Spring Equinox is the first day of the calendar year that signifies a great change in the seasons. On this day, Father Sun and Mother Moon share the day equally, as the length of day and night, the masculine and the feminine, become equal. At Spring Solstice, we begin to emerge from the darkness of winter into the hope and light of Spring.
For the modern American Shaman, this day is about focusing our intent; it is about remembering the pledges of release and manifestation that we made to The Spirits at the Winter Solstice and keeping that intent strong and present.
The following Ceremony is a personal one that celebrates your individual quest to manifest light over darkness. Perhaps as the months have progressed since you made those resolutions, you are having difficulty meeting those goals. The stress of the worldwide pandemic has made many of us uncertain and fearful. It is extremely important that we periodically address those fears during uncertain times, for stress is very hard on our immune system and increases our susceptibility to dis-ease. More importantly, our negative thoughts can manifest illness. For that reason, the following ceremony begins with a visualization to help you release your negative emotions. I recommend you repeat that visualization -- perhaps daily when you go to bed at night or awaken in the morning -- to keep yourself emotionally, spiritually, and physically healthy.
The second part of the ceremony is to help you remember and focus your personal goals for the year. As always, be careful what you wish for -- it may come with a swiftness or in a way that is not expected! And only focus your intent on ONE thing. Remember that we must empty our "bowl" to make room for something new, and we don't want to just dump everything out at once!
Spring Equinox: A Personal Ceremony
This ceremony can be adapted for a small group if you like, and can be performed indoors or outdoors. Spring Equinox 2020 in Northern Hemisphere (Eastern Time) will be at 11:49 PM on Thursday, March 19, if you want to take a purist approach and have your ceremony then, but since time is man's construct, you can perform this ceremony whenever it fits into your schedule!
Items to Gather:
Small animal skin or scarf; candle; table (optional), seeds (herbs, flowers, or produce); a small flower pot or paper seed starter filled with potting soil; small pitcher or glass of water; feather or smudging herbs (sage, lavender); matches or a lighter; a drum, rattle or other noise/music maker; a small piece of paper and a pencil; a piece of red thread or string; and personal stones or crystals that you wish to have on your altar. You may also want a blanket and pillow for the visualization and release part of the ceremony.
If you don't have all of these things on hand, use your imagination or write the words on paper and place them on the altar. Remember that these things are about honoring Spirit and focusing your intent, not about having the "right things."
Setting Up Your Altar:
Your altar can be as elaborate or simple as you like. I like to put a small animal skin or scarf on the ground/floor as my base, although a table works, too. Place the candle in the middle of the altar, but don't light it yet. Determine which way is North, and then place the pot of soil (Earth) in the South, the Water in the West, a feather, sage, or lavender (Air) in the North; and matches or a lighter (Fire) in the East. Place any stones or crystals that you intuitively feel should be on your altar anywhere you like, and place the seeds in the South, too -- but not in the pot, though! You may also want to play background music during the ceremony to help you focus.
Create a Circle of Protection:
Smudge yourself with lavender and/or sage to clear your energy field. Alternatively, you can use sound (drum or rattle) to do this. If you don't have these things, simply close your eyes and imagine clearing your aura or energy field by brushing negativity away with Next, you need to set up a circle of protection before you begin the ceremony. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP -- it is important that you only have spirits and ancestors that love you in your circle of ceremony; all others must stay on the other side of the barrier and can only watch or witness.
There are many ways to create the circle of protection. The most important thing is to remember to create the barrier with the following intention and words: "I place this protection around this circle so that only those who love me may enter. All others may not enter," or something similar. Here are some ideas of tools to create protection
Salt, cornmeal or tobacco;
Burning sage or lavender -- or a combination of both -- to smudge the circle. You can use sweetgrass, but you must use it in combination with sage or lavender -- sweetgrass welcomes the Spirits, but will not keep the ones out that you don't want there, so you need the protection of sage or lavender;
Use a drum or rattle (or other sound maker)
Once you have created the circle of protection, enter your circle from the East and stand at your altar, lighting the center candle. Where you stand is a personal choice -- just go for where you feel most centered and powerful. I like to stand in the South so that I can face North, the direction of Air, Spirit, and the Elders.
Call in the Spirits
This is the basic call I use in ceremony, but you can create your own based on your personal beliefs. You can do it from one place or face each direction when you call in the Spirits.
