working on a couple of new books. These will be compilations of spells which have appeared over the years in the Raven Newsletters. This has meant trying to find as many old editions of the Newsletter as possible.
     Luckily I believe in keeping hard copies of everything I do on the computer - the 'paperless office' is a myth as far as I am concerned. Especially as I use a pc until it becomes:
a) obsolete
or b) gives up the ghost - usually with a puff of smoke.

     But even I am amazed at how far back I have kept copies of Newsletters and Catalogue masters - 1994 was the earliest I found !
     Those were the days when we were using a state of the art Amstrad pcw and dot matrix printer!
     Actually I think the Amstrad was probably on its last legs by then, the dot matrix printer certainly was! The quality of printing was bloody awful, especially as we printed on green (yes bright green) re-cycled paper, which was not the same quality as these days.
    These days our Raven Newsletters are a proper, mini magazine booklet with a sort of set format, with an editorial/newsy bit on the front pages and dates for your diary on the back, with poems, spells and articles laid out inside.
    Back in 1994 it was a single A4 sheet but with mini versions of all the parts we now have proper space for, just as an introduction to a mail shot, which were all stapled together in one corner.
     Those were the days when I couldn't put any pictures in, so I would draw illustrations around the edges, and occasionally managed to create illustrations using the regular typewriter keys - this was before you could even have multiple fonts (and maybe explains my fondness for Times New Roman).
     It is nice looking back to see what I have written about over the years.
     And it is also giving me ideas about other stuff I want to write about now!