Seriously, have to ask – who doesn’t want to celebrate Spring? As a kid Spring time was filled with woodland flowers and baby lambs popping out everywhere and bouncing like mad fiends over the grass. Thus, I think that really nailed down the fact that I love Spring Equinox!
After a long (this one especially) winter, the idea, the knowing and the full Trust that Spring is going to come is amazing. To me it is about NEW. New plants, new ideas, new ways of moving in the world and releasing the blaugh. Spring Equinox (also known as Ostara), after the goddess Eostre is a fertility holiday, which celebrates the resurgence of life with such symbols as rabbits, cute little chicks and lambs (seeing any similarity to Easter symbols?)
Spring Equinox is the second of the four “sky points” in the Wheel of the Year, and is a time of balance, it is when the sun does a perfect balancing act in the heavens. In other words, the sun rises exactly in the East, travels through the sky for 12 hours and sets exactly in the West. Thus, all over the world, day and night are of equal length. For us in the Northern Hemisphere we know from this moment forth there will be more light than there is darkness, and growth will reign triumphant over death. (For those in the Southern Hemisphere it is Fall Equinox, a time of harvest and getting ready for Winter and a gentle letting go of the light to fold in and cocoon).
This is a time when the goddess is the Maiden in all her youthful glory, the god is reaching manhood, and energy abounds. So why not tap into that energy to bring the light into your own darkness, if you have any? For example spring cleaning is not just about your home, it’s about removing old or negative energies accumulated over the dark winter months to prepare you for glorious growth. It’s about planting seeds of intention, seeds of growth, seeds of food – it’s about shedding that heavy winter coat and picking up something a tad lighter and a bit more fun.
If we were to look through multiple cultures Spring Equinox has, and is, a glorious time of welcoming in the light, celebrating the rebirth or creation of new things, planting seeds and releasing the old, worn and tired.
For example, there is the story of the Roman god Mithras, which is similar to the tale of Jesus Christ and his resurrection. “ Born at the winter solstice and resurrected in the spring, Mithras helped his followers ascend to the realm of light after death. In one legend, Mithras, who was popular amongst members of the Roman military, was ordered by the Sun to sacrifice a white bull. He reluctantly obeyed, but at the moment when his knife entered the creature’s body, a miracle took place. The bull turned into the moon, and Mithras’ cloak became the night sky. Where the bull’s blood fell, flowers grew, and stalks of grain sprouted from its tail.”
In the Mayan culture, at Chichen Itza, spring equinox is most certainly celebrated (I have been there for this, very cool!) It’s called – The Snake of Sunlight “A famous ancient equinox celebration was the Mayan sacrificial ritual by the main pyramid at Chichen Itza, Mexico. The pyramid, known as El Castillo, has 4 staircases running from the top to the bottom of the pyramid’s faces, notorious for the bloody human sacrifices that used to take place here. The staircases are built at a carefully calculated angle which makes it look like an enormous snake of sunlight slithers down the stairs on the day of the equinox.” (Having been there, very cool).
Last but not least let’s look at the Iranian New Year, which is called No-Rooz, and happens at exactly the same time. Again, spring cleaning occurs and an altar is set up “Iranians consider No-Rooz as their biggest celebration of the year, before the new year, they start cleaning their houses (Khaane Tekaani), and they buy new clothes. But a major part of New Year rituals is setting the “Haft Seen” with seven specific items. In ancient times each of the items corresponded to one of the seven creations and the seven holy immortals protecting them. Today they are changed and modified but some have kept their symbolism. All the seven items start with the letter “S”; this was not the order in ancient times. These seven things usually are: Seeb (apple), Sabze (green grass), Serke (vinager), Samanoo (a meal made out of wheat), Senjed (a special kind of berry), Sekke (coin), and Seer (garlic). Sometimes instead of Serke they put Somagh (sumak, an Iranian spice). Zoroastrians today do not have the seven “S”s but they have the ritual of growing seven seeds as a reminder that this is the seventh feast of creation, while their sprouting into new growth symbolized resurrection and eternal life to come. “
So in my world, no matter where you are on this planet – equinox time is about balance & harmony. Also, celebration! So whether you just take a moment to light a candle and say thanks, go kite flying, gift a friend with a crystal (I highly recommend Aventurine, Carnelian, Peridot or Sunstone), buy yourself some spring flowers and pop them where you can see them, light a fire and have friends over for a celebration, it doesn’t matter. But I do invite you to do something, even if it is just writing with a Sharpie on an egg! Here is an Equinox ritual to perform, either on your own or with others to acknowledge this time.
For me personally; I am celebrating with my kids, a glorious feast, the ritual above, and painting my toe nails Spring colours. Oh yes, I have bought some deep purple tulips for the dining room table and have candles galore!
So how are you going to celebrate?