How to Welcome Spring Equinox Like a Real Witch
In this installment of Practical Magic, Lisa Stardust lays out a witch's guide for spring equinox, from intention setting to altars. Always remember that magic is for believers, but this column can also simply serve as a guide to getting in touch with yourself — magically or not.
Spring will start in the Northern Hemisphere on March 20 at 4:25 PM E.T., giving us longer days and sunlight. We know flowers will bloom and warmer weather will arrive, finally. The spring equinox symbolizes rebirth and new beginnings, as well as the onset of the Aries season, Ostara, and the astrological new year.
But scientifically, what is actually happening? According to Merriam-Webster, the word "equinox" comes from the Latin words aequi, meaning "equal," and nox, meaning "night." During the spring equinox, the length of daytime and nighttime are equal in all areas of the world. The Earth's hemispheres aren't tilted towards or away from the sun, and both hemispheres get equal amounts of sunlight. At the moment of the equinox, the ecliptic (the sun's path across the sky) and the celestial equator (the imaginary line extending from the Earth's equator into the celestial sphere) intersect. Thus, during the spring equinox, the length of daytime and nighttime are equal in all areas of the world. Directly after, however, the Northern Hemisphere tilts more towards the sun, giving us more sunlight and warmer temperatures. And, as the Northern Hemisphere tilts towards the sun, the Southern Hemisphere tilts away from the sun, bringing less sunlight and colder temperatures.
There is no wonder why the change from winter to spring brings us joy. It's a magical time, causing spring fever, and boosting our moods and energy.
In our hectic everyday lives, it's easy to check things off a to-do list without thinking about the purpose behind our rushing. In truth, this could make us feel down. Intention setting allows us to pause and think about our aim. It's a powerful practice, enabling us to go about our days with a focus. An intention acts as a personal compass, guiding you down the right path. You can set an intention in any area of your life, from work to relationships and health. It's about a quality you want to develop, such as compassion for others.
What does it mean to set intentions, though? Simply, it's about taking a moment and asking oneself, "What do I want to get out of my day?" It's a way to be more mindful, and connect to your goals, wants, and needs. You want to commit to an intention, and it's an aim or purpose. For example, if you want to address something you've been nervous about or have been putting off, set an intention to be “courageous.”
Intentions are about who you want to be. Clearly stating how you intend to feel today, instead of wishing you feel better, puts the power of change in your hands. Many of us think that intentions are the same as goals, but they aren't. They are similar, but the intention doesn't have a specific end result. The intention may be to feel healthier, and the goal may be to walk two miles several days a week. An intention helps you connect to yourself on a deeper level. So many times, we struggle to set goals because we do not know what we truly want. However, you can better understand the end goal if you have clear intentions. It serves as the foundation for the actions you need to take to reach your goal. Some examples of intentions include: "Today I will be patient," "Today I intend to forgive others and myself," "Today I intend to organize my work," "Today I will speak kindly to myself," and "Today I intend to be productive."
Ostara is a Wiccan holiday that celebrates the spring equinox. Modern-day Wiccans may go outside to meditate and perform rituals to welcome spring, and they may plant seeds to grow new things.
The word Ostara comes from the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre, and she represents spring, rebirth, and renewal. Many symbols of Ostara include rabbits and hares. In medieval Europe, the March hare was seen as a fertility symbol. During March, the hare begins its mating season. It was believed that females of this species could get pregnant with a second litter while pregnant with the first. This explains why they were used as a symbol of fertility.
So, how can I build an altar to attain self-confidence this season? An altar creates a sacred space in one's home, which reflects beliefs, personality, hopes, and dreams in a powerful way. It's a special place to connect to your higher self and your highest good. An altar is meant to nurture you and relight the path to your desired life. Simply put, an altar is your safe place where we can let our rawness show.
Genuinely connecting to oneself brings self-confidence. You are connecting to the real you. Creating an altar should be from the heart. There's no right or wrong way. It can be a small space, such as a shelf, a corner table, or a windowsill. The purpose and intention of your altar must be personal. An altar can come alive through objects with special meaning, such as photos, candles, flowers, and jewelry. Your altar is where you go to instill positive energy into yourself. It's a place to recognize your self-worth. When this is accomplished, you gain self-awareness, self-love, and self-confidence. Creating an altar for ourselves is a way to celebrate our self-love. If our self-concept isn't healthy, we don't believe we deserve to be treated with respect. With that belief, we go through life without confidence. We will always hold ourselves back. Taking the time to contemplate what you love the most about yourself and bring things to an altar that symbolize these things will boost your sense of self, hence, self-confidence.
Add a photo of yourself as a child, a painting you've done, a diploma, an award, a routine hospital visit, a necklace you wear daily, a collection of seashells you found on your last trip, and things you may wish to put on an altar. Whatever makes you feel strong, honors you, and celebrates you are the things to place on your altar. If you sit with yourself long enough, you will truly appreciate who you are.
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Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue