April 2015: Spring Renewal
With the spring equinox just past, I read a timely article in the Spirituality & Health magazine (March/April 2015 issue) entitled “The Joy of Spring” by Jane Ganahl. So I am going to piggy back on a few of her ideas for this blog.
She opens her article by talking about fertility celebrations and the science behind the equinox. However, she really grabbed my attention by describing the spring equinox as “a powerful time of regrowth and rebirth” (p. 54) with examples of ancient rituals such as Stonehenge. And it is no coincidence that Easter falls within this time frame (first Sunday after the first full moon after the equinox) or that traditions are reinterpreted from pagan rituals like the Easter egg. Originally egg rituals were “ways of inviting fertility and renewal.” (p. 54)
As a therapist, I am always interested in themes of regrowth, rebirth, and renewal—for that is what my job is really all about: change, growth. And when we can combine the natural environment with our inner worlds, the symbolism can enrich our lives. Formerly empty rituals—even religious ones—can be imbued with ‘new’ or fuller meaning.
For me, I try to see these dreary spring days as expectant with regrowth, rebirth, and renewal. The gray trees symbolize hope of green to come. Tight little buds will unfurl to show forth verdant abundance. The brown earth will release new growth that adds colour to life.
The same can be said for human beings. We may feel drab within our brown and gray environments, but hope is stirring deep within all of us. Here are a few suggestions from Jane to “Put Spring in Your Steps.” (p. 55)
1. Visualize yourself in full bloom: Notice what parts of yourself you’d like to see changed or born. Write one list of things to release and another list of things you’d like to have more of in your life.
2. Connect to natural light: In winter we are deprived of the sun’s healing energies and spend more time with bright screens that disrupt our natural rhythms. With the equinox, we turn the tide on the darkness. On at least one day, witness both sunrise and sunset.
3. Reconnect to the earth: Put your bare feet, hands, and even body on the ground. Breathe in the newness in nature. Plant something.
4. Reboot relationships—or let them go: There are always a few of these in our lives. Examine the source of the discord, and open your heart with compassion. Decide whether the relationship can be saved.
5. Create your altar or shrine to spring: Use elements from nature that inspire you, and colours that resonate with you. Use this space to meditate.
6. Arouse your sensual self: Cuddle, learn tantra, slather your lover and/or yourself in oil.
7. Create your own equinox ritual: Whether it’s dancing, painting, hiking—anything that gives you a feeling of connection and rebirth. And get moving. Winter is over, and it’s time to come alive.
As I type this, I am looking at an indoor plant collection purchased at Costco with symbols such as the Easter Lily and a sparkly, bright yellow (Easter) egg in the centre. A veritable treat for the senses as the lilies exuded a very sensual scent while they were in full bloom, the other flowers are a sight for sore eyes in shades of bright yellow and purple, the dirt feels good to the touch when checking for moistness. Spring flavours were savoured in sweet Easter treats, long since devoured. And I’m listening to a music mix called “In the Summertime” which is sure to pick up my mood on a gray day. Not to mention the cheerful sounds of the birds returning from their time in the south.
May this time of renewal find your verdant Self emerging, ready to show forth the unique beauty and splendour that is you. Release that tight hold on the bud and let your Self unfurl.