Today is the spring equinox, Ostara; today the hours of light and darkness are equal. This is a brief moment of balance before the days begin to grow longer and warmer. In most years the vernal equinox is more symbolic than literal for me. Here is Seattle it normally starts warming up in late February or very early March and it feels like spring weeks before the equinox. Not so much this year. It’s been a cold, wet, dark winter. It’s only been in the last few days that I’ve been able to scent spring in the air and even contemplating switching out of my heavy wool coat. A few days ago the first snow drop peaked out of the ground in my yard and the first promises of tulips. This year it’s easy to celebrate the equinox with real joy – I’m tired of damp feet. I may even have to get some daffodils for my kitchen table.
I like to celebrate the equinox by actually getting out and doing something outside. This can be going for a picnic or hike in the forest, or something as simple as a walk around the block. I spent a good chunk of this equinox in my garden. Yesterday was the Seattle Tilth early edible plant sale, so I had a flat of new veggies ready to go into the ground. It’s time to plant spring peas and broccoli and to dig my strawberries out from under the straw I used to bed them down over the winter. There’s something about putting my hands in the dirt and helping things grow that really helps me switch my head from winter to spring mode.
Another important part of any sabbat celebration, at least for me, is food. Some foods strongly associated with Ostara are: salads of young greens, milk, yogurt, cheese, and eggs. Eggs are particularly symbolic of this sabbat because they represent the seed of life and all its potential. Though non-traditional and quite irreverent, I also like to include Cadbury caramel eggs in my Ostara celebration because they’re delicious and are only available at this time of year. Due to the proliferation of outings and family birthdays this weekend I don’t have a free dinner to do my feast, so today I made a special lunch. I’m making omelettes with mushrooms and onions and a nice baby spinach salad with homemade vinaigrette and parmesan cheese. I’ll finish it off with a Cadbury egg and then head out to the garden for planting.
This equinox also marks the transition from the dark to the light half of the year. For me this means a transition away from my time of power. As a dark witch I have a far greater affinity for autumn and winter than I do with spring and summer. I don’t melt in the rain, but I do wilt mightily under a hot sun. For many years I struggled to identify with the power of growth and manifestation that runs through the light half of the year. Over time I’ve learned to focus less on the heat and growth of summer, but to look more to the impermanence of such vibrant life. All that lives must die, and all that grows will eventually decay and return to the earth. Such fleeting beauty needs to be appreciated while it’s still around, so in the spring and summer I try to really live in the moment and enjoy it (in contrast to the contemplation and introspection of the dark half of the year). Spring and summer are for getting
out and doing things, why fight it?