Happy Vernal Equinox
The Sun has truly returned, creating longer, and hopefully dryer and warmer days!
This week, as I sat and watched the rain pour down, I was sure I might need to invest in a canoe. I have to admit, I have been feeling a little gray. I keep reminding myself this can’t keep up, eventually the sun has to come out (and for more than an hour) for things to grow. After all, we are entering the doorway of spring! The spring equinox, also called the Vernal Equinox, has a rich tapestry of stories and mythologies around it from many different traditions. Many religions also celebrate holy days around this date. Our heavy rain fall reminded me of one story in particular I wanted to share with you.
In Greek mythology, Demeter is the goddess of the harvest, of growing things, and she has a daughter Persephone. Persephone is beautiful, truly a reflection of the beauty of spring. Demeter loves her daughter very much. One spring, while Persephone was enjoying the vibrancy of spring, Hades saw her. Now Hades, is the god of the Underworld. The home of the dead. Hades is a gloomy kind of guy. Who wouldn’t be if you spent all your time in the Underworld in darkness among the dead? Hmmm, not unlike us, in our days and days of clouds and rain, sometimes I even feel like the people around me are a bit like the undead! Anyhow, Hades came up for some fresh air and sunshine, who could blame him. He spied Persephone and fell in love. So, he stole her away and brought her to his home, in the Underworld. Whoa! What a problem that caused. Demeter was bereft, and began to cry, and her tears were rain. She cried and it rained and she cried more and it rained more. She neglected her crops, and the sun went away. Everything started to die. So Zeus, Demeter’s brother and the god of gods had to step in before everything died because of Demeter’s grief. Zeus sent his son Hermes down to the Underworld to negotiate with Hades. After some colorful negotiations, a deal was brokered. Persephone would marry Hades in return she could spend 6 months on earth with her Mother, Demeter. So that is how we get the seasons. In spring, Persephone returns and Demeter welcomes her with a shower of flowers and green growing things. Every fall, Persephone returns to Hades in the Underworld, and Demeter lets everything die during fall and winter.
This is a very simplified version of the story and it is rich with a lot of symbolism, but the symbolism I want to share with you today, this Equinox, is that of RE-EMERGENCE. Like Persephone, we are re-emerging from our own Underworld journey this past fall and winter. We have been deeply covered by the darkness of clouds. Literally, I heard a report on the news that said we have met our rainfall amounts for September 2017 and it’s only March! So if you are feeling a little depressed, or sad, or lethargic, like I have, there is a reason!
I invite you to wake gently into spring. Gently open your eyes to the sun, and to movement and activity. Just like emerging from a dark room, it takes time to be able to take in the light. Gently begin to work the soil. Gently draw into balance that which is out of balance. Below are some suggestions to consciously enter spring.
Dive Deep to Ascend,
Find a sliver of sunshine, turn your face to it and close your eyes and become heavy. Draw your attention to your breath, the simple movement of it in and out. Then think of the tenderness of the first leaves emerging out of a seed, as they push up through the soil, up through the rocks, shrugging off the cloak of the soil and finally out into the sunlight. Now imagine yourself as the seed, deep in the earth covered by a cloak. What is your cloak? What do you need to shed? Imagine yourself emerging from your seed, strength is needed, but do it gently.
Body Practice: Wide Legged Forward Fold to Star:
Take a walk in the woods or a garden. Breathe in the smell of the earth and the leaves. Look for what is new, what is emerging. Allow yourself to be enveloped in the beauty and awe of creation.
Community Practice: Gathering with friends or family and helping others helps us feel better and more engaged.
Andrea Carvalho, musings on the journey to vibrant embodiment.