“Spring drew on … and a greenness grew over those brown beds, which, freshening daily, suggested the thought that Hope traversed them at night and left each morning brighter traces of her steps.”Charlotte Brontë
After writing about Samhain this year, I discovered that I have never consistently written about the Sacred Moments that I observe here on my blog. I’m going to experiment with using that Samhain blog as the template to revisit all the Festivals until the Autumn Equinox next year. This festival, the Spring Equinox, is one of my favourites and one that I have written about before.
Links at end
I have put links at the bottom of this piece to previous blogs I have written about The Spring Equinox, and also to the other four blogs in the series of eight that I am writing about the Sacred Moments of the year. There are also links to Southern Hemisphere-specific reading and some links to other blogs about The Spring Equinox.
Just a reminder, I’m in the Southern Hemisphere, and I choose to observe the Wheel of the Year in its ‘flipped‘ version from the traditional Northern Hemisphere dates. That means whilst the Northern Hemisphere celebrates the Autumn Equinox, in the Southern Hemisphere, we are celebrating the Spring Equinox.
The way the Sacred Moments are connected between the Hemispheres is, in my view, Sacred Balance. The Autumn Equinox Sacred Moment is inherent in my observations for The Spring Equinox and vice versa. This is the case for all the festivals but for me, it is especially true with the solar festivals; the Solstices, and Equinoxes.
Secondly, instead of the traditional dates, I also observe what my friend Dr. Glenys Livingstone calls “the Cosmic Moments”.
“May we find strength of being, courage, wisdom, and compassion in our contemplations of Earth Gaia’s Creativity.”Dr. Glenys Livingstone Pagaian.Org
I recommend checking out some of the blog posts written by Glenys too.
The Spring Equinox Sacred Moment
The traditional date for the Spring Equinox is September 21st (flipped, Southern Hemisphere). It is one of those festivals that does migrate in terms of dates. The corresponding festival is the Autumn Equinox.
The actual Moment for the Spring Equinox this year is September 23rd, 11:04 EST Australia.
All global times are available at archaeoastronomy.com.
Melbourne / Naarm traditional season.
Thirdly, Naarm has 6 or 7 seasons.
September brings the Orchid Season.
True Spring- September, October
This was a time of plenty. Lilies, Orchids and MURNONG flowered, and still provided root vegetables. Greens were consumed in large quantities. Flowers were everywhere -Wattles, Hop Goodenia, Burgan, Kangaroo Apple, as well as orchids and small lilies which had been building their tubers over the winter. Snakes and Lizards became active, young Kangaroos came out of the pouch. Migrant birds – the Sacred Kingfisher for example, returned from the north. Tadpoles appeared in ponds, and the river, fed by melting snows from the mountains, flowed into the flood-plains and replenished the billabongs. Water-plants put on green leaves. Nowadays this flooding is prevented.SEASONAL CALENDARS FOR THE MELBOURNE AREA
Compiled by Dr. Beth Gott of the School of Biological Sciences, Monash University.
“Spring: the music of open windows.”Terri Guillemets “Spring out & in,” 2014
The New Moon is on the 26th of September, at 7:54 am.
On the 03rd of October, we mark the First Quarter at 11:15 am.
The next Full Moon is on 10th of October at 7:54 am.
Last Quarter 18th of October at 4:16 am.
Next New Moon: 25th of October at 9:48 pm.
Just a heads up, Total Lunar Eclipse: 8th November 2022- Lunar Eclipse Magick
I mark the Dark Moon as the night before, but again, there are lots of variations as to how people observe the Lunar calendar. Some people don’t consider it a New Moon until you can see the crescent in the sky. I live in Melbourne, and there is frequent cloud cover, so I go with the times.
Observing the Phases of the Moon is part of my devotional practice. I find this practice helps keep me grounded and open to appreciating beauty and moments of awe and wonder. It also helps me move through particularly unpleasant times in my life.
Brief overview/backstory of the Spring Equinox for me
In summary, I consider myself a solitary devotional polytheist. My religious practice has changed and evolved over 45 years since I was first introduced to religious studies.
