(This article appeared in the September 2010 AXIS MUNDI.)
An equinox occurs twice a year, when the tilt of the Earth’s axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the Sun, the center of the Sun being in the same plane as the Earth’s equator. During the 24 hours around this event, the Earth will rotate once on her axis and the sun’s rays will have a unique opportunity to strike her surface equally from north to south poles, resulting in precisely twelve hours of day and twelve hours of night. From this day forward the light will increase here in the southern hemisphere with each day or degree she turns. This is the magical, ancient and revered Vernal or Spring Equinox, the exact time of which will be 1:09PM AEST on September 23rd, 2010. It is a truly sacred time because the Spring Equinox signifies the coming of the light and of warmth as we usher in the return of the force of life itself, and new beginnings.
The Spring Equinox associated with Alban Eiler (Scottish) and Ostara, which are celebrations of life, and of fertility. In the northern hemisphere Ostara corresponds with the Christian Easter (and both festivals derive their names from the Norse Fertility Goddess Eostre) due to the northern hemisphere Spring Equinox occurring in March.
Symbols of the Equinox include fertile animals (hence the association in the northern hemisphere with the rabbit at this time of the year) lambs, chicks and eggs – a symbol of new life and new beginnings – and some people like to include dragons (associated with eggs the earth and fertility). Colors of the season are soft green, white, and soft yellow. It is associated with childhood and new life. The first of the Spring flowers and fruits are brought to the altar and table.
Some deities associated with the Spring Equinox are: The Maiden, Astarte, Aurora, Eostre, Eos, Ostara, Kore or Persephone (as the maiden), The Green Man, Ares, Mars, Attis, Adonis, Osiris, Narcissus, Hyacinth and Dionysus.
Activities and rituals: planting, welcoming spring, coloring eggs, making/wearing new clothing, fertility rites, rituals of balance, herb work – magical, medicinal, cosmetic, culinary and artistic, spells for prosperity/fertility, new beginnings, potential, action.
Ostara is a time of renewal and new beginnings, a time to plant your seeds and plan for future. Change is in the air and if you don’t do it now, the year will creep in and you never will. This is the ideal time to clean your home, to Spring clean, get rid of the old and welcome in the new. It may not be easy, but some simple physical work and mental effort can be focused to rid your life and home of negativity, clear the problems of the past and provide for a brighter future.
See more on this topic at The Spring Equinox and Ostara, another article I wrote for Ostara 2008.