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Celebrating Spring Equinox


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How does everyone celebrate the Spring Equinox? What is the traditional way to celebrate? Any suggestions are welcome as Im new to Paganism.

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There's no traditional way because there is no "one" way - many people don't celebrate it because it's to part of their path. I acknowledge it inasmuch as it's the tipping of the balance between day/ night length and in the northern hemisphere that's a reason for joy :) But because not everyone is Wiccan, it's hard to say how you "should" be celebrating it.

 

I say think about what it means for you and do something accordingly.

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It is a sun festival because, as Pom says, it marks equal day and night! Some to not include it and some see it as a cause for celebration. Wiccans include it in the 8 festivals celebrated through the Wheel of the Year. Personally, I will simply acknowledge the day and spend the following weekend with friends - at a pagan moot on the Friday where a friend is the speaker and staying on over the weekend with like-minded folk! It is simply a joy that we are moving into Spring and the following weekend, the hour goes forward and there are two bank holidays .... hooray!!!!

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Personally, I find it a great cause for celebration. I'm loving that Spring is on the way - it's my favourite time of the year.

 

I've managed to fennangle the day off work and will be spending it with my daughter, decorating eggs and hopefully enjoying some pleasant weather.

I'll be serving a special dinner, likely devilled eggs. I may even deep clean our home!

Edited by Hayley
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The eggs thing has been on my mind. I know all that is to do with Christianity, but I was beginning to wonder if, one went further back than Christianity, it had any other basis? Does anyone know when hens would stop laying 2000 years ago, and when they would restart?

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Hens stop laying in response to hormone changes triggered by lower light levels and cooler temperatures. So although they were totally different to today's bred hybrids etc, they would still have been affected by the same triggers. Most domestic hens moult (and by default stop laying) in autumn and winter and start when light levels increase.

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so eggs being associated with this point in the year might predate Christianity. Rather than people giving up eggs for lent (which is what happened later), it might be that all that began because eggs were simply unavailable. then, when hens were bred that paid earlier - say, during lent, people invented religious reasons for abstaining. and then all the other stuff gradually accumulated on top of that.

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I think so - I have a theory that the eggs started being laid again at the start of Spring, which was the rebirth of the land after a hard winter - everything coming to life again - would make sense to have a reborn god at that time too.

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would make sense to have a reborn god at that time too.

 

heh. I was about to ask "what god"? Then I realised what you were talking about. ;)

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We like to decorate eggs then thread cotton through and hang them on a special tree in the garden, it gives a bit of colour and our little girl loves doing it. Always try and get outside and plant something in the ground as a bit of a nod to the fact the earth is waking up at this time of year. We also have a bit of a feast with whatever season foods we can grab from the shops. thats our plans anyway.

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Sacred celebrations by Glennie kindred is a basic but handy book if your looking for ideas for celebrating the 8 festivals of the year. However as Pomona said the most important thing to do is whatever "feels" right to you, but any encouragement you can give to get spring to show itself would be very much appeciated!! I've been outside all week and am still thawing out!

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I read that decorating eggs was a Pagan thing.

 

 

it's a modern thing. :) There isn't anything from pre-Christian times that I can think of. At least, not in the Heathen religion, which is where the month "Eostre" comes from. That's all we have, unfortunately - the name of the month. Though I knew someone who experienced her as a goddess, so perhaps she was.

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I don't celebrate it as Ostara, not being a Wiccan, but I do enjoy it as a seasonal celebration of the growing light. My OBOD grove will do a ritual and hopefully I'll be able to get outside (if the rain ever stops!) and collect some tokens of the land to put on my deity altar, like any fallen blossom that might be around. I'm just so happy to have light again! :)

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For the Wiccans amongst us, "Eight Sabbats for Witches" by Janet and Stewart Farrar, is a good source of information - chapter on Spring Equinox. There is brief mention of Eostre said to be a Teutonic goddess but whose name may be "another variant of Ishtar, Astarte and Aset" (Isis). "Eostre's Spring rites bore a family resemblance to those of Babylonian Ishtar."

