Alban Eilir: Time of the Hare

Mar 21st, 2015 | By | Category: Articles

by Mabh Savage

Anyone can celebrate the Equinox. Why? Because it’s not a religious celebration; it is an astronomical certainty. The Earth will change position so that the Sun appears to hover over the equator, making night equal day; light equal dark.

Of course, this year, that’s not quite true. Throwing down the gauntlet to the sun, the moon is at her perigee; as close to earth as she ever comes in her slightly (and appropriately) egg shaped orbit. As if this wasn’t enough, just before the equinox she will veil Lugh’s face completely for many of us. In more modern and less hyperbolic terms, we are having a supermoon, a full solar eclipse and the vernal equinox all within a couple of days of each other.

So that throws our festival of balance into a bit of confusion, really. The sun is being hidden, making a lie of the claim of ‘equal day and night’. Yet the moon will seem larger, brighter; the night itself will not be as dark as it should be. Where is our balance? How do we find it when the very universe conspires against us?

The balance, of course, is not lost. It comes from many things, the first being the observation that the spring equinox is the midpoint between Imbolc, the feast of Brigid and Beltane, when the bale fires are lit to guide summer back to us. This is a halfway house between solar festivals; a time to pause, reflect on the seeds sown at Imbolc and prepare for the blossom to bloom at Beltane.

It’s also worth remembering that the weather is a great traitor. No matter how we may want the equinox to be our perfect day of 12 hours sun, 12 hours moon and stars against velvet black, it so rarely is. Looking back over my mish mash of journals, papers and records of sabbats over the past few years, the spring equinox is often a grey, dreary affair, where dawn and dusk match collars and cuffs and the night is simply a gloomier version of the day. But even this feels like balance; like sitting in the middle of the seesaw and just resting and waiting, neither pulled one way or the other. The fun about being at the midpoint though, is you can draw energy from both sides and bottle it up; the stored energy from winter combines with the potential energy of spring to create a well that bubbles and spits, just waiting for an outlet.

In Druidry, the symbol of the vernal equinox is the hare; a creature associated with both sun and moon; day and night. We still see memories of the sacred hare in armies of chocolate rabbits standing to attention on shelves at the local supermarket. Like the bunny (and most mammals), the hare is looking for a mate at this time of year, and though usually nocturnal, will now be active day and night, dancing, leaping and fighting.

This truly is the time of the hare, the time to be mad as the March hare; to surprise, to impress and to remember what makes you the person you are.

Gather love close around you; friends, family, mentors, pets, familiars, nature, books; whatever moves you, bring it close and cherish it. This is a time to take stock, to be grateful; to become excited and to excite. The east is brightening and hectic, busy times are on their way. Meditate, eat, dance, sing, draw, write or cook; create something that speaks to you of the winter past and the summer to come. Why? Because this is your talent, and it nourishes you. Spring is the earth being re-nourished by the sun; remember what nourishes you, and do it, do it until you are full, replete, satisfied beyond any measure of doubt that you can move confidently into the joyful, longer days of the turning season.

 

My little boy tells me how he feels about the equinox:

‘I like it mummy, because there’s more day now and we get a longer play time.’

What a perfect way to sum up the return of spring.

 

With thanks to Martin Vosper for inspiration.

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