The Spring Equinox is one of the four major cross quarters of the year. There are two Equinoxes and two Solstices and for people that follow the wheel of the year these four major cross quarters are often celebrated in a group or solitary ceremony.
As a Priestess I have led many Equinox and Solstice ceremonies.I get lit up leading a group of women and men as we tap into the energies of the quarter we are celebrating, adding ritual tunes us into the cycle that we are entering and also gives us an opportunity to set intention for the upcoming cycle. We get to build on the cycle of the wheel, to flow with the rhythm of Mother Gaia and to be a part of the shifting cosmo's.
In short we are born anew on the Spring Equinox, we come together and merge, tapping into the ripe fullness of spring and the fertile times around us as we celebrate the earth and Her sensuous gifts on Beltaine, when the Summer Solstice comes around we give thanks for all that is manifest, we call upon the Light and shine it upon our life, illuminating and bringing into awareness what is, at Lammas we prepare for our harvest, we begin to take stock of what we have grown over the summer months, by the time the Autumn Equinox rolls around we begin to harvest, we gather what we wish to keep and to bring with us into the dark hibernating months ahead and we perish that which no longer serves, Samhain is a dark night of ritual where the dead is honoured, the veils are lifted and we go deep into the unknown, Winter Solstice we awaken from our deep slumber, take a break momentarily from hibernation and celebrate the coming light, Imbolc begins to quicken us awake as we go over the deep transformations that have taken place over the Winter months in our cave of hibernation and we prepare to be reborn into the Spring Equinox, and thus the wheel begins again.
These are the cycles that I celebrate and when the wheel rolls around to the Spring Equinox I gather those who are called and hold ceremony. Some years there are many of us that gather, some years it is my Beloved and I that gather together, just the two of us in a private ceremony and other years I honour in a solo way.
Of all of the phases of the wheel, this one is the toughest for me personally. Unlike so many others that struggle with the darker phases of the year, it is the returning of the light that has been a challenge for me, long before I was a Priestess, long before I had heard about the wheel of the year I struggled with the coming of spring. Once I began my path I would contemplate the visceral reaction that I had to the changing weather, my stomach in knots of anxiety, a sense of dread hovering around me and a desire to escape the world and stay in bed. It didn't make sense to my rational mind, this is the season everybody celebrates, the cold is gone, the sun is out, it's time to celebrate! Well for me it isn't.
Eventually I did come to a conclusion about my aversion to the Spring Equinox and the season it ushers in. The conclusion that I have come to is twofold. The first is that the springtime ushers in with her the inevitable summer, the long days and heady nights begin in the springtime, this change of weather triggered a response within me, a post traumatic response to a date rape that had happened when I was a teenager on a thick and balmy summer night. I didn't connect this occurrence with the spring, as it happened in the summer, however it is the shift into spring that first brings me back into the summer weather and that sense of the season would trigger me every year, and every year that I was triggered and didn't know the cause the trigger would just become deeper and more painful. Blessedly I entered trauma therapy and while I don't know that the wounds of rape ever vanish, the scar of that occurrence has sealed over and the wound has closed for the most part. This means that the warm air that begins to waft and the bright skies that begin to shine don't have the same affect on me as they once did. As I began to process and release the trauma that was trapped in my body I found that each passing spring was a new experience of more and more ease. I began to get excited some years at the beauty of spring, the warmth, the birds, and most exciting of all was that I began to remember a time when I didn't dread the springtime, a time long before date rapes and chaotic teenage angst when as a child I had really been as happy with the spring as everyone else around me. This healing and releasing of trauma has relieved so much of the wind of panic that would come up for me that I began to think that perhaps I wouldn't have a struggle with the Spring Equinox at all anymore.
