Yesterday was the Spring Equinox when day and night are the same length, so it’s a time of balance but also (at least where I live) the time when you can really see Spring happening – trees are putting out leaves and some buds, and the daffodils and similar flowers are blooming. And because it was also a Sunday and a weekend where I wasn’t doing anything it meant I could spend a lot more time enjoying the Eqinox than I would were it a weekday.
My celebrations started in the afternoon, after I’d seen the friend that’s been staying over onto the bus and headed over to the parents’ to pick up a spare cake Mum had after a church event. When I got there she was out in the garden pruning the apple tree, the same one that supplied the apples for my rumtopf, so I took the opportunity to cut several lengths of wood for myself and my Pagan friends – the chance to get a lot of apple wood, a tree I associate for most of the year with Spring, harvested on the Equinox wasn’t one I was going to pass up. I was, however, very disappointed that the holly bush/tree was gone. I knew Mum had the tree surgeons coming round to give the sycamore a serious prune, but I didn’t realise they were going to take out the holly tree at the same time. I knew the holly was coming out, but I thought it was going to happen later, as I wanted a piece of the trunk or one of the thick branches to make a set of runes from, as I consider holly to be my tree and I grew up with this particular one at the bottom of my garden. I know I’ve got a lovely amethyst set to use, but I was really looking forward to having a holly set as well. *Sad sigh*
I then walked to the local Catholic church as I wanted to light a couple of candles, but despite it being Sunday and this particular church being open during daylight hours, it was locked. So I extended my planned walk round the park to include a detour past the C of E church in the middle on the offchance it was open, which it wasn’t. But I had a lovely walk round both halves of the park seeing the changing season in the trees, enjoying the sun and the warmth, and moving my Yggdrasil beads through my fingers. I stopped on the footbridge over the river and attempted to play poohsticks with one fo the apple branches I’d cut, but I never saw it emerge from the other side of the bridge. So either I missed it because I’ve forgotten how the river flows there, or it sank due to being very green.
Boringly, I then did the washing up and read more of my book for the rest of the afternoon, followed by chatting to my flatmate when he came home, but after he’d headed off for a shower I went into my room for ritual. Usually for the Sabbats I follow the ones given in the Pagan Dreams Sabbat kits, similar to the Sabbat Boxes reviewed by Marietta only with static contents and no subscription waiting list. However, the Ostara ritual from Pagan Dreams involved planting sweet pea seeds, and while I fully intended to harvest seedpods from my plant from last year to replant this year, it died. So this time round I dispensed with the altar and circle herbs (partly because I couldn’t find my Air tin earlier and partly because I forgot) and made up my ritual on the fly. Before I cast my circle I put all the spent matches and ends of burnt incense sticks that had been gathering since I moved in into my offering bowl and set them on fire as a way of welcoming back the longer days and shorter nights.
After that I cast a circle by symbolically sweeping the area with my altar broom (made from holly wood), marking the circle with the quartz point I use as a wand and finally using my athame to seperate the inside from the outside. I then mixed salt and water in my chalice, placed my Ostara incense on hot charcoal, and sipped the water and censed myself with the smoke before lighting my altar and Deity candles and asking Christos, Sophia, and Freyja to watch over me. I censed the bundle of apple branches which I’d tied with twine and wrapped around with the ribbons I’d knotted together on Ostara last year, when we had a new moon and solar eclipse on the same day as the Equinox. I then dedicated one of Beth’s amazing runic stretch chokers (mine’s not featured) to Freyja as part of my growing devotional relationship to Her, and promised to wear it during the week both as an offering and as a reminder that even when I’m in my work gear I can be considered beautiful – something I really struggle with and which osn’t helping my self-esteem issues any. The rest of the time I spent in circle was taken up with censing and poking a load of Earth energy into a spare quartz point I had, which is to be a gift for a friend who’s recently embarked on a new phase of her spiritual journey by being asked to create a new devotional relationsip with a second Deity. I’m hoping that having done this on the Equinox it will help her to remain balanced and grounded during what has the potential to be a time of upheaval. As ever, I have no idea if it actually worked but ye gods did I feel drained afterwards! So I nommed on some of the cake I’d brought in with me, drank off the rest of the salt water (my usual nod to cakes and ale), and tipped the plate of things I’d offered to Freyja over the past few weeks out of my bathroom window for the local wildlife to dispose of.