“A cold spring, the violet was flawed on the lawn. For two weeks or more the trees hesitated; the little leaves waited. One day in a chill white blast of sunshine, on the side of one a calf was born.” — “A Cold Spring” by Elizabeth Bishop
Springtime always evokes the poet in me and there’s nothing more luxurious than having a moment to wear loose dresses, lounging out on a familiar chair while soaking up someone’s notes from the soul, be it nightmares, wishes or epic heartbreaks. We’re in a paused moment, not quite spring, as us New Yorkers now expect the unexpected when it comes to weather, yet the Spring Equinox (or Ostara) is upon us Tuesday March 20th, right after a healing New Moon in effusive Pisces. On the Equinox, the Sun enters the sign of rebellious and ready to rumble Aries and then rather quickly dear old Mercury goes retrograde on March 22nd-April 15th. The season and symbols of change will start to penetrate our consciousness, our will and our desire to come out and frolic, awakening us from our long winter’s nap.
The Greek goddess Eos was the “rosy-fingered” goddess of the dawn, draped in saffron robes, opening the gates of heaven allowing the sun to rise. Eos was cursed by an envious Aphrodite with a dangerously insatiable desire, after the sweet goddess had an afternoon in bed with Aphrodite’s paramour, Ares. This timely mythology about greeting the warming dawn, the healing powers of light and the elusive entrapments of loves shifts my thoughts to the magic of love spells in all their glory, danger and enchantment. Forever on the quest for a perfect love, Eos, despite her luminescence, never could quite find the right match. With the Spring Equinox comes a time for many types of magic. Planting seeds of love and opening our hearts to the redemptive power of connection may be our soul’s best salve. Eos was also known as Aurora in Roman mythology and for all those raised on Disney princesses, we all know the tale of Aurora, the sleeping beauty awakened by true love’s kiss. Yet in one of the peculiar origin stories, the prince’s mother in law is in fact part ogre and attempts to devour the princess and her children. This uniquely gothic Germanic part of the story is often omitted, yet like many of us in long term relationships, settling down often means signing up for all kinds of surprises along with a sacred pact of partnership. As with love magic, being careful with what you wish for couldn’t be truer, and during the Spring Equinox — the first of three Sabbats invoking the luscious energy of romance — figuring out what you in fact desire is most appropriate at this time. Flirtation, divination and exploring one’s own temperature for desire are all areas to invoke on and around the Spring Equinox.
Oomancy/Ovomancy, or egg divinations, are an old-fashioned and seasonal way — quite similar to reading tea leaves — to receive divine messages. By separating the egg whites from the yolk into water, one can interpret the formations and symbols revealed by the egg white. Firstly, however, one should sit with the egg and meditate on a question. According to Colette Brown in her delightful book, How to Read an Egg, puncturing the egg with a Swiss Army knife and then using warm water in a clear, cylinder shaped container (like a wide vase or empty, large candle holder) will make the process easier. Once you poke a hole in the egg, delicately let the whites pour into a full jar of warm water and focus on the whites. What does the shape initially look like? How does it shift? Most importantly, don’t let others influence the egg’s meaning. Much like gazing up at clouds, your mind in its meditative and magical state and will see something that may be quite different from another.
Another equinox tradition lies in it being a day of balance and the joy of orderliness, hence the tradition of spring cleaning. For those in the Jewish faith, Passover also falls around the equinox and the tradition of cleaning house as well as removing bread and any leavened products (which symbolizes the ego in all of us) is something that has seeped into the secular world as an another association of springtime rituals. Christians, who adhere to the tradition of giving something up for Lent, also celebrate the long-awaited return of Jesus resurrecting from behind the tomb. What does all of this have to do with witchery and love magic one might ask? Religions, spirituality and witchcraft are all paths towards enlightenment and finding what connects us all often leads to the same place: the heart and all the love it contains.
To let love into one’s life often requires removing known and unknown obstacles, phobias, entitlements and past traumas. On the spring equinox, taking a ritual cleansing bath and then ridding your home of old relics leftover from past lovers, giving away clothing that may repress you, and physically cleaning out any soot or grime that is literally polluting your spiritual and physical body is a priority to let in the spring winds of change. In a warm bath, mix pink Himalayan sea salt, fresh rose petals, lavender, any spring flowers that appeal to your fancy and if you’d like add a bit of almond milk and honey. Some occultists joke that magic is more than taking scented baths and while I couldn’t agree with them more, sometimes life’s seemingly easiest rituals are the most profound because of the practitioner’s dedication and focus to the moment. Take your time to truly reflect on winter’s lessons and as you let the water drain imagine snow, outdated fears, tears, addictions, disappointments and any private sadness returning back to the ocean. The spring equinox is a fortuitous time to refresh and define what love looks like, tastes like and feels like in your bones. By the time May Day/Beltane approaches in all its bonfires and merriment, you’ll be open and ready to attract your heart’s happiest and truest desires, with precise magical timing and divine intervention. For now, enjoy the sweet flirtations of spring, cleaning house and clearing the decks for magical action, as we are all buds ready to burst forth from underneath the ice.