Four maple wood laser cut cookie stamps for Imbolc and Ostara.
These stamps have been tested through 10 dozen cookies but it is important to remember that wood has grain and being gentle while pushing down at narrow points is important.
Bread/Wheat – In ancient Europe, communities lived and died by successful wheat harvests. Imbolc and Lammas are two celebrations on the Wheel of the Year directly connected to wheat. Imbolc for the planting, and also for the weaving of Brigid’s crosses. They are woven from the straw left over after the creation of the Brideog or “Little Brid”, a doll decorated with all manner of pretty things.
On Imbolc Eve, it was common for the Brideog to be carried through the streets to the houses in the village. The procession would be invited into homes for singing and blessings. If a home was in need of a fresh Brigid Cross, one was given. The new Brigid Cross was sprinkled with sacred water and then a blessing is asked of Brigid for home and family before it is hung near a door.
The earth is turned and the grain given back to it, in hopes of a fruitful new growing year.
Candle – As this is still the dark half of the year, the nights are long and the days are short so any extra help to finish work or see your way home was valuable. Christian churches at this time celebrated Candlemas but the tradition itself is older. Imbolc honours Brigid (Brighid, Bride, Brigit). She was so loved within her Celtic world that her traditions were woven, through St Bridget, into the Christian church. She is a Fire goddess of the sun and hearth, making candles and candlemaking a perfect honouring practice at this time of the year.
Moon Gazing Hare/Rabbit – When gazing at the moon in Europe, there is a reasonable possibility you will be “seeing” the hare on the moon, not the face of a man. This ancient symbol is perfect for Ostara and Easter. It symbolizes fertility, growth, re-birth, abundance, new beginnings and fortune. The fertility connection comes from the fact that female hares can carry bunnies of different pregnancies at the same time. Try tucking a few tiny candies in the grass or add a small piece of mini-marshmallow for a tail and the Easter bunny won’t be far away.
Equinox Egg – Eggs are an almost universal symbol of rebirth, a visual shorthand for un-hatched potential, fertility, hope, purity, and as Elton John sings, the circle of life. They herald the start of a new season that in many places begins a fresh agricultural cycle. The reason that we even have seasons is the 23.5 degree tilt that the earth spins on and is why the half circles of the design are also on an angle. And because I am a bit of a nerd, the design is an homage to the shadow serpent that slithers down the steps of Chichen Itza each equinox. Use for Easter, Spring Equinox and Ostara cookies.
It is best to use a recipe with little or no large extra bits. Spices, extracts and zest are fine but chopped nuts and dried fruits can be more challenging to work with. The cookies in the picture below have a bit of added orange zest.
Roll out dough of your chosen recipe and cut circles either with a glass or scalloped edge cookie cutter.
Tap stamp in flour and push down into the center of the precut cookie.
Sugar cookies are traditionally taken from the oven before they brown but since these cookie will not be iced, I personally prefer to get them just a little golden around the edges. That will mean a little paying attention so as not to over bake.
For a full page of tips and tricks click here.
The plants below are Druidic associations with Imbolc and Ostara.