Spring equinox rituals can be synonymous with Easter traditions, but there is more to this celestial holiday than many people realize.
The spring equinox (otherwise known as the “first day of spring”) is a turning point in the seasons when the sun reaches its zenith over the celestial equator. Or, more plainly, it comes to the midpoint in its journey from north to south. On an equinox, both the northern and southern hemispheres are equally illuminated.
From the Latin word meaning equal (equi) night (-nox), the day of the equinox is a time when there is an equal amount of nighttime to daytime. In recent times, the spring equinox happens on the 19th or 20th of March depending on the year.
Spring Equinox Rituals: In Like a Ram
The spring equinox marks the start of the astrological calendar. This is the first day of the astrological sign of Aries, the ram. Charging forth with passion, the ram exemplifies the reemergence of life after a frozen winter. This is the time of year when many species of animals hatch or birth young. Spring is most commonly associated with baby bunnies, ducklings, lambs and chicks. We see these young ones as sweet and innocent. But we must not forget the intense strength and drive it takes for new life to burst on the scene.
On the vernal equinox, day equals night and the season of spring starts in earnest. We are in the place of the East in the medicine wheel. Now the seeds in the ground have the courage to spring forth. Now the birds lay and hatch eggs and the animals give birth. We have come out of the quiet slumber of winter, the intensity of gales that forced us inside, and we too are born again to the world. We can go outside and linger.
Spring is an intoxicating time of year full of zealous birdsong and audacious color. With the coming of the sun, the grasses grow before our very eyes. Everything starts living out loud. Allow the vibrancy of all life around you to fuel your enthusiasm.
Your spring equinox rituals should include a good deal of excitement and enthusiasm for life. Vibrancy should be a keyword as you set the tone. Pastels are a beautiful Easter tradition, but on the vernal equinox how about bright yellows, greens, pinks and oranges?
Lighten Things Up
Every ceremony, not just a spring equinox ceremony, should include purification of the space and participants at the start. How about instead of the smoky sage you get out a spray bottle? Fill it with citrus scented water. You can either squeeze fresh lemons, limes or oranges into water or you can pull out the essential oils.
Before the guests arrive, walk in a counter-clockwise circle around the room and spray the water. Then as each guest comes in the door bless them with a spritz of citrus sweetness. Citrus is know for its antibacterial and antiviral properties, so you’ll literally be clearing those lingering winter bugs out of the house. Just be sure not to spray anyone in the face and use essential oils sparingly as they can irritate skin. Citrus also uplifts and clears the the mind. Starting fresh is just what we need this time of year.
Other ways to lift up and out the doldrums of winter and the old energy of last year is to open a window or door to let a fresh breeze in for a time. Dusting and sweeping your house by yourself can be lovely and simple spring equinox rituals to make space for the new and lighten your load.
The Spring Goddess Ostara
For a change, we have a Germanic goddess in a staring role. The Greek, Egyptian and Hindu pantheons typically dominate the scene. It is a nice change of pace to welcome this lovely lady into your vernal equinox rituals.
Ostara is known as the goddess of fertility, dawn and spring. Her name is also spelled Eostre, which is where the name for the Easter holiday and for estrogen came from. Ostara’s associated with the eastern star. She is a manifestation of the archetype of the maiden – fresh, vibrant and pure. Just like the return of the Greek goddess Persephone from the underworld sparks the start of spring, so too does the arrival of Ostara.
One key story tells of how Ostara was late one year only to find a dying little bird frozen in the snow. She felt such remorse that she brought the bird back to life, but she was not able to save his wings. So, she turned him into a white hare and gave him the ability to lay eggs of all colors of the rainbow. It is said he hides the eggs for the children each year. (Read full story on GoddessGift.com).
The spring equinox rituals of painting and hunting for eggs was eventually linked to the Christian Easter holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, there’s no reason you can’t paint your eggs on the spring equinox and have the easter egg hunt on Easter.
One of my favorite spring equinox rituals that’s worth reviving is to light a fire at dawn in honor of this goddess.
Planting Your Seeds
A spring equinox ritual that gets lost in the shuffle of egg dyes, baskets and candy is the planting of seeds for the summer crops. The beauty of this ceremony is that it can be conducted alone or with a group. When you are planning and sowing your garden at or around the vernal equinox this year, do it with intention. Think of what new things, beliefs, practices and/or values you are bringing into your life this year. Before you put the seeds in the ground, hold them and imbue them with your new intent.
Now is the time for planting the seeds of hopes and dreams and allowing them to be activated by Divine forces. It is a good time to think about what you would like to allow into your life that you haven’t had room for before. If you have been cultivating a way of life for a number of years, now is the time to add new shoots and branches to your tree as well as blossom out with willingness to express your truth. The soil is cleared away by the freeze and moist from the melt. There is plenty of open space to create a fresh way of being in the world. Be inspired and spring forth!
About Author, Stacey L. L. Couch
Stacey L. L. Couch, Certified Shamanic Practitioner and Ordained Minister, plans and facilitates ceremonies of all types from house blessings to weddings to life transitions. Many of these ceremonies coincide with either equinoxes or solstices. With her deeply rooted experience in the field of shamanism and vast knowledge about the natural world, Stacey brings a unique blend of rational and mystical perspective to every ceremony she conducts. Every ceremony is custom-built and includes the valuable ideas and input from those she works on behalf of. Stacey can travel to you to conduct the ceremony in person, or she can meet with you by phone or Skype to work together and help you plan your own ceremony.
To Learn More About Stacey Couch’s Ceremonial Services Visit:
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