Happy Spring Equinox!

All over the world, this is one of the traditional sacred days of the year. The more formal name is the Vernal Equinox. The sun rises directly in the East, and the earth is poised with its axis tilted neither toward the sun nor away from it. From this moment on, the northern hemisphere tilts closer and closer to the sun (giving us the warmth and longer days of summer) until it reaches its maximum at the summer solstice.

Here in Georgia, the spring equinox happens at 6:45 p.m. 

Spring Equinox photo © 2015 Catherine Jo Morgan

Spring Equinox photo © 2015 Catherine Jo Morgan

Why celebrate the spring equinox?

It's a way to honor the natural cycle of the earth. By pausing for even a few minutes of celebration, I affirm both my creaturehood and my participation in the great annual cycle of nature. When I and my life partner Marge Felder moved from the city to wooded land in northeast Georgia, it was to live closer to nature. While in the city, I taught classes and workshops on natural cycles. Here in the woods, I experience the cycles more.

At the spring equinox, I can feel that sense of poised readiness. From this moment on, winter's dreams, the new ideas that have been incubating -- call for my action. All the earth is springing into action, everywhere I look. I can scent it in the air. 

Perelandra

I celebrated the spring equinox for quite a few years before learning more about it from Machaelle Small Wright of Perelandra, Ltd. (Some people think of Perelandra as "the Findhorn of the United States.) She has graciously made available as a free download an excerpt from one of her books, The Perelandra Garden Workbook, on the solstices and equinoxes. She has some specific suggestions on how to celebrate these moments.

She writes here in terms of a garden of plants, but her later work makes clear that the same shifts in energy apply to any creative form. (Her term is "soilless gardens.") 

Here's a quotation from the excerpt by Machaelle Small Wright:

"You are observing a moment that is happening on its own. You are not there to try to create the moment. So if you choose to add something a little special, make sure it doesn't interfere with your ability to focus on the actual solstice or equinox moment.

I'm not working specifically with Perelandra processes right now, but I did for many years while working as an artist-blacksmith. I especially love Wright's book, "Behaving as If the God in All Life Mattered." We're both working in our own ways, toward a re-enchanted, fully alive world.

For more about the spring equinox:

EarthSky.org provides a clear explanation of the spring equinox, "2015 equinox: Sun rises due east and sets due west," with lots of diagrams. Of course Wikipedia has a big article on the Equinox, covering both the spring and autumn occurrences. The School of the Seasons offers a lot of information relating the spring equinox to customs and festivals, from ancient Greek and Roman myths to current religious holidays. 

Like many Christians, I've long been interested in the Celtic versions of ancient celebrations. I found a very nice article on the Celtic celebration of the vernal equinox at a blog called Celtic Lady. The author, who identifies herself simply as "Julie," writes poetically and includes many illustrations. Like many earth-loving feminists, I've also explored Starhawk's books and learned about Wiccan celebrations of natural holidays. There are plenty of earth-loving men too; John Halstead wrote an interesting family spring equinox ritual.