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 the lands below the equator. We are all experiencing the same phenomenon: the hours of daylight and the darkness are in balance.
The forces of masculine and feminine energy, called by some 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. Here’s to all those wonderful women and men who study and interpret the patterns of the stars, and who were the healers and wisdom keepers of ancient times. Modern medicine and astronomy, plus countless individual stories across the centuries, owe you a great debt. May you continue to learn and advise in your profound service to humanity.
Today the Sun enters Aries, the first sign of the zodiac and the sign of new beginnings. Aries is the ram of fertility, bursting with life and initiatory power. (I’ve got more to say about Aries here).
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. Blessed is the Goddess as the young Maiden. She brings the miracle of ever-renewing Life.
Ostara, sometimes called Eostre or Eostara, is a time of great fertility, new growth, and newborn animals. This, my friends, is our celebration of the resurrection of life.
Eostre, the Saxon Goddess of fertility (and source of the words “Easter” and “estrogen”), and Her German counterpart, Ostara, 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 brokenhearted, self-imposed exile at this time, thanks to the bawdy humor of the Goddess Uzume. As Amaterasu emerges from Her cave, life is restored to all that was dead in Winter, and Springtime arrives.
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.
I like to make a tea of burdock and/or lemon and add it to my floor wash. I have found that burdock is super powerful for clearing the vibes after there have been arguments or interpersonal stress, which can often accompany Winter’s “cabin fever.” For some additional ideas about how to practice cleaning as spellcraft, check out this site.
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.