 

The Farrars' take on the Easter Egg: "It is the World Egg, laid by the Goddess and split open by the heat of the Sun God" - Graves in The White Goddess. The Farrars go on to say: "Originally it was a snake's egg; the caduceus of Hermes portrays the coupling snakes, Goddess and God who produced it. But under the Orphic mysteries, as Graves points out: since the cock was the Orphic bird or resurrection, sacred to Apollo's son Aesculapius the healer, hens' eggs too the place of snakes' in the later Druidic mysteries and were coloured scarlet in the Sun's honour and became Easter eggs.

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There is brief mention of Eostre said to be a Teutonic goddess but whose name may be "another variant of Ishtar, Astarte and Aset" (Isis). "Eostre's Spring rites bore a family resemblance to those of Babylonian Ishtar."

 

I realise that's the Wiccan take, but I can't let it pass unqualified. :P

 

from Wiki: Astarte arrived in Ancient Egypt during the 18th dynasty along with other deities who were worshipped by northwest Semitic people. She was especially worshipped in her aspect as a warrior goddess, often paired with the goddess Anat.

 

Astarte/Ishtar may have been paired with Aset (Isis) in later times in Egypt, but Aset was primarily a goddess of love, family etc, never (AFAIK) of war.

 

I'm not sure what the reference to Eostre's spring rites means, because (again AFAIK) there are no records. not in England (Eostre) or in Germany (Ostara*). So any family resemblance to Ishtar's (whether there were any of those) is likely to be purely the result of someone's imagination. :(

 

Edited to add - just reminded myslef that ostara didn't exist as a pagan reference, either. Here's an excellent article on the unfounded myths about Eostre.

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.... it was really the rest of the chapter in "Eight Sabbats ... " that I was referencing and only mentioned the Eostre bit because it had been speculated upon earlier! The Farrars wrote their book in the 1970s and much information has been discovered/changed/researched since then! Nevertheless, it is not a bad place to start ..... for Wiccans :D

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sorry, hun - I was being a grump. You're right - it's as good a place as any to start if you're inventing a new ritual for the vernal equinox. :lol:

 

Back in my Wiccan days, if you rejected the Farrars' book (which I did for two distinct reasons) then there wasn't much to cling to. Which is why, when I write my skit on the Eightfold Year, this was the verse that used to crack people up:

T’was at the Vernal equinox we all joined hand in hand

And we formed a great big circle and we chanted and we sang.

As there’s nothing going on just now and no one has a clue

Of what it is we celebrate, but that’s what pagans do

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Whether painting eggs is Christian or Pagan depends on who is doing it and why. If a Christian is doing it to symbolise the resurrection of Christ then it is Christian...... if a Pagan is doing it to symbolise the coming of sun, warmth light and growth then it is Pagan. I fear that anything the Christians do which is not specifically mentioned in the bible tends to be snapped up by Pagans as being some ancient Pagan survival. I suspect people in ancient times had better used for eggs than painting them (ie eating them). The good thing about Paganism is that you can do what you like to celebrate what seems important to you. I won't be celebrating The equinox specifically, but I will be so busy planting up my vegetables which seems very appropriate somehow. Sorry about the bloody itallics (sons laptop) Mike

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@ Moonhunter - wiccans (and I use the small "w" advisedly) have much to thank the Farrars for! They broke oath and published stuff that many say should never have been published but there ... too late! Stewart did much research of what was available at the time - we are now so much more fortunate to have more and better resources and the ease of the internet to find them. It is my view that it matters not how or what people do to celebrate the seasons, mark the passage of time, recognise the wonders of the Universe .... it is all good stuff! More seriously, question, do our own research, test it out in our own practices, sometimes with like-minded others and so we develop and, because we are pagans, we can do that in any way we choose :lol:

 

@Mike I agree with all you say and I think that if someone's having fun with eggs - the almost-universal symbol of new life - then we should all have the chance to have fun with eggs ... chocolate .... spring flowers ... and so on! So I care not whether the xtians first thought of eggs at easter, I shall use eggs in my way in the Spring - call it easter, eostre, equinox even Beltane ....and I wish every other person joy of the season however the celebrate it :D

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