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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Finding Balance


   The spring equinox is upon us once more, a holiday that I celebrate several ways. Today, the equinox itself, I will honor Artio and leave offerings out for the Good Neighbors. This sunday I'll honor Idunna and my children will enjoy coloring eggs and hunting for treats.
   Since there is no strong evidence that the Irish celebrated the equinox I use this holiday to honor the Germano-Celtic goddess Artio, who I have worshiped for many years. I call it, rather informally, Waking the Bear and celebrate it in honor of spring and the return of warmer weather and new growth. I offer Artio honey, bread, and apples to represent the sweetness of spring after winter, the transformation of old into new, and renewal and regeneration. I also use this time to reflect on what my goals for the coming seasons will be and to decide what I want to accomplish by the fall.
   As part of a long standing personal practice I will also leave out an offering for the daoine sidhe. I once believed that this was a traditional custom but even after realizing it wasn't I decided it had personal value to me. Making bigger formal offerings to the Other Crowd every six weeks is a good pattern to be in, I think, and one that serves me well.
   I also honor Idunna at this time. It seems appropriate to me to choose now to honor the goddess who keeps the gods healthy and young with her apples, because springtime to me is so much about youth and vigor. I honor Idunna with a blot where I offer apples and apple cider. It may seem strange to be offering a fall fruit in spring but my thought is that apples can last about 5 months in storage so offered in spring would represent gifts of the precious fruit of the last harvest. And of course apples are especially Idunna's, being the fruit she uses to give immortality to the gods.
   My children color eggs and eagerly await a visit from the Osterhase (Ostara hare, more or less) who leaves a basket of treats and hides eggs for them to find. This year my 6 year old has been counting down the days to the equinox, confident that the first day of spring will bring warmer weather, while my 10 year old has focused on the visit from the hare. They are both excited about the prospect of celebrating the different aspects of the holiday and look forward to our family ritual tonight and Idunnablot this weekend.
   It is funny that this holiday which represents balance in so many ways ends up being one where I balance each of the things that influences me, honoring my Celtic, Norse, and Fairy Faith sides fairly equally in ways that I cannot always do at other holidays. Indeed the two equinoxes are perhaps the easiest holidays for me to celebrate and the spring equinox with its colored eggs and treats is one of the most fun. Spring is in the air and everything feels alive with potential and possibility; we should all try to enjoy it.

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