The spring equinox, known in the druid tradition as Alban Eiler or Light of the Earth, is a time of growth, new beginnings, and healing. As the gateway to the dark half of the year, the autumnal equinox asks us to prepare for a long and dark winter, while the spring equinox, the beginning of the lighter half of the year, is a gateway back to the warmth of spring and summer and the bounty that this time of year brings.
Because spring equinox "springs" us into the coming year, here are three rituals inspired by the druid tradition that can help you celebrate this season and the joy it brings.
Invoking the Awen for Inspiration
In the druid tradition, the word “Awen” means divine or flowing inspiration. Awen can refer to several aspects of the creative process. This includes the “spark” of a new idea and the joy it brings. It can also refer to the ability to enter a “flow state.”
A simple druid ritual to invoke the Awen is a chanting ritual, where you invoke the Awen either three or nine times. Awen is drawn out in three syllables: AH-OH-EN. You can experiment with the length and pitch of the chant while staying focused on steadying the breath. Take deep, slow breaths in between each chant, and chant loudly to let the Awen flow through you as you intone the three syllables.
If you want to be inspired while looking for new ideas, go into nature, raise your hands into the air, and chant the Awen nine times. As you chant, feel the inspirational energy of spring flow into you. At the end of the chant, continue to feel the energy flow. Return home and start a new project, or take time to brainstorm ideas while the energy continues to flow.
If you already have a project you’re working on that needs an infusion of creative energy, you can place your hands over the project and chant the Awen nine times. Again, immediately begin working on your project to allow the Awen to carry into the work at hand.
Spring Cleansing Tea Ritual
Many spring greens can be used to create a sacred and healing tea that can cleanse the body and help prepare for the emergence of the lighter half of the year.
To create a cleansing tea, you can forage in any area that is at least 20 feet away from a road that does not regularly receive pesticide sprays. Good plants for a spring cleansing tea include:
Dandelion: An early blooming plant with a large yellow flower that has jagged leaves growing from a basal rosette. Harvest the root, leaf, or flower.
Chickweed: An early spring plant that features delicate small leaves and has tiny flowers with ten petals radiating out from a tiny yellow center. It has the smell and taste of cornsilk. Harvest any aerial (green) part of the plant, including leaves and flowers.
Apple or hawthorn blossoms: Another wonderful choice for a healing tea, these are easy to find even in urban areas. Hawthorn blossoms are small and white, while apple blossoms are white with a touch of pink.
The first part of the ritual is the harvest itself—when harvesting, always ask for permission from and offer gratitude to the plants themselves. Make sure to positively identify them before consuming. Take only what you need, then return home. If you are not able to forage for your own healing greens, you can go to a local health food store and purchase dry dandelion tea.
Once you are home, set up a small altar with candles and other seasonal décor of your choosing. Brew up a cup of your tea, and once again offer gratitude to the plant for its healing power. As you drink your tea, notice each part of your body. Feel the energy of the plants working with your body to strengthen, cleanse, and refresh.
When you are finished drinking, spend some quiet time in meditation, then use a divination tool such as tarot or oracle cards to see what messages from the plant kingdom arise that may continue to support spring cleansing and healing.
Sacred Seed Planting Ritual
Spring is a perfect time to build a sacred connection with nature, even inside of your home. For this seed planting ritual, you may choose a plant that you can keep indoors, on a patio, or outside. Mugwort is a good choice of plant, as it can later be used for smoke cleansing.
You will need a pot with drainage, soil, and a seed. You will also need either a feather or incense, water, and a small amount of hardwood ash or coffee grounds—something that will help fertilize your new seed. You may also choose to set up a larger altar or sacred space if you feel inspired to do so.
Begin the ritual by taking three deep breaths while focusing on the work you are about to do. State any intentions you have for the ceremony by speaking them aloud.
Place your hands on the pot and say, “Worthy vessel, please hold and cherish this new growth.”
Pour the soil into the pot. Using just your hands, work the ash or coffee grounds into the soil, saying, “Sacred nutrients of the land, I ask that you provide nourishment to this seed, that it may grow strong and healthy.”
Push the soil down with your thumb to create an indentation for the seed and say, “Holy powers of the living earth, I ask for your blessing in supporting this seed. May the strength of the earth and the soil web of all life offer their blessings.”
Place the seed into the soil and cover the soil. Say, “Oh sacred fire, may the spark of life fill this seed to sprout and grow strong. May the sacred fire that is the source of all life bring this plant forth.”
Gently pour water on the pot and say, “Flowing waters of life, may you nourish and bless this seed. May the strength of the waters offer their blessing.”
Take up the feather or incense, and circle around the pot deasil (clockwise) three times. Say, “Gentle winds and flow of the air, may you bring oxygen and nourishment to this seed. May the sacred air flows bless this new life.”
Now place your hands around the pot and take three more deep breaths. Say any final blessings you want that are tied to your intention, then spend a moment in meditation with the seed. See if the seed, the soil, or the elements around them have any intuitive messages for you.
When you are finished, place your pot somewhere warm and bright so that the seed may take root and grow. This plant can be a blessing for you throughout the lighter half of the year. You can use this same seed planting ritual for other seeds you may want to plant this time of year.
Learn more about visioning a spring growth spurt.