Spring has sprung with the vernal equinox
Bountiful garden bed birth
Of growing seed sprouts
Toppled grass mowings
Sewing embryo droplets
Snail lick of the unborn
Tired and torn
Aching branches forlorn
Fertile fantasy under
Bare wooden lark chicks yearn
Mothers soon return
Fern spun awakening
An equinox is the date twice a year when the sun pases directly over the equator in a northern or southern direction. The two equinoxes in the Northern Hemisphere differ from those in the Southern Hemisphere due to the 23.5 degree tilt of Earth’s axis. The vernal, or spring, equinox typically takes place in March while the autumnal, or fall, equinox takes place in September.
What is the vernal equinox?
The vernal equinox is the sun passing directly above the celestial equator to the north. This date falls on Saturday, March 20, 2021 in the Northern Hemisphere which marks the beginning of spring. On the vernal equinox, day and night are equal in length as the Northern Hemisphere tilts towards the sun. After this date, the amount of daylight increases while the amount of darkness decreases. Many will experience more daylight than darkness in the 24 hour day. This increased daylight will continue until the summer solstice in June when the longest amount of daylight occurs. The equinoxes are the only two times a year that the sun rises due east and sets due west for all of us on earth.
Why is the vernal equinox important?
The vernal equinox has inspired and determined cycles of life for humanity for centuries. The spring equinox has been a point of celebration for some religions such as the holidays Easter and Passover. The vernal equinox has also been associated with stories of magical witches who can transform animals and traditions of spirits who come to heal and channel wisdom.
Spring is also a physical change for the Earth. Many are tired of the cold weather and the constant buzz of the heater day and night. As spring arrives, snow thaws and barren branches form budds of hope. New shoots of grass sprout in patches along the highway while lupine, mustard plant and poppies bloom on hillsides. In California, the hope of rain sits high in many people’s minds as it will determine the outcome of their gardens and the new planting season ahead.
Spring is not only an awakening of plants that have been in hibernation, but it is an awakening of the senses. People open their eyes anew to the possibilities of the year to come. Often winter dampens our feeling of being alive and glazes our perception of reality. Spring inspires people to cleanse their lives and change for the better. Some do this in the form of cleaning out their closets and making physical changes in their lives while others choose to mentally change by cleaning out their spiritual cobwebs and focusing more on themselves.
There are many myths associated with the vernal equinox as there are with most holidays and celebrations. Many myths are formed to entertain or to offer a new perspective on an important event. Some myths that many still believe today are the ability to balance a raw egg on its skinniest point, the alteration of mood on the vernal equinox and the disappearance of your noontime shadow.
The ability to balance a raw egg is a fun trick that can be tried on the vernal equinox, however, this trick can be achieved any day of the year.
Mood alteration due to the spring equinox is a partially true myth. Although the movement of the sun does not directly affect mood, the changing of seasons does. The cold can affect your mood negatively, just as warmth can affect your mood positively or vice versa.
The absence of the noontime shadow myth is also partially true. There are many factors that allow this to work, but conditions have to be very precise which is rare to achieve. Considering the sun passes directly over the equator on the vernal equinox, you must be on the equator at noon on the day of the equinox.
Besides the science behind the vernal equinox, spring allows for people to welcome and be open to the possibilities of the year to come. Take a moment to explore nature and spend time on yourself. Nurture those you love most and give yourself time to recuperate. What seeds of change will you plant in your garden and how will they help you positively grow for the better?