The second in a series of posts celebrating the changing seasons, based on the neo-pagan eightfold festival year. I am not overly religious but I’ve always had leanings towards Pagan beliefs. My practice largely revolves around observing the seasons and celebrating the beauty of nature.
March nodded to Winter, “Goodbye! Goodbye!”
Off to your home in the North you must hide.
Oh, have you forgotten; under the snow,
The wee seeds are waiting – yes waiting to grow?
“They are Spring’s little babies, and soon she’ll be here,
Whispering her welcome to each baby dear;
So I’ll tidy the earth, I’ll sweep and I’ll blow,
Getting it cleared for the flowers to grow!”
Festival of Rebirth, The Greening of the Land and New Life Abounds
It has indeed been a snowy end to the Winter, and even as I write this snow still lays on the ground. However, today is the Spring Equinox and despite the cold, the signs of Spring are springing. Whether you call the Spring Equinox Ostara or Easter, for those of us who experience cold, grey winters the return of the greening is a joyous time.
Whereas Candlemas was the first stirring of new life after Winter, Spring Equinox heralds the beginning of spring proper. Day and night are held briefly in balance but from here on the hours of daylight will exceed the dark. As the Sun is reborn at Winter Solstice, now the Land itself is reborn after Winter’s sleep. All around you is new life – flowers are emerging and the trees are growing fresh green leaves. Animals are preparing their nests and burrows and giving birth to the year’s new babies.
Like the sap rising in the trees, energy and enthusiasm are rising too. The urge to be outside growing ever stronger, hands in the dirt alongside the growing things. Indoors, the strengthening sunlight illuminates dancing dust motes and suddenly spring cleaning seems like a mighty fine idea. So too, we find the energy to begin working on those plans conceived in the darker months. The new year feels to have truly begun.
There is a playful energy to Spring, which lends itself naturally to activities focussed on children. Little ones love to hunt out eggs and treasures and decorate eggs. And we all will benefit from going outside and feeling sunshine on our faces and wind in our hair.
Like Winter Solstice/Christmas, the trappings of Spring and Easter* have become fairly well ingrained across most secular or spiritual beliefs. Fresh pastel greens, pinks and yellows. Fluffy chicks and rabbits and carrots and the ubiquitous chocolate eggs. Around the country, corporate sponsored egg hunts take place and masses of plastic pompom chicks are glued to homemade Easter bonnets. It’s rather in danger of being swallowed up entirely by mass consumerism. Which is a shame, because outside the land is shaking off its winter cloak and daffodils are blooming beautiful.
* Easter technically falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox, because apparently holding it on the Spring Equinox was a touch too pagan for the church.