All around the world, the length of light and darkness are approximately equal on 2 days of the year called the equinoxes– midway between the solstices of summer and winter lie the gateways into the spring and autumn. Equinox meaning “equal night”, which is not exactly true except at the equator.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac says that the worms begin to emerge from the earth at this time, the arc of the sun shifts to the north, and the increasing sunlight causes the birds to sing; flowers to bloom. When the crocus bloom, they say it is time to begin planting radishes, parsnips, and spinach…a cycle which begins again each passing year. Soon the farmers will be in the fields again too.
The metaphor cannot be lost on us. This darkness of winter always passes and we find new life emerge with the entrance of spring. This continual passage is the rhythm of our days and years, a remembrance of our mortality, and the need to appreciate those we love and all the wonder and beauty that surrounds us. A beauty we must fight fiercely honor and protect with our actions.
As a little girl, I felt profoundly connected to nature and the spirits of the earth. Perhaps it was imagination only, or the attunement of children to the Divine, but everything seemed alive to me, and time quite relative. I begged people to take me to church for the singing, somehow ignored any patriarchal message, but found the Divine through the songs. “For the beauty of the earth”…. (I loved this song)…refraining…”This, our hymn of grateful praise…” Not praise to a manmade entity, but praise to a force of nature, good, loving, present, indecipherable, and not male or female– I was a mystic and a bit of a pagan from the start.
There is no spring without winter, no way to appreciate light without darkness and vice versa. All interconnected, we find ways to celebrate the small and the large miracles of life. The return of the birds, the lingering light, the warming days, the color of trees, the sacredness of this earth spinning around a star and on its own internal axis, creating time as we know it.
Ritual for Spring
The following is a simple ritual to bring you solidly into your body and heart as you acknowledge this new season. Use it in the next few days or on the first new moon of spring next week.
Find a quiet place outside or by a window where you can see outside. This is best done at dusk or dawn, when the change from darkness to light or light to darkness is taking place.
Take 3 deep cleansing breaths, exhaling slowly with the words “thank you” whispered on the exhale. Take a few more deep breaths and feel your connection to the ground underneath you and the solidity of your form connected to the chair or mat, and then imagine yourself deeply connected to the ground beneath your feet like roots of a tree. Bring in nourishment through your breath like the roots of a tree.
Light a white, yellow or deep green candle and close your eyes. Meditate for a few minutes on a personal intention. Make it something that you want to plant and nurture this emerging season. Breathe it in, and then write it down on a small piece of paper or in your journal. Keep it somewhere where you can find it again.
Next, meditate for a few minutes on something that the world needs, and imagine your part in bringing that intention forth. Write it down, and keep it with your personal intention.
Spend some time in silence before you close. Breathing deeply, giving thanks, honoring time as we know it. When you are ready, gently extinguish the candle.