Ritual & Ceremony
Precipice of Balance
The heavy burden of winter; the cold, long nights, the low stock of food and energy, is coming to a close. As we brace ourselves for the remaining weeks, balance and harmony wait on the horizon with an invitation to reconcile and restore our cyclical balance, spring into action to care for selves and community, and aim for abundance.
This is a moment when life is held in the balance. Light and dark are equal and our days are beginning to warm in preparation of abundant seasons to come.
Spring Equinox, or Ostara, is a widely celebrated time of year, across many centuries, lands and oceans. Various rituals and traditions exist to welcome harmony into our lives, and back into nature. This time of year brings with it recognition of the new zodiac year, the return of Christ, and the new moon calendar.
We look to myth and storytelling to uncover the murkiness of winter in anticipation of the fertility of nature at a time of conception and innocence. Everything is green with renewal, and whether we study Greek, Norse, Roman, or Pagan deities, they all lead to the same celebration; Mother Earth, the Goddess, grows into her maiden power of fertility, and the active planting and growing season begins, both literally and spiritually.
Following our natural connection to the changing season we reflect on the Winter Solstice, when the Sun King was born. He was presented to the world at Imbolc, and at Ostara he will be resurrected to frolic and embrace his child-like wonder and playfulness, a symbol of growth from infancy.
Mid-March in the Northern Hemisphere marks the beginning of the light half of the year. The sun at noon is at the equator and the entire world experiences an equal number of light and dark hours. Spring began as small rumblings at Imboc, February 1-2, and the Vernal Equinox represents the midpoint, balancing the extremes of spring.
Agriculturally, a seed, appearing dead, returns to life in the Spring, and we can again eat from the earth. We begin planting and welcome a new crop season. Animals, and humans alike tend to reproduce in Spring because our bodies, inherently connected to the reproduction on earth, communicate that there is more food available to sustain a growing new life.
Energetically, the Maiden reminds us to watch over our inner child during this magical time of exploration. The whimsical wonder of the inner child is allowed to flourish as seeds of intention are planted into abundance for the summer months. Our human action during Spring invites us to sow energetic seeds for new projects, growth, abundance, starting a business, pregnancy, finding romance, building a home, or new investments. In short we are guided to focus on our surroundings and our external work.
Civilizations like the Maya of Mexico built structures, temples that were used as a guide to the changing season. In the Yucatán of Mexico, the temple KuKulKan, at Chichen Itza, is one such structure that welcomes many every year at the Vernal Equinox to witness the Serpent God slither down the side of the main temple indicating the arrival of the planting season.
We watch nature, we listen, we interact without awareness. The “early bird gets the worm”, can also indicate their reconnection of the Spring Goddess, and the gentle energetic shift. A singing bird in spring welcomes the Maiden’s return to the land.
Spring is a time of slow growth. When we are caught up in our busyness we can forget, in the stillness each bloom has its own time to shine, the daffodils, then tulips, followed by the iris, and the rose. Each provides their unique beauty to the world, never battling to be better or first; arriving when they are intended.
Often, when Spring is on the horizon, we imagine certain themes, colors, or symbols to represent the seasonal shift and the celebrations that follow; pastel colors, hares, eggs, butterflies, and new moons.
Spring time, and our Maiden spirit represents purity. A moment when the youth of our souls is invited to come out to play, we experience again the joys of innocence, and inspiration. This cycle of the year brings with it a kindling of life, exploration, and independence, and we step into playful action. We are asked to form bonds with others while harnessing our own self-expression, and openness.
Universally, feminine and masculine energies are in sync, cultivating fertility, creating the dance for mystic union in May, and the abundance of summer to follow.
There are as many ways to celebrate Spring as there are Deity representations, many of which correspond to how earth moves and shifts through the universe. Seasonal festivals represent the position of the Sun, taking place generally every 6 weeks.
These festivals celebrate new life as it sprouts as we embrace our awareness of the earth blossoming under foot, and above. We invoke our senses, take in the smells, sights, sounds, tastes, and sensations of Spring. We dance with nature as we did in our childhoods, get muddy, stomp in puddles, and experience each Spring as a new curiosity.
Rituals vary and adapt, but most include engaging and honoring nature. One invites us to light a fire at dawn to welcome and encourage the growth and power of the sun as it takes over the sky. Other rituals include going for a spring hike, noticing wild flowers and thanking them for their beauty, planting seeds or potting house plants, growing herbs and flowers to share. .
Intention-setting can include blessing crops and plants to encourage healthy and continued growth into summer. Often Spring ceremonies include planting food, and feasting on the fruits of early offerings such as sprouts, young greens, asparagus, eggs, honey, spring fruit, fish, cheese, and ham.
All of these rituals honor and reflect seasonal changes with the intention to manifest the future and embrace what is present.