Does the Bechdel Test Measure Sexism?

When I posted “Superheroes and Sexism”, I commented on the sexism included in super hero culture. But then I realized the next few posts wouldn’t make any sense if I didn’t first explain what the Bechdel test is… (unless you’re psychic)

 

At the end of my reasons (why or why not I liked) each movie, I added whether or not the movie passes the Bechdel test. Just in case you don’t know what that is (I had no clue until a year ago), I’ll give you a small rundown.

To pass the Bechdel test, you have to pass three rules. And they’re really easy rules.

  1. Are there at least 2 female characters with names?
  2. Do they talk to each other?
  3. Do they talk to each other about ANYTHING OTHER than men?

 

You would be surprised by how many movies, books, comics, etc., fail this test.

NOW, just because a movie passes the Bechdel test does NOT mean it isn’t misogynistic. In fact, a lot of the movies that DO pass the test have extreme sexist undertones.

That’s because the Bechdel test doesn’t test sexism. It shows you just how much of the entertainment arena is dedicated to men. Catered to the male audience. But – it feels unfair to write that. I don’t think that’s honestly accurate.

It isn’t the ‘male audience’ that wants this. Have any screen writers asked the male population if they’d like to see some strong women take the lead role in movies? Men that don’t happen to be misogynists? Because there are men who are NOT sexist. A lot of them. Has anyone asked them? I sure as hell know no one has asked any women and taken their answers to heart.

 

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I read an article written by a woman who was in the filmmaking business and quit. Because of the misogyny holding her and her creativity back.

She was great at writing scripts. Hollywood only had one problem with her. She had multiple women in her scripts who talked about things other than other men. And they told her she needed to stop.

When she asked why, this was their response.

“The audience doesn’t want to listen to a bunch of women talking about whatever it is women talk about.”

Even if what these women are saying moves the story forward? And they gave her some vague non-answer, answer. They went so far as to tell her:

“By having women talk to each other about something other than men, I was “losing the audience.”

 

Seriously? She left the business. I think I would have blown someone up on my way out. Or skinned them alive. Grrrrr.

She concluded her experience in Hollywood thusly:

“I concluded Hollywood was dominated by perpetual pre-adolescent boys making the movies they wanted to see, and using the “target audience” – a construct based on partial truths and twisted math – to perpetuate their own desires. Having never grown up, they still saw women the way Peter Pan saw Wendy: a fascinating Other to be captured, treasured and stuffed into a gilded cage. Where we didn’t talk. To each other. About anything other than men.”

 

I love her article because it proves that movie making peoples are ignoring their audience. And then blaming them.

 

It reminds me of the myriad of opinions from authors and agents alike floating about lately, regarding the way books written by women are changed to be more ‘romancy’ and ‘girly’, complete with softer than needed covers.

Because men don’t want to read about women main characters, right?

HA HA! I introduce you to Chuck Wendig, for starters.

But seriously – poll after poll shows that men and women alike do not care what gender the main character is. Only that they are good characters.

That’s actually one of my biggest fears as a female writer. One, that I will end up with a horrid cover. And Two, that my publisher/editor/whoever will want me to add more romance elements, as a lot of them are lately if you happen to be a female.

No thanks. My anatomy shouldn’t dictate what story I tell.

 

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So, come on now. Get real.

Sexism/Misogyny = bigot, ignorant, bullheaded men and women who don’t want to change. For absolutely no reason. (Because yes, there are women who believe women are less than human or come second to men. Insane, right?)

 

I’m not the kind of person who picks things apart to find something negative in people. Or stories.

But when I do see it, I let my eyes open. I don’t ignore it.

That does not mean that my following posts will be cast in a negative light or all depressing. Like I said, I really liked some of the superhero movies. Or you know, why on earth would I be posting about them?

When I said, “My blog will reflect me. Simply put: what inspires and/or ignites raw emotion within me will find its way here.” I meant it.

I did not make this blog to bash, complain or launch an attack on anyone, their beliefs, or identities. I think it’s physically and psychologically impossible for me to write about something slightly depressing without being positive, dorky and upbeat. So no worries.

 

Writers – does your novel pass the Bechdel test?

How many movies and books can you think of that do or do not pass the Bechdel test?

