Happy High Spring!

The vernal equinox is upon us, as of 2:58 pm PDT today! The days will be longer than the nights, and we will steadily grow in daytime through to the summer solstice on June 20.

Unless you are in the Southern Hemisphere, of course, in which case, happy Autumn!

A joyous holiday to all of you! For tips on how to celebrate, visit this post from last year. May your celebration of Spring be happy, silly, and childlike!

Shown: Ukrainian pysanky eggs, a tradition for spring going back thousands of years.

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Shadow and Light

The equinox, which I name High Spring, is upon us.

To me, this is a happy time of innocence and play. A time for bright colors and candy and finally—finally—having light in the evenings and a sun warm enough to feel on my skin.

But today, I am so sad. So disturbed.

The white supremacist murder sprees at two mosques in New Zealand are simply sickening. That we have people so damaged, so filled with hatred in this world just breaks my heart.

Half light, half darkness. That’s the equinox.

And the world itself, it seems.

The extraordinary poet W.S. Merwyn died yesterday as well, after a long and productive life. In perhaps his most famous poem, “Thanks”, he reminds us of this, of the gratitude and the horror, better than ever I could.

Listen
with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water thanking it
standing by the windows looking out

in our directions

 

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead

whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

 

over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change

we go on saying thank you thank you

 

with the animals dying around us
taking our feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
thank you we are saying and waving

dark though it is

 

 

And so I wish you the joy of the season, with the acknowledgement that the darkness comes, as well.

We sit, balanced on the knife edge of the year, before the long fall into light.

The Sabbath of Innocence

On March 20, we will come around again to the vernal equinox, which in my Wheel of the Year I name High Spring.

In the metaphorical arc of the year, High Spring is the time of youth–of childhood.

As it happens, I don’t have children in my life very much. I have none of my own, and of the local friends I have with kids, they are older: teens and young adults.

And my experience of childhood was anything but innocent. So the concept of childhood isn’t exactly happy and light in my own experience.

Yet I can imagine.

I imagine the sheer wonder of a rattle shaking, of soap bubbles floating, of an unopened present. The newness of it all, in a world of giants.

The innocence.

I see, especially in the very young, that sheer amazement at things we take for granted: ringing bells. Rain or snow. Shiny, colorful objects.

I think of the growing sprouts of Spring, and imagine how they orient to that bright, shiny orb in the sky, struggling up in brilliant green, and the spectrum of spring flowers. The children of the soil.

How amazing that bright, bright thing must be to them.

For they, too, are innocent. Born for the first time, a new generation, informed by evolutionary history but each of them, individually, making its first and only try at Life.

And so we celebrate High Spring with traditional things, like dyed eggs and colorful candy, and as well with childhood things, like childrens’ games.

It’s worth doing, to have a holiday especially for children in the course of the year. Other holidays mostly focus on adults, and it is always important for us to remember, as the Eighth Atheopagan Principle reminds us, that the next generation is precious and in our care.

Spring is newness and delight, Nature laughing in flowers, creeks and rivers rushing.

Life is returning.

The dreamed-of is becoming real.

Spring Laughs

It begins with a giggle:

The tiniest white tendril reaching from the secret soil

Like a child’s laugh, the purr of a cat and then

Raising, greening leaves and flowers peal across the meadows,

Carpet even what was once severe, sere,

Frowning brown in summer’s dry thatch,

A deep belly rumble of soaring chlorophyll

Spreading wanton leaves, dangling perfumed sex

Climbing to nod and wave come and get me,

These meadows,

Brazen to the skip of children gathering posies

Bees lumbering slow in the crisp morning air

You, and I, perhaps, gone down to the stream

To lay down in that place, screened by waving rye

And the laughter of the stream gurgling out like a baby’s delight

Playing with our playthings as we do, exploring

The whole world green and gripped with the howl of it:

Spring come at last.