What is the Spring Equinox?
On March 20th at 4:24pm CST, the sun will cross over the equator moving from south to north, causing both hemispheres of the Earth to receive the sun’s rays equally. This is known as the Spring Equinox (or Vernal Equinox), and it signals the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the beginning of autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. On the Equinox, most of the planet receives an equal amount of daylight and darkness. For those of us greeting spring, the Equinox brings warmer temperatures, sprouting vegetation, and the return of birds that flew south for the winter.
The Spring Equinox signals a powerful time in nature, a time we can use to our spiritual advantage (read about spiritual spring cleaning here!). Particularly for those of us with long, cold, dark winters, spring is the light at the end of the tunnel. As the temperatures start to rise, the snow and dead branches of the last few months give way to green grass and new buds on the trees. The stagnancy of winter is replaced with a flurry of activity as people start to get outside. The Spring Equinox symbolizes new beginnings, and it is full of fresh energy.
(Click here for more detailed information about the Spring Equinox, as well as the other equinox and solstices: First Day of Spring 2023: The Spring Equinox| The Old Farmer’s Almanac)
Spiritual Significance of the Spring Equinox
The Spring Equinox is also called the Vernal Equinox. Vernal means ‘new’ or ‘fresh’, and Equinox refers to the equal length of darkness and light on this day. In early March, we experienced a full Worm Moon. It is called that because it signifies the time of year when temperatures first begin to take their turn upward, and worms (and other ground-dwelling creatures) start to come out of their winter hideouts. Since the Worm Moon, an energy has been building in the Universe that brings forth new beginnings, the shedding of old things, and growth.
With equal parts darkness and light, the Spring Equinox reminds us that in order to appreciate the light, we must experience the darkness. For much of the year, it’s dark outside for longer than it is light, and sometimes it can feel like that in our lives. We’re facing confusion, loss, fear; it seems like the darkness is consuming or at the very least, a frequent occurrence. During these times we can remember that although it might be that way now, it will not be our experience forever.
The Spring Equinox is a good time to remember that life will be filled with ups and downs. We’ll experience peaks that make us feel as though we’re on top of the world, valleys that bring us to our knees, and everything in between. When we’re faced with challenges or pain (or both!), we often feel like it will last forever; we can’t see past our current circumstances. The Spring Equinox shows us that there will always be light again, even when we can’t imagine it when we’re in the midst of darkness.
This is not to say that action isn’t helpful and often necessary to navigate difficult situations. In darkness, it’s good to have a flashlight. This can be anything that helps you find your way. Maybe its talking to people you trust, maybe you take up a spiritual practice, or maybe your way of getting through the darkness is entirely different. The point is that you get through it and hopefully, learn something from the experience. The Spring Equinox is a yearly reminder that there is always light at the end of the tunnel, and we can help ourselves by paying attention to this powerful day.
Ways to Celebrate the Spring Equinox
The Spring Equinox represents a transitional time in nature, and we can use this to our spiritual advantage. The spring season brings new energy that can help us let go of things that no longer serve us both externally, and within ourselves. The Equinox happens whether we notice it or not, but by being mindful of this time of year we can use it to give ourselves a fresh start in any area we need.
Here are some ways you can take advantage of the Spring Equinox and celebrate this significant day:
Purge. Do a thorough spring cleaning of your home, identify unnecessary stressors, evaluate your relationships. Rid yourself of anything that’s not necessary or not helpful. Make changes in any area that is no longer serving you to make space for the newness of the season.
Practice gratitude. Being thankful, even when we might not want to be, can change our mindset and pull us out of a destructive cycle of self-pity. Having a more positive perception can help us better connect with the energy that comes with the Spring Equinox.
Welcome new opportunities. Spring is all about newness, so it is the perfect time to get outside of your comfort zone and try something different. Say yes to someone who asks you to do something new (maybe that’s a yoga class at Inspiring Actions!)
- Wake up at dawn. What better way to welcome this day by witnessing the sunrise. If you’re already up this early, set aside time to notice the sky as it changes from dark to light. If you’re not, set an alarm to get up to witness it and appreciate the newness it brings.
- Meditate. Set aside time and space to meditate on the Spring Equinox and the ways that you want to evolve through this season. Maybe set a specific intention of something you’d like to bring forth in your life, or something you’d like to let go of.
At Inspiring Actions, we hold an Equinox class on both the Spring and Fall Equinoxes; check our schedule here for specific dates and times. No experience is necessary for this, or many other classes that we offer. If you’re new to yoga, check out our Yoga 101 series designed specifically to give the beginner yogi a foundation of both asana, the postures of yoga, and yogic philosophy. We’d love to have you celebrate this special time of year with us!