Awake, thou wintry earth —
Fling off thy sadness!
Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth
Your ancient gladness!
— Thomas Blackburn
Today is the Vernal Equinox in the northern hemisphere, and Autumn Equinox in lands below the equator. We are all experiencing the same phenomenon: the daylight and the darkness are in balance. The forces of masculine and feminine energy, yin and yang, are also in balance at this time.
As Winter departs, and Spring arrives for us in the north, the world begins anew. This is the first day of the astrological year, hence it is International Astrology Day. Today the Sun enters Aries, the first sign of the zodiac and the sign of new beginnings.
In the northern hemisphere, this day is also known as Lady Day or Alban Eilir (in the Druidic traditions). After this day, the light of the year will outweigh the dark until Autumn. The young Sun God now celebrates a sacred marriage with the young Maiden Goddess, who conceives. In nine months, at Yule, she will again become the Great Mother.
Ostara, sometimes called Eostre or Eostara, is a time of great fertility, new growth, and newborn animals. It is the celebration of the resurrection of life. Eostre, the Saxon Goddess of fertility (and source of the word “estrogen”), and Ostara, Her German counterpart, are the Goddesses often invoked at this Sabbat. This is also the day when Demeter, who has grieved Winter upon the world, rejoices at Her daughter Persephone’s release from the Underworld, and so brings everything back to life again. Similarly, Amaterasu of Japan is called forth from Her grieving self-imposed exile at this time and so life is restored to all that was dead in Winter.
Some Craft traditions also worship the Green Goddess and the Lord of the Greenwood. She blankets the Earth with fertility, bursting forth from Her sleep, as the God stretches and grows to maturity. He walks the greening fields and delights in the abundance of Nature.
Pagans celebrate Ostara in many ways, including lighting fires at sunrise, ringing bells, and decorating hard-boiled eggs, an ancient Pagan custom associated with the Goddess of Fertility, long before Easter bunnies replaced Ostara’s sacred hares.
The Spring Equinox is a time of new beginnings, of action, of planting seeds for future grains, and of tending gardens. Spring is a time of the Earth’s renewal, a rousing of nature after the cold sleep of winter. As such, it is an ideal time to clean your home to welcome the new season. “Spring cleaning” is much more than simply physical work. It may be seen as a sacred rite that rids our homes of any negativity or stuffiness from left from winter.
Other things to focus on at this time include working with the energy of openings and new beginnings. Spring is associated with the element of Air – so now is a time to work with communication, ideas, stories and songs, and developing new skills. It is also ideal for spellwork around fertility and abundance. Now is the time to start putting those plans and preparations you made at Imbolc into action and begin physically manifesting those resolutions.
May the Lady and the Lord bring you lush abundance,
joyfulness and renewal today!