Between resurrection celebrations, fabled egg-toting rabbits, and the growing light of day: Spring is a time of renewal and hope. Mythologies aside, nature reveals its beauty as buds begin to sprout, flowers begin to blooms, and animals heed the call of procreation in the air. Indeed, we begin to see the natural world go through its process of rebirth.
Which - or course - ties directly to the happenings in the first sentence of this article. Typically falling on March 20/21, the Vernal Equinox has been historically a time to celebrate the renewal of life. Specifically the equinox is about the balance of light and darkness - with equal amounts of both on this day. Its interpretations, on the other hand, are vast as they are intriguing.
The great Sphinx of Giza, for example, was built to face directly towards the rising sun on the equinox. Consider the significance of this - the sheer amount of precision, calculation, and work required to accomplish this task! Yet this feat is not exclusive to the Egyptians. According to the website www.atlasobscura.com, other landmarks that are oriented towards the rising sun during the Vernal Equinox are:
El Castillo, Chichen Itza Mexico
The Mnajdra Temples of Malta
Angkor Wat in Cambodia
Hovenweep Castle upon the Colorado/Utah border
Basilica San Petronio in Bologna, Italy
Most of these sites were built prior to the 1600’s, which begs the questions - what was it that our predecessors knew that we do not? According to Manly P. Hall’s book The Secret Teachings of All Ages, the Vernal Equinox was considered at time and season of initiation. Indeed, the concepts of rebirth and renewal were perfectly aligned with this. Whether we look at the mythology of Mithras (prominent in the 4th century), the tales of Odin’s journey into the underworld, or the story of Jesus Christ and His rebirth - we see a common theme pervasive throughout cultures worldwide. The rising of the solar deity - the Sun (Son) - brings new opportunities, growth, and hope forth.
We see this throughout global celebrations. Known by many names - Ostara to modern pagans, Easter to Christians/Catholics, Holi for the Hindi - the common theme is about fertility and birth (rebirth for some). Indeed, much of mankind’s comprehension of world comes directly from our relationship to the darkness and light. Looking at the astrological calendar, for example, the cycle begins with Aries (3/21) through Pisces (3/20). Yet this concept of cycle is really what lies within the heart of this matter.
Everything has a rhythm. In Hermeticism, there are 7 governing principles that affect the very mechanics of the Universe. Most are mutable, but one is fixed. The Principle of Rhythm states that there is an ebb and flow to everything. Wiccan’s follow the Wheel of the Year while Native Hawaiians have the moon calendar to signify the changing of the seasons and movement between cycles. The interesting thing to point out here is that our traditional Gregorian calendar violates the natural rhythm and cycles of nature. By starting the new year in January, our calendar goes against the very pulse of the Universe. How does this affect the everyday person? Have you heard of New Year’s resolutions? According to the University of Scranton study on New Year’s resolutions, a mere 8% of people who set a resolution will actually succeed in achieving it. Let’s take a look at that calendar again. So if nature’s rhythm is most supportive of new beginnings at the Spring Equinox, what do you suppose the energy of January 1st best suites? Suffice to say - based upon the numbers - it is NOT making resolutions. In fact, January is usually still in the midst of winter. Introspection, reflection, things of this nature are best suited for this season. But I digress - this is a topic for another article!
In diving deeper into the occult (hidden) source of these celebrations and practices - we can learn more about the Universe, and ourselves. I invite you to join this Wizard (thee who perceives the wisdom in all things) as we wonder our way through the world.