Spring Equinox – A Celebration of Life
Feel the spring in your step in this season filled with growth and new life
Spring Equinox is a time when light and dark are in balance ushering in the lighter half of the year. From now on it will get lighter in the evening and the farmers will enjoy more sunshine and daylight hours in which to care for their crops and livestock.
This is a time of growth and of balance so as we may work on balancing ourselves and the subtle energies within us, our chakras, the inner masculine and feminine qualities we all possess and the light and dark aspects of ourselves.
The Easter Bunny
This festival is named after the Anglo-Saxon Goddess Eostre or Eastre, also known in Old German as Ostara. Her festival was celebrated at the Spring Equinox, and became Easter, and she was a Goddess of fertility. Eostre was a playful goddess whose reign over the earth began in the spring when the Sun King journeyed across the sky in his chariot, bringing the end of winter. Ostara came down to earth then, appearing as a beautiful maiden with a basket of bright colourful eggs with her companion, a rabbit who accompanied her as she brought new life to dying plants and flowers by hiding the eggs in the fields.
The egg symbolized Eostre’s wholeness and fertility and the female hormone oestrogen is named after her. Due to this, an egg is offered at this equinox as a symbol of fertility and new life. The golden yolk represents the Sun God, its white shell is seen as the White Goddess. Thus a tradition of decorating eggs, egg rolling and egg hunts originate from pagan fertility rites dedicated to Eostre, which symbolised fertility and re-birth. Eggs were often offered to the earth to ensure a bountiful years harvest.
The hare was regarded as the sacred animal of the lunar goddess, because of its fertility and activity at this time. Witches were once believed to shape-shift into hares. Now rabbits have become one of the symbols of Easter – they are these days more prolific and common than the graceful hare.
Mythology and legend
The custom of eating hot cross buns is also said to have Pagan origins. The Saxons ate buns that were marked with a cross in honour of Eostre. The ancient Greeks also consumed these types of buns in their celebrations of Artemis, Goddess of the hunt also known as Diana to the Romans. Also the Egyptians ate a similar cake in their worship of the Goddess Isis.
The Anglo-Saxon lunar month, which became April, was called Eastermonath. The equinox is a time both of fertility and new life, and of balance and harmony. Light and dark are here in balance, but the light is growing stronger. It is a time of birth, and of manifestation. Daffodils, tulips and crocuses are all in full bloom, blossom appears on trees and catkins can be found on the hazel and willow. Rites are best performed at dawn or dusk, (but better at Dawn) that time between light and dark.
The days grow lighter and the earth grows warmer. As at Imbolc, seeds may be blessed and planted. Seeds of wisdom, understanding, and magickal skills may also be planted. Eggs may be used for the creation of talismans, or ritually eaten. The egg is a symbol of rebirth, and its yolk represents the sun, its white, the Goddess. Egg production in hens is stimulated when the bird’s retina is stimulated by more than 12 hours of light, thus more eggs are produced after the equinox.
This is the time of spring’s return, the joyful time, the seed time, when life bursts forth from the earth and the chains of winter are broken. It is a time of balance when all the elements within must be brought into new harmony. The Prince of the Sun reaches out His hand, and the Kore, the maiden, returns from the dark underworld. Where they dance, wild flowers appear, sorrow turns to joy, and scarcity turns to abundance.
Balancing and New Beginnings
Spring or Vernal Equinox marks the point when day and night are of the same length – 12 hours. After the Winter Solstice the days lengthen and the nights shorten , and ‘Equinox’ means equal night and ‘Vernal’ comes from the Latin word for ‘bloom’, as in the northern hemisphere the Spring equinox marks the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring. Light and dark are in balance now, but light is gaining.
It is also known as the day of equilibrium. Now is a good time to consider the balance of our lives – work, play and relationships.