Spring is the promise of release; of cleansing; of birth waters bearing down on the valley, washing winter into the Atlantic, heralding new life and new beginnings.
Early spring’s message can feel like a paradox. Warm sunny days followed by a snowstorm. Icy rain biting at raw skin followed by a warm breeze that can uplift your state of mind. It can confound the body and make wardrobe choices a frustrating activity. But though spring’s message may seem confusing, at the base (“cause it’s all about the base”) it’s about change. And change rarely is a straight and narrow path. Change can shift and turn back on itself and wind around. Change also may not go at steady pace. You may feel stuck in the mud. Or that you are barely keeping afloat. Or that you are excitedly riding the rapids. Or that you’ve found yourself in a gentle groove.
At the Spring Equinox, which was on March 20th, I circled with friends to herald in and honor the changing of the seasons. I held up the broom, “Time for spring cleaning. Whatever it is in your life that you are ready to sweep out the door, to release, state it, and sweep.” Mirth ensued as we named our nemeses of procrastination or an unhealthy habit or feeling stuck or fearful about the future, then swept our little spot on the deck of all sand and debris. The naming of the issue and action of sweeping helped to instill a sense of determination that we have the strength to move through our blocks. Now when you state what you don’t want in your life, it can then be quite validating to state what you do want. To make that equally feel real, anchored in a body action, we chose a plant-dyed* hard-boiled egg, reverently and playfully crafted by my partner John, and stated what we did want in our lives, then consumed the eggs. Eggs are healthy and nourishing and represent life’s potential. From a new project to well wishes for our society to a kept promise, we ate our eggs, tasting what we wanted to bring into our lives. (Sometimes a little salt and cayenne are needed.)
Spring is heralded in in a thousand ways – from the squelching mud squishing underfoot to the melting ice in the streams to the returning flocks of red-winged blackbirds and geese flying overhead to the almost inaudible pitter patter of mole salamanders on the march to their vernal pools to the antics of inebriated robins rocking to the tune of fermented berries in their heads – all expressing the hope renewal brings.
* If you would like to experiment with natural dyes, you simply need pots of boiling water, some vinegar, and plant matter that will release their color into the water and transfer onto the egg shells. Suggestions include: purple cabbage, red onion skins, and powdered turmeric.
**Ostara, or Eostre, is the Teutonic Goddess of Spring. The Maiden aspect of Earth. She represents all aspects of fertility and giving birth. Associations include eggs, hares, and spring flowers.
Arianna Alexsandra Collins, naturalist, writer, poet, wild edible enthusiast, and Wiccan High Priestess, lives in Ashfield, MA and serves as the Program Coordinator in the Community Service Office. You can reach her at www.HearkenToAvalon.com or on Smith campus at firstname.lastname@example.org.