The Spring Equinox for me starts at the beginning of September. I find my mind starts to turn to it as soon as I smell jasmine and pittosporum in the evenings.
“Spring is a true reconstructionist.”Henry Timrod
The Spring Equinox is another one of my favorite festivals. They’re all my favourites, I suppose in some way, if I think about it 😁
The scent of pittosporum makes me giddy, and mosquitos start to make their appearance (my neighbour has a pool, and my house backs onto a creek). At this time of year, Melbourne is blessed with both rain and warm, sunny, Spring days; a delight for me because I can go out in the sun without burning or overheating. I appreciate the swelling sense of joy building on from the hope and renewal of The Quickening. There are now noticeably earlier dawns, and later sunsets. We have swooping season here in Australia to contend with, although I adore magpies. For me, allergy season also starts, which is less endearing.
Out of the too-long darkened East, come to us, Eos, illuminate the land!
Out of the long-extending night, come to us, Eos, illuminate the land!
Out of the frigid, empty cold, come to us, Eos, illuminate the land!
Eos: “Rising” ~ Greek, Deity of the Spring and DawnCeisiwr Serith “A Pagan Ritual Prayer Book”
Other Religious Festivals
I like to review Cultural and Religious dates at each festival, which is something I haven’t mentioned in this series of blogs previously.
Many Christian churches in Australia observe the Feast of St Francis of Assisi on October 4th each year.
Of course, another valuable calendar, depending upon which practices / Deities you are aligned with, is the Athenian/Attic calendar.
There is a blog called Neptune’s Dolphins that I follow, and they do excellent posts around Sumerian, Babylonian, and Roman Deities and practices: here are some that are relevant to the Spring Equinox and the month of September.
- BABYLONIAN MONTH: SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER
- ROMAN GODS OF THE MONTH: SEPTEMBER
- BABYLONIAN MONTH: AUGUST-SEPTEMBER: THE WASHING OF THE GODDESSES
- SUMER MONTH: MARCH/APRIL: NEW YEAR (Spring Equinox)
I try to maintain an awareness of other calendars and festivals precisely because it is exactly that: an exercise in awareness, and mindfulness of other cultures and traditions.
Other secular festivals
In Australia we have just celebrated Father’s Day, which we celebrate on the first Sunday in September: in the North, Father’s Day is celebrated in June. In Victoria, we typically have one secular holiday; Grand Final Day and the shift to Daylight Savings. Yes, we do have a holiday because of a football game, it baffles me as well.
September 21st is the International Day of Peace.
September 23rd is also the International Day of Sign Languages.
September 23rd is also Celebrate Bisexuality Day – to bring together everyone under the bisexual umbrella for visibility and support.
The week of September 16–23 is Bisexual Awareness Week – Which celebrates the bisexual community, or those who experience emotional, physical, and/or romantic connections to the same gender or another gender.
“Spring, when the earth tilts closer to the sun, runs a strict timetable of flowers.”Alice Oswald
The Spring Equinox last year (2021)
Keeper of Ravenous Dogs,
Bearer of Torch and Knife,
Ruler of the Dark Moon,
Hekate, I pray to you.
Turn your slaying glance from me and direct it toward my enemies.
And if you can’t turn it away, may it be because there is something in me that must die.
Act with wisdom and discernment, destroying only what must go, and giving me strength to endure the burning.Ceisiwr Serith “A Book of Pagan Prayer”
At the Spring Equinox last year I had already had two infusions of chemotherapy and I had lost most of my hair. I was starting to get very, very sick. My recovery from my bilateral mastectomy and DIEP flap reconstruction performed on July 12th had slowed, and my scars were breaking down due to the chemo. There were lots of symptoms to manage and I was getting very fatigued.
I spent a lot of time in meditation and contemplation of Pan and Apollo and the Healers; Kheiron, Asklepios, Son of Apollo, Kheiron, Epione, Hygeia, Panacea, Iaso, Aceso, Aglaïa, Machaon, Podalirius, and Telephorus.