5 Comments

Filed under Creative Writing, Movies

Superheroes and Sexism

So, with all of these superhero movies busting out lately, you just knew I’d have to say something about them, right?

If so, congratulations!

You are psychic.

Unfortunately, I stopped being psychic a few years back, so if you can throw any good-future-inspiration at me, just make sure it doesn’t damage my face on impact. ;)

 

I couldn’t possibly fit all the movies into one post, so I split it up. I’m planning on talking about these:

  1. Thor
  2. Thor 2
  3. Spiderman 1-3
  4. The Amazing Spiderman
  5. Dark Knight Trilogy
  6. Ironman
  7. Avengers
  8. Superman Returns
  9. Man of Steel
  10. Captain America: The First Avenger
  11. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

 

 

I love superhero movies, books, and stories in general. I think making something with such enormous symbolism and hope is a great idea.

It’s something we need, crave even.

 

Something I cannot stand?

Can you name one of those movies which is about a female superhero? Yeah, me neither.

Can you name one female superhero that is just as popular as a male superhero? One which doesn’t, if you look closely at everything that happens, end up needing the help of a male (whereas, the males of this genre never need help from a woman every time they turn around)? Again, I can’t name one either.

Now I don’t know if I’m just oblivious and if there’s an entire franchise of popular heroines out there that I’ve missed, but none of the really cool heroes happen to be heroines from what I can see.

Why?

I don’t know. They haven’t given the women as awesome roles. They’ve downplayed them. The women always need help. They’re always weaker than their male counterparts. Their emotions always get in the way.

Have I mentioned I’d like to hit someone right now?

 

So, hey – Marvel,  DC Comics and all you movie making people – how about you make a female heroine that can play ball in the same realm as all the popular males of this genre?

*(Yes, I am being bateful because I’m pissed off and highly offended.  No, I don’t actually think anyone from Marvel, DC comics or movie making groups will actually read this. But it made me feel better. ;) )

I don’t know what you think, but women can get downright nasty. So if women can be just as brutal, why are there no large female symbols? And why no movies about them?

I don’t mean to get all crazy about it or anything. But I’m tired of discovering that so many people harping on sexism are right. The more I pay attention, the more I realize that movies cater almost exclusively to men. Anyway, mini rant over.

 

Ignoring the sexism, I really like some of these movies. Out of the ones listed above, these are my favorites:

  1. Captain America: the Winter Soldier
  2. Man of Steel
  3. Captain America: The First Avenger
  4. Thor 2 (When you read what I have to say about this movie you’re going to wonder why I have this as a favorite. But I never said I wasn’t contradictory.)
  5. Tie – The Amazing Spiderman and The Dark Knight Rises

 

What are your favorite superhero movies as of late? Did I miss any you liked?

What do you think about the lack of women in superhero culture?

10 Comments

Filed under Movies

The Winter Soldier: How do Actors and Actresses Deal?

Since time is a jumble of non-linear memories and haphazard story lines mixed in with the fantasy world in my head, I don’t remember which weekend, but some weekend ago, an awesome friend took us to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

I particularly like the way Marvel did the character of The Winter Soldier, or Bucky. Most likely because I like the darker side of things, but come on, I can’t be buckets of bunnies and rainbows all the time. I’d burn my sunshine out and probably make use of some nifty weaponry I’d have to steal first. Just saying.

But that’s not really giving credit where it’s due – saying that I like the way Marvel did Bucky’s character. They had a huge hand in it, yes, but, um, what am I forgetting? Oh yeah, it’s a real dude who brought the character to life.

 

 

So here I am, watching the movie and a good way into it, you see The Winter Soldier without his mask. It turns out to be Bucky. I knew this already but what didn’t strike me until I actually saw the movie was how different the actor looks in real life compared to his character in this movie. I’ve seen the dude in another movie and I’m always IMDb-ing actors and actresses to remember what else I’ve seen them in (because it drives me nuts when I can’t remember) and I knew he looked more like Bucky’s character in the first Captain America than in the second one, in real life.

(Oh, by the way, dude has a name: Sebastian Stan. Because calling him dude without adding his name makes me feel like I’m denoting him to mannequin or an object. Bad Daphne.)

It makes me think that being an actor or actress has got to be depressing sometimes. Especially when you meet fans who absolutely love the character you play but don’t know a thing about the real you.