Always start in the East:
"Powers of the East, the home of the Rising Sun, the Phoenix, the place of intellect, the infant, the element of fire, join me! Come witness this ceremony and empower my Spirit. Join the Circle! Powers of the East, come in!"
Face the South:
"Powers of the South, the home of Mother Earth and the Sacred Mouse, the place of the physical self, the adolescent, the element of earth, join me! Come witness this ceremony and empower my Intention. Join my Circle! Powers of the South, come in!"
Face the West:
"Powers of the West, the home of the great Dreaming Bear, the Dreamtime, the place of emotions, the adult, the element of water, join me! Come witness this ceremony and empower my Intention. Join my Circle! Powers of the West, come in!"
Face the North:
"Powers of the North, the home of White Buffalo Woman, the place of Spirit, the Elders, the element of air, join me! Come witness and empower this ceremony. Join this Sacred Circle! Powers of the North, come in!"
Now stand at the Altar to call in Spirits of Place and The Great Spirit:
"Spirits of place, those who seek to grant me healing, please join our circle. Great Spirit, please join us and help us stand at the center. Lend us your great power for this Ceremony. Keep us honest, keep us brave during this difficult time. Help us to remember that we are all connected, that our actions are felt by others, and to always remember this. Great Spirit, join us!"
Visualization for Cleansing:
Now it is time to release your negativity. Sit comfortably or lie down. Take a moment to relax your body, starting with your toes, and working your way up to the top of your head. Now, turn your consciousness to the task of locating where in your body you are holding negativity, fear, and/or anxiety. You may find it in your solar plexus, your heart, your left knee, or in several places. Now imagine a deflated balloon or bubble over one of those places. Imagine inflating the balloon or bubble with those negative emotions until it is full, then release it into the air. Watch it float upwards, though the ceiling and into the atmosphere. Take your time. Watch it until it disappears into Father Sky. Continue until all of the negativity is released. When you are finished, take a deep breath (or two or three), seeing yourself clear and drawing in the empowerment and peace of the Spirits around you.
Manifestation of Your Intention:
Take a moment to think of what you want to manifest in your life. Manifestation is not a one-time thing; it is an intention that must be nurtured and allowed to grow. Only seek to manifest one thing, or the Spirits will overwhelm you with opportunities; again, be careful what you ask for! You may wish to manifest an emotion, a relationship, a new home, whatever. Now take the piece of paper and pencil and write it the single thing you want to manifest in the coming months. Write it simply, such as "my home," "a healthy relationship," etc. Lay the paper on your altar and sprinkle it with herbs, tobacco, or cornmeal, if you have them on your altar. Then carefully fold it into a very small package with the herbs inside and tie it with the string as you say a quiet prayer to express your wish to the Spirits. When you are finished, take the planter full of soil and make a hole in the center with your finger. Press your small bundle in the hole, all the way to the bottom, sprinkle with a little soil, and then place the seeds about 1/2" from the top or whatever the seed packet suggests. Fill in the top of the hole with more soil and sprinkle a bit of water on, all the while imagining and visualizing how your wish will empower you once it is granted.
Close your eyes, with your planter in your hands or your hands on Mother Earth if you are planting in your Garden, and give thanks to the Spirits for lending their Power and Guidance to your intent.
Close the Circle:
Stand in prayer and quietude, perhaps with your hands at your chest or stretched upwards toward the Heavens. Thank the Spirits for joining you, asking them to watch over you as you grow in your intent. Ask them to protect you and help you make the best decisions to create that which you seek to manifest in your life. Ask them to make you wise. Ask them to remind you to give thanks, and to help you be open to change.
Ending the Ceremony should include a Sacred Act, such as sitting quietly and honoring the Spirits by imagining how your request will change your life, meditating and communing with Spirit, writing in your journal, staring at the Moon and admiring her beauty, or just feeling gratitude. Another option is to sing, dance, play your drum, and make happy noises. It's up to you to decide what feels right in that moment.
Once you are finished, place your pot in a special place in the Sun where you will be reminded daily to water it, talk to it, and nurture it with your intention. Put away your tools and rest in the knowledge that the Universe and The Great Spirit will send you exactly what you need to meet your goals.
Please feel free to add your comments or ask questions below. It's always nice to share your experiences. Ah-Ho!