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Celebrating Spring Equinox

March 18, 2021 By Britta Schmitz
Spring Equinox flower arrangement

On 20 March we celebrate the Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere – the Celtic festival of fertility and rebirth. Here’s how we honour this special turning point in the natural rhythms of the Earth, plus lots of ideas of how you can celebrate it wherever you are. 

Happy Spring Equinox from Findhorn! In the Northern Hemisphere it falls on 20 March, but we can celebrate the qualities of this special time anytime close to the date.

Findhorn traditions

Traditionally our whole community would celebrate the Spring Equinox in Cullerne garden. Together we’d dig up a cow’s horn that had been filled with manure and buried in the earth at the Autumn Equinox. The idea is that the manure takes in all the life force energy that withdraws into the earth over the winter period before it bursts forth again in spring.

Blessing the garden

Blessing the garden

On the day of the Spring Equinox we’d put the well-composted manure into two big barrels of water from our pond and then stir the mixture for an hour while we drummed, sang and danced. After this we’d fill buckets with the water from the barrels, dip conifer branches (from cutting the hedges) into it, and then go all over the garden to bless fields, tunnels, plants, trees, ponds, buildings and machines, the mixture acting as a potent fertiliser for the soil.*

And of course we had a bonfire, tea and cake while we chatted and celebrated another meaningful point in the great turning of the Wheel of Life.

Spring Equinox Sunset

Spring Equinox Sunset

Meaning of the Spring Equinox

Astronomically the Spring Equinox or Vernal Equinox marks the start of Spring and moment where day and night are of equal length in most places on the planet. The name derives from the Latin words ‘aequi’ (equal) and ‘nox’ (night). The two equinoxes (Spring and Autumn) are the only two times in the year when day and night are of equal length and the sun rises precisely in the East and sets in the West.

So the Equinox marks a time of perfect balance, a point of standstill in the turning of the Earth. In the Northern Hemisphere the Spring Equinox is in March, at the same time as the Southern Hemisphere experiences the Autumn Equinox. The exact date changes every year and lies between the 19 and 22 March. In the North from now on each day will be longer than the night till the Autumn Equinox. The longest day comes in June (20 or 21) at the Summer Solstice.

Painted eggs on cherry branches

Painted eggs on cherry branches

Ostara, the Celtic Festival of spring

In the Celtic tradition the Spring Equinox is celebrated as the feast Ostara and is all about fertility, renewal and rebirth. It goes back to the Germanic Goddess Eostre, who lent her name to the Christian celebration of ‘Easter’. Eostre’s companion is a hare, and the rabbit and the egg have been fertility symbols in many traditions in the North for centuries, and are still present in various springtime rituals.

Equinox celebrations focus on new growth, the return of the light and warmth, the fertility of the soil and all we want to grow in our gardens and in our lives for the year. The seeds we have sown as promises into the Earth at Imbolc (in the beginning of February) are stirring now and and showing their first shoots. We see how life bursts out in nature after the long, cold and dark wintertime: the first colours of the spring flowers, the first blossoms and new leaves on the trees. We can feel the warmth of the sun and see how the days are lengthening.

Plenty of eggs fresh from the hen's nest.

Time to eat eggs: plenty of eggs fresh from the hen’s nest.

Create your own ritual

There are so many ways to celebrate the Spring Equinox, and there are plenty of long-standing traditions.

The Spring Equinox is a time to:

  • Create flower decorations for your house and light a candle as a symbol for the return of the light. Fill a bowl with some water, arrange moss, branches and flowers around the edges, and add a smaller bowl in the middle with a candle in it.
  • If you’ve pruned a cherry or apple tree, put branches in a vase and take time each day to see the buds slowly start to blossom. Visualise how your hopes and dreams for the year will start blooming too.
  • When you sow seeds in the soil, plant your intentions for the year along with them. Watch your seeds grow into plants just as your intentions are going to manifest in your life.
  • Go outside for walks and take time to consciously discover the first signs of spring: flowers, leaves, warmth, smells…
  • Hold a spring Meditation in- or outdoors

    Hold a spring Meditation inside or outdoors

    Go outside at sunrise and sunset and celebrate the equal length of night and day. Watch how the sun rises perfectly in the East and sets exactly in the West on this special day.

  • Meditate on the balance in nature and on the balance in your own life. Before the meditation take some time to focus on what might be out of balance in your life. During the meditation, think of the aspects you’d like to have more of in your life, and visualise them growing fully into balance, being infused by the spring light and growing bigger through the warm rays of the sun.
  • Take raw eggs, blow the yolk and white out of small holes (find tutorials on the internet!) and paint them. Dot them around your house and garden as symbols of fertility and growth.
  • Use the yolks and white from the egg-decorating to make pancakes, cakes and cookies. In Germany we often bake cakes and cookies in the shape of eggs, rabbits and lambs as symbols of new beginnings.
  • Light a bonfire at sunset and affirm all you would like to see grow in your own life. Let the flames and smoke carry your wishes and dreams up to the heavens. You can write your hopes down on paper which you can burn – read your dreams out loud or keep them in your heart before you burn them. You can do the same by symbolically placing your hopes and dreams into twigs or leaves you find around the fireside, and then give them to the fire.

In whatever way you choose to celebrate the Spring Equinox, I hope you will enjoy the dance of spring! May your hopes and dreams blossom!

With lots of Love, Britta

*Creating the mixture to bless the gardens goes back to Rudolf Steiner who introduced it as ‘Horn Manure’.