The Vernal Equinox,
Lady Day, Nawruz, Ostara,
The Feast of Annunciation
March 19th 2008
" Now is the dark half of the year passing, now do the days grow light and
the Earth grows warm. I summon the spirit of these seeds, which have
slept in darkness.
“ Awaken, stir and swell!” Soon you will be planted in the earth to grow
and bring froth new fruit. Blessed be! Camanelli
To our ancestors the equinoxes represented the time
when seeds were planted and harvested. The spring
equinox occurs when the Sun enters the first sign of the
zodiacal wheel, Aries. Being a masculine fire sign, Aries
represents the active, youthful solar principal of external
power and divine will- full - ness. The word equinox means
Twice a year, at the vernal and autumnal equinoxes the hours of light and dark are in balance. On
March 19, 2008, at precisely 11:58 P.M. MDT the Sun will cross directly over the Earth's equator. This
moment is known in the Northern Hemisphere as the vernal equinox, and in the Southern Hemisphere
as the autumnal equinox.
The spring equinox is one of the four great solar festivals of the year and is representative of the
dawn, youth, the morning star and the east. Just as sunrise is the time of new light and the
resurrection of the Sun, so the vernal equinox is the time of new life and resurrection of the Son. The
god of light now wins a victory over his twin, the god of darkness. There are many myths of the young
virile God ( Attis, Adonis, Osiris and Dionysus) - who like Christ die and are reborn each year. These
gods are always the son of a mortal woman and is a savior who liberates his people in some way,
sometimes through sacrifice.
The month of March contains holidays dedicated to all the great mother goddesses: Astarte, Isis,
Aprhrodite, Cybele and the Virgin Mary. The goddess shows herself to us in the greening of our
world, with fields of wildflowers, trees leafing out, the sprouting of crops, birds singing and mating,
and the birth of young animals. In the agricultural cycle, it is time for planting. The natural world
surrounds us with abundance and fertility. For this reason eggs, rabbits, seeds, and spring flowers
are seen as symbols associated with this time of year. Now is an excellent time to begin new projects
or to completely revitalize old ones. It is also an exceptional time for prosperity rituals or rituals that
have anything to do with growth. For a ritual associated with the Spring Equinox go to www.
NorthStarAstrology.net and go to the Rituals page.
The Spring Equinox’s Relationship to Easter
As Christianity spread across Europe and Britain; the older pagan festivals became incorporated into
the new faith's holiday of Easter, which is a variation of the Anglo-Saxon Goddess Eostre’s name. Her
festival was originally celebrated on the Full Moon following the Vernal Equinox, with offerings of
cakes and colored eggs. Rabbits were sacred to her, especially white rabbits, and she was also
believed to take the form of a rabbit. The old rites honoring the planting of new seeds and the fertility
of the land and its people, were replaced by formal displays commemorating Christian beliefs. Easter
is now celebrated on the first Sunday after the first Full Moon following the vernal equinox.
Early Christians did not originally celebrate Christ's resurrection or rebirth, but made the Jewish
Passover their principal festival. The concept of Easter was not introduced until later when the early
missionaries were attempting to convert the German pagans. These Pagans resisted the abolition of
Eostre’s festival, so the church decided to "adopt" it. The theme of the conception of the Goddess
was adapted as the Feast of the Annunciation by the church, as well. It occurs on the alternative fixed
calendar date of March 25, which was also, at one time, Lady Day when many originally celebrated the
Symbols and Traditions Associated with this Time of Year
Traditionally, Ostara is a time for collecting wildflowers, walking in nature's beauty and cultivating
herb gardens. This is the time to free yourself from anything in the past that is holding you back. At
this time we think of renewing ourselves. We renew our thoughts, our dreams, and our aspirations.
We think of renewing our relationships. This is an excellent time of year to begin anything new or to
do with growth or revitalization.
Eggs have long been a symbol for fertility, birth, hope, regeneration, order and wholeness. In many
traditions, this is the start of the New Year. The Persian New Year called Nawruz is celebrated on the
Equinox. Each year the ancient Persians celebrated the festival of the solar New Year by presenting
each other with colored eggs. The Jews used eggs as a symbol of rebirth at the Passover.
During the Middle Ages it was a very prized gift to be given an egg because the harsh winters made
food scarce. Children would often go from house to house to beg for Easter Eggs. In ancient days,
eggs were gathered and used for the creation of talismans and also ritually eaten. The gathering of
different colored eggs from the nests of a variety of birds is thought to have given rise to two
traditions still observed today - the Easter egg hunt, and coloring eggs in imitation of the various
pastel colors of wild birds.
The beautifully decorated eggs from the Ukraine (pysanky) are covered with magical symbols for
protection, fertility, wisdom, strength and other qualities. They are given as gifts and used as charms.
Baskets Filled with Goodies
Baskets like bowls or cups are symbolic of the gifts and bounty of the heart and / or womb. The idea of
weaving baskets most certainly must have come from watching birds weave their nests in preparation
for their young. It was once normal to leave out food and drink for the faeries and spirits on the eve
of festivals to better befriend them and hopefully minimize the mischief they might otherwise do. In
the Catholic tradition it was once a custom to take the food for Easter dinner to mass to be blessed.
Bunnies and Rabbits
Rabbits have long been associated with the Full Moon*, Lunar Goddesses, fertility, vitality and life
force. During the Renaissance, rabbits were though to be able to conceive without the male, and so
they became a symbol of the Madonna's virgin birth. A 16th Century painting by Titian shows Mary
clutching a white rabbit, illustrating purity and a control of sexuality. The rabbit had become an
important symbol of docility, gentleness and submission: qualities the church particularly wished to
encourage in its followers. * Look for the rabbit on the face of the Full Moon
Seeds and Flowers
This is a time for planting crops symbolizing that creation and action provide for future sustenance
and the triumph of life over death. Seeds symbolize the source of greater being ness while flowers
always represent beauty, sexuality and fruition. A beautiful ceremony suggested by Nancy Brady
Cunningham in Feeding the Spirit has each person choose a seed or bulb that is meaningful to them.
Bless the seeds with a prayer. Sit quietly and imagine your plant in full bloom. Invoke each of the
four elements to help in the plants’ growth.
Place the seed in a pot of soil and pat down the earth, pour water on it, breathe on it to represent air
and hold the pot over a candle (or up to the sun, if outside) to represent the element fire (the warmth
of the sun).
To add another layer of meaning to this ceremony choose seeds, which represent the things you want
to grow during the new year- — wisdom, understanding, patience, etc. Visualize those qualities
coming into full bloom in your life as you plant your seeds.
The Vernal Equinox is a time of renewal, both in Nature and in the Home. More than just physical
activity, "spring cleaning" removes any negative energy accumulated over the dark winter months
and prepares the home for the positive growing energy of spring and summer.
May the seeds you plant bring you the brightest blessings and benefit all beings.