So that is how I marked the Sacred Moment of the Spring Equinox last year: I sat in my backyard and enjoyed the sunny afternoons.
Fire of offering, you burn the sacrifice, making it fit for the gods.
Burn away all my weaknesses, making me fit for the gods.Ceisiwr Serith “A Book of Pagan Prayer”
COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns
The theme of lockdowns has continued to play a significant part in my cancer experience, and across my marking of the eight Festivals that I celebrate.
In 2021, we came out of a lockdown on July 27th but went back into lockdown on August 05th through to October 21st. I was discharged from the hospital on the 19th of July, (post-surgery on the 12th of July), and started chemotherapy on the 19th of August.
The Spring Equinox 2020
In 2020, we left the first lockdown in May but went back into lockdown on July 08th. As someone who was medically at high risk of COVID, I took long service leave from July through until the end of September. By September, I was starting to get sick, and in so far as you can gauge these things, my cancer specialists think that is when my tumours started to grow.
So the Spring Equinox in 2020 was under lockdown, under restrictions, and I was on leave. I had been struggling to connect with the Sacred Moments that year – and that happens sometimes. And it’s okay. I instead did a kind of review of my spiritual and religious practice, stripping it back to bare bones, discarding rituals that I didn’t feel I was aligned with, and making a significant attempt to remove any appropriative aspects.
Spring Equinox 2019
I was visiting a friend and we went and walked a labyrinth. Labyrinth walking is one of my favourite ways to mark any of the festivals.
I’m a big fan, and I have a whole page on this blog devoted to Labyrinths with links to those I have visited.
“In the Southern Hemisphere we celebrate Spring Equinox…
Warmth and growth can be sensed in the land, life bursts forth with new strength, light comes into balance with the dark, about to increase further.. We may celebrate Her fertility and abundance.”Dr. Glenys Livingstone Pagaian.Org
The Spring Equinox 2022
At Samhain, I was reviewing my sacrifices and the changes in my life. In some ways, given how radically chemotherapy impacted my ability to function, it felt like death.
The Winter Solstice aligned with the themes of rest, recovery, and convalescence.
The Quickening had a deep sense of re-dedication for me. The sense of stirring life and energy in the space that has been devoted to rest and convalescence.
Weilder of the flaming arrow, look down from your place on high, and, fitting a shaft to your bow, let loose your bow string.
Sink deep into the Earth the shaft of fire, warming the world, bringing the spring.Ceisiwr Serith “A Book of Pagan Prayer”
This Spring Equinox, I have a sense of stepping back out into the world; I’ve started back at work, albeit on reduced hours, to build my capacity to work. There’s been lots of communication on so many levels around that as well.
Observations, prayer, ritual
You lift your snake-entwined staff, great healer, and send out healing knowledge.
You know each drug and its effects, each technique and when it should be used, each symptom and what it means, each illness and how to treat it, each patient and what to do.
May my (their) hands be yours.Ceisiwr Serith “A Book of Pagan Prayer”
I referred to that prayer a lot at this time last year, and I have just been given a date for my next surgery, so I am referring to it again.
I’ve been reading blogs and. refreshing my memory on writings from my favourite seasonal books (see links at the end). Writing my blog article has also become part of my offerings.
Additionally, I have been sitting in meditation with the Sun, the flowers, the scented air, my wind chimes, the song from the Magpies, and the laugh of the Kookaburras. These birds seem to embody the spirit of Hermes, whilst Apollo warms the Earth.
I’m devoting The Spring Equinox to Hermes this year, and my Hermes Devotional has mysteriously and confidently resurfaced. I feel like He has laid claim to September in full.
Hermes was the first Deity I connected with as a child through the logo of the Royal Flying Doctors, School of the Air, and Interflora. Medicine, communication, and flowers. There is a certain theme that in hindsight, I can almost see as a motif of sorts. *snorts with laughter*
If there are any other devotees of the various Mysterious Ones (Deities) I have mentioned, feel free to say hello in the comments or share your favourite prayers. Share your blogs if you have them as well in the comments, I’d love to read them!
