By Jessica Kirby, Senior Editor of TheGreenGazette –
Spring Equinox is almost here. The birth of spring, the rebirth of warmth and brightness—this is the time of year to celebrate love and light and new beginnings.
In the astronomy world, the Equinoxes (spring and autumn) are the only times in the year when the “solar terminator” or the ‘edge’ between night and day, is perpendicular to the equator, meaning the north and south hemispheres are equally illuminated.
The word Equinox means “equal night,” referring to the sun being exactly overhead at a point on the equatorial line. This magical moment indicates a kind of natural balance where the length of the day and the length of the night are more or less equal, everywhere on Earth. There is solace and unity in the thought that even though most of us may not notice, every person on Earth shares something beautiful on the Equinox. At that time and in that moment, we collectively share an experience unlike any other the year round.
The cultural significance of Spring Equinox varies—it is the beginning of the spring season in most northern hemisphere communities, and the New Year in the Persian and Iranian calendars. In fact, between the 12th century and the mid-1700s, the England and Ireland also observed New Years on the Equinox. The Equinox also marks the beginning of the astrological year with the moon moving into the first sign of the Zodiac, Aries, the Ram.
According to School of the Seasons, the Spring Equinox is one of the four great solar festivals of the year, and there is great significance to the poise and balance of day and night, ready to tip over into the side of light.
“The spring equinox is sacred to dawn, youth, the morning star, and the east,” says School of the Seasons author Waverly Fitzgerald. “The Saxon goddess, Eostre (from whose name we get the direction East and the holiday Easter) is a dawn goddess, like Aurora and Eos. Just as the dawn is the time of new light, so the vernal equinox is the time of new life.”
In the mythology realm, the month of March hosts holidays honouring many great mother goddesses including the Virgin Mary, Isis, Aphrodite, Cybele, and Astarte. Parallels between the goddess energy and the Earth’s blossoming, birth of new animals, and sprouting gardens are not lost during this yearly time of growth and new life.
To relish in the beauty of the Spring Equinox consider a small but meaningful ritual to help welcome spring. If your climate allows, consider a picnic outdoors, or at least get outside for a walk or a tea on the porch, wrapped in a blanket. A warm, meditative bath in which you envision yourself being renewed by the ocean is a wonderful way to enter the season anew. Plan a light, fresh meal with loved ones (don’t forget chocolate to honour the goddess spirit) and dress your table in birch branches, spring flowers, and some crystals—yellow citrine and yellow beryl are springtime talismans. Creativity abounds during the Spring Equinox—journal, paint, sculpt, or collect and arrange natural elements. This is the time for birth of new and beautiful things from within.
If nothing else, step outside and breathe deeply nature’s offering of rebirth and light, and notice gentle signs of new life all around us. Happy spring!
Jessica is a freelance writer and editor based on beautiful Vancouver Island. She oversees the editorial direction of several small press run magazines in Western Canada and writes when and wherever she can about the environment, travel, construction, and design. She holds a BA in writing and anthropology from Vancouver Island University and has been working in publishing for 16 years. When she’s not hidden among piles of paper in her home office, Jessica can be found paying homage to Mother Earth on a cross-country bike ride, trail run, or camping trip with her family.