 

People get attached to fictional characters and when the actor or actress doesn’t look like them or act like them in real life, it pisses them off. It jars them into the reality that the character isn’t real.

And that’s not fair, but I know I do the same thing on a smaller scale sometimes. I prefer an actor this way, the way he looked in that movie or I wonder why an actress would change her hair color in real life when it looked amazing on her in that movie.

Oh, I don’t know, maybe because they’d like their own identity back, thanks.

 

For example (and I’m using this character because he’s my favorite out of the movie, if you couldn’t tell):

Sebastian Stan keeps his hair brown, short and does not walk around wielding knives and a menacing, dark attitude (as far as I know. I don’t stalk famous people, sorry. ;) The extent of my knowledge comes from Google).

 

The Winter Soldier has long dark hair, beats the hell out of anyone who steps to him and has a metal arm.

 

Big difference on a superficial level. So, if like me, you like his hair dark and long, realize that that’s the character’s hair, not the actor’s. Don’t’ get pissed because he cuts it in real life. That’s kind of ridiculous. Not to mention mean, as if you’re saying the real person isn’t good enough.

You know those games you’d see as a kid where two pictures sat side by side, basically the same things on display but with a few differences (and you were supposed to find those differences)? Yeah. That’s what actors and actresses and the roles they play remind me of.

 

They have to strike a balance.

On one hand, they’ve delved into character history and history in general, studying everything that has to do with their character, because they want to do that character justice and at the same time not piss off all the fans. You’re not going to make everyone happy, not possible and they know this, but they don’t want to go so far off the reservation that people are throwing phones at the movie theater screen.

On the other hand, they are not that character. And when they symbolize a certain character and some fan bumps into them on the street (highly unlikely, yes, but come on now, this is me and you have to use your imagination. Preferably the one with aliens who eat chocolate and commune with talking squirrels), they become upset. As if they’re disappointed with who that person really is. And that’s got to be disheartening at times.

I couldn’t imagine putting so much work and so much of my life into bringing a character to life, portraying said character and then having a fan become disappointed upon meeting me – because I’m not that character. I’m me.

 

It’s got to be weird when someone believes they know who you are when they’ve never met you, only seen who you portray and how the media portrays you.

I was reading this article sometime ago where a model was talking about how often fans would treat her a specific way, propose to her, stalk her, because they had an ideal of who she was in their heads. But they had no clue who she really was. She wasn’t the woman posed in magazines. She was a real person, someone they’d never met and didn’t bother trying to understand.

People get a picture in their head and they want that to be real. And when it’s not, some don’t deal well.

 

 

And throughout the movie (okay, a small portion because, movie) I was wondering how actors and actresses react to that, how they deal with it – because that has got to be strange.

 

I think we need to find a balance too. We love characters, finding ones that we can understand and connect with. Someone who can motivate us, symbolize a change we want in our own lives. Characters that mean something to us.

But recognize that the person playing that role, is not that character and getting upset over the fact that they don’t spend their lives emulating that character is not okay. Not cool people. I mean, unless you’re going to kidnap, brainwash and manacle some guy/chick in your basement, you need to accept that they are who they are. Not who you want them to be.

That’s what your imagination is for. If someone is alive in your head, then they’re real enough.

Let that be enough. More than enough. Let the character be inspiring, even if you can’t reach out and touch them.

 

Don’t you think it’d be weird to be an actor/actress and have that happen?

Do you live a double life as a superhero and people aren’t nice to your human alter ego? ;)

2 Comments

Filed under Movies

Let’s Play a Game *creepy smile*

So, I was going to type up this whole post where something revolved around the theme of one of my April #writemotivation goals. But then I was just like, ‘eh’, I feel like a drunk zombie, I’m sucked into the book I’m reading, I’m loving where I’m at with my own writing, and you know – life.

So, uh, no post with a specific purpose. We’re going to try something new. I’m going to start thinking and then vomit t he words out onto my word document like some perverse strain of connect the dots.

 

Ready?

Set.

And, on with the crazy!

 

Last month, I ate moldy pizza.

Okay, it wasn’t moldy, it actually tasted really good. But it looks naaasty.

