Welcoming the Spring Equinox:

How to honour this turn on the Wheel of the Year

Celebrating the Spring Vernal Equinox

Table of Contents

There has been a feeling of change in the air for some weeks now.

Though cold is still clinging to the tips of our fingers, and frosty mornings may well greet us as we wake, Spring is very much knocking at the door. The wheel of the year has turned another spoke. The Spring Equinox is upon us.

a green field, trees and hedgerows: spring equinox in the uk

What is the Spring Equinox?

It is clear that marking the beginning of spring is vital in cultures across the globe. For our ancient ancestors, recognising the turning of the seasons would have been vital, to know when to harvest and when to hibernate etc. In Japan, this is the season of the beautiful cherry blossom. In India, it is the multicolour Hindu festival of Holi. Here in the UK, we can trace our fingers along the timelines to the celebration of the Spring or Vernal Equinox that would have been celebrated in pre-Christian times. Known by some as ‘Ostara’ named after the Germanic goddess of Spring or Light (or ‘Eostre’ to the Saxons of Old Britain – informing the name Easter we know so well!).

The Spring Equinox honours one of the two times of the year when day and night are of equal length. Equinox comes from the Latin ‘Aequus” (equal) & ‘Nox’ (night). At this time, the Sun is directly above the Earth’s equator path between the Northern and Southern Hemisphere. It is the beginning of astronomical Spring. From this point on: daylight hours will be longer than night, days will increase in length, the sun is reborn. It’s time to throw (or gently peel!) off the duvet we’ve been hibernating under, and step out into the fresh energy of a new season.

a vase of spring flowers on a rustic table bringing spring into the home, an example of biophilia design
a vase of spring flowers on a rustic table bringing spring into the home, an example of biophilia design

What are the themes of the Spring Equinox?

The Spring Equinox is all about rebirth, renewal, hope, new beginnings, balance, fertility. It is said goddess Ostara nursed an injured bird who could no longer fly by transforming her into a hare – able to run with their legs and be free. In gratitude, the hare gave the goddess Ostara some of the multicoloured eggs that she laid. The injured bird is both reborn and renewed.

a pink flower in bloom: bring flowers into your home to celebrate the spring equinox

What are the stories & folklore related to the Spring Equinox?

Egg

The symbol of the egg is intrinsically linked to this equinox. In Chinese and Native American cultures, their creation myths tell of the universe being born of a giant cosmic egg. Eggs are incubators of new life. In fact, the name of the goddess Ostara or Oestre forms the word ‘oestrogen’ – the hormone which encourages ovulation, when eggs are released from ovaries.

The totem of the egg was adopted into the Christian festival of Easter – and in secular celebration the chocolate Easter Egg and Easter bunny are prolific.

Hare

The Easter Bunny too begun his story in the pre-Christian equinox festivities. The hare we mentioned earlier is another important symbol of this time. Indeed, you probably have heard of the ‘Mad March Hare’ – perhaps as one of the guests at the Mad Hatter’s Tea part in Alice in Wonderland? They receive this name due to their rapid breeding rates during this season, and the large litters that the mothers carry.

Outside of the time of the Spring Equinox, the hare is seen as a highly mystical creature, intricately connected with the divine feminine and the moon. The nocturnal nature of hares only amplifies their mystery. In China, stories tell of there being a hare in the moon (rather than a man in the moon!). Hares were said to be the familiars of witches.

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One old tale tells of a man hunting a sprinting hare through the forest. Desperately weaving through the thickly-cut trees, the man fired a shot aimlessly from his gun – just managing to skim the skin of the hare. Whilst some blood fell into the mossy overgrowth, the hare evaded mortal injury and continued her escape. The man followed the hare through the looming patterns of trees until he came across a small cottage on the edge of the woods, smoke puffing merrily from its chimney. The man followed his nose through the open gate, into the house where he saw a woman. She was lying on the floor by the fire, tending her bleeding open wound: the exact place the hare had been shot.

Snakes & Butterflies

Both of these creatures represent renewal.

The snake routinely sheds their skin: symbolic of letting go. In fact, thousands of years ago (pre-Christ), a Mexican temple was built to create an amazing sight twice each year at the spring and autumn equinoxes. The unique angle of the sun on these days forms the enthralling vision of a serpent gliding down the steps to the temple!

