Spring ~ Life, Joy, Hope, and the God of War?

March 20, 2022. Happy Ostara. Spring (or Vernal) Equinox, where day and night reign equally. Here in the Northern Hemisphere it marks the official start of SPRING.

Hope Springs Eternal – endlessly renewing itself. Indeed Spring celebrates renewal/rebirth, regeneration, resurrection, fertility, and new life. JOY. When Spring arrives and the days grow longer and warmer, Nature bursts with joy. The birds welcome the morning sun with their songs – a celebration of Life itself. In the Concrete Jungle my Green Dragon is coming out of hibernation and I awoke to the trumpeting of a Canada Goose. He must’ve chosen our rooftop to serenade his lady love because the honking sounded very close and VERY LOUD!

I’ve posted this once before but it deserves a repost:

You have to believe in happines

You have to believe in happiness,
Or happiness never comes.
I know that a bird chirps none the less
When all that he finds is crumbs.

You have to believe the buds will blow,
Believe in the grass in the days of snow.
Ah, that’s the reason a bird can sing,
On his darkest day he believes in Spring.

You have to believe in happiness –
It isn’t an outward thing.
The Spring never makes the song, I guess,
As much as the song the Spring.

Aye, many a heart could find content
If it saw the joy on the road it went,
The joy ahead when it had to grieve,
For the joy is there – but you have to believe.

– Douglas Malloch

Astrologically, March 20/21 marks the beginning of the year and signifies the first seven years of life: ARIES. The Ram. Aries is ruled by Mars. In ancient Roman religion and myth, Mars (the son of Jupiter and Juno) was their God of War. The Greek equivalent to Mars is Ares – which is how the astrological sign of Aries became entwined with Ares. To make matters more convoluted, The Emperor is the Zodiacal Trump of Aries (ruled by Mars with Sun exhalted).

WTF? How did we go from life-affirmation to War, Conquest, and Domination?!? Let’s take a deep breath…

The Emperor is also referred to as “Sun of the Morning” (Makes me think of birdsongs.) and represents leadership, courage, individuality, independence, passion, and the Archetype of the Earthly Father. He is the consort of The Empress who symbolizes the Earthly Mother, abundance, Nature, love, and the source of all life. They represent the harmonious balance which exists in every living thing: The Divine Spark.

Joy is an expression of Love.

We forget to play. We forget to be happy. “Whales and elephants, humming gnats, and invisibly small mischievous microbes, all are warm with divine radium and must have lots of fun in them.” – John Muir.

Use this time of new beginnings and growth to rejuvenate your own life. Take time to appreciate the absolutely beautiful World around you and spread some JOY of your own. “Reviewing the day’s delights often yields surprises, and serves as a reminder of how full a life is, how lucky some days feel and how even stressful days may contain glowing nuggets of peace, pleasure, or joy.[1]

As I write this I am enjoying a lunch brimming over with foods celebrating Ostara: eggs (Quiche Michelle), asparagus, a salad of baby arugula, and Bourbon Milk Punch (recipe below).

Bourbon Milk Punch

2 oz. bourbon
3 oz. milk
1 oz. simple syrup (you can substitute Agave syrup)
2 dashes vanilla extract

Add bourbon, milk, simple syrup, and vanilla extract to a shaker filled with ice. Shake until well-chilled. Strain into a glass and garnish with freshly-grated nutmeg.

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[1] Ackerman, Diane (2009). Dawn Light. W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.. p. 237.

Ode to Ostara

For Pagans, Ostara (celebrated March 20th or 21st, depending upon the year) marks the Spring Equinox – the beginning of Spring.

Around here, Nature is celebrating Spring with new shoots, flowers, and frisky doves!

Even my Sarracenia “Flava” erected a bloom in honor of Ostara!

Ostara is a time of renewal and regneration. What are you waiting for? Time to be the truest version of yourself. If you were a child of Nature (which you are) how would you herald Spring’s return? What would your rebirth look like?

Dharma’s “Dance to the Spring” (:43 seconds in).

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Spring Equinox and The Hierophant

Happy Ostara – also known as Spring Equinox! This is one of two days a year (the other being Autumn Equinox) when both day and night are equal in length and is the official start of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere.

To celebrate the Spring Equinox, decorate your altar with fresh Spring flowers (daffodil, jonquil, violet, or narcissus) or young potted plants, and serve these traditional foods:  young greens (Scatter edible flower petals on your salad!), eggs, sprouts, asparagus, and fiddlehead ferns. Any type of florally incense can be burned (such as rose or jasmine) during Ostara rituals.

Being that its theme is one of new beginnings, renewal, and hope, this is a good time to plant seeds – both literally and figuratively – for what you’d like to grow in the coming months.

Astrologically, today the Moon is in Aquarius. Aquarius is the sign of the Visionary and the Rebel. Aquarians are logical thinkers and technologically adept, often favoring social networking or other technologies to stay connected. With Aquarius influencing the Moon, you may feel like “doing your own thing” today.

This morning I sat down to draw a Tarot card – focusing on the world as a whole – and pulled The Hierophant. It certainly speaks of the challenges we are currently experiencing.

Trump card of Taurus, The Hierophant serves as an intermediary between the earthly and the spiritual. Its essence is one of conventional wisdom, conformity, traditional values, institutions, structure, knowledge-sharing, and social groups.

“There is comfort in conformity and tradition – it allows us to relax into a feeling of the continuity and value of the human condition, especially when the external world seems to be going to the dogs.”The Tarot Club

It is the fifth card in the Major Arcana, thus it may constitute a crisis or having to make adjustments to overcome problems. The Hierophant may also represent society as a whole.

“The Hierophant can teach us to look for the deeper pattern, or the wider picture of a situation, beyond the surface detail of things to more deep-seated concerns.” [1]

When the card appears He is telling us this is not the time to “rock the boat”. Find your own inner peace and freedom within the current conforming structure. You may find rituals of any kind (Thursday Night Trivia!) helpful in establishing that balance. Now’s also not the time to give in to “group think”. Stand by your beliefs and retain your sense of self.

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[1] Daniels, Ian (2010). Phantasmagoria. Llewellyn Publications. pp. 187-188.