Saturday/Sunday, 10 March 2002, 1am: Note -- I'm currently revising this page for 2002 but since I'm way behind this year, and since there are too many broken links on this page, I'm updating them for you while I continue working on 2002. I apologize for the delay.
Monday, 11 March 2002, 5pm: this page has been archived. The current page is now online at Springtide
GREETINGS, LORE, & CUSTOMS
for springtide 2001
Diana, Mistress of her Animals and Beech Groves
(Painting for the Beech tree in the as yet unpublished Green World Oracle by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D)
© Sandra Stanton and used with her kind permission
In this springtide, may that secret, shadowy, rich part of us that has been long hibernating now finally awaken -- sweet, vulnerable, hungry, wild, and strong. May it invite us to fearlessly interlace our fingers with its mystery so that we may become wiser and more humane than we ever thought we could be.
May springtide bring you and yours abundantly kind blessings.
Spring Equinox arrives when the sun enters Aries,
creating an equal balance of dark and light on earth.
This happens Tuesday, 20 March 2001, at 1:31pm GMT,
at 8:31am EST,
and 5:31am PST.
Passover begins at sundown 7 April 2001.
Easter is 15 April 2001.
Orthodox Easter is 22 April 2001: correction -- several sources give 4/22/01 but,
at least in Russia, it's 4/15/01, the same as in the West this year.
Links to Vernal Equinox
& Other Springtide sites:
"...the Goddess, wrapped in her verdant cloak of Spring"
["Spring" from Russian Sunbirds]
David Paladin on Openness to ever-changing realities
[Added 23 February 2001]:When I wrote in my opening comments on this page about interlacing our fingers with Mystery, I hadn't yet read this brief channeled passage from Navajo shamanic-artist, David Paladin. When I did read it -- and received permission from his widow to put it on a Mything Links page, I knew that it belonged on this springtide page, as well as on several others (it's also listed on my Common Themes' Artists & Muses: The Creative Impulse and Wars, Weapons, and Lies: The Dehumanizing Impulse pages). Paladin looks at what it is that stops us from greater openness to the realm of mystery and creativity -- it's when we become frozen in our myths, when we stagnate, or when we dry up.http://www.celtic-connection.com/myth/v-equinox.html
Spring is a wonderful time to be reminded of the deeper wonders of life that shimmer beyond, around, and through the limiting constraints provided by our religious and political leaders.
This is an essay on the Celtic view of the vernal equinox, "Song of the Otherworld is Heard In the Balance of Spring," by C. Austin from the always-excellent Celtic Connection. One image especially struck me: "...the Goddess, wrapped in her verdant cloak of Spring."[7 March 2002 Note: Austin's topic changes each year but it's always worth reading.]http://www.zaranna.com/seasons/ostara.htm
From Rae Beth comes this lovely little page on Ostara, or spring equinox. She wisely points out how stressful this period is:http://schooloftheseasons.com/march.html...The two weeks before and after both equinoxes are often times of stress and great tension. This is because all the elements of life are being brought into new balance, psychically, as day and night attain equal length....She also explores the beauty of the season as it shows its face in the Spring Maiden Goddess, the young God, and so many fertile eggs.
This wonderful page covers the month of March from Waverly Fitzgerald's School of the Seasons, one of my favorite sites. [Note: for a spectacular photo of a Baba Marta, "Grandmother March," celebration, go here: http://www.bulgaria.com/photos/.] Waverly is thorough, wide-ranging, and has a superb eye for lore & rituals. Click on any calendar day and you'll go to a great page filled with further details, rituals, and ancient customs (Note: she's a careful researcher & her sources are listed at the bottom). For additional monthly updates, go to her "School of the Seasons" Home Page, where you'll also find great special feature articles on this spring holiday season -- for example....http://schooloftheseasons.com/spring.html
....this is Waverly's impressively rich page on "Celebrating Spring Equinox".......http://schooloftheseasons.com/lent.html
......and this is her exquisitely balanced page on "Pagan Lent," wherein she looks at fasting from foods but also from processes, habits (e.g., "artistic anorexia"), and behaviors (e.g., nagging). I love the way she discusses the paucity of foods available in early spring for peoples who lived close to the earth in earlier times. I also love her emphasis on the healing power of this season:...But it's not just the number of days  that are significant but their conjunction with the season. In Chinese medicine, spring is the time of the liver, whose energy is change. Haragano, who teaches Wheel of the Year classes in Seattle, says that treatment centers experience higher success rates in spring than at any other time of the year. She attributes this to the incredible energy for change which courses through the earth at this time, the force that through the green fuse drives the flower, as Dylan Thomas put it. The sap is rising in the trees, which are budding; the green stalks of crocuses and snowdrops are pushing through the frozen ground. There's an incredible shift happening which -- in those parts of the world which are frozen -- manifests in the spring thaw, the breaking up of the contraction of winter....
