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What is Spring Equinox?


green and yellow background with words: "What is Spring Equinox? & Nature's Wisdom"

Spring Equinox is the mid-point between Winter Solstice and Summer Solstice. It is a moment of perfect balance between light & dark. This sacred day usually falls on or around March 20th. From here on out days will be longer than nights and the momentum toward Summer will begin to build. It also initiates us into the sign of Aries - what's considered for many a new astrological year.


In this blog post you will find:


Other Names & Associated Festivals: Vernal Equinox, Ostara, Eostre, and Alban Eilir



Introduction: A Personal Reflection


Dear friend, can you hear it? The collective song of life's renewal? The gusty winds and stormy skies who bring sweet rains and fresh air breathing new life to the thawing landscape?


Even as I write these words, the sound of rain outside my window carries the promise of renewal. The grove of trees swaying in the breeze gleefully show off their newly adorned fingertips bursting with bright young buds! Spring is here. I write these words with a sigh of relief, as though the shift toward longer days will automatically lift the heavy weight of winter's darkness that clings to me like lichen. If I'm being honest, my body still feels stuck in winter... I'm tired, more tired than usual, and I have heard from others that I'm not alone.


For me, Spring is such a healing salve for my soul. I love watching the land wake up, paying close attention to as many small signs as I can to confirm that the darkness really is behind us. I love the beauty and vitality in the shoots that push from the earth and uncoil from the trees. I love the daylight that lasts, air currents that bring balmy breezes, and commanding thunder storms that wake us up from winter's slumber.


Spring is a call to action, a call to movement, aliveness, and taking new risks. Storms stir up stagnancy, winds welcome change, rains replenish our roots, and warming sunlight softens hard edges. The energy is tantalizing, arousing, and beckons each of us to break free from the confines of winter's dormancy as we reach toward new horizons to claim our own becoming. The internal quickening of Imbolc is now longing to be expressed externally in how we choose to show up in the world and our relations.


Little pink spring blossoms with water droplets on a tree, overlaid with the following quote by Way Of Belonging: "Spring is a call to action, a call to movement, aliveness, and taking new risks, Storms stir up stagnancy, winds welcome change, rains replenish roots, and warming sunlight softens hard edges. The energy is tantalizing, arousing, and beckons each of us to break free from the confines of winter's dormancy as we reach toward new horizons to claim our own becoming."


What is Spring Equinox?


"March is the second month of Spring, according to the Celtic calendar. Brigit's flame is growing in strength, and around March 21st daylight is at last equal to the hours of darkness. Spring Equinox has arrived. In Wales this time marked the end of the amser gwylad, the indoor winter period that began around the Autumn Equinox. In some placed households held a ritual of closure... From now on the household would go to bed at dark and rise at the break of day." - Mara Freeman

The word equinox is derived from the Latin aequus meaning “equal” and nox meaning “night”. Spring Equinox is the mid-point between Winter's depth and Summer's expansiveness. It is a moment in time when the Sun crosses and shines directly on the equator (as the earth’s axis tilts) producing day and night of equal proportion in both northern and southern hemispheres. This is the first of only two days in the year when the length of day will equal the length of night.


Aries is the cardinal sign that marks the balance point between these two extremes. Spring Equinox is a moment of sacred pause in the cycle of the seasons when everything stands still. For a moment, the tensions between the polarities and extremes that form the foundation of our lives are resolved. For those of us in the northern hemisphere, after this moment, the length of days will be longer than that of nights as we experience Spring's emergence. Our friends in the Southern hemisphere will experience the opposite as they prepare for Fall's descent.


As the wheel of the year turns, we witness the Sun's light grow in strength, heralding the return of Spring. Nature breaks free from Winter's dormancy. So too are we invited to contemplate the elements of life that help us shake off the heavy slowness that often accompanies the dark time of the year. On this sacred day of equipoise, let us pause and consider where we've come from, where we're going, and how we intend to live out our deepest held values and commitments. This moment of in-between provides us with an opportunity to call in the support we need to show up in radical boldness.



Nature's Arc of Change


Nature's Arc of Change is a map that combines Celtic wisdom, astrology, and the life cycle of plants to illustrate the spiraling movement of time. It is divided into eight equal sections, demarcated by seasonal thresholds, which the Celts honored accordingly:



Quarter Festivals

  1. Winter Solstice: Dec. 21

  2. Spring Equinox: Mar. 19

  3. Summer Solstice: Jun. 20

  4. Fall Equinox: Sep. 22


Cross-Quarter Festivals:

  1. Imbolc: early spring

  2. Bealtaine: early summer

  3. Lunasa: early autumn

  4. Samhain: early winter




Sadly much of the details of what took place in ancient Celtic culture has been lost, but what still remains IS available to us from the source culture's of Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. Something that we are learning as people of the disapora who are reclaiming our cultural traditions and folkways is that it's critically important to be learning from and in direct relationship with the source culture, otherwise we are perpetuating cultural appropriation within our own cultural lineage which perpetuates colonial violence.


Here are some great places to start for those interested in learning from Irish Source Culture:



Orienting to Cyclical Time


Under industrial growth society (aka. colonial capitalism), we follow the concept of linear time which commodifies experience as something to accumulate. Time's passage is marked by hallmark holidays which serve to maintain consumption patterns pillaging the planet. They provide the masses with a false sense of belonging yet ultimately keep us in cycles of dysregulation and addiction. 

