Blog Giveaway #2!!

Okay, here’s how it goes:  Answer the question, and a randomly chosen participant will win Steven Posch’s wonderful CD of stories: Radio Paganistan. The winner will be chosen at 5pm on Sunday.

 Here’s the question: 

If you had the time, what pagan practice would you take up?  What have you always been meaning to do?  Sunset offerings?  Observing every full moon? Meditation?  What?

That’s it.  We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

-Melanie and Chris

How to Make Ukrainian Eggs

Each egg is a little universe, an Orphic egg, and everything contained within it is arrived at through the use of Sacred Geometry. The practice of making an egg reminds us of who we are, and how our actions relate to the universe around us. Certain rules are followed: what is above, so it is below; always complete a section (or action) before beginning the next. You will have less confusion, and therefore fewer mistakes. Perfect yourself before you try to perfect an egg – the rest will follow. Project every line, and know that your thoughts are projected in the same way. Do not keep your eyes on the kistka as you draw a line. When you set the kistka down, look forward and push the tool to that spot. The results will always be better. Likewise, we should always look forward in our lives, trying to determine the outcome of our actions. ”   –Deirdre LeBlanc

  I always enjoyed dying Easter eggs with my German grandmother. It was a yearly tradition. When I was 18 I enrolled in a Pysanky class at the local community college. Interestingly, that was the same year I took a basket weaving and bellydancing class. As if I knew what life had in store for me.
  To make Pysanky, or Ukrainian eggs as they are sometimes called, you need some basic tools and household supplies. Every March I set up a work table.

kistkas (kistka means “little bone” because they were originally made out of bones – over three thousand years ago!)



I initially bought a basic kit.

Mix your dyes: Follow the directions for making your dye baths, written on the powdered dye packages. Mine needed 1 1/4 cup water and some vinegar added. I used dye ordered from Magic Cabin Dolls; you can also use RIT in a pinch, but it totally pales in comparison.
Apply wax: Start with an egg, and let it get to room temperature. If it is too cold, the wax won’t stick. You then light your candle and warm your kistka in its flame. Then scoop a bit of wax and hold it near the candle until the wax is melted. Begin to draw your design. You can draw something as simple as a spiral, or your name. Or you can make something complex and colorful. Covering everything you want white in wax. My wax draws on black because, I think, I use an old kistka and the wax has been scorched like a campfire roasted marshmallow. Your wax might go on clear or yellow.

Dye Bath: Put the waxed egg into the next color needed, most often yellow. After a while (15 minutes to overnight), remove the egg from its dye bath and repeat the wax process, color by color.
Green isn’t applied as a bath, rather it is applied only to the areas desired with a Q-tip. Green is the only color this is done with. My green sucked this year, as I used old RIT dye instead of pysanky dye.

Now more wax. Then orange.


Then blue, purple, black.

By now your egg is a black waxy mess.

Remove wax: Take your waxed and dyed egg and hold it near the flame. Do not put it directly in the flame because it will get scorched and ruined! As the wax melts, carefully use a rag or tissue to wipe of the melted wax, revealing its colorful brilliance! And be careful! Flames are dangerous! AND this is the point at which many eggs break. I pay my children one dollar if I break an egg they’ve been working on.

You can also melt the wax off in an oven. (Instructions below)  But you’ll need to blow it out first if you want to hang it.

 Blowing out your egg: This is another risky egg breaking endeavor. We rarely blow our eggs, rather choosing the traditional method of leaving them intact. Give them away as gifts as soon as possible. You’ll feel good about it, and won’t be responsible for their destruction.

But if you blow them out, you can thread them and hang them on your Ostara branch. Here’s my method. Be careful!

Use a straight pin and carefully poke a hole in the top of the egg. Then turn the egg over and poke a few tiny hole in the bottom of the egg, essentially scoring out a small circle. Turn the egg back to small side up and blow, gently but firmly, the egg contents into  bowl. The technique takes some practice, so you might want to try this on a few less dear eggs.

Imagine me above the egg making a face like a trumpet player.

Then you can string your eggs. This year I used a doll making needle and some Malabrigo wool, but ribbon is lovely, and bead work would be beautiful!

You can also melt the wax off in an oven. I have been making pysanky for over 20 years, and have never before tried this method. Use a regular oven @ 250 deg F. I balanced the eggs on beer caps on an old pizza sheet. It worked great, but you need to blow out your eggs BEFORE you bake them. Also, I found some of the magic of slowly revealing your design was lost.

