Body and Soul

Spring: Quickening and Rebirth

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In the forest and the fields,
To Path of Life Gallery: The Green Man
the Green Man is awakening.

"April is a promise that May is bound to keep." ~ Hal Borland

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To Path of Life Gallery: Hidden Nest
Hidden Nest
Spring concludes the themes of Death and Rebirth and introduces the greatest Mystery:  Which came first?  -- the Chicken? -- or the Egg?

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The Fairy Eugenie
To Suza Scalora: The Art and the Artist
(c) Suza Scalora

 
 
The Spring Equinox

The Spring Equinox falls on March 20th in the Northern Hemisphere. On passing this date, the days begin growing noticeably longer and the fields must be prepared for planting. Animals mate and bear their young in the spring. From ancient times, peoples the world over celebrated the coming of Spring with rituals and celebrations to ensure fertility and growth.
 
As sunlight hours lengthen, Nature secretly slips from beneath Winter's heavy blanket of snow. Ever so slowly at first, buds swell and seeds sprout, animals of all kinds gather and mate, and then all at once, life happens. Seemingly overnight, the sleeping Earth awakens to the glorious beauty of Spring and its promise of bounty. Mother Earth and the Green Man are awakening...

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Native American Meditation for a Spring Day

"Behold, my bothers, the spring has come; the earth has received the embraces of the sun and we shall soon see the results of that love!" ~ Sitting Bull, SIOUX

Spring is the season of love. Spring is the season of new life, new relationships. It is the springtime that really reacts to the new position of Father Sun. New life forms all over the planet. Life is abundant. New cycles are created. Mother Earth changes colors, the flowers are abundant. It is the time for humans to observe nature and let nature create within us the feeling of Spring. We should let ourselves renew. We should let go of the feeling of Winter. We should be joyful and energetic.

My Maker, let me, today, feel the feelings of Spring.

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Gods and Goddesses of  Spring
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The following are only a few of the many Gods and Goddesses of many cultures who have been associated with spring:

Adon:  The consort of Astarte, this Phoenician God was associated with death and rebirth and the cycle of the seasons of agriculture. His sacred river, known today as Nahr Ibrahim, flows red with minerals stirred up by the rains of late Spring. During this time, his worshippers first mourned and grieved his death, the men dressing like women and cutting themselves and wailing in the river waters. Afterward, they marked his rebirth by ritually shaving their heads and celebrating joyously. Women of Adon's cult could offer themselves sexually during the orgiastic festival instead of shaving their heads.

Aholi: God and ruler of the Pikya clan of Native Americans. He wears a beautiful cloak covered with images and colors which symbolize Spring, fertility, and the brightness of the Sun.

Beiwe: The Goddess of Lapland who heralded the coming of Spring.

Chalcihuitlicue: The Precious Jewel of the Aztecs, Goddess of gemstones and gemstone magick, Chalcihuitlicue was Goddess of the flowing water. She ruled storms, streams, and whirlpools. She was also the Goddess of love, magic, spirits, flowers, and Spring growth. 

Chloris and Zephyrus: Chloris was wife of Zephyrus, Greek Goddess of flowers and Spring (Flora, the Roman equivalent). From her very name, greenness is derived. Zepherus (or Favonius, his Roman equivalent) was the Greek God of the west wind, is the protector of flowers and plants.

Dionysus or Bacchus: This Roman son of Zeus was the offspring of his adulterous liason with Semele, a mortal. Heras jealousy of her husbands love of Semele was so great that when she learned of Semeles pregnancy, she disguised herself as Semele and appeared to Zeus. Out of love for Semele, Zeus had promised that he would give her anything she asked, so the cunning and merciless Hera, knowing no mortal could withstand it, asked him to show Semele his true form as a God. With a heavy heart, Zeus fulfilled what he believed was Semeles wish, and both she and her child were killed by the awesome display of lightning and thunder that accompanied His appearance.  Zeus brought Dionysus back from death and hid him to be raised by the Nymphs. The price of his death and rebirth is terrible pain when winter withers all living things. Although one of the twelve major Gods of Mount Olympus, he is both God and mortal, a paradox: God of new life creativity on one hand; and God of death and destruction on the other. As God of Spring, fertility, new life, merriment, mirth, wine, and revelry he and his Roman celebrants held a festival in Springtime called Bacchanalia. Despite the drunkenness, orgies, and uncontrolled behavior that sometimes became madness during this festival, in sobriety, Dionysus was also God of inspiration and wisdom, song, drama, and poetry as well. 

Dziewanna: Polish Mother-Goddess of Spring and agriculture.

