Can you feel it? There’s a change in the air. It may or may not seem like it where you live, but today is the Vernal Equinox (or better known as the first day of Spring). This isn’t just a reminder to haul your lighter jackets out of storage — it’s also a call to observe the massive shift nature is about to undergo!
Nature-based faiths have long celebrated the Equinox as a time of rebirth and fertility. It’s also known as Ostara, named after the early Germanic goddess of Spring, Eostre, who was said to awake at the end of Winter and prompt nature to restart its life cycle. But like any holiday that’s as old as the seasons themselves, it can be difficult to know how it’s observed and why.
In the past, people would celebrate the holiday by holding feasts and giving thanks for having survived another Winter. Of course, this raises the question: How can we honor this time of year nowadays, considering most of us have access to central heat and little to no knowledge of feast-planning?
Shaman and seeress (one with divine intuition) Deborah Hanekamp of Mama Medicine calls Spring an in-between time of year. “We don’t have a ton of flowers out yet, we’re not in full abundance mode, but we’re getting there,” she says. “It’s a time to plant seeds, set intentions and bless you new projects.”
Here’s how to make the most of the vernal equinox in a more modern way. Yes, actual ‘Spring Cleaning’ is involved, but there’s more to it than that. Scroll through to discover how even the simplest things — like buying a bouquet of flowers — can spiritually prepare you for the changes of Spring.
Spring is nature’s way of hinting at the bounty that Summertime will bring. Baby animals are being born, plants are sprouting and flowers (no longer dormant) are starting to bud and bring some color back into the landscape. Hanekamp suggests welcoming these signs of rebirth into your own life. This might mean planting new seeds in your garden or placing an egg on your altar (a.k.a. the place where you set up your crystals, candles, and any other tools you use for spell work).
“Just meditate on the way change brings balance,” Hanekamp says. “Give yourself a little quiet time with what change brings to [you] and . . . what you’re wanting to see reborn in yourself.”
If you’re not really an altar person, no worries! Hanekamp says your whole house can be your ‘altar’ of sorts — just pick up some fresh flowers and add a few bright accent pieces to your living room.
In the literal sense. “The more we want to call in the new, the more we have to be ready to clear out the old,” says Hanekamp. On a physical level, a little Spring cleaning can get rid of the clutter from Winter. But if you treat your home like an extension of yourself, you may find you have room for new personal opportunities, as well!
“Cleaning out cobwebs and dust in our homes is doing the exact same thing for our spirit,” Hanekamp adds. Keeping your house uncluttered is always a good rule of thumb, and undertaking a total deep-clean will feel downright restorative during the Equinox.
I’m sure you’ve been preparing for the changes that come with Spring. Well, Spring is here and it’s time to put those plans into action! Tackle your workplace to-do lists with renewed energy, give that new dating app a try and finally clean out your closet. This season puts everyone in a clean slate state of mind, and today is your opportunity to get a head start on that feeling. Just remember to keep looking ahead while you tackle all those to-do lists.
Forward momentum will be your key to success at this time of year, when there’s so much potential for rebirth and new beginnings. “Bring in new projects, new ideas,” Hanekamp says. Continuing to make plans and set intentions for the months to come will help you avoid any feelings of stagnation right now.
I know I said to avoid stagnation, but this is not a call to be impatient. Even some of the best-laid plans take longer to come to fruition than one might think. Hanekamp says to look, once again, at nature for the reminder you need. Plants don’t burst into bloom the moment their seeds are laid. And birds don’t emerge from their eggs ready to fly. In other words, don’t stress out if your career change or vacation planning is taking more time than you expected.
This doesn’t mean you should spend Springtime waiting around or being overly passive. All your planning won’t go to waste if you make patience an active part of your spiritual practice. Believe it or not, patience is a major component in any spiritual practice. And before you know it, those seeds you plant will start to grow into buds. “Enjoy the process of patience,” Hanekamp says.
Take A Walk
Just as nature is coming out of hibernation and shaking Winter off, so are we! At the end of the day, you won’t feel connected to the changes in nature if you don’t see them for yourself. No matter where you live or what the weather is life, taking a quick stroll outside can help you tune back into the world around you. Feeling like you’re part of these larger, seasonal shifts can be immensely grounding. And it can help you evaluate the changes in your own life.
Or, as Hanekamp puts it: “Nothing cleanses our emotions or our spirit or our minds more than walking in nature.”
So just as you are awakening the physical and start to feel a sense of freedom and expansion internally, it’s time to burst back into life. It’s time to shed our Winter layers and emerge anew. Throw open the windows and allow the air to wash through your home. Clear the cobwebs from your mind and enter Spring with your arms and your heart wide open!
+Do you have any other ways to celebrate Spring? Comment below so we can all share in the Spring Equinox celebrations!