Spring Equinox

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DSCN6719Another calendar celebration is upon us – Spring Equinox, 20-23rd March. Day and night are equal in length and we celebrate the Festival of Balance and Awakenings.

It is traditionally the first day of spring, and the egg as a symbol of fertility is well known. Traditionally eggs were painted and given as gifts, hung in the house or rolled down hills to celebrate the hatching of plans laid down in the winter. In Scotland Gorse flowers and the juice from Wood Anemones produced dyes to colour the eggs.

The Anglo-Saxon Goddess of Eostre was celebrated, and she is associated with the Siver Birch, whose sap begins to rise and gurgle audibly at this time of year. The sap of Silver Birch can be tapped to produce a spring tonic (remember to plug the hole so that the tree does not bleed to death). The Goddess’ name Eostre gives rise to the word of the hormone that stimulates ovulation ‘Oestrogen’ and the Christian festival of ‘Easter’, which also uses the symbol of eggs to represent new life. IMG_0952

In Wales the Goddess Blodenwedd is celebrated at this time of the year and nine flowers, the number of the moon, are used to invoke her presence.

In Paganism the Goddess takes the form of the Spring Maiden and spring flowers appear where she has trod. Her consort the Horned God is also young and in love.

DSCN6467Alder is the tree associated with this festival, its purple buds now starting to appear. It is the third tree of the Celtic Ogham and like the Spring Equinox has associations with fire, water and balance. It has protective qualities and folk lore links it with the ‘Sidhe’ (shee) – the faeries and the underworld. The energy of Alder helps you take up new challenges and supports you in them as your plans hatch – sounds like a great plant friend to make a flower essence out of!

Other trees also have associations with this equinox. In Scotland Rowan sticks were laid across the lintels in homes at equinoxes and solstices to bring in protection. Oak is called upon to encourage the warmth of the Sun to help grow healthy plants, animals and children, and Elm is used to contact the ‘light elves’ at this lighter time of year.

How to Celebrate.

As with all these Celtic Celebrations that I will talk about over the year, there is no one fixed way to mark these occasions; so find a way that has meaning for you and helps you to find a place of quiet calm and reflection.

  • Be outside, feel the warm Sun on your face, spend time with spring flowers and trees such as Oak and Alder.
  • Paint some Organic, Free-range Eggs; give them to friends, hatch and eat them, put in a basket in your home to enjoy looking at.
  • Hide Organic, Fair-trade Chocolate Eggs in the garden for children and the Sidhe to find.
  • Plant seeds, do some Guerrilla Gardening, visit a local park or botanical garden.
  • Notice the lengthening evenings and have an outside fire or bbq.
  • Try and sense the world around you the way a child does before they have words – experience birdsong.

Enjoy and Be Well

simone melanie, March, 2016 DSCN6914

Bibliography:

The Scots Herbal – Tess Darwin

Earth Wisdom – Glennie Kindred

Plant Intelligence and the Imaginal Realm – Stephen Harrod Buhner

Tree Wisdom – Jaqueline Memory Paterson

The Earths Cycle of Celebration – Glennie Kindred

The Tree Ogham – Glennie Kindred

Hedge Witch – Rae Beth

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