Long, long ago, when there were no supermarkets to buy food from, people were dependent on what they grew. To be sure they planted at the right time, they were sensitive to the seasons changing and aware of those changes by watching the heavens, how the sun and stars would move in the sky.
With such dependence on Nature, the ancients knew how sacred Mother Nature is and, during the Spring Equinox, the ancients honored and prayed to fertility Goddesses, asking for healthy crops, good soil, and sufficient sunshine and rain so there would be enough food to sustain them for the rest of the year.
There is an overwhelming amount of archeological evidence showing that the ancient people believed in a loving and benevolent Mother Goddess. There are many wonderful myths about how new life and new energy is brought back to the land by the maiden Goddess ~ one of them being Persephone in the Greek myth of Demeter, Grain Mother and Giver of Crops.
With Zeus, Demeter bore the Goddess Persephone. When Persephone was kidnapped by Hades, Demeter was in so much grief, she began wandering the Earth hopeless, withholding fertility until she saw her daughter again. In fear of the destruction of the human race, Zeus asked Hades to allow Persephone to see Demeter again with the provision that Persephone return to the Underworld for half the year. When Demeter and Persephone are together, it is Spring and Summer, life is restored to the Earth.
Spring is a time of great joy as there is balance on the Earth and the reawakening of life as Nature, once again, brings forth her bounty. Along with Greece, many other cultures held festivals in honor of fertility Goddesses ~ Cybele in Rome, Ostara in Germany and Eostre in France and so many others.
There has been a re-awakening to Earth-based spirituality; and modern practices, in honor of the Goddess, have become a part of a number of people’s lives, including mine.
Today, to celebrate the changing of the seasons, sacred ceremonies are performed to honor Ostara/Eostre on the Spring Equinox. Alters are arranged with symbols of Spring and the Goddess. Such alters may contain one or more of the following and whatever holds special meaning for the person performing the ceremony:
- four green lit candles to symbolize each direction (North, South, East and West);
- a potted spring plant to symbolize life-rebirth;
- hand dyed eggs to symbolize Creation; and
- a chocolate bunny to symbolize the sweetness of life (a bunny was Ostara’s companion and helped her to bring Spring to the world).
What I have been doing for many years now is to sit in stillness as close to the Equinox as possible, taking time to acknowledge the Earth and Her seasonal shift. I then focus on the new life energy that permeates the Earth right now and open my heart to what is waiting in me to bloom and see it coming to fruition.
May this new season bring you deep peace and balance!