Spring Equinox

Sep 23rd, 2015 | By | Category: Articles

jane meredithAuthor Jane Meredith is Australian, and of course as the northern hemisphere celebrates the autumn equinox and the turn towards winter, the southern half of the world is heading into the spring…

It’s the time of the Spring Equinox, when night equals day and the balance shifts towards the light. It’s the time of the Autumn Equinox, when night equals day and the balance shifts towards the dark.  How can it be both these things, both these things at once, in the same moment? Our earth, that we may feel such an intimate relationship with locally – this patch of ground, this forest, park, view, weather – is not just huge, far beyond what we can see or experience has another side to it, as well. A side where it is night, when we are in daylight. Where it is summer, when we have winter. Where the moment of equinox is the same moment – but the opposite equinox.

This immensity of opposites brought together, simultanously true opens the doorway to glimpsing mysteries. Life and death, which are often held as polar opposites, can be seen to be both, simulataneously true. It’s not just that deaths occur as we are busily living, but that each moment – even each breath – contains elements of both, of life and the beating-pulse-heart push to stay alive, to take another breath as well as the release of letting go, surrender, mortality. There’s a simple, local level of Paganism, which is the original kind and I believe the planet as a whole would be much better off if we all focused on the sacredness of the land we directly live on and share our lives with. And there’s also the grander view; the universe, our planet among the stars, our whole planet. This whole-planet view

So, while I am painting my eggs and looking forward to a bit more warmth and sunlight, you are decorating your altars with autumn leaves and getting out warmer clothes. When we focus on the content of rituals often celebrated at the equinoxes, we seem to be doing opposite things. But there’s an underlying theme to equinoxes, as well; more ancient, simpler, more essential. They are a moment of balance; between light and dark. The only two moments in the year when such a balance occurs. Within that understanding, it becomes less material that we are going in different directions; the whole planet has a moment, a day or two, to recognise the equal length of day and night. In doing so, we may also realise that almost every day of the year has unequal lengths; that balance is a rare thing. Balance is a quality our world is desperately in need of; balance between the natural and the built, or farmed world, balance to find what is sustainable, balance between our needs in this generation and those in a few generations time. So we could celebrate the equinoxes as moments of recognising balance and its restorative powers.

The story of the double equinoxes has another strand, as well. When we celebrate the Spring Equinox we are ideally looking around at the flowers and fields, it is time for planting and renewal. At the Autumn Equinox the harvest of those same fields is being gathered, the fruit that those flowers produced is being picked, stored and saved – or feeding birds and animals, or falling to the ground to nourish the soil. The seeds put away from one harvest, so long as we follow nature’s example, can be planted in the ground next Spring. So the two equinoxes are having a conversation with each other, and not just a conversation with a six month gap between pieces, as is usually imagined. It is instantaneous, symbolically, mythically, the seeds you are saving are planting my fields. The fruit you are picking is now in bud, flowering, just around the other side of the globe. Thus our rituals speak to each other, whether or not we intend them to. But these intricacies, these interconnections are, for me, part of the magic, part of weaving threads of the mysteries back and forth across the planet and so I do include them in ritual.

 

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