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Celebrating the Spring Equinox

Equinox, balance of Sun and moon in the sky over green download

As the wheel of the year turns once again, we find ourselves approaching a special time of balance and renewal: the Spring Equinox. Known to many as Ostara, this magical moment marks the transition from the dark, introspective days of winter to the bright, vibrant energy of spring. Although looking out of my window right now you wouldn’t think it! The rain continues to saturate the ground and my new heated socks are still powering me through these damp grey days. But the clocks will soon change and the sun will return, I’m sure.

Ostara Origins and Traditions

The Spring Equinox has ancient roots, celebrated by various cultures around the world. For us Druids, it holds a significant place in our calendar, symbolizing the awakening of the earth and the return of life after the cold winter months. In Celtic tradition, this festival was known as Alban Eilir, meaning “Light of the Earth,” a time to honour the promising fertility of the land. In recent years, I have marked this time with a long-distance, multi-day walk, which has been an incredible meditation for me, not to mention the perfect time to go birding, train my ears back into the bird calls and generally ponder a little on the year ahead. Sadly I can’t get away for an Ostara walk this year, however, I will be getting out and about for shorter walks locally, and spending time waking up my tiny garden. I have already started stuffing seeds into pots to be transplanted in a few weeks if this rain ever stops pouring!

Springtime Deities

One of the most prominent deities associated with the Spring Equinox is Eostre, a goddess of fertility, rebirth, and the dawn. She is often depicted with symbols of spring such as eggs and hares, however, we don’t actually know too much about this Pagan beauty – in these situations, I tend to make up my own mind.

Sometimes, I imagine her as a fierce and fiery warrior woman, loud and impatient, begging us all to “get up, get moving and start noticing that it’s time to get active again”. But at other times I imagine her as a kind and quieter character, gently nudging me awake from my winter hibernation and pleading with me to wrap up warm and brave it, get outside and feel the fresh air in my lungs. Either way, she calls to me to walk at dawn. To put my wellies on and put one foot in front of the other, for however long it takes to start appreciating that life and light are indeed returning to the landscape and I thank her for that, because spring is one of the most magical times of year in rural England. The birds are busy, the bees are awake, the sun creeps higher, both in the sky and in temperature and finally the days get longer. I personally cannot wait to hear her call again, although I might need waders instead of wellies if this weather continues.

Ancient Connections to Modern Concepts

It’s also a time when the shops are full of easter eggs, chocolate bunnies, and my personal favourite… hot cross buns, which when toasted and covered in butter, are just impossible for me to resist. It’s interesting to observe how ancient traditions have influenced these modern customs though. Take, for example, the Easter bunny and her decorated eggs. These symbols have their origins in pagan fertility rites; the hare, with its prolific breeding habits, became a symbol of fertility, while eggs represented the potential for new beginnings.

Celebrating the Equinox

As Druids, we honour this time by connecting with nature and embracing the spirit of renewal. Some gather in groves or sacred spaces to perform rituals, offering prayers of gratitude, and planting seeds to symbolize intentions for the coming year. Me, I will find a “sit-spot”, light a fire, and take some time to reflect on the balance of light and dark within; what do I like and dislike about me or my life, what do I want to change or let go of in the coming year? What new beginnings are on the horizon for me? It could be something simple like learning a new bird call, or a new dish I will try to cook, or it could be something with a little more commitment; a new hobby/friendship/language or perhaps the rekindling of an old one?

So, whether you honour it as Ostara, Alban Eilir, or simply as the arrival of spring, may this season fill your soul with hope, growth, and the promise of new beginnings.

With blessings of the equinox,

Joanne.

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