 

Instead of throwing my dog’s toy for him, I almost threw my lip-gloss, hair tie, the controller, and my phone like seven times. The adjacent walls thanked me for not beating them with my phone. Lucky was just like, “can you throw the freaking Kong already?”

 

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think happy thoughts, think happy thoughts

 

Speaking of talking to walls, could you imagine if someone planted a video camera in a writer’s house? I know for me, they’d have me talking to walls, yelling at people who weren’t there, pacing in circles and back and forth, trying to figure out how this character would kill that one, why this guy would live if I could just have him fall off a cliff, and when would my cookies be done?

I talk to myself, smile to people who are in my head, a lot. People would think I was nuts!

Well, I am, but come on.

 

OH, oh! I finished draft #4 ½ of HUMAN OR HIDDEN, left it alone for 2 weeks and started back working on it this last Thursday.

 

Thanks to Nikki Barnabee, I now know of a search engine that says it doesn’t track its users. That way when I search how to kill someone with a toothpick and how long bodies actually need to soak in acid before they’re good to be buried, the government doesn’t come knocking on my door when my next door neighbor goes missing.

 

I really need to write up my 11 random facts about me post in response to the blog award given to me months ago. But you know, I keep forgetting. My bad. What the hell am I going to tell you? I don’t like tofu? Maybe I’ll talk about my experience with golf carts, lakes, and geese.

 

I don't even know why this is here. Do you know why this is here?

I don’t even know why this is here. Do you know why this is here?

 

I figured out what was wrong with my writing. I’ve been treating it like a chore, something on a to do list that must be checked off by day’s end. I don’t know how that happened. I’ve always written as an escape. Somewhere along the lines I lost that.

Now I’ve remembered why I’m writing. To share all my friends inside my head with you guys. And the annoying ones I’d love to suffocate, but you have to have the good with the bad.

I write to escape, so naturally I love the stories in my head. That means I’m supposed to be sharing those stories, not ones I’m writing for self imposed homework.

So anyway, that’s why this round of Draft 4 and my current round of revisions (draft 5) has me so excited, guys. I’ve finally found my mojo. Even though I kicked it to the curb all on my own for some stupid reason, but let’s focus on the good here. ;)

 

The show Hannibal is pissing me off. I really want to read the books by Thomas Harris. But this show – oh my gosh this show! It is making me so angry that I really wish I could jump in and castrate Hannibal. Just saying. Who is so stupid as to believe he isn’t the killer? But everyone is soooooooo capable of believing that Will is. I mean, I could go along with this. But not for an entire season. Every episode is the Same. Exact. Thing.

Anyone else getting annoyed and bored with this show? I might stop watching it if it doesn’t move forward.

 

I have begun stalking literary agents once again. Mwahahahahahahahaha!

That sounded creepy. I’m not getting creepy with it guys. Don’t actually stalk someone. They might hit you with a brick before you can chloroform them.

 

I’ve begun reading “Stolen” by Kelley Armstrong and I’m liking it so far. I didn’t read book 1 but I always end up reading a random book in a series and if I like it, then decide to read them all.

This book is perfect to be reading while getting back to work on my own because it’s different. Odd. Off the beaten path, as the main character isn’t trying to act like a human with a superpower. She’s brutally honest with the fact that she’s an animal. I like that.

 

Personally, my favorite character in that story is the wolf.

Personally, my favorite character in that story is the wolf.

 

Truth is a big deal with me. I love the “Boy who Cried Wolf” story and all its variations.  I’m thinking of doing something with it. It’s a vengeful story.

 

There are polka dots on my shower curtains.

 

So did any of this make any sense? If it tells you something about how my brain works and you decide on a plot to possess me and take over my life and find the squirrels so you can hitch a ride with the aliens – don’t bother. I’m telepathic. I’ll see you coming.

*evil glare*

 

My April #writemotivation Goals:

  1. Read daily.
  2. Begin working on “Human or Hidden” Draft #5 on either April 3rd or 7th (2 weeks of not touching it over then).
  3. Decide on overall changes and additions for “Human or Hidden”.
  4. Critique 2 chapters of “HoH”.
  5. Continue researching literary agents.
  6. Do things because I want to. Not because I “have to” or its “next on the to do list”. Purpose is key.
  7. Don’t be a productivity robot. Find inspiration every day.