This disorientation propels us toward unchecked accumulation, productivity, urgency and external growth while ignoring the necessity to counter such movement toward greater harmony. It's a mode of being that dissociates us from the web of life by cutting us off from embodied wisdom rooted in natural rhythms. The cost of our collective forgetting manifests as disconnection and unwellness in our personal, social, political and ecological contexts.

In the past however, when our ancestors lived more communally and in closer relationship to nature, time was perceived as cyclical.  Life was steeped in place-based relationality, experience was informed by seasonal rhythms, knowledge was shaped by encounters with more-than-human-kin, and intuition was strengthened through embodied conversations with the natural world. People recognized the inherent ebb and flow of life and honored Nature's Arc of Change (life/death/rebirth) because they participated intimately in the dance of the seasons through agriculture.

Orienting to nature's rhythmic arc of change supports us to be in right relationship with the wider web of our ecological belonging


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If you are in the beginning stages of untangling yourself from the death-grip of industrial growth society, shifting from linear time to cyclical time can seem quite foreign and unfamiliar at first. We become so used to perceiving time as a never-ending accumulation of events. Be gentle with yourself as you learn to reorient your bodymind toward nature's biomorphic field. Disorientation, dislocation and disembodiment are all manifestations of the wound of separation from nature.


Beginning to make the shift toward nature's cycles will take time. The best thing you can do to support this shift is to spend more time immersed in nature. Whatever you're doing in your life now, simply add 10-15 min of intentional time in nature to your day. Make this time slow and mindful, or in stillness as you take in your surroundings while staying connected to your inner landscape.


NOTE: Although we orient toward the Celtic tradition, Indigenous and folk cultures from around the world all share very similar earth-based orientations that are informed by the unique bioregions in which they have arisen. It's important to name these differentiations and to recognize that we aren't all having the same experiences. Learn to pay attention to the messages and wisdom arising from the unique bioregion where you reside.



Spring Message


Through the turning of the seasons, Nature teaches us that change is the only constant and what once provided us with comfort and protection is now a source of pain and suffocation, preventing us from becoming the humans we are here to be.


The essence of Spring invites us to pay close attention to what sets us free, what brings us joy, what supports our thriving so that we can show up fully resourced to live boldly in service toward creating the world we long to see.


Collectively we are being asked to stretch ourselves beyond our comfort zones; to break free from the protective shell that once kept us safe; to grow new roots in local systems of communal care; to dismantle the oppressive systems of internalized white supremacy, heteropatriarchy, settler colonialism, anti-Blackness, and all of the “isms” that together serve to legitimize US imperialism including resource extraction, land theft and degradation, police violence, and militarism, the list goes on....


All of these strategies serve to divide and weaken the true power that WE THE PEOPLE have to divest from business-as-usual and status quo thinking. Breaking free from the constricting shell of white supremacy is the task at hand folks! We are not free until everybody's free… We were born to BREAK FREE.


Settling isn't an option. Mediocrity is not on the table. You are here to SHINE IN SERVICE as you awaken to your role in this struggle. Every year at this time you are given the opportunity to align with the energy of Spring which invites you to BREAK FREE and to look deeply into the areas of your life that hold you back or keep you locked into patterns of stagnancy, complacency and complicity.


Leanne Betasamosake Simpson says it beautifully with these words: “We need to join together in a rebellion of love, persistence, commitment, and profound caring and create constellations of co-resistance, working together toward a radical alternative present based on deep reciprocity and the gorgeous generative refusal of colonial recognition.”


Orienting to nature's rhythms is a powerful way to reclaim your ancestral connection to this sacred time of the year. Spring Equinox can be made more meaningful by tracking your own fluctuations, inner tensions and moods, or by simply contemplating your relationship to change and new beginnings. This is a great time to explore the edges of your comfort zone, to take bold risks and put yourself out there in new ways.


Embracing the seasonal energy and leaning into the invitations that nature brings will help you to THRIVE during this time.




Journal Prompts


The following journal prompts relate to the theme of new beginnings, breaking free and BECOMING. Explore your relationship to this seasonal energy by reflecting on these questions:

  • In what context do I feel most on my edge? How do I know when I'm in my growth zone? What are the felt sense indicators?

  • How does my/our joy guide me toward becoming / breaking free from industrial growth society & the systems of oppression that uphold it?

  • Where in my life do I need to take more risks? What feels scary to lean into but important for my/our growth and liberation?

  • In what area(s) of my life am I being asked to stretch in new ways?

  • What new patterns of movement, behavior, thought am I making space for?



Closing


The seasonal energy of the Spring Equinox invites us to experience the JOY OF BECOMING by breaking free from status quo thinking, perceived limitations, concepts of self that no longer serve you, relational dynamics that keep you locked into unhealthy patterns, and anything that no longer serves you.


Spring is a call to action, a call to movement, aliveness, and taking new risks.


By embracing the seasonal is a powerful way to reclaim your ancestral connection to radical joy and embodied aliveness. Leaning into the invitations that nature brings will help you to THRIVE during this time.



Did you like this post?


We'd love to hear from you!

  • How are you celebrating the Spring Equinox?

  • What miracles are you bearing witness to?

  • How is nature teaching you?

Leave a comment below :)



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