Happy Spring Equinox, Bala Yogis! Our Very own Elli Yokochi wants you to celebrate this seasonal shift! Below you’ll find 7 ways to bring in the Spring Equinox at home.
Following a winter that was a little “extra” in Seattle this year, including the infamous Snowmageddon, I venture that it’s safe to say, most of us are “extra” ready for Spring.
The spring equinox marks the shift of the seasons, the start of the astrological calendar, and the first day of fiery Aries, igniting us with passion to plant seeds and reemerge after the dark of Winter. This is a sweet moment of balance where light and dark are in equanimity, just as day and night around the planet, and the energy of Father Sun and Grandmother Moon.
Ostara is another name for the Spring Equinox. She is the Goddess of fertility, dawn and Spring. Ostara is the archetypal maiden, fresh, vibrant and pure. We can call on her to increase fruitfulness, fertility and embark on new ventures. “Eostre” is an alternate spelling for this Goddess, and is how the Easter holiday and the hormone estrogen got their names.
The Spring or Vernal Equinox (in the northern hemisphere) occurs on Wednesday March 20th at 2:58pm PDT. The cosmic new year is a natural time of rebirth and to clear karma from the past year.
Just a little Astrology….
This year’s equinox coincides with a super full moon at 0 degrees Libra which is exact at 6:42pm PDT. A super moon means it is in close proximity to the Earth, making the moon appear bigger and brighter in the sky. This also means emotions and drama may be even more amplified. Libra has to do with relationships, balance, partnership, harmony and attraction. Libra is also 2 degrees from super galactic center strengthening our “hunger” for what we desire. With Venus, ruler of this full moon, in Aquarius, this is an ideal time to write a “mission statement” for romantic relationships or friendships. Get clear on your vision for the future.
Ritual is a way to bring sacredness into our day to day lives. Here are some ways to Celebrate Spring, the fertility of the land, and our souls, and invite a little (or big) dose of magic into our experience.
PC: The Hood Witch
Create an Altar
Making an altar is a beautiful way to honor and call in the divine. This can be done either inside or outside. Inside, place a beautiful fabric where you would like your altar. Then you can think of the elements; wood, earth, fire, water, air as you connect with your creativity to create a beautiful altar for Spring. Place stones, crystals, candles for fire, feathers for the air element, a bowl of salt water, and flowers or plants on your altar. Flowers and plants are great for representing new growth and blooms.
Outside, you can create a border by gathering sticks or stones, then gather anything that speaks to you, You would be surprised by how abundant nature is in providing you elements for your altar. You can also bring crystals or other sacred objects from inside. There are no rules. Let your inner child create magic.
Open Sacred Space
Opening sacred space can be as simple as meditating and calling in your spirit guides, angels, archangels, and ascended masters. You can also call qualities into the space and/or archetypes that you work with. Listen to your heart. You may call in grounding, love, joy, abundance, appreciation, truth or anything that comes to you in the moment. The goddess Ostara may be an archetype to invite since she is connected to this equinox. Perhaps there are archetypes you learned about in yoga class and resonated with like Hanuman, Lakshmi or Ganesha.
If you want to connect with your inner shaman, open sacred space by calling in the 6 directions. Different traditions have varying archetypes associated with the directions. In the Peruvian tradition I was trained in, we begin in facing the south. Serpent of the South represents the literal physical world and teaches us to shed the past the way they shed their skin. Jaguar of the West represents the mental/emotional realm and teaches us to live beyond fear and death, crossing over the rainbow bridge from this world to the next. In the north we invite royal hummingbird and our ancestors. Archetypal hummingbird represents the soul/mythic level reminding us to always follow the nectar that nourishes our soul and to live our epic soul’s journey. Great eagle/condor come from the East. The place of the rising sun, taking us under their wing, teaching us to fly wing tip to wing tip with Great Spirit and represent the pure energetic level. Place a hand up and rattle as you face each direction and call in the energies. Then bend down and place your hands on Mother Earth, Pachamama. Ask her to hold you in your sacred medicine space and say that you gather for the healing of all her children. Finally, look up as you raise a hand and call in Father Sun, Grandmother Moon, all the Star Nations and Great Spirit. Invite them into your medicine space and ask that they dance with you as you sing the song of life, Aho!