 

Do you ever follow your thoughts in a string of aimless words, memories, and/or ideas? What’s on your mind?

Wow. This was just a bunch of weirdness. And for all my Twitter stalkers – I still have the Reading Rainbow song stuck in my head. *smacks head against wall*

8 Comments

Filed under Personal

What is the Point to Horror? Paranormal? Fantasy?

When people hear me say that I both enjoy and write paranormal, fantasy and horror, they normally ask me variations of one question (with a really funny look on their face).

“Why?” “What?!” “Why on earth!”

Well, let me spell it out for you.

I’m weird.

Okay, so other than that, there are two main reasons (and they have nothing to do with cleavage or gore). ;)

 

ONE, I love it. I grew up with it. My author bio kind of gives that away (that’s over there on the right sidebar).

I remember curling up in the big, cushiony armchair and watching old monster movies. I remember reading books and hearing myths and scary stories of the unexplained and unusual.

I remember the thrill, the fear I felt for the characters, sucked into the story and nervous for them. Not surprisingly, I liked the monsters right off the bat. I loved the creatures in the darkness, the oddities and strange beings that didn’t act or react like humans. Sometimes I wanted them to win, sometimes I didn’t. It depended on the circumstances.

I’ve always had a vibrant imagination. Movies, books, and art that centered around paranormal or horrific creatures always captivated my mind. And I instantly went somewhere else, escaping the mundane and living within places and stories fantastical and dark.

I got wrapped up in a world so different from my own filled with shadows and secrets. Only, when I finished that book or movie, read another, finished it, I started to realize that the two worlds weren’t so different after all. Which brings me to reason number two.

 

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TWO, I love the truth of it. I don’t mean the gore or the monsters. I mean the messiness. The human nature, the real monsters glaring up at us from beneath the masks of fangs and talons. Horror and fantasy allow us to learn about ourselves, about society and our deep seeded beliefs, identities and secrets. It just goes about it via a roundabout way. And it uses a lot of fake blood.

It’s easy to see the monsters when they’re literally monsters. Vampires, werewolves, bogeymen, fey creatures, ogres, etc. They aren’t us, so it’s okay for us to loathe them for the evils they represent. It’s okay to fear them, to be disgusted with them. And to show them no empathy or compassion. Because they’re pure evil, not something we understand or care to try and understand.

We don’t like looking the truth head on a lot of the time. Fictional monsters let us learn things about ourselves and the world we inhabit without realizing. Not until we’re done anyway.

 

I like a total of two cartoons. One of them is Scooby-Doo. The original cartoons, I mean. Not the newer ones with stereotypical characters and teen drama. Yeah, I’ll watch it. But I don’t like it like I do the original cartoons. Fred isn’t a dunce and Daphne (NOT who I was named after) isn’t a damsel into distress. Klutzy and danger prone, but not helpless and ditsy. Just saying. Cuz that obviously isn’t a sore spot with me. ;)

 

(He’s guarding my flashdrive.) What on earth do I have Scooby-Doo involved in the “horror/paranormal/fantasy” post for? A little odd, right?

Not really. Scooby-Doo symbolizes the same thing good horror, good myths and lore symbolize.

The real monsters are the humans (kicking a dead horse, right?).

And that is exactly what horror movies, books, and lore tell us. the good ones anyway. It’s showing us humanity in all its pitfalls and lowest points.

But (and this is a really important ‘but’) it also shows us the rise up and beat down of the monster inside – only in the movies it’s the physical monster outside of us that symbolizes this. Fear gives us the chance to show love. Horror gives us the ability to become what we always had the potential to be. Whether that be good or bad is up to us.

 

What is scariest of all? The unknown.

The unknown brings us terror and imaginative ideas of what could be behind that curtain. Good fantasy illuminates some piece of this, gives us something we’d never dare asking for.

Fantasy shows you the worst possible thing that could happen, brings you face to face with your worst fears and steps back. Challenges, adversity, suffering – they give you a run for your money, show you a little bit about yourself as you go.

Now add a creature created from the depths of all your base fears, something that makes your skin crawl, your brain try to shut down or reason it away. And that will really tell you something.

