Coloring Eggs? Who Came Up With This Idea?

Welcome Ostara

If you ask what do colored eggs have to do with Easter, chances are someone will tell you about how the Catholic Church co-opted/stole pagan traditions and holidays.  They will tell you that eggs are sacred to Ostara, the Goddess of Spring and that coloring eggs and hiding them was originally part of her celebrations.

My own natural dyed eggs. The orange ones came from onion skins - 1.5 hours. The blue ones from red cabbage - 4.5 hours.

My own natural dyed eggs. The orange ones came from onion skins – 1.5 hours. The blue ones from red cabbage – 4.5 hours.

However, no one asks the follow up question.  Why in the world would people start coloring eggs in the first place?  Especially when you realize how difficult and time consuming coloring eggs is when you don’t have Paaz or food coloring.

The answer is fascinating and takes us back to the first few centuries after the Agricultural Revolution.  Imagine yourself in Germany, Northern France, Great Britain or Ireland during this period.  You put aside as much food as you could last fall, but winter is long and this last one was particularly hard.  Your stored food is getting kinda low and nothings been planted yet, much less harvested.  But the days are getting longer and the snow is melting.  The children have been cooped up inside for months.  Yeah, they go outside more often than our children, but still with blizzards and freezing temperatures, they’ve been inside more than outside.

So while you and the other adults are working on extending the food supply by hunting or fishing, you send the kids

Wild bird eggs come in an array of colors.

Wild bird eggs come in an array of colors.

outside with their own job.  “Go find us some eggs.”  This is before wide spread domestication of chickens.  So the children fan out across the fields, moors, forests and glens looking for birds’ nests.  They find the nests of robins, quail, plover, partridge, pheasant, cormorant, heron, egrets, kestrel and owls.  They come home with woven reed baskets filled with a rainbow of colored eggs.  The baskets are lined with fresh grass to prevent the eggs from cracking against each other.  The fuller the basket, the easier it will be for your family to make it to the bounteous late Spring and Summer.

It is easy to imagine how this annual scavenger hunt became connected to the Ostara celebrations which happen in mid-March.  As poultry domestication became wide spread, the need for the egg hunt decreased, but children didn’t want to let it go.  Why would they?  It sounds like a lot of fun.  So easy to acquire chicken eggs were used, but they’re just boring white.  Kids wanted their rainbow of colors in their baskets.

So, like mothers have been doing since we were still chimps, the moms took on extra work to make their children happy.  They began boiling eggs in onion skins, cabbage, blueberries and anything else that would give the eggs color and hid them in the grass.  Presto, the tradition of coloring eggs was born!

Ostara eggs banner

So Ostara/Easter Eggs truly are heralds of Spring.  A full egg basket meant you and your family are going to make it to Summer when days are warm and food is abundant.  Pagan or Christian I hope you had a full basket of rainbow colored eggs to herald a bounteous year for you and your family.  Blessed Be.

Ostara banner

Ostara banner 2

 

Where I Have Been

I have been locked in the habit of rejecting what I have and focusing on what I DON'T have.

I have been locked in the habit of rejecting what I have and focusing on what I DON’T have.

I haven’t published a new blog since February.  I want to apologize to my three or four readers.  I did not mean to abandon you.  Many things have been happening in my life which have distracted me from writing.  Ironically, one of the things distracting me from writing has been worry over the fact I am not writing enough.  At least not writing for money enough.  I felt guilty about spending time on either of my blogs.  If I wasn’t getting paid up front for it, I had no business writing.  However, I forgot that just like a musician has to practice whether he is getting paid or not, a writer has to write in order to keep her skills honed.

Other more tangible, pentacle-like things have kept me from writing as well.  My whole family moved the first week of June.  Now one might think that an event like that would take up the first week of June.  Maybe a few days before and a few days after.  Not so, gentle readers.  From April on we have been focused, almost to the exclusion of all else, on figuring out who is moving where.  We had many hours of discussion about will we stay one household or split into two.  Then there were hours to find an affordable place which would accept us, our bad credit and our poor work records.  Once we found that place, there was packing, finding vehicles to move, finding strong people to help.  We, also, had to clean out the place we found.  That was a Herculean task which isn’t quite finished even now.  All in all, I expect us to finally be settled in by Labor Day Weekend.  Hopefully.

