The Spring Equinox and Seasonal Savvy


An April Heleborus

I am a little slow in addressing the vernal or spring equinox that occurred March 19 2012 at 10:14 pm PDT. Slower still, because this year was one of the earliest equinox by date since 1896.

Looking to live life deeper can be very shamanistic. People who live in a shamanistic way take into account the spiritual or ethereal side of everything and they explore the connections, the relationships, of one thing to another. A natural outcome of this is balance, a balance of work with play, self with others, male with female, technology with nature. What we are looking for is integration: a personal life that is also part of ALL LIFE. This is an expanding experience, one that makes life very, well… alive.

The foundation of shamanistic living consists of consciousness and awareness, to know what is happening and to somehow become a part of it, to be engaged. One way to do this is to observe the cycle of the seasons and understand how it affects us.

 Most of us go through our day without much thought to what the earth is doing today. We probably notice whether it is sunny or raining but we’ve been pretty programmed to ignore any other earthly activities as beyond our immediate concern, care or involvement.  As a result things sneak up on us. We are susceptible to the shock of seasonal shifts. We don’t get a chance to become acclimatized and that can leave us with an adjustment hangover: sometimes known as Spring Fever. Being mentally and emotionally aware of outside occurrences puts us in sync with the vibrational level of our reality and gets us poised to take advantage of forthcoming opportunities.

 Let’s get a seasonal edge today.

Spring is official when the sun moves into the sign of Aries right at 0 degrees. Aries is the first sign of the zodiac in astrology, ruled by the planet Mars and Mars is in charge of action. The sun is in a sign for one month or for 30 degrees. For 30 days we are all under the influence so to speak, of the sign the sun is in for that month. We can see this in the actions we take every year at this same time.  This is all very intellectual, but what does it mean for us commuters?

We have just come from winter, a time of cold and (perhaps) snow. This is the season we stay home because the weather is usually forbidding much activity. We tend to pull indoors out of the biting wind. Naturally we are a little more internal and contemplative. We may read, play cards, or perish the thought: watch more TV.

When the vernal equinox arrives, especially here in the country, we are catapulted out of our hibernation and into a lifestyle very much more active. Spring chores line up like rows of new daffodils each demanding immediate attention.  Sometimes the temperatures turn from cold to hot on a dime.

Another reason for the (apparently sudden) seasonal whiplash is the way we catalog the seasons. You’ll hear me complain about this a lot. In ancient times (especially in the Celtic regions) they used calendars that were more intimately connected to the natural world and far better suited to explain the natural rhythms around us than our current one is. Feb 2nd was considered the beginning of spring. This is the time we really notice the days are getting a little longer and the seeds, although still deep in the earth, are nevertheless starting to stir and wake up. It was the first stirring of the season. The name given to that date was Imbolc, meaning: “in the belly” (of the earth).  When the sun enters Aries at the vernal equinox they would say that we are in the MIDDLE of spring.

Red Maple Buds

Now, as the ever lengthening day meets up with the ever shortening night we get a sense of a doorway. We’re in a celestial doorway. We are poised, or paused, one might say, in the calm before storm of summer.  Yet, we only have our hands on the latch. We’re opening it and standing in that place where we must now switch our mental and physical gears from the quiet of winter to the riot of summer, from inactivity to ACTIVITY.  It’s not too late, but we do have to take a breath and consider our position.

So what do we do to tell ourselves that we need to make a shift, to put ourselves in tune with this seasonal vibration that is rattling our cages and shaking out the complacency of our own winter hibernation?

We can conduct a spring ritual. Rituals can be physical acts that tell our consciousness something is occurring by mimicking on a smaller scale, the larger happening. They act as a mirror of the happening, reflecting back to us in better detail some concept that might be too abstract for us to grasp with our mentality alone.

Many of us already do spring rituals without realizing it. We switch the blankets on our beds from heavy to light weight. We plan our gardens and order seeds. We pack winter coats back in the mothballs. We give the house “Ye old spring cleaning”. As we do those things we can be more conscious of the significance of the chores. We can go a step further and put on plays that tell the stories of spring. We can even do more intense and focused rituals like lighting a fire in a pit, beating a drum and singing a song to honor this time and our place in it. Then there is always a hike or picnic to look for wildflowers or birds, camera in hand.

The main thing is to prepare for new activity in whatever way seems right to you. You may decide to begin a new project, or turn the heat up on one that is floundering. This is an excellent way to embrace the energy of Aries and Mars, synonymous with springtime.

Whatever you do, if you do it with the intention of beginning the cycle again, in step with the season around you, you may find yourself just a little more aware, a little more focused, a little more productive, and even a little more relaxed, ready to take advantage of any spring potential and turn it over to a summer more than just scenic.

Copyright 2012 CLCW