Until the past few days, when the second part of my challenge with this time of year was revealed. The Spring Equinox is the time of the Maiden Goddess Archetype, it was no mystery to me or anyone else that worked with me as I developed in my Prietessing ministry that the Maiden aspect of the Goddess and myself held great wells of sorrow for me. It was when I was in my Maiden that I received all of my abuse, not only at the hands of my rapist but also from the men that were guiding me as I grew, the boys that I misguidedly chose to date as a teen and also from myself. These Maiden years were dark ones of despair for me, however I attributed the pain in my Maiden years to the first reason why the spring was so challenging and found that the pain and wounds of all abuse was released during my healing work thus nullifying the painful memories of being a Maiden as a reason for my springtime resistance. However, to my utter shock and disbelief, once the trauma had been felt and lifted out of the body that had stored it I began to have visceral memories about enjoying my Maiden self, I began to remember aspects of my childhood that I missed greatly. My teenage years, the ones that became so chaotically dangerous suddenly contained within them such precious memories, such deep moments of connection, sisterly bondedness, wistful dreaming and true idealism that I became profoundly appreciative of years that I for a very long time preferred to think about as little as possible and attempted to bury completely.
I am so grateful to the Goddess for clearing away the trauma and revealing to me the beauty and splendour of my Maiden years, the spaces within me that were untouchable by others and even by my own self destructive tendencies, and for recovering memories of a beautiful time in my life for me.
The second challenge to the Spring Equinox for me is not in facing the wounded part of the Maiden Archetype within me, it is the depth of grief that I have as I feel the Maiden aspect of myself drift further and further away from me as the years pass. I feel her like I would feel a ghost. I feel her longing for freedom and self expression and revolution. I feel her wistfulness, I feel her wonder at life and her belief despite all of the contrary evidence that at the core of everyone is the Divine. I feel her unbelievable, indescribable bond with her best friend, one dark haired, one light haired, both confused for one another because they are so fused, I remember finishing sentences, laying on each others laps, spending every spare moment together, watching t.v. shows on the phone together, I remember this love that is so intense and so passionate and so unromantic but as strong as any romance that I have had and I feel the hours and the hours that were hers to do with as she wished. I feel her and she is so much further away then she was last year, she is so much further away then she was before I gave birth, before I was married, before I fell in love, before I moved out west, before I dropped out of school, before I moved out of my house. Somehow the wheel keeps on turning and she continues to fall further and further away from me and what I once celebrated, the death of her memory I now grieve so deeply that each new springtime bud reminds me of a time when all I had was time, time to be unto myself and to wonder at what life would be.
This Spring Equinox is a resurrection of all things Maiden for me. The Spring Equinox, is a time of rebirth and my work as a Priestess is to allow the energy of the wheel of the year and the medicine that it holds to mould me and to guide me, and so, this year as I prepare for ceremony I prepare to rebirth my Maiden self. Though I am walking in my Mother years I still have access to that Maiden self, each waxing moon honours the Maiden within me and each Spring that is sprung is a season to pull her up from the recesses of my unconscious, Persephone returning from Hades, my Maiden self is returning from the hellish memories that once lived with sweet, tender, life filled ones. It is my job to keep that energy, the energy of idealism, faith, hope, revolution, love, sisterly bonds and deep healing alive within myself. These are the parts of myself that ignite the flames of passion within, the springtime is the season for the fire element with the wheel that I honour and my inner Maiden lights those flames.
In humble reverence to the mysteries that are revealed within each cycle of the wheel as it spins by I step out into this cycle and walk through the fires of challenge that the Maiden Archetype has held for me for so many years and I resurrect her essence within. If each one of us could hold the essence of our Maiden and Lad selves within us, could honour them for one cycle of the year each year, then we would have a generation of wizened Mothers, Fathers, Enchantresses, Wizards, Grandmothers and Grandfathers radiating from within them all that is enviable about youth balanced with the nurturance, magic and wisdom of the other stages of life that we walk in.
That is my vision for the whole tomorrow as I go into ceremony, I hold the Maiden Goddess Archetype up within myself and within each person that I find, remembering that we are all, at the core of us, Divine children of the One Mother Goddess. I honour the innocence in me that is alive and pulsating and I honour the innocence that is within my sisters and brothers, I commit to seeing past the stories, the wounds, the conditioning and to finding the spark that lives within each one of us that is ever ignited. I go within and I sit with my own inner spark and give thanks and praise to the Maiden that lives within me for shining her light throughout all of the dark and all of the joy. Blessed Be.
Happy Spring Equinox.
Grace Be With You,
Priestess of Grace,
Candise Soaring Butterfly