“Loveliest of trees, the cherry now.” – A.E. Housman
As we welcome the season of springtime this Monday, March 20th with the Vernal (Spring) Equinox, I find myself craving moments of quiet beauty. The Spring Equinox, also referred to as Ostara, is a time of balance between night and day where we celebrate the promise of beginnings, sweet romances unfurling, and blossoms opening their tender petals. We have also been tangled up in the midst of a very funny Venus retrograde in Aries, the most un-Venetian placement possible. Dear Aries often learns the hard way, leaping first without looking and only when they’ve hit rock bottom can they gather perspective and have an “a-ha” moment. In matters of the heart and all relationships, Aries blazes trails and speaks their passions loudly, yet doesn’t always think about how their catharsis can be someone else’s burden. Until April 15th, Venus retrograding in Aries forces us to slow down and analyze our actions while reviewing our modalities of self-care. We will all be April’s fools within this time frame, all of our behaviors being called out for re-examination. How does our level of self-care affect our relationships? Are we obsessed with our own state of perfect equilibrium that we fail to see those in strife right around us? Or is our lack of self-care something we find noble; we are brave, strong warriors with bigger battles to fight. Aries loves to go, go, go and with the slow reveal of spring this year, our impatience for change and all things new will be tested. The magic of this season calls for initiations but the bigger lesson can be found in the quiet details of savoring the moment.
Hanami is the Japanese art of appreciating the fleeting beauty of flowers, particularly the cherry and plum blossoms. Starting at the end of March through May, the Japanese have paused to appreciate a moment in nature for centuries. I have been practicing this custom in my own way with the most exquisite batch of roses collected from my partner. Every night I have been cultivating them; watching their full expression and then carefully drying the petals for use in future perfumes, baths and incenses. For me, these roses hold not only the promise of commitment and appreciation, but also a warm memory of a romantic moment in time that will be transformed into something lasting. The language of flowers is silent but speaks volumes as we watch their process and apply it to our own desires. Springtime is a transitory, like flowers, it will only last for a brief moment. Use the week to participate in some customs of Ostara. Here are five of my favorites:
- Spring Cleaning: Open up your closets without fear and use the Aries confidence to face old mementos, clothing or any items that may remind you of a past lover or painful event and throw it out or give it away. To attract something new you must have space to usher it in.
- Collecting and Drying Flowers: Buy your favorite bouquet and enjoy watching them bloom. Once the flowers start to wilt, separate the petals and lay them on a towel to dry for approximately two days. Re-use them in baths, sachets, oils, and countless ways!
- Letter writing and Putting to Rest the Pain of Unrequited Love: Retrogrades, especially in Venus, bring up memories of past lovers and friendships that have soured. Take the time to write out everything you wanted to say but never could, write out your tears, disappointments and then ceremoniously burn the letter. If possible bury the ashes in the park or a place where the ground is fertile and energy can transform. Take back your power by truly putting painful events to rest.
- Candle Magic: Firstly this week, burn a large white candle for cleansing, equilibrium and healing. On March 27th we have a New Moon in Aries, which is an opportune time to burn a fiery red or orange candle for confidence, bravery and strength. Stand in a Superwoman pose as you watch the burning flame and trust that when the time is right, you will emerge bold and bright.
- See Old Friends and Listen to their Wisdom: Use this time to reconnect with “oldies but goodies” and learn from their experiences. Celebrate all the hurdles you’ve overcome together and toast to the beauty of the moment in your friendship.
Someone recently said to me, “even small wounds need to be healed.” This Ostara, as the cherry blossoms, peonies and roses begin to bloom, remind yourself that you will too, transform and emerge, in due time.