Comment

Why Ostara?

Easter Eggs

From time to time I have been asked who Ostara is and why I chose the name for my website/business, until now I haven't really had the chance to answer that question. So, on Easter Sunday, here is a little more about the goddess Ostara, what she represents, and why she inspires me so much.

In Old English, her name was Ēostre, which translates to Easter in modern English. This in itself is derived from the Proto-Germanic austrōn, which means ‘dawn’. The name Ostara comes from the Old High German and holds the same meanings.

She is seen as the goddess of dawn and the coming of spring, and her festival is celebrated during the Spring Equinox – a festival that is still celebrated to this day. Ostara takes place on March 21st each year across the Northern Hemisphere. She brings with her renewal, and new life after the death that winter brings.

Pink Cherry Blossom

Similarly, she is also seen as a fertility goddess, which works in relation to her bringing of new life during the spring. She represented new growth and nurturing during these times, and this is still something that she represents for pagan groups today.

Fertility does not always have to be related to children and birth, however. It can also mean the creation of new ideas, like a form of creative fertility. A mind that is rich with artistic and literary visions, allowing them to create beautiful artworks.

The hare is commonly seen as a symbol of Ostara, and some even depict her as having the head and shoulders of one. This is partially because the date of Easter is so closely related to the moon and its phases, and the hare is a lunar animal. The hare is also seen as a symbol of rebirth, something that we have come to associate the rabbit with in more modern times.

Photo by  Jean-Jacques Boujot  from Paris, France, used under Creative Commons license 2.0 (cropped)   https://www.flickr.com/photos/25622178@N08/4244038981

Photo by Jean-Jacques Boujot from Paris, France, used under Creative Commons license 2.0 (cropped) 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/25622178@N08/4244038981

The egg is also commonly associated with her, as it is seen as a symbol of new life and rebirth. This is also an association that has been carried on by Christian Easter traditions as we give each other chocolate eggs on Easter day.

Ostara is a goddess who represents the good in the world. She represents purity, beauty, and the renewal that comes with each year. In addition to this, she is associated with fertility, and I like to see this as a creative fertility, one that allows us to access the most beautiful parts of our minds. She is a strong goddess and one who remains revered to this day.

Comment

Comment

Expansions - on at Questors Theatre, Ealing until 11th April 2017

My latest exhibition - Expansions - is now on in the Grapevine Bar at Questors Theatre, 12 Mattock Lane, Ealing, W5 5BQ.

The exhibition builds on my previous exhibitions Luna and Moondance and continues the cosmic theme.

Some words about the lovely venue....

Questors Theatre is looked upon with great pride by its members and friends and greatly admired by those in the local and artistic community. It has a rich history that began over 80 years ago; throughout it has remained true to its ‘quest’ of being an independent and amateur theatre. Retaining the highest possible standards has helped Questors Theatre to become London’s most successful amateur theatre, hailed by The Observer as "the acme of amateur theatre".

Starting as a drama group in 1929 with just 17 members, the theatre's first production was 'The Best People' at Park Theatre in Hanwell. After a search for a permanent base they found a place to share with a local scout group. Questors remained in the prefabricated church on Mattock Lane after the scout group moved out and then raised enough money to purchase the land in 1952. Fundraising continued to be successful, and a new theatre complex was built and opened in 1964. It has been the home of art lovers and theatregoers ever since.

In its time, Questors has won many awards thanks to its contribution to the art world and the local Ealing community. Questors Academy is one of the largest youth theatres in the UK, with a passion for teaching theatre skills and sharing their extensive knowledge and theatre complex with students as young as six years old. 

Questors is always giving something back to the community, and it is no surprise that it has 600 active members and over 1500 in total who enjoy attending the theatre, the studio and the vibrant social club, run entirely by volunteers, The Grapevine Bar. 

15% of any sales that take place during the exhibition will be donated to The Questors - so all the more reason to pop along and support it!

The exhibition is being held in the Grapevine Bar, and the opening hours are:

Monday to Saturday 7.00-11.00pm
Sunday 12.00-2.30pm and 7-10.30pm

For more info about Questors Theatre please visit www.questors.org.uk

Comment

Comment

What Tae Kwon Do means to me.....

A little over four years ago the idea of me doing Tae Kwon Do, or any martial art for that matter, wouldn’t have entered my head. It wasn’t really “me”. That is, until a good friend of mine persuaded me to give it a try. It turned out to be one of the greatest gifts anyone has ever given me (no exaggeration!).

But before I explain, let’s take a little trip back in time. Six years ago (literally almost to the day, funnily enough. I know because Facebook helpfully reminded me) I received an email from my then long-term partner, a guy I’d been with for almost sixteen years. Our relationship had been breaking down for months and he’d pretty much gone AWOL at this point; this email was his way of telling me it was all over. Classy. On one hand I’d seen this moment coming and on the other, I never thought it would (and certainly not via Hotmail). Without going into huge amounts of detail (I’ll save that for another time) I felt like he’d wrenched my heart out of my chest, and thrown it over a cliff. To put it mildly. 

I went through the various, traditional stages of grieving, but got stuck at anger. Very stuck indeed. It felt like I was angry every waking moment of every day, and I ran out of ways to try to deal with it. Two years after the break up and still pretty angry (thankfully not every waking moment, by now), I was discussing this all with a good friend of mine, who happens to be an experienced and talented martial artist. It was her suggestion that I try Tae kwon do (it turns out that she thought it would help me with my anger, though she didn’t explicitly say this at the time. A gentle and wise move). I genuinely did not think anything would come of it, but thought it couldn’t hurt to try; I trusted my friend’s instincts and agreed to go to a few classes with her, to try it out.

I’m not super fit by any means, but I used to be pretty good at sports (football, hockey) and find it relatively easy to pick up routines at exercise classes. I struggled with tae kwon do for the first few months, feeling more uncoordinated than I’ve ever been - it was a bit of a shock to my already flimsy ego. At times I thought this was more of a challenge than I really needed. However, I also liked the idea proving to myself I could stick with something, however difficult I found it.

A combination of being part of a fantastic, supportive TKD club, with an amazing instructor, and the realisation that I could go for gradings and progress through the different levels (status!) kept me going back to Tae kwon do. Added to this, friends of mine had started to comment that I seemed a lot more confident;  I was even occasionally referred to as "kick ass" or "bad ass", which I secretly kinda liked. For the first year or so I felt constantly challenged; each and every class took me outside my comfort zone, enough to stretch me, but not enough to scare me off, and it was after about eighteen months of training that I realised that tae kwon do is, indeed, "for me". In fact I love it.

Having practised for four years now, mostly consistently, I enjoy that I am still challenged in each and every class. I have got more involved in the elements that I was most wary of (sparring), and it has helped me reconsider how I view my own personal power. This is all alongside continually developing techniques, learning new skills and even finding my shouting voice!

I am certain I will return to the subject of tae kwon do in future blogs, as it has become an important part of my life (just ask my friends and family). It has helped me with far more than overcoming anger/stuckness; it has reminded me that I am not afraid of a challenge, that I can persevere even when it's tempting to give up and go home, and that it's most certainly worth it.

If this blog has inspired you to look into Taekwondo please visit this website for more info: http://www.uoltkd.co.uk/

 

Comment

1 Comment

Johnsons Island Open Studio - June 5-7th 2015

My lovely and talented friends at Johnsons Island Art Community in Brentford will be having their next open studios event from 5-7th June. If you are in the area why not explore the island, visit the artists and see the amazing work on display?

For further information please visit their website.

 

1 Comment