Butterflies too are symbolic of flourishing and blooming. We have wintered in our cocoons, snug under blankets and hunkering down in our homes. Spring asks us to unfurl a little, shed away a layer or two of what we no longer need, stretch out our roots (or our wings!) and ask ourselves: where do I crave more freedom? Where do I need more balance? Where do the speckles of shadow melt into the light?

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Plants

Nettles and Wild Garlic are prolific at this time.

Nettles can be foraged and stewed into deliciously warming teas (or ‘tissanes’).  Find a recipe here. Nettle tea is fantastic at helping you shift any stagnant emotional energy and ignite your inner fire.

Wild Garlic (brilliant at reducing blood pressure) can be foraged and whizzed into a delicious pesto to serve with pasta. Find a recipe here.

Elements

Spring sees a contrast of weathers and elements. We have sunshine and rain, high winds and gentle breezes, April showers and heavy downpours. These juxtaposing elements are dramatic and expressive. They remind us of our own power. We too can run wild in the rain, break out of the sleepy nest of winter and into a new world where our dreams are realised. Perhaps challenge yourself to try something new, take a small risk, do the thing you’ve been putting off (that would enhance your life in some way but feels too overwhelming). Don’t push yourself – this is too aggressive, too pressurising – but perhaps give yourself a loving nudge in the right direction. You can be a completed piece of art and a work in progress all at once.

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How can I use these symbols & stories to nourish my own life?

The concept of fertility doesn’t just equate to biological fertility (although it can do if you want it to!). This fertility speaks of new projects, dreams, goals being actualised – the buds of flowers finally breaking through the frosty ground. But there is no pressure; this may not be a huge dream coming true, a new business being started, a huge overhaul. This could be something as simple as starting a new hobby. Trying to implement something into your daily routine that will make you feel happier in some way. Finding a new outlet to express yourself.

‘Rebirth’ and ‘renewal’ don’t mean you have to totally reinvent and change yourself. They mean showing up in the world as lovingly and authentically as you can. Perhaps this means starting to notice how you talk to yourself. Could it be kinder? What negative beliefs do you hold that shape the world around you and your experiences? Could these be shifted? How could your creativity be nurtured more?

It is also said to be a good time to befriend a fairy, as they are drawn to the in-between spaces such as the mystical space between light and dark!

How can I celebrate the Spring Equinox solo?

  • Spend as much time outside as you can – even if that’s only a few minutes in the morning or throughout the day. Wrap up warm and sit in the garden, or a park bench, with a flask of tea. Feel the elements against your skin.
  • Create a ‘seasonal altar’ in your home – include spring flowers, seashells, colours of green and yellow, anything that feels special to you about this season
  • Make a vision board – either digitally, or old fashioned style in a sketchbook! Write down words, quotes, phrases, affirmations that resonate, with images too
  • Fly a kite or flag in the wind. You could even make your own! Run outdoors – imagine them holding your wishes and sprinkling them into the air
  • Spring clean your home. Our Spring candle is a wonderful way to shift the energy of your home towards Spring – take a look here
  • Create a flower mandala – using flowers, twigs, moss, grass
  • Sow seeds. Try plants such as nasturtium which can be grown on a windowsill. Bless the seeds as you sow, making wishes, imagining that as the plant grows – your dream is coming to life
  • Decorate a hat with ribbons and flowers – a version of the ‘Easter bonnet!’
  • Spend time meditating with the trees
  • Watch the sunrise
  • Journal. Journal prompts could be: What goals or dreams do I feel ready to bring to life this Spring? Which still need a little more time to gather? Am I ready to take a plunge, or just baby steps for now? What have I learnt about myself this winter that can help me show up more lovingly and authentically in the Spring? What do I need to let go of and shed? Is there a word that describes how I would like to be or feel this Spring? Where does my life need more balance? Are there any ways I could bring more play to my life? Are there ways I would like to express myself more? Are there new ways I could express my creativity? If I could have my perfect Spring, what would that look like? Are there any ways I can live that dream that right now?
beautiful spring yellow flowers in a field

How can I celebrate the Spring Equinox with others?

  • Spend time outdoors with loved ones.
  • Walk in the forest, go for a wild swim, have a picnic
  • Create/share a seasonal feast
  • Hold a craft session with loved ones – you could make prayer flags/kites, flower mandalas or decorated hats mentioned earlier
  • Go to a special place to watch the sunrise with loved ones
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