Why should we celebrate the spring equinox?
On Monday March 20, at 6:20 a.m. EST, the northern and southern hemispheres of planet earth are equally illuminated. This marks the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere and the autumn equinox in the southern hemisphere.
It’s a day of equal balance of the hours of light and dark before the sun continues its journey towards longer daylight hours and warming temperatures in the northern hemisphere.
The equinox energy is strong for four days before and after March 20th, giving us time to bask in the opportunities and lessons it brings.
Where I live, in Michigan, it’s still gray and dreary, and it’s snowing as I write this. But a few days ago I saw a red-winged blackbird, and local lore says they come back when spring is just around the corner. So I took heart!
WHAT THE SPRING EQUINOX MEANS
Ancient cultures throughout history have celebrated this time of rebirth of Mother Earth. But what does it mean for us?
The earth is comprised of 70% water and, on average, so is the human body. That alone is a giant clue as to how interconnected we are with the Earth Mother.
What happens to the earth’s energy also happens within us, therefore we can experience more harmony if we work with the earth’s cycles instead of ignoring them. It’s not just another day.
Here are some of the aspects of the Spring Equinox and how I incorporate them into my own life so as to better communicate with the spiritual forces of the earth. You may wish to do the same.
WHAT THE SPRING EQUINOX TEACHES US ABOUT BALANCE IN OUR LIVES
The equal hours of day and night represent balance: a balanced life is a healthy life. Do you eat enough healthy food?
Drink enough water?
Get enough sleep?
Get enough play?
This is a good time to look closely at our lives and how to improve them.
HOW TO RENEW YOUR ENVIRONMENT
Even though it doesn’t look like it in the northern U.S. right now, the earth is either starting to green up or will very soon. That greening represents renewal: clearing out the old to make space for the new.
What was dead [the earth by all appearances in this part of the country] comes back to life. What a miracle that is!
Spring is the time we clean out our gardens in preparation for new plantings and new growth. And the term “spring cleaning” denotes the tradition of cleaning out our houses, too!
Let spring cleaning be more than just vacuuming and dusting. Start the process of renewing your heart and mind by cleaning out closets and drawers to pass on those things we no longer use or wear regularly.
A good rule of thumb is: if you haven’t used it in the past year, let it go. Let your local shelter or non-profit thrift store benefit.
Holding on to old “material stuff” is also a representation of holding on to old “emotional stuff.” Be courageous and start the process of release and renewal.
If you have sage, smudge your entire house. Or use essential oils such as lavender to refresh and renew the home.
And don’t just clean the house. Clean the earth around it. Why not go for a walk this week and pick up trash along the side of the road? The earth spirits will thank and bless you.
There’s no dishonor in cleaning up after others who disrespect the earth. We are all earth keepers. My father, who was no tree hugger by any means, once picked up a discarded bag of McDonald’s nutrients that he saw tossed from a car in a parking lot. He then took a shortcut to meet the car on the other side of the parking lot, stopped it and said, “Excuse me, I think you dropped this.” Way to go, Dad.
This is a good time to clean out the garden and plant something new. Clear out the old growth and dead leaves in your garden and ceremonial areas.
In the Native American tradition, bless your gardens with cornmeal or tobacco or a simple prayer.
If you have no outdoor gardens, bless your houseplants. And renew them: cut off the dead ends, check for insects. Are they happy where they are, or do they need a new location or a new pot?
Let your house plants represent inviting the green to return and bring goodness and abundance into your life.
And as your gardens start to be reborn, so can other projects in your life. What were you thinking about and planning over the winter? Now’s the time to take the steps to birth them into reality.
SURPRISES COME WHEN YOU LEARN TO BE OBSERVANT
As I write this, it’s currently 37 degrees Farenheit here in Michigan, and there’s still snow on the ground. There’s not really any sign of spring.
But the alignment of the earth, sun and moon says otherwise. And we cannot argue with the planets or deny our connection to them. The earth knows what’s supposed to be happening when the sun is at this equal point, and is starting to comply, even if it doesn’t look or feel like it on the surface.
Take a walk outside. Be observant. Look closely. Look for buds and shoots coming out. If you look closely, the signs are there and, when you see them, they will bring joy to your heart.
Native Americans teach that one way to develop your intuition is by developing your powers of observation. Ask a question, then go for a walk outside and observe the natural world – the trees, grasses, flowers, animals, insects. Somewhere along the way, your observations will bring answers to your question.
Perhaps you’ll see a sign of new growth that will symbolize the growth of your ideas!
WHAT THE EQUINOX CAN TEACH US ABOUT DETOXIFICATION
Our bodies naturally gain about 5 pounds each winter, as a way of helping insulate us from the cold. And in the natural course of things, we would lose those five pounds in the spring, as our activity level increases and we eat lighter food.
But the reason such a large percentage of the U.S. population is overweight is that we don’t lose those five pounds each spring because we don’t increase our exercise or lighten our diets with the warmer weather. As a result, we’re gaining weight every year!
Spring is the time to change your diet. Start moving to lighter, easy-to-digest foods, and avoid dairy, fried or oily foods. Eat local, fresh fruits and vegetables as they become available.
In fact, you may intuitively feel yourself wanting to change your diet this time of year.
You might even talk to your holistic health practitioner about doing a detox cleanse. This is an excellent time of year to do it.
WHY THE EQUINOX IS A TIME FOR GRATITUDE AND CELEBRATION
Give thanks for all the joys, gifts and lessons of the winter.
Give thanks for all the good things springing up around us.
Give thanks for what you have and trust the Universe to continue to bring you more of what will serve your highest good.
I like to make a special meal and put some on an offering plate to be put outside for the nature spirits. This is an age-old gratitude prayer practiced by indigenous people all over the world to give thanks for the food that we eat, another gift from Mother Earth.
Celebrate the return of light and green and goodness. That celebration will manifest in the world around you.
Molly Larkin is the co-author of the international best-seller “The Wind Is My Mother; The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman” and other books on health. She is passionate about helping people live life to their fullest potential through her classes, healing practice and blog at www.MollyLarkin.com