The high winds invisibly
Massage my face
Like big strong hands
Kneading each feature
Into a state of relaxation.
The golden sun warms
Each part of
My windswept body
As I sit high
On top of the rock.
The rock maternally
anchors me to its form
Holding me tight
As I brace against the wind
Safe and secure in her grasp
The sense of spring
Is in the wind & sunshine
Calling me to rise
Shed the weight of winter
And frolic in the world again
Minoo, Spring 2005
As we move deeper into spring, we prepare to celebrate the Equinox, when the forces of light are equally balanced with the forces of darkness. ‘Equinox’ literally means ‘equal night’. From this point onwards light increases, reaching its apogee at the Summer Solstice three months later. In the Druid tradition each of the four solar festivals is called an ‘Alban’, which means ‘Light’. The Spring Equinox is called Alban Eiler, meaning ‘Light of the Earth’. The Earth is warming and wakening. The light of the Earth and the light of the sun unite to bring forth new life.
The sun rises due East at this time. Our celebration therefore takes place at sunrise when the light of day breaks through the dark of night. In keeping with the sunrise theme, the ‘Hawk of Dawn’ is often associated in druidry with the Spring Equinox. In Australia we have twenty-four species of diurnal birds of prey, any of which could serve as a ‘harbinger of light’ depending on where exactly you live. Around Melbourne we have three types of hawk: the Brown Goshawk, the Grey (or White) Goshawk, and the Collared Sparrowhawk. We also have three species of eagle (the Wedge-Tailed Eagle, the Little Eagle, and the White-Bellied Sea-Eagle), five local kites (the Black Kite, the Whistling Kite, the Black-Shouldered Kite, the Letter-Winged Kite and the Square-Tailed Kite) and a number of falcons, including the Nankeen Kestrel. All of these raptors are actively breeding throughout September (although the Wedge Tailed Eagle is at the very end of its cycle). In some cases, nesting has been going on for some time and there are either eggs or chicks in the nest.
Symbolizing new life and all of the light and hope that new life brings, eggs are a theme of the Spring Equinox. Similarly we think about the children of our world at our spring celebrations. They are the light and hope of the future and at our spring equinox celebration they are made to feel welcome and valued. With this in mind the Modron as representative of the Universal Mother, offers a blessing on the children.
As well as embodying the balance of light and dark, Alban Eiler also stands at the point of balance between three celebrations of spring. Imbolc comes before it at the start of August and Beltane after it at the end of October. And just as there are 3 spring celebrations in druidry, so the presentation of a 3-leafed clover is one of the highlights of our equinox celebration. The Mabon, who represents the ‘Wonder Child’ within us all, makes this presentation. The 3-fold green leaves of spring, called the shamrock in Ireland, are here represented by an indigenous variety called the Southern Tick-Trefoil. Unlike its overseas counterpart, ours is very small and difficult to spot among other foliage. Look for its tiny pink pea-flowers during the spring months. Mystically the Trefoil represents the 3 bars of light of the Awen: the timeless spirit of inspiration.
At this sacred time you might want to pause and reflect on the balance of light and dark within yourself and your life and how you sustain that balance. Are you giving yourself sufficient time to reflect on such matters? You might feel instinctively like opening some windows, letting more air and light into the house. It’s an ideal time to take a holiday, even if it’s just a single day out of your busy life, to listen to the bird song and notice the stirrings of new life around you. It’s also an ideal time to plant vegetables such as tomatoes, carrots and corn, the planting of veggies exemplifying the general theme of planting or sowing. You might want to think about what else you would like to seed at this time.
From the OBOD Solo Ceremony: “Now, at this time of the Equinox, are day and night in perfect balance. I stand at the threshold of light and dark. Though I come to this gateway time after time, never come I to the same Gateway twice…”
– Elkie 2012
The Potential Within
Racing along the street, I saw it ……
Overhanging the fence were the branches laden with leaves
and there; just underneath, she had set free her babies … her seed
I gathered what I could, taking care to place them gently into my pocket …
I knew the potential within …
Soon they were planted, laid upon the soil, in pots …
Placed there to be nurtured and fed, by sun and rain …
The energy of earth and sky – protected by The Green Man ….
Tentatively at first, the outer coating began to part …
Such an exhilarating feeling I had – such excitement at knowing what was stirring within ….
Soon I noticed the small green foot – slowly – little by little
finding it’s way down and into the earth …
The shell split some more …
A tiny showing of green, and the green began to soar ….
A tiny trunk, with tiny leaves – the beginnings of much to be ….
Tendered and sheltered and nurtured some more
12 tiny Oaks began to soar ….
12 tiny Oaks with leaves of green ….
Set free – so we see, the potential within
Quercus Spring 2010