A Time for New Beginnings
March 20th at 5:24 p.m. marks the spring equinox this year. The length of the day and night is almost equal wherever you are in the world, with the sun shining directly on the equator. It marks the beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere. It signifies a time of balance and wholeness.
The word ‘equinox’ comes from the Latin ‘aequus’ and ‘nox,’ which mean equal and night respectively. Both the spring and fall equinoxes occur in between the summer and winter solstices, marking the two points in the year when the earth’s axis is tilted neither towards nor away from the sun.
The spring—or vernal—equinox also represents a time of the year when we may begin to experience more creative energy. The return of light presents us with an opportunity to take time to release our fears and create new intentions. The spring equinox marks the turning point when daylight begins to win out over darkness.
One way we can welcome the new season and new possibilities is by doing spring cleaning—purging clutter, dusting nooks and crannies, and cleaning places that we don’t often clean, such as drawers, garages, and sheds. Psychologists say it can improve your mood, reduce stress, and increase creativity. Cleaning physical spaces may help us organize our mental space in a way that produces positive and clear thinking.
Spring cleaning and space clearing can pave the way for turning over a new leaf. Too much clutter can feel disorganized or chaotic, and it can create feelings of being physically and/or emotionally heavy. Clearing out clothes, shelves, and drawers can help you recharge and rebalance energy within your space.
While physically freeing up space in your environment is important for creating balance, some feel the spring equinox is also a perfect time to clear out any “sludge” that has clogged up your inner workings during the winter. For the past few years, I’ve been doing a spring detox diet. There’s a plethora of choices when it comes to detox programs. I’ve done a 10-day plan by Elson Haas, MD whose book is The Detox Diet. I also have done a three-day juice cleanse and a week-long ayurvedic cleanse.
Cleaning our physical space may give us a sense of lightness and freedom, but we can also take this time of the year to clear the baggage of our emotional past that may be keeping us stuck. One approach: to raise awareness of the negative nagging we bombard ourselves with daily, carry a notepad around for a day or two. Write down all the chatter you tell yourself. I was shocked when I realized I say things to myself I’d never say to a friend. Truly freeing yourself of the internal negative voice can set the groundwork for the seeds and dreams we want to plant and thrive this season.
Celebrating the spring equinox starts with setting an intention. Maybe you’d like to attract abundance, health, or spiritual growth in the new season. Create an altar or space dedicated to your intention using shells, statues, colors, plants, flowers, and/or crystals. Light a candle. When we acknowledge and embrace the sun, moon, and earth’s cycles, we naturally cultivate emotional balance, spiritual recalibration, physical awakening, and mental clarity.
It’s a time to connect with nature. Get outside and look around. Try walking barefoot on the earth. Plant seeds. Listen to the birds sing. Journal your dreams. Nourish with healing foods. Shed limiting ways of being.
The spring equinox is honored around the world. In shamanic and other cultures where attunement to nature is ingrained in the rhythm of day-to-day life, the equinox is a natural progression of mother earth bringing balance to our world. Without darkness there would be no light.
In Judeo-Christian traditions, spring cleaning dates back to the liberation of Israelites from Egypt, now celebrated as the holiday of Passover. For Christians, the equinox also marks a time of resurrection and renewal.
In Buddhist culture, spring cleaning also plays a major role in ancient Buddhist purification rituals. It also can be traced back 3,000 years in Persian culture. It was believed that sweeping up dust and removing clutter would prevent ill-fortune in the upcoming year.
In yogic tradition the spring equinox is seen as a day when one has the best possibility of transcending the limitations and compulsions of one’s physical longings. Masculine and feminine are said to be on an even keel that day.
If you are feeling adventurous on March 20 this year, you may want to test a folklore made popular in a 1945 Life magazine article. Legend says that you can stand an egg on its end during the spring equinox.
During this shift to more light, have some fun! Be playful. After all, it’s spring!▼
Pattie Cinelli is a health and fitness professional and journalist who focuses on holistic ways to stay healthy and get fit. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: Aniket Bhattacharya on Unsplash.com