Today is the spring equinox, the traditional first day of spring. What an excellent day to celebrate especially if you are working on manifesting a dream into creation. Whether you are still working with your New Year’s resolution or have lacked off a little, this is a great day to infuse your dreams with a little magic.
This equinox is celebrated throughout many traditions for the changing of the seasons. The dark of winter is over and the days are getting brighter, longer and warmer. The trees are beginning to wake up, signs of green sprouting from the ground like promises of more ease and beauty in life is on the way.
Spring is seen as a time of growth and of new beginnings. Any day now we will see the plants begin to sprout, flowers bloom and baby animals across the land. In many cultures this is a time of fertilization, when the seeds we plant begin to gestate and grow into fruition. This is why we celebrate Easter with eggs and rabbits, flowers and green decorations signifying growth. It is an excellent time to work metaphysically on planting your dreams and growing them into a physical presence in your life.
What does that mean? The seasons directed by the solstices and equinoxes are major points of the year each signifying a stage of life: Spring is a time of birth (such as a baby being born into this world, or a plant beginning to sprout) and growth (when the seed you have planted begins to grow taller and stronger each day), Summer brings about fruition and harvest (now the fruits are ripe, ready to harvest and enjoy) it is the height of the cycle and with Autumn begins to slow down. With the shedding of leaves and produce, the plants and land begin to wind down for sleep signifying death, after which of course is rebirth or renewal. Winter is a time of gestation, of new beginnings, the cycle starting over again. This is when we plant seeds that will grow in the spring and be bountiful in summer, revealing to us lessons and adjustments in fall so next cycle we can try again, or perhaps start something entirely new.
A wonderful way to work with the energies of the spring equinox (and have a little celebratory fun!) is to build and decorate an altar.
What is an altar? Altars are traditionally a sacred place of ceremony where we place offerings and may converse with the divine (whichever deity, saint or spirit you are calling upon). They are used in many cultures, churches, temples, sacred spaces, ceremonial buildings and homes. Throughout centuries people have used altars for prayers and offerings. Pagans and many native peoples continue to use them regularly within the home. It can be as sacred and preciously secret or as public as you desire. No one else may ever know what it is – that little table in the corner with crystals and trinkets and candles. You may share it with others and tell them what it means to you or keep it hush and let them imagine it is simply decorations.
How to create a Spring altar
Any little table, book stand or shelf will do. The placement and direction of the altar may be however works best for you or the flow of the energy in that room. Some have them by the front door so you see it each time you pass; some place them in the bedroom for reminder in the morning and evening. You may place it according to which direction it faces or simply what works within your home. Some may insist that facing South is the most auspicious direction for an altar, but if you are familiar with the use of elements and directions you will know that the way it faces may differ based upon your intention and ceremony. You may always face your body whichever way you like or do as I do and ask for the blessings of all the directions.
Personally I like to keep an altar in the bedroom so I see it as I wake up and can put offerings or problems on it as I go to sleep at night. I have even put tangled necklaces on my altar to find days later the knots undone! If you have a problem and you want spiritual support and guidance, write it down on a piece of paper and place it on your altar. I have a little box that I fill with notes for the gods when I have something I want to communicate. There are crystals to be cleansed or charged upon my altar along with candles, trinkets and natural objects. I like to have an offering too, some candy perhaps and fresh flowers. If you want something blessed set it upon the altar with a little prayer and wait a day or two – I knew a friend that would ‘bless’ his drinking water and his children’s candy upon the altar. What a great trick!
Decorate your altar periodically with seasonal decorations and objects that reflect your intentional work and the things that are important to you. In spring we tend to decorate with eggs, circles, bunnies, chicks, green, seeds, flowers – anything representing growth and renewal. Also spring is a great time to work with money intentions and blessings as green is symbolically the color of money, luck and wealth. If you are calling for help from a specific deity or saint place a statue or picture representing this entity, as it helps focus the power and essence of this character. (Greenman, Gaia, Venus, Aphrodite, Kokopelli are popular for spring; statues of Jesus, Mary, Buddha or Ganesha are often common on altars).
Some like to represent all of the natural elements and ask for their energy and influence in life or a specific problem. They may be represented with:
Water – a glass of water, a fish bowl, or a plant – I have a bamboo plant in a vase of water on my altar – the bamboo plant itself is believed to bring good luck and fortune, the plant represents earth and the vase is filled with water (this also represents the two working together)
Candles – this represents fire and also the smoke billowing up represents air. Different colors of candles are believed to have different properties to assist in magic work – if you are working with a certain intention you may wish to look at what colors are suggested for that work. A white candle always represents purity and cleansing and is great for general meditation, grounding, and spiritual work. Pink represents love and is great for healing or seeking your heart’s content. Red is an auspicious color and is used to activate powerful and spiritual energy to your work – great if calling upon spirits for help. Green attracts money, prosperity, and physical form to your wishes. Black is to clear negativity, demons and disease that ails you or a loved one. There are many more to explore…
Air – represented by incense, aroma, or shiny reflective objects. Natives believed that smoke carried your intentions to the gods and so you should be careful what you speak or think. A lit cigarette by the way works for air as well as Earth and tobacco offerings are considered sacred (one of the favorite things on earth for the gods – tobacco, money, chocolate, flowers, wine, and honey are among the favorite offerings)
Earth – crystals, rocks, pine cones, pumpkins, flowers, a dish of soil, wheat, tobacco, money…Earth represents anything physical so any offering will do – maybe chocolate to your favorite goddess (perfume would be a physical form and an aroma that represents air), often I keep a jar of coins on my altar and add to it regularly thanking the gods for their goodness and prosperity.
Also add beauty to your altar. Anything that makes you smile, giggle, or feel grateful. Colors may go a long way, drape a piece of cloth under your trinkets, add good luck charms or memorable pieces. If you are praying on behalf of another, place their picture or a trinket that reminds you of them upon the altar. Add seasonal elements and offerings – the gods love to see the things we enjoy on earth. Perhaps you are calling on a specific saint or goddess to act on your behalf – place a picture or memento of them on or near your altar. Many people place statues or figurines such as Ganesha, Buddha, or a cross on their sacred space. Anything that helps you connect or communicate with the Great Spirit and the spirit within you.
Switch it up! – refresh and renew this space anytime you are creating a new intention or working a new project. Make it a ceremony to revise this space at the seasonal solstices or other powerful times of the year.
For more information
Check out this course on Creating Sacred Space. I’m offering it for FREE this spring – to help you create a sacred meditative space for you and/or your family. Once signed up you will have full access to this short online course you may take at your own pace at any time you choose. There are suggestions on selecting your space, decorating, and utilizing for utmost manifestation and ceremonial fun. This special is for a limited time only – click here to sign up now!
Here’s a photo of the Spring Equinox altar I created in my home today: