Spring Equinox 2023
I loved reading this post by Stefan Borkowski, my Shinrin-yoku (Forest Bathing) teacher, on the arrival of spring and the marking of this with the Spring, or Vernal, Equinox, so I thought I'd share it with you too, as I couldn't have put it better myself..
The Spring or Vernal Equinox signifies the time of equal days, equal nights – the halfway point between the Winter Solstice and the Summer Solstice. It is the point in time when the Sun crosses the equator creating equal days and nights everywhere and marking the return to the Northern Hemisphere, and it’s a welcome time of year here for plants, animals and humans alike, as we instinctively feel that warmth and light creeping back into our roots and bones.
Etymologically the word Equinox comes from latin aequinoctium: aequus “equal “ + nox “night”. The Old English word was efnniht.
The Equinox also follows on from Imbolc on the first of February, and somehow that last part of winter drags on longer than the first half, we may feel like we have had enough of the dark and cold by now, and so we welcome the early signs of Spring like crocuses and Daffodils with their bright sunny faces reminding us of the sun’s return. Imbolc is the festival that celebrates and blesses the Springs and so it’s fitting that we now celebrate the start of Spring. Spring itself is short for spring of the year, the time when plants begin to rise, it also refers to the sunrise, waxing moon and rising tides; the act of springing, appearing, beginnings, birth, origin.
It is no coincidence that we also see the festival of Easter at this time, celebrating the death and resurrection of Christ, a symbol for new beginnings and transformations. Easter is linked to the word Eastre and Eostre – A Goddess of the dawn sunrise and fertility celebrated in a feast on the Spring Equinox. From aust - east, dawn, toward the sunrise, also to shine.
Easter is the most important and oldest festival of the Christian Church, and the only festival on the Christian calendar dictated by the moon: the date of Easter being on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the northern spring equinox.
For me Spring Equinox is not just about this tipping point between dark and light, but a time of heady excitement and renewed energy, maybe being an Aries helps as this moment of the equinox is also the start of the astrological year which commences with Aries. A new year, a fresh start, and this renewed vigour also links to the associated term oestre from where we get oestrogen and means a “frenzied passion”, a mad impulse,- the oestrus, coming into fertility, new life.
I begin to feel my energy returning, my need to be afoot in the world and seek out new horizons. It is also a time when I sense the power of the earth and the fecundity of Nature. The air smells different, the soil smells different as the microbes spring to life again in response to the return of the sun, all life celebrating the joy of becoming, and being part of the perennial cycle of creative expression. I feel the pulse of energy so strong now, and the dance of masculine and feminine rising up from the essential sweet earth. The new year is the time of the Hare, the Snipe, the gorse or furze (flowers of the sun); it is a time when the Ash hands over to the Alder, the masculine and feminine working together to ensure the alchemy of the elements is in harmony.
Whatever your plans and dreams (Pisces – the fishes, related to Lent) now is the time to be bold and trust in the surge of growth and desire to ground your ideas into reality, and trust the alchemy of soil, sun, water and air to pollinate and fertilise your creations. I encourage you to go out and plant your seeds, and tend (be tender) with the growing shoots of your lives.
Thank you to Stefan for those words. So, whatever your plans are for the spring, or how you plan to embrace this change in season and pace, go well. Last night's Equinox marks the beginning of the astrological year and is just one of the powerful events signifying major change for us in this week ahead. On the 21st March we have a new moon at 1 degrees of Aries. This is a super moon, amplifying collective shifts in consciousness, along with new beginnings. The 23rd March sees the much heralded movement of Pluto into Aquarius. This is a once every 248 years event. The last time Pluto moved through Aquarius in 1777-1798, democracies rose and monarchies fell.
So today, and this week, I would urge you to take time for yourself in inner reflection, meditation. Focus on the life you want to create for yourself over the coming weeks, months and years. Also, recognise you're part of the human and planetary collective, never alone no matter how it feels. How do you want to see the planet shift over the coming years? What steps, even little ones, can you take to support that?