By Hwaa Irfan
Spring, like us represents a season of our lives, that doesn’t happen once, but like all life, comes and goes in cycles. Yet it is probably the one season of the year that we are more alert to from the environment, more than we are alert to the springs of our own lives, because of our perception of the “greyness” of winter. For me it is the worst time to be indoors, as an overwhelming restlessness calls to me from the air, whispering sweet promises. For the Japanese who have just had a rather rude awakening a week before, the spring/vernal equinox is a traditional Japanese holiday that is rooted like most traditional cultures in agriculture – the sowing season – new life! As a remembrance of the relationship between life and death, and that neither should be taken for granted, the Japanese visit family tombs to pay respect to their ancestors. They will weed the family tombs, leave flowers, burn incense, and leave sweet rice balls. The vernal equinox this year comes at a needed time as the Japanese bury their dead.
This winter, has been a testing one for all, full of revelations and challenges from the earth as well as from ourselves, and yet, there are still far too many of us who insist on not listening to the once whispering signs that now shout at us to change our ways before it is too late. Yes, it is difficult to approach what seems like an upheaval, but come what may, nature is more powerful than us humans who believe ourselves to be gods, and in total control.
As the Laws of nature demand us to give birth to our higher selves, we are being called upon to live according to those Laws. The Youth Movement of the Egyptian Revolution gave hope where there was no hope, but fear dominated the Referendum, thus turning the clocks back to what it was remaining to be squeezed into a reality from which life does not spring. And so the youth of the Jasmine Revolution, have been left with that sweet scent, at least for now!
A solstice is not an equinox, and an equinox not a solstice, for a solstice is when the earth is at its highest tilt towards the sun as in the summer solstice. It is when the day is as long as the night, again demonstrating the equilibrium that we must give to our lives. With the hope and energy of the Spring Equinox, the child within, which we may refuse to listen to, is open to that presence, that presence of acceptance that life is more than we have allowed it to become, and that it is much more lived when it is much more spontaneous in the present.
As the earth changes, will we change with it? While we carry on with what we are not happy about in our lives, unbeknown to us, the earth tilts rotating like a gyroscope towards the North Star while revolving around the sun as it enters the constellation of Aries, which was originally an ewe not a ram – again signifying the ability to give life!
Like the unexpected, it doesn’t happen at exactly the same time every year. According to records, the latest spring equinox dawned at 8.42 UT on March 21st in 1503. It is predicted that the earliest spring equinox will dawn in 2496, if God Wills on March 19th 12.28 UT. If one’s life has become too routine, now is the time to drop the unfulfilling for that which is fulfilling.
The concept of the spring equinox as the beginning of the New Year is evidenced in Babylonian texts, with a festival taking place for the first 11 days. It was when the long epic,” The Creation of the World” was recited twice once again signifying birth. Naw Ruz, is increasingly observed in some Middle Eastern and Asian countries. Naw Ruz is Persian tradition around that spontaneous human capacity for joy, welcoming in the Light, and the battle of good over evil. In fact, it represents their New Year, the final (13th) day of which is celebrated by an all out picnic.
The hot cross buns that go with the Christianized Easter were known as “Boun” in the Chaldean rites of spring, and were made with fine flour and honey for the worship of the Queen of Heaven, the Goddess of Easter. Prophet Jeremiah comments on this fact in Jeremiah vii, 18 of the Christian Bible when he said:
“… the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the Queen of Heaven.”
The cake that ancient Greeks offered were called “Bous”, which was known to never go moldy, and was distinguished by the symbol of the cross on top symbolizing the four quarters of the moon. Bous were offered to Apollo, Diana, Hecate and the Moon, but they had horns.
One Christian website recognizes the problem of Easters pagan roots, and are dismayed at the association of Jesus/Issa with eggs and bunnies.
“Stores merchandise the name of Easter (not “Resurrection Sunday”) and sell goods that have nothing to do with Christ’s death and resurrection. Christians naively use symbols and practices that unknowingly perpetuate ancient anti-Christ traditions – symbolic customs followed by the same religious cults that inspired the destruction of great numbers of Christians and Jews. Is the Devil laughing at us?”
In Ancient Ireland there is a similar set-up as that of the great temple of Abu Simbel in Upper Egypt. Unlike the temple, they have a cluster of huge cairns throughout the hill of Loughcrew, with one cairn designed in the same manner as the temple in Abu Simbel to allow the light from the rising sun through on the spring and summer equinoxes, which penetrates along the corridor illuminating a stone full of astrological symbols. In the great temple of Abu Simbel orientated towards the east, the dawn sunlight falls through a doorway totally aligned with the entire length of the sun temple throwing light on three statues, and the forth, Ptah, the god of darkness remains unlit. Not dissimilar to the ancient Mayan pyramid El Castillo in Mexico, the western face of which is bathed in the late afternoon sun, the shadow of which falls on the top of the pyramid to the bottom of the northern staircase creating the illusion of a descending diamond-backed snake.
Environmentalist continue the call for change by celebrating Earth Day, which actually falls on April 22nd, but in some countries it is observed on the vernal equinox. A day to celebrating diversity, and all that biodiversity has sustained and given to us as earth guardians for not just today, but tomorrow as the Chilean biologist Maturana encaptures hope for us:
“The Student’s Prayer”
Show me so that I can stand
On your shoulders.
Reveal yourself so that I can be
Don’t impose on me what you know,
I want to explore the unknown
And be the source of my own discoveries.
Let the known be my liberation, not my slavery.
If there is one thing you can no longer learn/benefit from, what would it be? Look at it, and define its place in your life. What is it you haven’t learn that would help you to move on, and when you have discovered that lesson(s) get ready for your next internal spring, and remember the mothers who mother from an eternal spring that nourishes life one this day, in this New Year of our lives known as Mother’s Day?
“About the Spring Equinox.” http://www.religioustolerance.org/spequi1.htm
“Where Did Easter Get It’s Name?” http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-t020.html