Today is the Spring, or Vernal, Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. Other witchy and Pagan people might refer to it as Ostara, which is how it appears on many depictions of the Wheel of the Year along with mentions of a goddess called Eostre (or Aostre). There’s a lot of “Was Eostre/Aostre ever actually worshipped? Is the word Ostara a comparatively recent quirk or mistake of language? Was this actually a Pagan festival before it was a Christian one?” floating around the internet. While that’s all really interesting to read about, it’s not a conversation I’m joining in, mostly because the name of a time of year doesn’t matter as much to me as what it represents and what actions it inspires.
So I’m going with Spring Equinox because (so far) there haven’t been any great arguments around that name and I’m celebrating it because equinoxes are times of balance and equilibrium, and Spring is a time for renewal, beginnings and growth. Those are all good and lovely things.
I don’t connect, on a person level, to the whole maiden-goddess-fertility-dude-god-impregnation thing because while I understand that ‘feminine and masculine energies’ can be seen as being represented in all people and don’t have to literally represent a woman and a man, it’s still a wee bit too prescriptive gender-binary to sit comfortably with my own experience of the world. Also, the concepts of virginity/maidenhood and motherhood as innate and universal ‘feminine’ (for want of a better word) qualities and experiences couldn’t be further from my truth or my views of gender. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with any of this – if it fits into your world, by all means embrace that connection. One of the things I love about Paganism and witchcraft is that there’s room for it to be a deeply personal and flexible experience so if something doesn’t work for you, respectfully and thoughtfully alter it so it does.
My Spring Equinox ‘fertility’ is about the fertility and growth of creativity and ideas, the blossoming and blooming of nature, new beginnings, setting forth, adventures and brave leaps into the unknown. The fact that Camp NaNoWriMo, and therefore the writing of the first draft of The Book, begins in less than two weeks feels like perfect timing.
Today, I’m going to do a ritual to cleanse our home of built-up negative energy and welcome lovely things for the new season. This is Equinox-specific work rather than Spring-Equinox-specific work and involves the following ingredients put around entranceways (doors and windows):
- Bay, for cleansing and banishing negativity, and promoting creative energy
- Black salt, for removing and repelling negative energy
- Water that has been bathed in the light of the full moon, to increase power
I don’t usually share online the words I use in rituals but there’s no particular reason for that. I love reading other people’s spells and ritual words, so I thought it would be nice to put my own ‘out there’ for other people like me.
Our home is cleansed of pain and fear
From earth below to sky above
We welcome joy and comfort here
In perfect trust and perfect love
I don’t intentionally force ritual words to rhyme and it rarely happens naturally, but it did happen naturally here. I also tend to avoid super formal and flowery language simply because it feels right for me to speak the way I usually speak rather than getting all lo-thine-goddess about things. Some people find using different styles of writing and speaking in ritual work helps them to connect with their power, so again it’s a case of doing what works for you.
This evening we’ll be enjoying a meal of fresh, natural ingredients, connecting to the spirit of the Spring Equinox by spending time in nature (even if ‘nature’ is just the garden) and enjoying the signs of new life beginning. My husband is doing some landscaping work in our garden at the moment using reclaimed and recycled materials, so even though it’s all a bit of a work in progress right now, there are still beautiful flowers blooming.
I wrote a short (non-gendered, non-literal-fertility-related) Spring Equinox blessing, which you’re welcome to borrow, use and adjust to suit if you like.
With my heart and soul as fertile ground
I will grow in strength and courage
Charging and channelling creative energies
I will welcome adventure and abundance
I wish a happy Spring Equinox to my fellow Northern Hemisphere-dwellers and a happy Autumn Equinox to those in the Southern Hemisphere!