Main times The Spring Equinox
This festival is a Solar Festival also known as a Quarter Day– there are four; the two Equinoxes and the two Solstices. I think of the Solar Festivals as being larger, based on our place in the universe, relative to the sun and our relationship with it.
The Cross Quarter or Fire Festivals to me are based on the Earth. To recap – there are four of those as well; Samhain, The Quickening (Imbolc), Beltaine, and Lughnasadh (Lammas, also known as the Harvest Festival).
For me, the main times I always mark in some way for a festival are sunset on the eve of the festival, sunrise, and sunset on the day of the festival, and sunrise the day after the festival. This is especially the case with Solar Festivals.
The Spring Equinox always has an association with dawn and bird song as well as the later dusk, fragrant with perfume from Jasmine and Pittosporum.
Whilst there are always candles through from the Autumn Equinox through to the Spring Equinox, like The Quickening, I associate the Spring Equinox with fresh air. The days are warmer enough that you can open the house for a few hours and get some fresh airflow, and I can get out into the sun without burning or getting cold.
Candles and incense (fire and air) are part of what I use on my shrines and in my rituals/meditations for the Equinoxes, Samhain, Winter Solstice, and the Quickening.
🔥 be fire smart when using candles, fire, even incense in your rituals.
The only time I don’t use much in the way of candles or fire or burn incense is from either the Spring Equinox or Beltaine (depending upon how early the bushfires start) through until Harvest Festival or Autumn Equinox (again, depending upon fire season).
I start to use water on my shrines from the Spring Equinox on. It may seem counterintuitive, as Australian floods can honestly be as dangerous as our bushfires, and every Summer, we have a lot of water incidences, often drownings. This year is a La Niña year, but that doesn’t rule out floods or droughts. September is when the La Niña or El Niño cycle is typically confirmed.
When Spring is truly here at last, may we slide into it unsurprised because of the visions allowed by your inspiring light.Ceisiwr Serith
I’ll revisit various Spring Equinox blog posts that have resonated with me (some links below).
For that matter – if you have any book recommendations or blog posts that you think I might enjoy – as always, feel free to pop them in the comments.
My other blog posts pertinent to the Spring Equinox
- Spring Equinox (2018)
- Spring Equinox Blooming (2018)
- Sacred Moments: Solstices, Equinoxes, Festivals, Moon Phases (2018)
My other blog posts in this Sacred Moment series
- The Quickening/Imbolc (Southern Hemisphere)
- Winter Solstice (Southern Hemisphere)
- Samhain (Southern Hemisphere)
Other blog posts about the Spring Equinox: a deeper dive
- How To Celebrate The Spring Equinox, According To A Wiccan High Priestess (Vivianne Crowley)
- SPRING EQUINOX, OSTARA: SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE
- A 21st Century Wheel of the Year: Resilience at the Spring Equinox
- Spring Equinox – Alban Eilir
- Spring Equinox
- Hekate Devotion – Spring Equinox
- Ostara in the Southern Hemisphere ~ Mabon in the Northern Hemisphere
- Southern equinox after springtime September rains
- 10 Ways You Can Celebrate Ostara This Year
- Eostre – Spring Goddess or NeoPagan Fancy?
- Spring Equinox Rituals and Traditions
- Ostara/Spring Equinox /Vernal Equinox March 21-22
- What is Ostara?
- A Celebration for the Spring Equinox
- Summer Solstice ~ Litha
- The Spring Equinox & Ostara
- Spring Equinox or Ostara – The rites of spring: From: “The Witches Year” ~ by Lucy Cavendish
Australian Festivals: A Quick Reference Guide
It can be difficult in Australia to find resources that address the Southern Hemisphere or Australia. Here are some starting resources that I myself have:
- Thursday 02nd December 2021: Cancer Journal 18
- Homeric Hymn to Asklepios
- Prayer to Hygieia
- Dawn Prayer Series 2
- Dawn Prayer Series 1