At the risk of boring you, I will tell you a bit about our new house.  It is a small house on a very busy street.  I think of the line from “Pink Houses.”  “He’s got the interstate running through his front yard. You know he thinks that he’s got it so good.”  Well, I do think I have it so good.  For one thing, it’s a house, not an apartment.  If you have ever lived in an apartment for any length of time, you know what a luxury that is.  For another, our landlord is a laid back kind of guy who is going to let us do anything we want to the place.  We already have a lot of plans.  “Why would you do all that work on a place you’re just renting?”  I hear you ask, gentle readers.  We’re sort of looking at it as a dress rehearsal for when we each get our own place.  Another thing I love about our new place is that what few neighbors we have leave us alone.  There is, also, the deep back yard.  When you go back behind the garage it is easy to forget there’s a highway in the front yard.  We, also, have a large front porch where we can sit and watch the world go by.

As you can tell, I love my new house and am excited about our future here.  There are some downsides to it.  Nothing is perfect.  The

We have a lot of plans for the new house.  We are just going to have to be patient, work hard and wait for the fruits of our labor to grow.

We have a lot of plans for the new house. We are just going to have to be patient, work hard and wait for the fruits of our labor to grow.

downsides are deal-able.  Especially since I am trying to reprogram myself regarding how I look at downsides.  I am trying to let go of what is NOT and focus on what IS.  This house does NOT have the exact number of bedrooms my large family needs.  Okay, that’s something to work on.  Everyone has a place to sleep and that will work for now.  What this house DOES have is an affordable rent.  I choose to let that make me happy and I choose to NOT let the lack of bedrooms make me depressed.  I choose to savor the fact that I have a front porch to sit on during summer evenings and I choose NOT to dwell on the fact that mosquitoes are eating me alive while I sit there.  Finally, I will focus on the fact that I am writing and worry less about getting paid for every word I type.

It is challenging to maintain my mental space in this new frame work.  I am sure that I will fall back into obsessing about what we don’t have.  When I catch myself doing that I will have to force it back into the new pattern until it becomes my default settings and obsessive worry becomes awkward and uncomfortable.  Wish me luck.

Thank you for your patience, my loyal three or four readers.  I will post a new article soon.

A word about the pictures.  The first is the work of the very talented David Groehring and can be found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/carbonnyc/5188219293/in/photostream/

The second is from the Spiral Tarot; both the deck and companion book were created by Kay Steventon.

Ten Reasons Why Massage is Better than a Coffee Break

1. Immediate Results: Massage relaxes, invigorates, and delivers benefits immediately. In fifteen minutes, you can return to your work more energized, more creative, more motivated, more productive, and with a heightened clarity of purpose.

2. Cost Effective: A fifteen minute chair massage costs less than expensive stress reduction seminars, get-away weekends or even a trip to Great America and is much more effective at reducing stress.

3. It’s Easy: The ultimate “no-brainer”. Just sit down and let the Massage Therapist go to work.

4. Needed Luxury: We all need to be pampered just a little bit. A nice soothing massage allows you to feel like pampered royalty even if it’s only for a short time.

5. Reduces Fatigue, Anxiety and Repetitive/Overuse Syndromes: As scientific research has documented, massage reduces the above symptoms. This is especially significant since carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS), and sciatica are all commonplace products of office and other workplace environments. These conditions limit your work potential and employability.

6. Improves body efficiency: By increasing circulation, massage helps flush your body of toxins and waste thereby helping your body function more efficiently and improving your overall health. This is especially critical after a workout.

7. Helps Change Behavior: Studies have shown that massage can help one lose weight, quit smoking or exercise.

8. Increases Mental Clarity, Productivity and Enhances Alertness: In 1993, the Touch Research Institute (TRI), University of Miami Medical School, found that workers who received massage twice a week were more productive, more alert, and could think more clearly.

9. Reduces Stress: Study after study shows that massage is the MOST effective stress treatment out there. Its effects are immediate, long lasting and cumulative. In other words, massage lowers your stress as soon as you sit or lie down, your sense of well being lasts and the more frequently you get massage the more your stress is lowered.

10. It’s Fun: Massage is one of the most enjoyable ways to keep your body healthy.