Rituals to celebrate the Spring Equinox
I wrote this article for SHEKNOWS MEDIA to provide rituals you can do with family, however, it will be super powerful for anyone! Try it alone or with friends and/or family.
The spring equinox (also known as Ostara), which generally occurs around March 20 in the Northern Hemisphere, is when we celebrate the equal balance of darkness and light. The day and the evening are the same in length, and the days continue to lengthen until the summer solstice in June. The heaviness of winter is starting to lift, and the fiery energy of spring awakens the Earth as it blooms open. There are a ton of ways you can share this time with your children and teach them about the holiday and what it represents to you.
As an energy healer, Reiki practitioner, tarot reader and all-around witch, the Earth holidays are particularly important to me — and I see firsthand the value and magic of honoring these days with my kids each season. Here are a few of my favorite rituals for celebrating the spring equinox with the whole family.
Naturally dyed eggs
The egg is a symbol of fertility and rebirth — perfect for the springtime. The egg-dyeing ritual is also common for the Easter holiday, so you can combine the rituals if you celebrate both Easter and the equinox. Many store-bought dye kits contain chemicals, so I prefer to dye my eggs using natural ingredients you can find in your kitchen.
How to naturally dye Easter eggs
I love doing this ritual with my children and getting them involved by going outside to forage for small flowers and ferns; they also help me to gently wrap the eggs. Once the eggs have cooled, the kids can help with polishing them. Another fun game is the classic egg hunt — and you can really get creative with how you set that up.
- Tights or pantyhose
- Some flora of your choice — small leaves like parsley, ferns or a flattened flower (enough for 12 eggs)
- 12 white organic eggs, hard-boiled
- Yellow and red onionskins (skins from about 10 – 15 onions)
- A few dashes salt
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- Olive oil (optional)
Cut the pantyhose into small 4-inch sections. Place the fern or flower on your egg, and then wrap the pantyhose around the egg tightly, so it will hold the flora in place, and tie a knot.
Add the onionskins, salt and vinegar to a large pot, and then fill with water.
Bring the water to a boil; then, turn it down to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
Remove from the heat and let the dye cool.
Place the eggs in the cooled pot so the dye covers them, and let them sit for 30 to 60 minutes until you get the desired shade; yellow onionskins dye eggs a tan shade, and red onionskins create a reddish brown.
Remove the eggs and lay them out to dry.
Remove the pantyhose, and you’re done. If you want extra shine, you can polish the eggs with a bit of olive oil.
An altar is a place to put meaningful items and also to create beauty and warmth in your home. You can use your fireplace mantel or a simple shelf, and you can have one altar or many throughout your space. I like to take the kids outside on a nature walk or hike to find some fun things to include; we all pick out a few special items such as flowers, stones, shells, feathers — whatever you find. You can also add your dyed eggs to the altar and any other natural or store-bought items that represent spring and rebirth to you. Some suggestions to place on your altar: herbs such as lavender, sweet grass and sweet clover; candles in shades of lilac, green, pink, yellow and sky blue; crystals such as amethyst, rose quartz, carnelian, citrine and jade.
Then, on the evening of the equinox, we take a moment to light the candles on our altar and say a prayer of gratitude for all for all the rebirth happening in nature right now — and what we want to "birth" into our lives this season. You can do this every night until the candles burn out or just let the candles burn all evening.
A wonderful way to reconnect with the Earth during this time is to plant seeds and watch them grow. You can teach your children about gardening even if you're in an apartment — but if you do have an outdoor garden, let them help you start off some seedlings to plant in the ground after the last frost. Otherwise, you can simply plant some potted herbs or flowers indoors.
One of my favorite planting rituals is to make a mini "greenhouse" with an egg carton (you'll likely have one handy after dyeing your eggs). This activity is great for children of all ages, and they can watch the sprouts grow in as little as a week. Have the kids fill the egg cartons with potting soil, then together you can place the seeds in each spot and write the name of the plant on the side of the carton if you're using more than one. Then, water them thoroughly and wrap them with clear plastic or place them in a plastic bag and put them out on the windowsill. You should start to see sprouts within a week.
Once the sprouts are up, you can have kids help you transfer them into a pot or the ground. They'll love watching their own plants grow over the entire season — and will maybe even gain a new appreciation for vegetables in the process. Maybe.
Spring is a great time to clear out your space after being stuck indoors during the long months of winter. And even if you (attempt to) clean your home every week, spring is a great time to make it a big deal: Bring in some rituals, acknowledge the passing of the season, get the kids involved, and make cleaning fun.
I like to open all the windows to bring in some fresh air; then, we gather together and say a small prayer or blessing expressing gratitude for our home and our belongings. I burn a cleansing herb, such as sage, palo santo or cedar, around the house. You can also use some essential oils in water and spray them around the house as a natural air purifier or use a diffuser; I like using citrus oils, such as lemon, sweet orange and lime for their cleansing and uplifting properties.
Then, we all go to our rooms and choose some items we no longer need to donate to Goodwill. Each family member gets a box for donations and a trash bag for anything that needs to be tossed. Younger kids can help place the items in boxes, and older kids can do this on their own. You can also assign special spring-cleaning housework to each child and reward them with a special treat when they're finished. When we are done cleaning house, we relax together in our fresh space.
Taking a moment for spring rituals and to acknowledge Earth holidays (days when we celebrate the relationship of the Earth to the sun) in any way — big or small — is important because it helps to remind us that we are connected to the Earth and to each other. These holidays affect absolutely everyone on our planet — regardless of location, religion or ethnicity. For me, teaching these traditions to my children also teaches them unity.