Dark days

We’ve been pretty Spring-centric around here these days, for obvious reasons. We celebrated the equinox (on Saturday due to TMoTH’s work schedule) with an outdoor ritual and egg-hunt in the backyard, with lots of build-up and continued discussion and play since then. The Lucky Rabbit of Spring made the Boy very happy.

It made me wonder about the other quarterly holidays. Obviously, we celebrate winter in a big way–our Yule celebration is mirrored by holidays of lights-in-the-darkness everywhere around the northern hemisphere. Spring has its own glamour–the Rabbit/Easter bunny thing–which isn’t quite as powerful as the winter solstice build-up. Beltane/Midsummer/Fall equinox? For most people it seems to be forgotten, or superceded by Memorial Day and Labor Day, the end of school. Halloween marks the beginning of the dark, and the beginning of the build-up.

Unless your religious or spiritual path takes you there, spring and summer do not tend to be times of passionate connection with–what? A holiday? A sense of the divine? Perhaps it is the latter. A connection to spirit, whatever that means. In the light of day it is so much easier to ignore feelings of peril, of being alone, of being watched. For pagans, Halloween is a time of contemplation, of family joy, of connection to young and old, the living and the dead, but it is a time when the line between this world and the next is blurred a bit, and that line seems to waver a lot during the darkest times. Why is that? Do we sense the possibilities of something greater than our perceived boundaries when the lights are out and we can’t see the walls? Does that sense of possibility scare us, when possibility is not necessarily always a positive thing? (Possibility of war, depression, loss.)

Coming back to spring… It wasn’t meant this way, but I’m reminded that the equinox is often seen as a time of balance, a time to see that which is ahead and that which is passing, to honor the dark even as we embrace the light. While here in San Diego we’ve had a lot of growing going on in the garden for at least 6 weeks, somehow this week felt like spring. Geeklet has been playing in the mud and going barefoot with abandon, not his speed at all and almost like he’s under a spell. The birds are louder, the garden has called us to do spring planting with a will.

I’m feeling a sense of growth, restlessness, and renewal. I stretch and feel like moving, dancing, singing; like buying new toys and clothes for all of us, and being outside in the grass, trying new foods, new routines (which we are). What has happened in just a week?

I suspect that despite our protests that winter isn’t really a San Diego season, when once we began to be aware of seasons, singing songs and cutting out images and telling stories and walking in the woods and parks, it became part of us. Already once I’ve heard wee boy use the words “back in winter when we”. Our stories involve births and baby animals, eggs and flowers and pollination. We run from winter, because winter is a time of uncertainty. Who loves January and February? Even here, there is a sense that the year really starts when spring comes in March.

All the stories of darkness and fear are gone. There are no stories of darkness for at least 6 months, only birth and renewal and hope. Those who have died will now move on to new incarnations, and heaviness and waiting is past. Wildflowers are growing. Fruit is appearing at the farmer’s market. What is there to be afraid of? Why sing appeasing songs of wassail when we are on top of the world?

Just a few thoughts on beginning.

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