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Spring Equinox - Rebirth, Renewal and Return

Also known as the vernal equinox, today marks the halfway point between the Winter Solstice and the Summer Solstice. Equinox means equal night. In reality the day at this time of year is a few minutes longer than the night but let's not get bogged down in the minutae of the moment - today is a point of balance.


The spring equinox also marks the official beginning of spring. At long last winter's heavy coat can be shed as we welcome back the light. The energy of spring is all about renewal and rebirth. New growth is appearing everywhere; the buds which have held themselves in close protection from the cold are now aspiring to flourish, spreading their decadent plumes out into the world. The flowering brings back to nature all the colour and life that has been hidden during the dark cold period of hibernation. Nature's gradual planning and preparation designed to facilitate this re-entry into the world of light is now emerging and fulfilling the promise she makes each year to lead us through the seasons of change.

In Greek mythology it is the abduction of Demeter's daughter, Persephone which initiates the changing seasons into the natural world. The story is in part a metaphor for human growth and the changes we must go through in order to become fully reaslised and whole beings with purpose. It's not mere coincidence that Persephone's abduction happens at the moment she plucks the narcissi from the ground. Our ego self is always seeking validation, proof of its' existence through the recognition by others who reflect what we believe we are, or, frequently believe we should be.


Hades, alone in the underworld dealing with the processing of human souls, is a pretty lonely soul himself and most likley based on his environment has some base desires. He sees Persephone, a maiden on the brink of womanhood and the heat of attraction is sparked.  Hades abducts the innocent Persephone, carrying her away on a black chariot carrying her deep into the portals of hell below. Beneath the obvious conquest narrative and fulfilment of sexual desire no doubt there is also the yearning he feels for companionship in the darkness. Someone to confide in, to share the trials of the day and essentially to establish more than a physical union with, in order to alleviate the isolation he experiences in the absence of light - other of course than the hot flames of hell.  His options for dating are after all a bit limited!


Meanwhile, in the upper world, Persephone's mother Demeter is quite understandably distraught - her beloved daughter is missing. Wracked with grief she takes on mortal form and wanders the earth on the edge of insanity in fruitless search for her child, (for she regards Persephone not as a maiden on the brink of transforming into full womanhood).  As she wanders Demeter curses nature not to grow and bloom, shouting at the apple trees and the crops in their furrow, commanding them to halt their growth but instead remain in perpetual dormancy.  The world is barren, there is no food or abundance of any kind. The all powerful Zeus (Demeter’s brother), God of the Gods and also Persephone's father, complicit in Hades plan, realises action is needed to rectify the desperate situation, However it is Hecate, the wise woman who tells Demeter where her daughter has gone and causes Demeter to demand from Zeus her return.


Only Hermes, the messenger can travel between worlds and Zeus instructs him to tell Hades to release Persephone so that natural order may be restored.   Hades agrees, but not before enticing Persephone, who hasn’t eaten anything during her time in the underworld, to consume just 4 pomegranate seeds. Well, that seals her fate; ancient lore states that once one has eaten in the realm of the underworld one is bound to that realm forever. What's needed to placate Demeter and restore abundance to the world is a compromise and only Zeus’s power can orchestrate this. Hades is persuaded to allow Persephone, his Queen to spend half the year with him, deep in the bowels of hell, where in reality there is nothing to suggest in the Greek narrative that she isn't content, and the other half above ground with her mother.


When spring arrives, Persephone returns and by Demeter's hand because she is the Goddess of fertility, harvest and the earth, nature's fevered dormancy is awakened into the burgeoning of new life we witness spring forth as light returns more fully to the world. She has her child back, her creation and with this return the seasons are born and begin to flow and transform. When the time comes for Persephone to return to the Underworld and reunite with Hades the world above mourns summer’s full abundance but understanding the cycle makes it possible for the process to be one of gradual regeneration and the world adapts to the new rhythm of continual gradual change displayed as it is by nature.


We can use the inspiration of the equinoxes to invoke balance in how we live our lives. An appreciation of the cycle enables us to attune to the flow of all life and fall into a rhythm which inspires creativity. The seeds we planted at the end of autumn have been cocooned and cared for and now what we harvested and stored away becomes more alert to awakening into being.  The things we want to do or achieve; the changes we wish to implement, these and more can be incepted and unfolded into the light and inspired by increasing warmth, colour and nature’s awakening to new life.  This might mean we begin to share with others the idea for a new creation; a plan, project or alteration in how we live or we begin to perhaps invest more into the development of the seedling which now show their tender leaves and delicate shoot but still required nurturing into existence.