Watch for the wax to soften, then remove carefully and wipe off with a soft cloth or paper towel.

Varnish: Whether or not you’ve blown your egg, the final step is to apply varnish. It makes the eggs very shiny and fancy! Spray several thin layers of an oil based varnish.

Christopher got home from Paganicon late last night, and look what he brought me. A shiny new kistka and natural dyed eggs from Steven Posch!

Here are some websites you might enjoy for further study:

And more photos of our pysanky week:

How are you celebrating Spring?


 So sorry for the long delay in posts!  At this time of year, we dance the May Pole, while singing this song:

Hal an Tow

What shall he have that kills the deer?
His leather skin and horns to wear.
Your father’s father wore it,
and your father wore it too.

Hal an tow, jolly rumble-O,
we were up long before the day-O
to welcome in the summer, to welcome in the May-O,
for summer is a-coming in, and winter’s gone away-O!

Do not scorn to wear the horn:
it was the crest ere you were born.
Your father’s father wore it,
and your father wore it too.

What shall she have that tills the field?
The greenest gown the grass shall yield.
Your mother’s mother wore it,
and your mother wore it too.

Do not frown to gain the gown,
for thus it was that you came round.
Your mother’s mother wore it,
and your mother wore it too.

Robin Hood and Little John,
they’ve both gone to the fair-O,
and we’re away to the good greenwood
to hunt the buck and hare-O.

Whither went maid Marion,
a-clothed all in green-O?
She’s away to the good greenwood,
where merry men are keen-O.

[What happened to the Spaniards
that made so great a boast-O?
They shall eat the feathered goose,
and we shall eat the roast-O!]

We bless the people here today
with power and with might-O,
and peace be to Paganistan
by day and by night-O.

Those are the verses that we know;
the rest are on the shelf-O.
So if you want more Hal An Tow,
you’ll have to sing it yourself-O.

We also jump the fire:

We also went to Paganistan (Minneapolis) to attend the Heart of the Beast MayDay Parade, and a beautiful Rite of the Stang, created by master ritualist Steve Posch.  The Red and Horned God was embodied by none other than our own Rowan:

Everyone knows it’s Berchta

Everyone knows it’s Berchta
(sung to the “Slinky” jingle)
Who beats down your door,
and spits on your floor,
and makes a cackling sound,
A hag! A hag! She carries a bag!
Everyone knows it’s Berchta.
It’s Berchta, it’s Berchta,
sometimes she’ll give you a toy,
It’s Berchta, it’s Berchta,
She gobbles up girls and boys.
Everyone knows it’s Berchta,
you’d better watch out for Berchta.
So when it is Yule,
and there’s goat in your gruel,
be sure you don’t break any bones!
Not even a crack, or it’s YOU in the sack,
dinner for Mother Berchta!
It’s Berchta, it’s Berchta,
sometimes she’ll give you a toy,
It’s Berchta, it’s Berchta,
She gobbles up girls and boys.
Everyone knows it’s Berchta,
you’d better watch out for Berchta.
    Be gentle with us, O Witch Winter!!  You can almost hear the cackling, can’t you?
(Listen to Steven Posch’s Radio Paganistan for more lore on the Hag of Hags and Crone of Crones.)

The Oldest Tribe of Gods

These ideas are first and best articulated by Steven Posch, so please go there just as soon as you can.  Ask him if he has any copies available of his book, Lost Gods of the Witches.  For now, I’ll give you the five-cent tour.

Just for a moment, look away from your computer screen, and out a window.  I want to introduce you to the pantheon that I worship.

See the ground outside, frosty or fertile?  Know that I call Her Earth, Mother of us all.
Is it day?  Then see the god I call Sun, welcome friend in winter.
If it’s night, maybe you gaze at Moon, most beautiful.
And all the trees and grass and plants of the world are Green, and you and me and your cat and birds and deer and all animals are, literally are, the god Horn.
And Storm, and Fire and the four Winds and Sea.

They were here long, long before me, and will be here long, long after.  I ask nothing from them, since They have already given everything that I am.

They are both gorgeous and terrifying, and show us many faces.  Oh, so you don’t like my He’s and She’s?  Have you got a different idea?  Good!  Let’s hear your stories about Them.