When we work with love we renew the spirit. This renewal is an act of self-love. It nurtures our growth.Bell Hooks
Spring is a time for renewal and rebirth. In the cycle of seasons, the winter solstice signals the death of the sun, and the spring equinox represents her rebirth. For Anglo-Saxons, the word Easter is derived from Eostre or Ostara, the Goddess of Spring. Many of our Easter traditions harken back to her. Her link to rebirth is symbolized by rabbits. The story goes that a bird, who pulled her chariot bringing the sun back for spring, broke its wing and could night fly south for the winter. So it could survive, Eostre turned it into a mythical rabbit that laid eggs in all the colors of the rainbow. Hot cross buns are said to have originated as a sweet cake – representing the four seasons of the pagan calendar. Sunrise celebrations are rooted in the rebirth of the sun and the triumph of light over darkness.
Ancient myths are replete with themes of rebirth and renewal. Archaeologists see rituals of bathing aligned with godly rebirth in Asia, India, and the Middle East in the stories of the Sumerian goddess Ishtar (Inanna), Egypt’s Osiris, and Greek’s Persephone dating back to 2500 BCE. In about 500 BCE we see the introduction of ritual washing (baptmos) in Hellenistic Judaism. John the Baptist adopted the practice as a central sacrament and baptized Jesus. Romans 6:3-4 says that people were baptized into Christ’s death and “just as Christ was raised from the dead” they would experience a new life. Easter always falls on the Sunday following the first full moon after Equinox. This year our Paschal or Pink Super Full Moon arrives on Saturday.
Renewal means “restore to vibrancy.” Here are some rituals to help us release what is holding us back and embrace renewal:
- Take the Waters: There are at least 200 hot springs cataloged on Hot Springs of America. Make a pilgrimage with the intention of shifting your perspective. Taking a mineral bath has been shown to help with insomnia, joint pain, and mood disorders. If you can’t get to a spring switch out your shower for a sea salt soak in your bathtub for this weekend’s full moon – add some dried lavender and rose petals for good measure. Release what’s holding you back into the water.
- Soak in the Sunrise: Try forest bathing – AKA a contemplative walk in nature through a wood grove or field of wildflowers at sunrise. This is not hiking – it’s focused on experiencing your senses through the flora and fauna with a sense of awe. Bring along a jug of earthy herbal tea to sip as you commune with nature.
- Taste the Rainbow: Take a visit to a Farmer’s Market without a list. Wander the stalls looking for in-season fruits and vegetables, with a plan to capture as many colors of the rainbow as you can, to feast on all week. Whip up some hot cross buns for good measure.