Epona: This Celtic Goddess, sometimes associated with Rhiannon, found favor with Roman soldiers who occupied the British Isles because of her similarity to Athena. Her aspects seem to have become dual. To soldiers she was the Goddess of horses, mules, dogs, and patroness of calvalrymen. She conducted the souls of the dead to the Underworld. However, her symbol is also the cornucopia, a symbol of fertility and plenty. In this perhaps older aspect, she is Goddess of Spring, healing, maternity, and prosperty.

Freya or Freyja: Nordic Goddess of Spring and flowers, she is the patron goddess of Spring crops. The most beautiful of Norse Goddesses, she is the symbol of sensuality and patroness of all matters of love, fertility, and birth. She loves music and nature, and is particularly fond of the elves (fairies).

Gou-Mang, Kou-Mang: As dragon-messenger of the Chinese Sky God, Gou-Mang comes from the East, bringing springtime and happiness.

The Green Man: Also known as Green Jack, Jack-in-the-Green, and Green George, the Green Man is usually illustrated as a horned man covered by a mask of leaves, usually of the sacred oak. He represents the spirits of trees, plants and foliage. He brings the rain to foster livestock with lush meadows. He was frequently depicted in medieval art, including church decorations. In Spring festival processions, a young man dressed in greenery or and effigy of Green George leads the way, and is sometimes dunked in the local waters to ensure enough rain for the season. The Green Man, covered head to toe in the color of the fairies, is aligned with the forest-dwelling Fae, thought by some to be the long-neglected Tuatha da Danaan. In some parts of the British Isles fairies are called Greenies or Greencoaties.

The Horae: The Greeks recognized only three seasons; spring, summer, and winter. The Horae (meaning the Hours) are the daughters of Zeus and Themis. Their names are Thallo ("budding"), Auxo ("growth"), and Carpo ("ripening"). This trio of Goddesses represented both nature and the growth of plants, as well as a lawful and orderly society. As the maintainers of societys stability, they were known as Eunomia ("good order"), Dike ("justice") and Eirene ("peace").

Inari: Both male and female, Inari descends from the mountains each Spring to watch over the planting of rice, precious to the Japanese. He/She is venerated as symbolic of rice cultivation in the Spring, prosperity, and friendship. Inari/Inara, the rice Goddess, may also be identified with the Indian Lakshmi, the Javanese Dewi Sri, and sometimes with Uga-no-Mitama, the goddess of agriculture.

Ma-ku: The Chinese Goddess of Spring.

Maia: One of the seven daughters of Atlas and mother of Hermes, she is also the Greek Goddess of Springtime, rebirth, and renewal. Though a crone Goddess, she is patroness of love and sometimes known as the "Grandmother of Magick".

Malakbel: The personification of Spring to the ancient Syrians (then known as Palmerenes), God of the Sun and vegetation. Symbolized by an eagle.

Olwen: Welsh Patroness of Springtime and Love, she is known as the white footprint because of the flowers which spring up beneath her every step. 

Ostara: The personification of the rising sun to ancient Anglo-Saxons, she brings Spring and fertility. A friend to all children, she created the Easter Bunny myth along with its colored eggs. Ostara is similar to the Greek Eos and Roman Aurora.

Persephone: Greek Goddess of Spring, daughter of Demeter, Goddess of the Harvest and the Hearth. Her daughters kidnapping by Hades who made her become his bride and Queen of the Underworld drove Demeter mad with sorrow. She searched for her everywhere and allowed the fields to lay barren until Persephone's return. The condition of the Earth finally moved the other Gods and Goddesses who appealed to Hades to release her, though he will not let her depart from his kingdom entirely. Persephone's gift of Springtime and renewal lasts only while she is allowed to remain on earth; when she returns to the Underworld, nature withers and dies or sleeps until her return.

Renpet: Egyptian Goddess of youth, who began the years cycle as the Goddess of Spring. Depicted crowned with palm leaves.

Rhiannon, ancient Welsh "great queen," and in her form as magical stag the mythical source of the "king's power," arrives to rejuvenate our instinctual selves this month.

Svantetit: The Slavic God of Spring and War, honored on the island of Rugen as the protector of their fields. Every year they celebrated a harvest festival at Springtime to honor him. Also known as Svetovit.

Uwolowu or Akpossa: African God who was the creator of all things including lesser Gods. Benefactor of mankind, giver of fire. Appealed to for fertility in the planting season, he sends the rains. Invoked for blessings of fertility and birth.

Vesna: The Slavic Goddess of Spring.

Xipe Totec: The mysterious Aztec God who symbolizes the death and rebirth of nature. He sheds his skin and then appears as the shining God of Gold. Through flaying himself, he symbolically offers himself to mankind as the maize must be shucked to offer up the kernels. Humans were sacrificed to him through being flayed alive and his priests wore their skins during rituals of invocation.

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