 

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THE VALUE

I grew up loving the monsters, the creatures. The fear. Getting all creeped out, reading in the dark, the only person still awake. And yes, horror, fantasy, and paranormal are three different genres or way of explaining movies or books, but I find them intertwined all the time. Figured I’d add them all.

I like it.  You’ve got it, really. But why bother? Horror, fantasy, paranormal. It all holds a mirror up to us. The humans. Human nature. Human beliefs and desires. Our truest self resides in the recesses of our darkness, a place not many of us go often. When something gets under our skin, we learn something about ourselves. You can’t illuminate darkness until you’ve seen it.

And what about the gore? Well, life isn’t pretty. It’s messy. So I guess that covers that. (But I don’t like the cheesy movies with buckets of gore done for shock value and ratings, just so you know).

;)

 

Do you like reading/watching horror, fantasy, or anything paranormal? Writers - Do people look at you strange when you tell them you write it?

6 Comments

Filed under Personal

If You Ask the Silence

I’ve learned to breathe fire.

Do you ever scream into the world, the silence, the noise, universe, all of creation,
“INSPIRE ME!”
And it whispers back,
“Open your eyes.”

Sometimes I forget that inspiration is already here, right here. Everywhere I want to find it. All I have to do is open my mind to it, search it out.

There is no defining moment. We must break free, we must live, of our own accord, designing each breath with the purpose of our souls.

And don’t you ever forget it.
When you do, you lose a small piece of yourself, that joy, that intangible happiness you cannot express via anything but a smile, the all exuding ‘this moment is perfect’ glow. It’s rare, decide it is important to you.
Hope.

The world doesn’t wait on us. Die, and it continues on.
But it watches. It knows.
If you could ask the silence what it hears of you, what would it say?

Poignancy isn’t a monster. It’s a guide. Sweet isn’t vibrant unless the pangs of adversity first show you sour.
You can find beauty in everything. If you look. Use it.

Don’t be blind to what is in front of you, surrounding you, filling you.
If you’re broken, pick up the pieces you like and create others.
It is impossible to be saved in ignorance.

Become you. Find you. Create you. It’s all the same.
You remain ever changing.

Open your eyes to the flame inside, all around.
You are good enough.
Decide you are important.

Smile.
Find a way to mean it.
Open your eyes to the inspiration surrounding and within you.
Don’t fall at the wayside, cold and automated, a product of those around you, using you, molding you.
Breathe fire into your soul, your life.

I’ve learned to breathe fire.

Do you ever scream into the world, the silence, the noise, universe, all of creation,
“INSPIRE ME!”
And it whispers back,
“Open your eyes.”

“Tomorrow you promise yourself will be different, yet tomorrow is too often a repetition of today.” – James T. McKay

stockvault-crimson-sunset114865

Do you embrace inspiration or sometimes forget to see it?

7 Comments

March 26, 2014 · 9:54 am

What is Ostara?

*NOTE* I’m posting twice this week kiddos, but don’t get used to it. I only post twice a week every once in a while. I forgot what day it was again and this post has to be this week. Doi. My bad. ;)

 

I’m a thief.

Okay, not the way you’re thinking.

But I take pieces and parts of things I like or enjoy and use them in a way that suits me. I’m not talking about anything tangible here. I’m not going to steal part of your stereo system or a tire off your convertible.

I take pieces of research and sew them together into something I like, something I can use. And considering that I’m a mutt and I like research, I take pieces of my nationalities and embed them in my life.

You’ve been warned. Mwahahahaaha! (okay, I’ll stop now)

 

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In case you didn’t know, Ostara is the Celtic equivalent of the first day of Spring. Some consider it a celebration, some consider it simply observed by the Celts. No one can agree on whether or not the Celts celebrated eight or four festivals throughout the year, but we know they observed the different seasons and moon phases. But I digress.

It was Ostara last Thursday.

And like I said, I take pieces from everything. When it comes to the Celtic Festivals, I like to strip it down to its’ base meaning, find the lesson or theme it’s trying to teach.

Ostara is mainly a celebration of the coming life to the world, the beginning of Spring, new plant life and animals peeking out into the sunshine. It is a time of new growth, of renewal, inside and out.

 

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Humans are weird. We’re a species of repetition, schedules and traditions. And I say weird because when I say, “repetition”, I mean knock ourselves over the head with a club over and over again so we remember to remember something important.

