Friday, March 25, 2011

Spring Equinox; of birth and balance

If Imbolc is the conception of spring, then the spring Equinox, Ostara to some, and Alban Eilir in the welsh traditions, is its birth into the world. Flowers explode onto the scene, birds nest and lay eggs. Many migratory birds begin to return to nesting grounds and those nature spirits that hibernate through the cold months once again re-emerge to the warming sun. People spend less time indoors and more time outside. It is like a giant spiritual breath of fresh air as one steps outside from being in a stuffy house for too long!

In the past spring equinox has held a lot of excitement for me. It comes about the time that the male wild turkey begins his gobbling for the mating season, and that meant turkey hunting! Since I moved south though, and there are no wild turkeys in this area, spring equinox means cool nights and pleasent days. It means the explosion of poppies and green grass when usually there is none. It's a brief explosion of colors in the normally brown arid land. Its mornings filled with the soft cooing of fan-tailed doves as they do thier best to attract a mate.

It seems that Ostara was primarily celebrated by the Germanic tribes, and the traditions that we associate with it come from them as well. With Irish-celt as my hearth culture from which I draw this leaves me at a bit of a loss as to how to celebrate this high day. I did some research and after much thought, I have decided to simlpy adopt the germanic traditions into my Neo-pagan practice of the Irish Hearth cutlure. There is plenty of evidence of cultural interactions between the two tribes and good reason to assume that if not for the coming of Christianity that their would have been a complete melding of the high-days and their traditions.

Growing up, this time of year was celebrated with the usual Easter type celebrations that we are familier with. Church, easter basket hunting, egg hunting, and a feast with family friends. Many of these traditions have deep pagan roots, and I intend to teach them to my children and keep them going. Coloring of the eggs and making gifts of them for friends. I will teach them to bless the seed and the land for new growth for the coming growing season. I hope to be able to use the egg and rabbit as object leasons about rebirth and how everything dies and is reborn. Another lesson inherant in the spring equinox is the idea of finding balance. Most people are happiest when thier life is in a dynamic state of balance. I say dynamic because it's always shifting and making small corrections to maintain that balance. The Equinoxes are times when day and night are in balance. Yet this balance only comes twice in the turning of the wheel of the year. This tells us that though balance is the goal, it's also a transitional state and there will be times when we are out of balance, times when we are at extreems and perhaps rightly so, but still if the person wishes, and seeks it, they will come to balance once again.

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