Growth doesn't stop when we move on from being children. Physically we may not get any taller, but our story continues to unfold through the new experiences we open ourselves to and the paths we choose or are perhaps impelled to take. The yearning for springtime is powerful and often we fail to notice the gradual shifts taking place through a slow journey which begins back in the depths of winter. Taking this in, we might look back and observe the patience with which we did bravely endure the colder, darker and definitely wetter time just past and realise that even though there will be some false starts to spring we certainly moving into renewed light. The abundance of this fresh season with all it's myriad possibilities can be allowed to stimulate our own desires to create anew.


Seasonal markers are good points to start something new and to get more clarity on what it is you truly want to create this year and where you desire to be, come the summer solstice or autumn equinox.  Journaling is a useful way to lay the groundwork for plans to feel real, take shape and develop and the consistency of a regular journal practice helps you to understand the process required and to assess the steps needed for fruition to be realised.   With that in mind then, here are a few ideas which I offered to my lovely guests at a spring equinox yoga retreat back in 2022 which might inspire you to begin:


Spring Equinox Journal Ideas:

 

What have you been wanting to do, but have not yet found (or made) time for?

(IDEAS: a job around the house, change of career, relationship alteration, adventure, new interest, or revisiting a past one, personal adaptation, spiritual or academic endeavour...)

 

What is holding you back? How might you begin to overcome the obstacles that are in your way AND importantly, are these obstacles real?

(IDEAS: we can often self-sabotage through doubt, excuses, the assumption we will fail or a sense that somehow that goal isn’t meant for us.  Perceiving the path we want to take, noting the steps we need, 1 by 1 can often help us see where there lies a genuine obstacle and where we in fact create the block.)

 

What support do you need right now to grow in the direction you want to?

(IDEAS: asking for help is often a challenge but realising that giving others the opportunity to support you is an absolute game changer. Who could you gift this opportunity to?)

 

What growth can you feel is already happening, what has changed?

(IDEAS: don’t dismiss the small changes they are larger than you believe – are you making more consistent effort to nourish yourself well or have you already changed a small negative behaviour?)

 

How might you ensure you nurture this new growth and stay on course? What new shoots is there the opportunity to birth?

(IDEAS: constant renewal of inspiration is important so try to remind yourself regularly where the growth already achieved is actually leading you toward.  Remain open to what arises, be fluid to opportunities that arise but even if you need to recalibrate stay on track & work out the steps paying really close attention to each one.)

 

If you were a seedling, what conditions would you require to enable you to grow and blossom fully?

(IDEAS: what is your fertile soil?  Connection to others, quiet/time alone, adventure & thrills, love, laughter, lightness, periods of rest, routine, or time out (not in a naughty step way though ;)

 

What is it that has an annoying tendency to stunt your growth & hold you back from blossoming fully?  How might you either release yourself from these binds, loosen them or free yourself completely?

(IDEAS: where do you knotted, caught or frozen?  Not having enough time to devote to yourself perhaps or endless distractions, a lack of energy/enthusiasm, feeling it’s not worth putting effort in because it won’t happen, lethargy setting in – notice your thought patterns when you are thwarted or lose enthusiasm and decide whether you want to change them.)

 

What lights you up, excites you and makes you feel fully and completely alive?

(IDEAS:  oh, go on, be wild and ridiculous, no one but you needs to know so make it as utterly bizarre, outlandish and crazy as you can. When you analyse this with an insightful eye you’ll discover it reveals the absolute quintessence and elixir of your future happiness.)


Wishing you a blessed spring equinox today and the hope that you will step into the light of renewal with the charge of new energy for whatever flows towards you next.


Picture Below: These gorgeous embodiments of light all joined me and co-created our Spring Equinox Yoga Retreat in March 2022. Is a yoga retreat is on your list of desires for 2024? If it is, click here to find out more and be inspired to embrace the autumn equinox in Andalusia - only one en-suite room remaining, will it be yours? Please get in touch if you have any questions or simply to register your interest.


I hope to see you springing up on the mat soon.

Warmest Wishes

Emma X




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