We have to remind ourselves of things so that we don’t let the importance fade. The sun turns red for three weeks and people are out of their minds panicking. Three years after the fact? Eh. It’s not so amazing.

Are you freaking kidding me? How do we do this? We constantly downplay the amazing-ness of things because the shock value or feeling of imminence has passed.

This is why Celtic Festivals make a lot of sense to me.

If you’ve looked into all of them, you’ll see a pattern. Death, rebirth. Darkness, light. Letting go of the old and negativity weighing us down, begin anew with positive goals. Nature dies, nature grows. We let things die and we plant new seeds.

See where I’m going here? Constant reminders, all year long.

We, as humans, forget. And a thrilling festival reminds us with its myths and symbolism, fire lit ghost stories and practices of grandeur.

 

hare

hare

bunny

bunny

 

BUNNIES DON’T LAY EGGS

Ostara practices morphed into Easter, the celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection.

So how did we get bunnies and eggs out of this?

Bunnies: no, they don’t lay eggs.

Fertility is a form of rebirth, duh. You’re going to give birth if you’re fertile. And fertile land yields an abundance of nature. With Ostara, the hare was a symbol of fertility in European countries. But bunnies are cuter so that’s normally what you see.

Why? Well let’s think. Do we all know a popular phrase revolving around bunnies and the overwhelming amount of babies? Yeah. And it’s true. About this time bunnies are making more bunnies and running free like little zombies of birth…er, you get my point.

Eggs:  Also huge signs of fertility. Easter egg hunts are a big smack of symbolism. Go find the hiding fertility. In this case, we’re talking the rebirth of nature and the liveliness she gives us now, the new life and growth. Don’t worry, you’re not telling your children to go find hidden babies.

I like the red egg symbolism when it comes to the egg thing; red symbolizing the blood of Christ. *shrug* I’m a horror and fantasy writer. I like me my stark symbols.

 

LOTS OF FOOD

Before winter, you would salt and cure meat for the winter months. And that’s all you had. If you were poor, you didn’t eat much at all throughout winter, so once Spring hit, people were once again able to kill animals and eat fresh meat. Also kept during the winter were vegetable roots. Spring brought the vegetables they needed, with the vitamins and healthy stuff in it the human body needed to not get all jacked up.

I’d say that’s a pretty big reason to celebrate. Because, seriously, FOOD!

 

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I’m definitely doing red eggs this year :D

 

SNAKES TOO

In Mexico, the Mayans celebrated “The Return of the Sun Serpent” on Ostara.

“El Castillo” is an important ceremonial pyramid there. And on the first day of spring, it appears that a great serpent descends from the top of the pyramid, from the sky down to the earth. This shadow snake is a symbol of the coming of spring and sunlight. It’s caused by the setting of the sun casting shadows which look like a snake, slithering down the pyramid and it only happens on the Spring Equinox.

Pretty cool, right?

Snakes are also popular when talking about the revitalized nature of Springtime. They come out of winter hibernation. Plus, the shedding of a snake’s skin has always symbolized renewal.

 

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FIND YOUR BALANCE

Ostara is a time to find your footing and bring new life to your own world.

On the Spring Equinox, the day and night stand equal. Perfect balance.

Take a look at what is balanced in your life. Or are you lacking in that area? If you are, figure out a way to remedy this and work towards it. Nothing major, just a little bit at a time. Unless you’re able to stick to major changes done all at once. Then by all means, go for it.

Is your work and home life balanced? Your emotions and physical body? Do you balance doing those things which you must out of responsibility and those things which purely bring you joy? Are your relationships balanced, or do you need to breathe new life into them (remember, if this is so, you’ll both need to work on that one, not just you)?

 

Beautiful tulip on bright yellow background.

 

Don’t worry if you fall off the wagon, there’s another festival in the future that will remind you. That doesn’t, however, mean don’t bother trying.

Go take a ten minute walk. Get some sunshine. Plant a garden or maybe just one new plant. Bring something new into your life, even if its only the way you think or work towards something. List the things you’re grateful for, like the beauty Spring brings. What inspires you?

Imagine yourself emerging from Winter’s sleep, into the newness of Spring’s sunlight and abundance.

What do you love about Spring?

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Filed under 8 Celtic Festivals, Personal, Research