5 Sacred Ways to Celebrate Spring Equinox
What is the Spring Equinox?
The word equinox comes from Latin, meaning “equal night.” There are two equinoxes per year, one in the spring (vernal) and one in the fall (autumnal). The Spring Equinox (in the Northern Hemisphere) represents the exact moment when the sun crosses the celestial equator (an imaginary line in the sky above Earth’s actual equator) going north. On the day of the Equinox, we experience day and night in (mostly) equal duration, marking the halfway point between the shortest and longest days of the year.
This year the Spring Equinox happens on March 20, 2021, at exactly 9:37 am UTC. While the Equinox happens at a specific moment in time, you can align with the equilibrium of the day by tuning into the movement of the sun. The sun should rise due east around 7:00 am. Six hours later it will hit its highest point in the sky around 1:00 pm and then set due west around 7:00 pm. Only twice a year do we encounter this prime alignment in the sky, so why not honor the moment by taking a pause and tuning into it?
The Symbolism of the Equinox
In the northern half of the globe, this is the first day of Spring! The start of spring is uplifting for so many reasons. The light of our world is growing stronger and longer every day. This is intuitively refreshing to our spirits and brings illumination and movement into our lives.
Spring represents renewal, birth, new beginnings, and growth. We see and feel the manifestation of the life force before our very eyes! Ice and snow begin to melt while new buds begin to blossom, creating a sense of freshness and flow. We are filled with a renewed sense of opportunity and joy.
How to Celebrate the Spring Equinox
The Equinox reminds us that balance is a fleeting moment in time, not to be grasped but appreciated with a savory pause until it comes around again. Pausing in moments of transition, such as the seasonal junctures, can be potent portals of awareness and enlightenment that offer us the opportunity to recalibrate to our Highest Self. Use the following practices to re-align your inner nature with Mother Nature and set an intention for the coming months.
Reflection can be expressed in many unique and creative ways. Journaling or meditation can be great vehicles to reflect on where you’ve been, where you’re at, and where you want to go. You might ask yourself the following questions:
How do I feel?
How have I been showing up, for myself and for others?
What is giving me life?
What is depleting me?
What do I want to release?
What do I want to invoke more of?
Clean and Donate
Spring cleaning is a thing! Do a deep clean of all the nooks and crannies that have been collecting the heavy dust of winter. Take it a step further and do a purge of your belongings. Go through your wardrobe, jewelry, books, plate ware, stacks of paper, anything! Get rid of the old and make space for what lights you up and inspires you. This seasonal ritual can be a great way to physically embody and align with your intentions while preventing stagnation. Not to mention, a regular “giving practice” keeps our spirits high and hearts open.
Reset and Redecorate
The change of season is a perfect time to reset your altar or meditation space. If that’s not your thing, you can redecorate a room, or simply re-organize your shelves or tables to honor the shift in season. Get a new plant or piece of art!
Alternate Nostril Breathing
Spring is a good time to invoke more heating and vigorous pranayama (breathing exercises). However, practicing nadi shodana (alternate nostril breathing) on the Equinox can be a potent practice for energetic balance. It might be interesting to meditate on the right and left sides of your body before and after while mindfully noticing any shifts or sensations.
How to do Alternate Nostril Breathing:
Sit in a comfortable position.
Place your first and second fingers between your eyebrows, rest your third finger on your left nostril, and your thumb on your right nostril.
To prepare, inhale through both nostrils, and then press the right side closed while you slowly exhale through the left.
Next, inhale through the left nostril, close them both for a brief pause at the top of the breath, and then exhale through the right side, holding the left side closed.
Inhale through the right, close both to pause at the top, and then exhale through the left. That’s one round.
To continue, inhale left and exhale right, inhale right, and exhale left.
Do at least 7 whole rounds. When complete, take a moment to sit in peaceful awareness before moving on.
Explore the Balance of Opposites
We live in a highly polarized world. The Equinox invites us to welcome opposites into the same space and explore how they can be in balance with each other. You might meditate on concepts such as contrast, balance, equality, or harmony. Or you can meditate on a pair of opposites such as right/left, night/day, white/black, or earth/sky. You can even gaze at two contrasting crystals. Be curious about what makes them different, and how do they inform and complement each other? What does balance look or feel like? What does it feel like to shift your weight from right foot to left foot, and where is the balance point?