Spring Equinox — also known as Alban Eilir, Cónocht an Earraigh and Ostara — arrives in the Southern Hemisphere on September 22 @13:30 UTC.
The Wheel of the Year honours the changing of the seasons and also celebrates new beginnings, life rising again and renewal, death and rebirth. And no doubt many of us can look to our ancestral origins and discover celebrations of the cycle of death, renewal, and rebirth at the Spring Equinox.
At Ostara, pagans and Wiccans — and others who are aligned with an Earth-based spirituality — celebrate the fertility of the earth and the balancing between the dark of winter and the light of summer, the renewal of life brought by the warming rays of Father Sun.
It has been said that this ancient pagan association, especially with pan-European goddesses such as Ostara and Freya, is the origin of the fertility symbols of eggs and rabbits at Easter which is celebrated near the Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere.
Both Equinoxes celebrate balance and harmony, as day and night balance momentarily around the globe, but the Spring Equinox manifests a waxing energy and Autumn Equinox a waning energy.
For me, Spring is East, Sunrise, Beginnings/Renewal, Youth, the Maiden Goddess(es) such as Brighid, Bird Allies, and the Air element. All of these correspondences have commonality in their energies.
Father Sun always rises in the East, heralding a new day, fresh beginnings, illumination after darkness, a clear mind refreshed by the dawn breezes, the inspiration of the “dawn chorus” as the birds (and the crowing of the roosters) awaken the plants, trees, animals (including we humans!).
And if the Wheel of the Year represents our life span, then East and the Spring Season is the time from birth to the passing from childhood into what was considered early adulthood or “coming of age”, those rites of passage experienced around the world by young men and women such as the natural cycles of puberty for girls (menarche, breast development, pubic hair, etc) and boys (pubic hair, facial hair, testicular growth, deepening of the voice, etc), and various cultural and religious traditions such as Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah, Confirmation, Quinceañera, Sweet 16, Rumspringa, and Walkabout.
This youthful energy of innocence corresponds to the energy of The Maiden goddesses in the Women’s Wheel of Life such as Brighid, Kore (aka Persephone, aka Prosperina), Artemis, Diana, Blodewedd, Freya, Grainne, Ostara/Eostre, and Maia.
One group of the animal allies most strongly associated with The East are the creatures of the Air, birds. For many, the Eagle is the ally of the East with it ability to soar and float on the breezes, its clear sharp vision and its aeries (nest) perched high atop tall trees and cliffs.
Whatever you celebrate in Spring, take some time to reflect on your own rebirth and renewal, and to prepare your Inner Garden for the planting of new ideas, new projects, new directions.
And do consider the duality of the Equinox itself, how the energies of the Spring and Fall Equinoxes are linked, how they mirror each other, as they wax and wane, ebb and flow.
For your Soul Work at this Spring Equinox, consider these questions (or craft your own):
- What am I now planting in the rich soil of my Inner Garden that will flourish in the coming summer and be harvested in the Autumn?
- What ideas or beliefs can I release to make room for a spiritual or emotional renewal?
- Like Eagle’s sharp vision, what is now clear to me?
- How can the Maiden goddesses inspire and energize my Spring journey?
To those in the Southern Hemisphere, Blessings on the Spring Equinox.
Oh Spirit of the East, home of the rising Sun, of Air and the winds that blow across our land and inspire us, and of our ally Eagle, who shows us how to see clearly. We call on you and on the goddess Brighid, goddess of Springtime, new beginnings and renewal, fresh starts and the Maiden spirit within me. We bless you and ask for your wisdom and blessing here with us today.