Here we are in the full leafiness of spring, the season that brings an infusion of new life, regeneration and joy.
Can you feel it? Does it make you want to sing, dance, make love, run, walk, or laugh?
Or do you feel tired, maybe nursing the residue of a virus, or falling into overwhelm from so much to do – with weeding now being added to the list!
Whichever it is, I invite you to observe whether you are drawn to water. Water is the great cleanser, and cleansing is often needed before you can move on, releasing the old and opening to what is new and enlivening.
It is no coincidence that here in Aotearoa New Zealand we have a custom of taking our first swim at Labour weekend in late October. Or that the Maori proverb says of Whiringanuku, the fifth month of the year*: Rima ka kaukau ana tangata—people swim again.*
My Celtic ancestors emerged from their winter confinement at Beltane, halfway between spring equinox and summer solstice. They visited wells and springs, seeking healing.
The Romans dedicated a whole festival to the reviving power of water. At the Fontanalia, they decorated wells and springs with flowers, and threw garlands into waters.
Maori used the cleansing power of water for tapu clearing, and initiation rites in many cultures are conducted in streams and lakes.
- The Maori new year begins in May with the reappearance of Matariki, the Pleiades.
If you are in the southern hemisphere, how would you like to set aside the ceremonies of dying that belong to the north, and enter fully into the greening season that is here now? Spring deserves its own festivals! You may like to throw a spring party, or celebrate your own ritual for Whiringanuku/Beltane, on October 30, or close to this date.
Three Steps for a Spring Ritual
Here is a simple ritual that you can do by yourself or with some friends to open to the beauty and power of spring.
The first step of a spring ritual is clearing and cleansing with water. Take time to reflect on what you need to release so that you can step forward into spring with openness and pleasure. As you swirl your hands in a bowl of water, a stream or the sea, imagine that you are letting go, gladly and willingly, of what you no longer need.
The second step is opening the senses. After cleansing with water, step outside to stand or sit in a garden, park, or other place in nature. Spend ten minutes opening your senses to the natural world.
What do you see? Smell? Taste? Hear? Sense?
This is what I’ve been noticing:
The maple trees flapping their soft bright leaves like wings, the puriri popping with new pink flowers, and the lime tree dangling delicate new foliage. Against all this brightness, the sky is a deeper blue, and the clouds dazzling white.
A corokia hedge is covered with happy yellow stars. In the bush, the karaka has pushed out bunches of tiny green flowers and hen and chickens ferns have produced babies on every frond.
A new babe is born. A fight breaks out at the pool. A small dog with a huge yap chases a middle-sized ball. Cars roar on journeys out of the city. The sea sparkles. A riroriro warbles. The wind rustles through soft new leaves.
- Opening to new beginnings
The third step is to take up your journal and open to the new.What do you notice is stirring in you, that wants your attention?
What new beginnings are calling?
Take some reflective time, and write with ease, letting your insights flow through you on to the paper with the fluidity of water.
I wish you spring joy and lightness of heart!
PS You might want to ‘wear the green’ on October 31 by pinning a sprig of greenery in your buttonhole. It’s a nice way to counterbalance the northern hemisphere festival of the dead that has found its way into our world in the midst of spring greening.
“The sun just touched the morning;
The morning, happy thing,
Supposed that he had come to dwell,
And life would be all spring.”
This post is an excerpt from my Seasons Newsletter. To receive the Seasons Newsletter, you may sign up on the home page of this website and receive a free audio meditation.