Celebrating spring

by | Oct 27, 2016 | Uncategorized | 14 comments

 

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!

 

Water

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.
 

sophies-hand-and-leaff1000024_1

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.

Celebrating 

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.

     

  1. Cleansing 
     
    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.

 

Bowl of water, spring altar

 

  1. Noticing 
    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.

 

Corokia in spring

 

  1. 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!

    Blessings,
    Juliet
     
     

    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.”

—Emily Dickinson

 
 
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.

14 Comments

  1. Nadezda

    Juliet, interesting thoughts about water, its clearing and cleansing. I’ve never thought about so important role of water in our life.
    Thanks for sharing and happy new spring!

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Thank you Nadezda, I’m glad you enjoyed reading about the cleansing power of water. Happy autumn to you!

      Reply
  2. Marja

    I don’t swim much anymore but I like the idea of cleansing. I might follow that up, with a bowl that is. I think I can use some cleansing but I am fully adoring the spring. Indeed so much to take in smells and all these colours. Everyday first thing in the morning I walk around our garden to take it all in

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Marja, how wonderful that you are ‘fully adoring’ the spring and finding so much to delight in. Thank you.

      Reply
  3. Hilary Melton-Butcher

    Hi Juliet – it’s always good to read about your side of the world … and to know the seasons go on … wherever we are on earth … life renews, water heals and lets us have a new lease of life … enjoy your Springing .. and I’ll wear some green on Monday – we’re still ‘warm’ here! (well on the south coast) … Cheers Hilary

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Hilary, greetings to you in your autumn time. How nice that you still have some warmth there in the south of
      England. Thank you.

      Reply
  4. Penny

    I hope to remember this come springtime here, Juliet, and, once again, find joy and solace in your rituals. While not quite the same as the cleansing ritual of water you prescribe, I can attest to how refreshed and renewed I felt when I could finally shower after breaking my foot three weeks ago. Thank you for this post, dear Juliet.

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Penny, I’m so glad you found joy and solace in this post, and I can well imagine what refreshment you found from being able to shower finally, after your injury. It must have been cleansing for the shock and trauma, as well as for your body. Thank you.

      Reply
  5. Dana Leigh Lyons

    Though we’re entering late autumn here, I’ve been engaging in a twice daily water ritual for months…and love reading your discussion of water – so resonant.

    Immersing myself in a glacially cold lake each morning and evening, I absolutely feel water’s power as the “great cleanser,” helping me release what I need to release so I can enter the day or night from a more open, clearer place. One focus of noticing for me is the shifts in this ritual – and my relationship to it – with shifts in season. It’s ever changing even as some aspects remain the same.

    Thank you as always, Juliet, for such timely, beautifully rendered inspiration!

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Dana, how bracing and cleansing those cold lake dips must be. I can’t wait for the sea to warm up and to start bathing in it again. The cleansing goes through and through, and is so instant. Thank you for your refreshing comment!

      Reply
  6. Gallivanta

    There will be no swimming here! Brrrr! But the bird bath is freshly filled and it is lovely to be reminded that we can celebrate Whiringanuku and Beltane.

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Nice to think of the bird bath filled up, inviting the birds to have a dip. Thank you Gallivanta.

      Reply
  7. Joan Hoggan

    Greening beautifully here – at last! Thanks for the newsletter.

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Thank you Joan; nice to think of you in the green time, and I’m glad you found the link.

      Reply

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