Celebrating the Spring Equinox
The Spring Equinox
The Spring Equinox is a breath of fresh air after a long, dark, icy winter. It is a time for new life and growth as the Sun begins to dominate the sky. Days are about to become longer than the nights. Soon we will eagerly spend time outdoors as we shed our winter coats. It is time to abandon the hibernation period of the dark half of the year.
The Vernal Equinox is the astrological name for this time of the year when the Sun enters the sign of Aries. The lamb is a potent symbol for this juncture of the wheel of the year. Historically the lamb was a sacrifice to the gods and fits with this season of resurrection where all of nature returns to life. The Sun crosses the celestial equator at this moment in time as we begin to journey through the zodiacal signs once again. The word equinox comes from two Latin words. "Aequus" means equal and "nox" means night. Equinoxes are a special because they are the only days when both the Northern and Southern hemispheres are receiving equal amounts of light. The tilt of the Earth is zero in relationship to the Sun. All across the globe we are united with equilibrium.
Our ancestors had a strong connection to the Sun. They relied upon it more than we do today. Their survival depended upon the yield of crops from the productive portion of the year. The Sun provides life giving sustenance. Our ancestors were at the mercy of the natural conditions and elements. Too much or too little Sun would mean less viable sustainability. Is it any wonder our pagan ancestors chose to celebrate the Sun at different points throughout the year? Ostara is one of 8 pagan Sabbats to honour the Sun.
Nature is Coming to Life
- New beginnings.
- New love.
The Sign of the Lamb
A Time of Balance
Spring Equinox is a time of balance where night and day are equal. Does your life contain the necessary balance? As you are entering the active half of the year you will be able to accomplish so much more. Approaching this active time with a good mindset is key to making the most of it. Being productive needs to be countered with times of restfulness or carefree play. The light half of the year deals with life and growth. These lengthened days have us living more actively. Frequent travel away from home can cure us of the winter doldrums. It can also be easy to overwhelm ourselves with new activities.
Meditate on ways to establish balance in your life. What are the things in your life which are out of control? Do you spend so much time working that you are feeling a lack of joy in your life? Work needs to be balanced with play. If we work too much we are too frazzled to do anything effectively. Taking needs to be balanced with giving. We don't want to come across as someone taking advantage of others. Is there any area of your life which lacks equilibrium?
Perhaps you are having too much fun! Challenging times in our life teach us how to deal with hardship.Too much good in our life can throw off the balance. Honoring the darkness can be difficult. Developing compassion in our heart is the by-product of heartbreak. Adapting to life means having gratitude for what we have whether or not it is perfect. It can be hard to appreciate what we have if we have never experienced any kind of loss. When we are coming out of the dark half of the year it is a good time to recognize the darkness so we can better appreciate the light.
Spring Equinox Activities
- Blessing seeds
- Coloring eggs
- Egg hunts
- Home blessings
- Preparing a garden
- Spring cleaning
- Start seedlings
Seedlings are Taking Root
Plant Your Seeds
Ostara is a time of germination. Our plans are past the conception stage we celebrated at Imbolc. Now we want to allow our plans to start developing. It is time to bless the seeds and the land. Bless any figurative seeds you wish to plant in your life. List out your hopes and dreams. You can use this list in a ritual. Bury your goals in your garden or in a planter with some seeds.
It is the time of the year to begin connecting to the earth. Working in the yard and the garden gets you in touch with the land. It may be too early in many regions to start actually putting our plants into the ground. You might be able to work in your yard cleaning up litter that is lingering around.
- Container gardening for urban apartment dwellers.
- Synchronize your gardening with other projects in your life.
- Refer to The Old Farmer's Almanac to figure out the best planting time in your area.
Lilac Blossoms in Spring
Spring Equinox Herbs
Many herbs and flowers are associated with the Spring Equinox. You may enjoy purchasing incense or essential oils with these particular scents in mind. Some of these herbs you many find in stores in the form of herbal teas. Rose hip tea is definitely available at many stores. It is loaded in vitamin C and can help strengthen your immune system. The flowers listed here can be a great way to add colour to your home. You might want to place them on your altar.
Collecting flowers from outside is now becoming possible as the weather warms up. It can be nice to get in touch with the fresh fragrances and natural signs that spring is on it's way. You might also want to sample from the bounty of fresh plants springing up in your neighborhood. You can take a walk in nature and appreciate what is seasonal in your region. There is no need to stick to the herbs which I have listed blow. Tap into the things which are pronouncing themselves in the natural world where you reside. This is an authentic way to tap into the energies of Spring Equinox.
- Rose Hips
Eggs are a Symbol of New Life
Eggs Represent Fertility
Eostre is a Germanic Goddess who was written about by Bede in the 8th century. Her name is identified as the root word for the Christian holiday of Easter. April was the month in which rituals were conducted to win her favor. There is much debate as to whether or not she was a real deity. Some believe she was invented by Bede.
The Goddess Eostre has a popular legend associated with her. Coming across a wounded bird late in the winter she took pity upon him. In order to help her little feathered friend survive she turned him into a hare. This transformation was only partial. The hare was still able to lay eggs. These eggs she would paint and give to Eostre as gifts.
Eggs are a symbol of fertility. We can decorate eggs as gifts for Eostre too! Eggs are a big part of a Spring Equinox celebration. You can participate in egg hunts or color eggs. Using food and plants to make your own natural dyes is an earth friendly way of practicing paganism.
Oomancy is another fun practice! This is divination with eggs. Separate yolks from whites and pour the whites into boiling water. Discern what shapes you see and record it in your magickal journal. This can be an imaginative activity which even toddlers might enjoy taking part in. Young children seem to have a fascination with eggs and have big imaginations! They may be even better at divining than we with more grown up eyes.
A Time for Rebirth and Resurrection
Resurrection and rebirth can be about adapting to our lives and overcoming our failures. There are many things in life that don't go as planned. This time of year is a great time to revisit our prior ambitions and re-evaluate them. The butterfly and the phoenix are 2 powerful totem animals which you can use to empower yourself at the Spring Equinox.
The butterfly is a symbol of the Spring Equinox because it is something which is reborn. It is a good symbol to use to working towards new things in your life. Butterflies can be compared to gods who died and were resurrected. Inside their cocoon they hibernate until the time to rise arrives.
The phoenix is a magickal creature which can ignite hope and optimism within us. It resurrects itself from it's own ashes. Use phoenix energy to inspire your meditations at Spring Equinox. Meditate on your past failures. How can you rise up from the ashes? What would it feel like to be reborn?
- Resurrect your old ideas.
- Give your past ideas new hope.
- Get motivated to start all over again.
- Learn from your errors.
Butterflies Symbolize Resurrection
Signs of Spring in Nature
Our ancestors looked for signs in nature to determine when to plant their crops. Take a walk and search for signs of life.
What are some signs that spring is arriving?
- Honey and maple syrup are abundant at Spring Equinox. You can also use these as offerings to deities. Bees awaken from hibernation. Honey production starts up. Saps in the trees begins to run.
- Worms begin to break out of the soil. Some Native American cultures called the full moon in March "Worm Moon" because of this natural sign of spring's arrival.
- Birds may begin migrating North again. You may hear more chirping and bird song as spring arrives.