Meditate, write, sing, chant, or even dance
Once you have created an altar and opened sacred space, this is the perfect time to meditate, journal, chant, sing or even dance. You can do ceremony by yourself or gather a circle of friends. Journaling can be great after you sit in meditation. Invite your higher self to do the writing. Stream of consciousness gratitude journaling gets you in the flow and in alignment. It’s nice to give yourself “props’ for the things you have accomplished last season or even in the past year. Then write your intentions for what your heart desires to create. Remember to write in the present tense so your subconscious knows it as done rather than somewhere in the future. One of my favorite journal prompts is to 5 sensitize a life that you are obsessed with. What does it look like, feel like, taste like, smell like and sound like? Maybe it smells like a salty ocean breeze, or tastes like creamy pistachio gelato. It could look like camping in the Redwoods, partying on a yacht in France, or dancing the Argentine tango in Buenos Aires.
Chant your favorite mantra, like Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu (may all beings everywhere be happy and free, may my thoughts, words and actions contribute in some way to the happiness of all beings.)
Or call on the light for spring with the following mantra:
Asatoma sat gamaya
Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya
Mrityor ma amritan gamaya
(From untruth to truth, lead me
From darkness to light, lead me
From death or immortality, lead me)
PC: The Wondersmith
Have some blessed food
Place tea and yummy foods on your altar. Honey and hard boiled eggs are symbols of new life. You can also do sweet breads, dates, nuts, fruits or anything that reminds you of spring. If you place it on your altar during your ceremony and especially if you sing or chant, your food will be extra blessed!
108 is great
Practicing 108 sun salutations is a tradition to mark the changing of the seasons. 108 is an auspicious number in many spiritual traditions. I personally love this practice and find it so empowering and invigorating. If 108 sounds like a lot, pick a smaller number like your age, or a number that is sacred to you.
Skip the physical practice altogether and make yourself a mala necklace with 108 beads or a mala bracelet. Creating Malas is very meditative in itself, but these were originally intended to count mantras in meditation.
If you aren’t feeling crafty, buy yourself a new mala at Bala Yoga! We carry full 108 necklaces and bracelets.
Spring cleaning isn’t just for the house. Although it’s always a good idea to clear stagnant energy and make space for new by taking a trip to the goodwill. We can clean our cars and create a cleanse for our bodies.
Open your windows and cleanse your house by smudging with sage or palo santo. Smudging is a common practice to purify energy of a space, or even yourself. Many of our teachers cleanse with palo santo wood in the yoga studios.
We can use this equinox as a reason to clean out our cars. Who’s in?!
Create a gentle juice cleanse for your body or even a fast. Fasting and cleansing have numerous health as well as spiritual benefits, including: reducing inflammation, better blood sugar control, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, boosts brain function, extending longevity to name a few. Of course, listen to your body and consult a professional before engaging in any fast or cleanse.
Wake up with the sun! Go for a walk or take a hike. Even better, take off your shoes and ground while you’re at it. There is extensive research on the health benefits of connecting to the Earth, commonly referred to as “Earthing.” We absorb negative ions from the Earth that neutralize free radicals which lead to disease and inflammation in the body. Thirty minutes is recommended but even a few minutes of being barefoot on the Earth makes me feel like I can breathe deeper. Give it a try and feel the effects on your energy and stress level.
Choose rituals that resonate with you or create your own. Ether way, life is to be celebrated. Let’s take a moment to honor and appreciate, the life-giving Sun, longer days, continual rebirth of ourselves, and our Bala community to share it with. Namaste.