Spring Equinox. Spring Solstice. Vernal Equinox. Lieldienas.
These are just a few terms that I have heard regarding the return of the Sun. . And this exact day is quite magical because it is a moment that is only expressed in Nature twice a year: an equinox is a bi-annual event where night and day are exactly equal length all over the earth. In the Northern Hemisphere, this is Spring's culmination; in the Southern Hemisphere, this is Fall's culmination. What we have come to adapt in modern culture when hearing about the spring or fall equinox that this day marks the beginning of those two seasons, but this is actually not quite true. Nothing you find in Nature is static, there is always movement going on - whether that's the movement of the air, the water, or tiny particles - movement is life. No movement is death. The movement toward what we call Spring or Fall actually began a few weeks ago; what these days actually signify is the exact moment of Spring or Fall's culmination. That season at its fullest height - fruits and plants harvested nearer to this day will taste different than any other time of the year. You can literally taste the season of your food, smell how that season is unique (flowers for spring, leaves for fall), feel the way the air moves differently, and also take a noticing of how your body feels during a certain season. Our ancestors marked this bi-annual occasion by large scale celebrations incorporating ritual, offerings of foods to specific Gods, plants and flowers from their seasonal harvest, a big meal, song, dance and story. In Western Europe, this holiday in Spring was celebrated as Ostara, where symbols of fertility like rabbits and eggs decorated homes and ritual altar spaces as the Goddess begins her courtship with the God.
Growing up in my Eastern European family, this holiday was called "Lieldienas," which translated from the original Latvian means "Big Day," and they weren't kidding. In the mythology of ancient Latvia, there is a battle going on between the Sun Goddess, Saule, and the darkness. And every single year, She conquers this darkness the world over. And you can observe this yourself. After the Spring Equinox, the days become longer, the nights shorter, and the daylight increases. This victory over the darkness of ancient Baltic nations was celebrated by the spring solstice celebrations.
Spring Solstice 2019
March 20th is a big day astronomically and astrologically this year. Not only are we feeling the usual shifts in vibration due to the Spring equinox and the time where we transition from the time of Pisces (February 19 - March 20) to Aries (March 21 - April 20), but we also have the added bonus of it being a Full Moon and Mercury is still in retrograde until March 28th. This alignment of the Solar Calendar holiday (Spring Solstice) with the Lunar holiday (Full Moon) makes this day of celebrating both the light and the dark so incredibly special. I'll be talking about this holiday in terms of Spring, because that is the season I'm living in.
Tips for self-care and ritual for this Solstice:
Be sure to give yourself ample time to prepare for and double check any and all communications or details with your friends, colleagues, family and other folks. Mercury in Retrograde has a significant impact on the area of communication, since that is what Mercury rules. During his journey backward, it is a perfect time to reflect on how we listen, areas of active listening, time management and organization that we could improve on, and take a time to do some very deep listening of ourselves. Find a comfortable spot to sit or lay down comfortably and then take a moment to check in with yourself. How is your body feeling? How is your mind? How is your spirit? What would your body want from you if you gave it the opportunity to ask? How can you make that inner most wish come true?
The Full Moon is a perfect time to petition your ancestors and Gods for *anything* whether that be for the growth of something or to let go of something that no longer serves you in your life. Take a moment and assess in a comfortable spot in your house. Light a candle, take a bath - whatever will make you feel like you are really marking the occasion. Settle in and do an inner assessment - are there things you could grow in your life? Are there things you could let go of in your life? Write it all down and do a deep meditation where you envision your desire coming true. Afterward, burn it up in a fire-safe container. Take some time to investigate what you do in the light and the dark. Show your shadow side the same amount of love you do your light.
I personally LOVE the decorations and colors of all the seasons. It gives me a chance to both freshen up my space with the relevant colors and vibrations of the season and a great way to express on my altar the energies of Nature around me. The color associated with this season is green - for healing, for new beginnings, and for the green grass and sprouting buds on the trees. The taste is sour - look for green apples, green tea, green grapes and other sour foods to bring in all that wonderful spring energy into your body to nourish your body, mind and spirit to be consolidated into the power you'll need the whole year through. I take the opportunity to change out my altar cloth to a beautiful tree, set up a drawing of Saule's sigil and my Gaia statue, light some candles and incense and purify my house with some sacred aromatics. I usually also take the opportunity to do an actual "Spring Cleaning" of my house by donating articles of clothing and books. Give yourself some Yin time (down-time) to find out what would feel good to you and make a ritual of it!
I'm going to leave you with some lyrics that I think encompasses the heart of this Latvian mythology as written by one of my favorite composers Raimonds Tiguls called Lec Saulite, or Jump Beloved Saule:
Lec, saulīte, spīdi spoži Jump Beloved Saule, shine bright
Rotā druvu, rotā sētu Decorate the cane, decorate the fence
Lec Saulite, tumšo šķel Jump Beloved Saule, split the dark
Dari mūsu zeme svētu Do that which makes our land holy
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Brightest Blessings this day!