The Vernal Equinox translated literally…. vernal means green, verdant; equinox means “equal night.” Because the Sun is positioned above the equator, day and night are about equal in length all over the world during the equinoxes.
It is known that the customs surrounding the celebration of the spring equinox were imported from Mediterranean lands, although there can be no doubt that the first inhabitants of the British Isles observed it, as evidence from megalithic sites shows. But it was certainly more popular to the south, where people celebrated the holiday as New Year’s Day, and claimed it as the first day of the first sign of the zodiac, Aries. However you look at it, it is certainly a time of new beginnings, as a simple glance at nature will prove.
The Christian holiday that gets mixed up in this is Easter. Easter, too, celebrates the victory of a God of light (Jesus) over darkness (death), so it makes sense to place it at this season. Ironically, the name “Easter” was taken from the name of a Teutonic lunar Goddess, Eostre (from whence we also get the name of the female hormone, estrogen). Her chief symbols were the bunny (both for fertility and because her worshippers saw a hare in the full moon) and the egg (symbolic of the Cosmic Egg of Creation), images that Christians have been hard pressed to explain. Her holiday, the Eostara, was held on the vernal equinox full moon. Of course, the church doesn’t celebrate full moons, even if they do calculate by them, so they planted their Easter on the following Sunday. Thus, Easter is always the first Sunday, after the first full moon, after the vernal equinox. If you’ve ever wondered why Easter moved all around the calendar, now you know. (By the way, the Catholic Church was so adamant about not incorporating lunar Goddess symbolism that they added a further calculation: if Easter Sunday were to fall on the full moon itself, then Easter was postponed to the following Sunday instead.)
Constantine I, the first Christian emperor (288-337) is honored for establishing Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire and combining all traditions from paganism (from Latin; pagani, country dwellers and was predominantly from the rites and rituals of women), Judaism and all other forms of worship into one faith so that “no God would be offended”. Originally, the Christian Church had no holidays of it’s own and every feast in the Christian calendar was borrowed from the Pagans. Constantine believed in freedom of worship. He also thought he was a supreme God! Unfortunately, after his death the orthodox Christians did not agree and thus the crusades began and extended over the next three centuries.
Most of the info above was taken from one of my favorite books; The Women’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets by Patricia Walker . This is the first substantial feminist oriented encyclopedia of the history of modern society that creates a clearer picture of our feminine cultural heritage. To quote the Philadelphia enquirer “Walker has written a tribute to the goddess…with eyes to see what the rest of us cannot: the figure of the goddess hidden behind the rites, dogma, fairy tales, nursery rhymes, superstitions, even our very language. She sees the restoring of the goddess to her rightful place as an essential healing act for women and our whole culture…”
I knew none of this until beyond high school and find it fascinating, compelling and uplifting information. To honor our Mother Earth and Sister Moon through the ancient rituals and customs that predate all “religion” just feels right and good and JOYFUL!!!! (I like to think that this is a result of my “Seneca Tribe of the Great Iroquois Nation” heritage….I am officially 1/16th according to my mother). Putting our attention, consciousness, awareness, focus (dare I say spirit, soul?) on what we want, not what we don’t want is a powerful activity. We, as humans love ritual. Ritual is one more way to create supreme focus. So………….please come join us to celebrate and welcome spring on the Vernal Equinox Eve this Saturday night and create a new beginning for your health and well being. Wear white and partake in some ancient & evolving rituals whose origins predate all religion and honor the sacred feminine within. Bring your intentions, we’ll focus together and use our powers for good instead of evil. 😉
The fun begins at 7:30. Little girls invited too! (No charge for 13 and younger) Proceeds to go to our non-profit org.
Chocolate, wine and Juice will be served.
Please sign up ASAP so we have sufficient treats!!!
xxom (copied this signature greeting from Emily. 2 kisses and an om. full disclosure)
PS…I have been “peer-pressured” into going to the moondance asana practice Saturday after our soiree @ 11:30PM on the beach (Elements Yoga Hosting), brrrrrrrr, yawn. Yoga in Uggs!!!!
see you there!