Monday, March 18, 2013

The Rite of Spring

The Rite of Spring


The vernal equinox arrives on March 20th this year. It is the most recognized  symbol of changing seasons.  The significance is one of astrological positioning of the sun when it will cross directly over the earth's equator. This is known as the Vernal Equinox in the Northern hemisphere and the Autumn Equinox in the Southern hemisphere.
Equinox means "equal night." This happens because the sun is positioned directly over the equator. The result is the entire world experiences day and night as equal. The reason why we even have seasons at all is due to the Earth's axis tilt, without it and our seasons wouldn't exist.
Man has recognized the vernal equinox for thousands of years. Many early peoples celebrated simply because their food supply would be restored. By and large, the spring equinox represents the dawn, youth and the east direction; all very activating forces.
In many traditions, this is the start of the new year. The Roman year began on the ides of March (15th). The astrological year begins on the equinox when the moon moves into the first sign of the Zodiac, Aries.
The coming of spring means the earth teems with life once again. Mother earth opens its heart with blossoms, the leaves on trees, sprouting of crops, and the birth of young animals. In the agricultural cycle it is time for planting of seeds so that life may continue.

Eggs & Seeds:
Eggs represent new life and potential. Seeds are like eggs in that they hold the potential of a new plant. In ancient Italy, in the spring, women planted gardens of Adonis. They filled urns with grain seeds, kept in the dark and watered every two days. This custom still persists in Sicily. Women plant grains of seeds, lentils, fennel, lettuce or flowers in pots or baskets and when they sprout, the stalks are tied with red ribbons and then they are placed in gardens on Good Friday symbolizing the triumph of life over death - the resurrection.

Celebrating The New:
It's wonderful to create your own celebration in honor of  spring; a time for new beginnings, renewal and transformation in nature and human spirit. You can decorate your home with budding flowers, herbs and twigs to serve as a reminder that all that dies is reborn.
Invite family or friends over and let them choose different seeds from a bowl for planting. Say a prayer over the seeds and set intentions for new beginnings. Place the seeds in potted soil and water them. Finish off the evening with good food and wine and let your guest part with their potted seeds. Every time they nurture their new plant they will recall time spent with family and friends setting their intention.

This is a joyful time of the year and should be recognized for its sacredness in nature and in the human spirit. Take time to celebrate the awakening of life this spring in a way that awakens your spirit.  I know I will!

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