In Japan, the beginning of spring traditionally arrives on February 4th. However, for those of us in the western hemisphere, it’s seen to be heralded by the Vernal Equinox, (which this year took place on March 20th ). But to me, the commencement of spring is best exemplified by the celebration of the Christian festival of Easter which commences tomorrow. I have many happy childhood memories of sunny days around this time of year bringing new energy to everything around me, together with a lot of the colour yellow, as well as all the excitement of Easter Eggs, bunnies, baby chicks and Easter bonnets – not to mention the religious rejoicing that culminates on Easter Monday.
Easter does of course have some of its roots in pagan springtime revels connected with the renewal of growth in nature and the planting of seeds after the long darkness of winter. We’re celebrating Christ’s resurrection from the dead following His death on Good Friday so the whole festival is a celebration of re-birth, something which ties up with the festivals of the ancients commemorating the coming of spring, the arrival of light and the awakening of life all around us.
The word “Easter” actually comes from the name of a Saxon goddess who was known as Oestre or Eastre, and in Germany, she was known as Ostara. She was the goddess of the dawn and the spring and the name of the female hormone Estrogen is derived from her name. Essentially, she was a fertility goddess who was linked to the celebration of new life. Eggs were painted in bright colours at Ostara’s festival to show appreciation for her gift of abundance – and this of course, is the basis from which our tradition of Easter Eggs comes.
We all tend to think of the cross as the symbol of the Christian faith but it actually pre-dates the rise of the Christian church. It symbolises the vertical shaft of Spirit penetrating the horizontal shaft of Matter and embodies that place at our heart centre where the heavenly and earthly meet. This is the space from which we can find balance, stillness and presence in the here and now – a perfect place from which to welcome in new beginnings and change.
The passing of what was, and the commencement of that which is new, are all bound up in Easter. All endings are new beginnings if we choose to see them in that light. Our inner celebrations at this time may therefore acknowledge the rising of new energy and the journeys we have made in coming through and rising above any personal crosses we have carried in the past or not so distant past. It is a time of letting go and moving on – joyfully – as the light of the life-giving sun climbs ever higher in the sky and we progress towards the flowering of summer and the abundance of autumn.
Over the coming Easter holiday, breathe in the freshness of spring as it makes itself felt – no matter if it rains, or the clouds are dark and the sun doesn’t shine much. Spring is still out there, waiting, and ready to burst forth in all its ecstatic glory. Tune into the spring and let its energy move through you from the top of your head right down to your toes. Let it keep circulating in, through and out, in through and out, letting it move through your physical body and your energy body with the intention of your mind. Keep it moving, and allow YOURSELF to move. Open your arms to the heavens, fling them wide to welcome in the new vibrations, and let yourself dance a little. This will make your energy body very happy, and a happy energy body creates a happy person.
What could be better than that?