Today is the Spring Equinox, an important day to most people who align themselves with pagan beliefs. Daylight hours peak at the Solstice in June, and daylight hours are at their shortest at the Solstice in December. The Equinox in Spring (today) and the Equinox in autumn mark the 2 days of the year when the daylight hours are in complete balance. Night and day are equal length, we are balanced in the middle points.
You’ll also see this holiday called Ostara in pagan circles, and it’s no coincidence that word sounds an awful lot like Easter. Early Christian and pagan symbolism entwine heavily this time of year, and it makes for very interesting reading. This holiday in particular has a rich folklore that is surprisingly modern. The Equinoxes appear to have played minor, if any, roles in most major ancient belief systems.
This is one of the reasons paganism appeals so much to me. The learning, the folklore, the ancient rituals, the culturally embedded beliefs, the deep inclusion of nature and the natural cycles of the planet… all of that is important but ultimately we sort of going off on our own and decide what it means to us personally, and celebrate in a (usually private), meaningful way built around our own hearts and intuition. Paganism is, above all, about nature and our Selves. No church, no dogma, no strict rules… just learning, tapping into the oldest beliefs of our species, respect, personal growth, and love.
I celebrate the Spring Equinox in a very simple way. I don’t pay much attention to the “holiday” aspect of it (Ostara), and I don’t focus on the ’birth and new beginnings of Spring’ aspect either, as that’s what February (Imbolc) means to me. Instead I focus mainly on the solar, natural aspect… the sun in balance, the days at a midpoint. I spend today in reflection, thinking of my own life and where things may be out of balance. And I try to do it without judgment… so instead of saying I’m Working Too Much and feeling the judgment behind that, I’d instead try to just notice with compassion that I’m Working A Lot. It’s about observing and noticing, rather than judging and fixing. Shining a light on imbalance, and trusting myself to address it slowly, in time, when it’s right.
I also celebrate with fire, prayer, smoke, stones, and nature. Very important aspects to nearly every pagan celebration I take part in. My evening will be spent with the moon, a fire, and compassionate journalling and thoughts about Balance. Where it might be lacking, or where it might just need some encouragement in my life. Gently notice where everything is sitting in the wheel of time, the wheel of the year, the wheel of nature… the circle of myself. My balance, my equinox.
(photos are of a yew tree I often visit, tucked away in the middle of a city… and a waterfall I had the pleasure of meeting this spring.)