Many dichotomies exist in the natural world: night and day, winter and summer, life and death. But the earth, very naturally, achieves balance—even if it’s only for a day. Every spring and every autumn, the days and the nights are equal in length all over the world. Winter meets summer. Light meets dark. We call this time the equinox, which comes from the Latin prefix equi-, meaning “equal” and nox, meaning “night.”
All around the world, the vernal, or spring, equinox has been celebrated as the time of new life. Traditional symbols include eggs (fresh beginnings) and rabbits (fertility). Sound familiar? This equinox is a time for planting seeds, for starting projects, for stepping into a new life.
Planning your own equinox celebration can be extremely rewarding. Inviting others to share in your celebration of balance and beginning can make it even more satisfying. And when it comes to celebrating, it’s hard to go wrong. Here are a few things to consider.
Location. Is it warm enough to be outdoors? If so, is there a private place outside where you will feel comfortable holding a celebration? If it’s inside, what can you do to bring the natural world into your space? Do you want to create some kind of centerpiece?
Meaning. What does springtime symbolize to you? What kinds of new beginnings are approaching in your life?
Celebration. How can you incorporate the location, meaning, and awareness into spring? Is there a fitting song you can sing or music you can play? Is there a poem you want to recite? Is there an activity you can do to symbolize new beginnings?
An equinox celebration
Invite twelve women and men, one for each month of the year. Ask them to wear bright colors that symbolize something new that they want to plant in themselves for the coming year. Either purchase or have each person bring a pot, soil, and a packet of seeds.
Put a table in the middle of the space you’ll be gathering in. On it, put a pitcher of water, some dirt, a candle, and a feather to symbolize the four elements—water, sun, soil, and air—that will make a seed grow.
When everyone arrives, gather in a circle around the table. Have each person plant a seed. As they do this, have them envision that they are planting whatever project or change they wish to start in their lives in the next year. When everyone is done, pass the pitcher of water around the circle. As it comes to each person, he or she pours the water on the seed and says, “I am planting _______ in my life.”
Sharing a meal is a nice way to conclude the celebration. If you can, incorporate foods that symbolize the equinox, such as eggs, fruits with edible seeds, or cookies that are half chocolate/half vanilla. You may also add meaning with herbs based on the language of flowers.
No matter how you choose to observe the equinox this spring, take note of the balance in the world around you. Life always returns to this place—the place of new beginnings.
Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer is a poet and writer living in Telluride, Colorado.