Spring, balance, ritual

Yesterday’s Spring Equinox drew me to the woods, gathering some treasures along the way. Each time I picked up or plucked off a leaf or flower, seed or cone, I said thank you to the plant from which it came. I gently placed each item in my basket, and when I arrived in the pine woods I set down the basket and took a deep breath. The sun pierced through the thick trees making shadowy lines through the forest, and I realized I was facing east – the direction of the sunrise, of the Air element, of new beginnings and growth. My intention this morning was to create an ephemeral altar to honor this day, Spring Equinox, a day when light and dark are balanced.

But as I stood and breathed the pine-scented (and pollen-gifted) air, I felt a need to move – to stretch my arms above, to sway from side to side, and to twirl in a circle and laugh. I also felt a need to say something out loud to honor the elements, the plants, the forest, the day, the gift of being alive here in this place. Eventually, I scraped the pine needles away from the ground beneath my feet, making a circle on the forest floor. And as I began to arrange the leaves and flowers and seeds and cones into a living mandala, I felt the energy of each plant coalesce within the circle. I took time to feel each piece gently, to notice its texture, its smell, its form. I marveled at the structure of each flower and leaf. I thought about its role as food, medicine, shelter, beauty.

Close up of center of mandala

While doing so, I also felt the importance of ritual. The importance of making time and effort to pay attention, to observe, to witness, and to honor these simple things that surround us each day. From a simple ritual of waking up and drinking a cup of tea to elaborate rituals honoring family, special occasions, places, accomplishments, each helps bind us to something larger than ourselves. Rituals also help us slow down, disconnect from the distractions of daily life, and reconnect with what nourishes us most. I’ve learned that I can create very simple rituals that have a huge impact on my day and life. So can you.

The finished Spring Equinox mandala/altar

During this ritual, I attempted to create a mostly symmetrical, balanced mandala to symbolize the balance of light and dark on this day and to honor the gifts of spring – violets, forsythia, columbine, wild garlic, Christmas fern, chickweed, daffodil, sweet gum balls, bee mint, maple seeds, cherry blossoms and pine. The day before, I’d participated in a Wild Plant Ramble with Kim Calhoun of AbunDanceHealingArts and was still feeling the joy from that journey – being in community with a curious and gentle group of people sharing plant knowledge and gifts under the guidance of such a wonderful teacher. So, this altar certainly included acknowledgement and honor for that experience. Kim, through her demeanor and actions, always reminds me that there is a way to move through the world with love and wonder and gratitude and grace.

Spring equinox lunch with some wild violets, dandelions, and chickweed from our yard.

So, I spent yesterday’s Spring Equinox outdoors, moving through my world with all the love and wonder and gratitude and grace I was feeling. After my morning altar ritual, Mr. EndlessSeeker and I worked in our gardens, lunched by a campfire, and breathed precious breaths of gratitude for the living, growing, beautiful gifts we are given each day by the trees, flowers, bugs, and birds that honor us with their presence here at Pokeberry Pines. The Equinox teaches us that life is all about balance, and Spring teaches us that the cycles of life carry on – renewing, regenerating, recycling, re-creating. I’m definitely feeling a spring need to create – to paint, to write, to plant, to grow…

Here’s hoping you find balance, renewal, ritual, love, gratitude, and grace as you journey through your spring. What did you do for Spring Equinox? What are your daily rituals? What do you plan to do during the coming spring months to spread the love, joy, balance, and spirit of spring?


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