"Spring is always young, even though we aren't...."
[Words from Kathleen McCormick: see her site below]
Dandelion Spring courtesy of Russian Sunbirds
From the Alpine Shaman comes another lore-calendar, not nearly as rich or complete as Waverly's but nevertheless a pleasure in its own right. His are lunar-based and done by weeks, not months. He gives succinct data on holidays, ancient lore, gardening/householding do's and dont's, moon phases, astrological signs where the moon is, etc. He also includes his own links to the Runes and Celtic trees associated with each week. [7 March 2002: currently, this site only covers the first 19 weeks of the year and hasn't been updated in 2 years; still, there is material of value here -- and spring does fall within those first 19 weeks <smile>]http://members.aol.com/HPSofSNERT/holid.html#spring
This page begins with Strinennia on March 9th and looks at a whole series of traditional Slavic springtide celebrations (concluding with Rusal'naia Week in early May) -- there's wonderfully rich lore and tradition here.A Strinennia Ritual for March 9 & Beyond
I "lurk"on a Slavic pagan discussion list where a beautiful ritual for Strinennia (March 9th) recently appeared. I knew at once that I would use it to celebrate privately on the eve prior to the 9th, but I also wanted to share it with others who visit my Springtide Greetings page. With the author's permission, it now has its own special page on my website. Garnet's ritual was written for a specific date, but its timeless quality makes it appropriate for any springtide ritual. (See immediately below on grounding & centering prior to any ritual.)http://www.robinwood.com/LivingtreeGrove/Magic/MagicPages/GroundCenter.html
Regardless of your path, whether in daily life or ritual-space, this little page on "Grounding & Centering" from Robin Wood (of tarot fame) is highly recommended. In addition to a simple but crucial exercise, there is a remarkable image of a human body shimmering with 7 glowing chakras (I use it as a screen saver to remind me to stay grounded among all the pixels <smile>).http://macaroo.com/spring.htm
This is a tranquil little site with a brief essay on spring by Kathleen ("Mac") McCormick, a woman with a poet's sensibilities:http://www.islandnet.com/~see/weather/arts/springwords.htm...We cannot escape the messy rhythm of life, and it's a small, bright mercy that we don't want to. A hundred Springs may come and go, but each lifts the heart without effort. Spring is always young, even though we aren't....(She also includes several seasonal recipes and a handful of well chosen links.)
From Keith Heidorn, the "Weather Doctor," comes The Elders Speak: About Spring, a great collection of quotations on spring. For example:http://revealer.com/platonic.htmBut it [the weather] gets through more business in spring than in any other season. In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours. [Mark Twain on New England weather]Heidorn, whose huge site is one of my favorites, has many essays combining weather science with the arts and humanities. Try his site map if you wish to explore: http://www.islandnet.com/~see/weather/general/site_map.htm
Like a sound spring spreads and spreads until it is swallowed up in space. Like the wind, it moves across the map invisible; we see it only in its effects. It appears like the track of the breeze on a field of wheat, like shadows of wind-blown clouds, like tossing branches that reveal the presence of the invisible, the passing of the unseen. [Edwin Way Teale]
This is the second chapter in a book entitled Secrets of the Sphinx by Andrew Raymond. It looks at the Platonic Year, Dragon Star, the Age of Aquarius, and an amazing sweep of timespans relating to the vernal equinox.
This is a page on decorated "Easter eggs" with a beautiful title: Pisanki: Icons of the Universe. It comes from Okana's Web. Okana writes knowledgeably of Polish Pisanki -- their traditions and symbolism of color and design.http://www.polstore.com/html/polisheaster.htmlOne of the prime icons and symbols of Spring, of birth and rebirth and fertility, is the egg, and Poles have made decorating and sanctifying them an art form. The perfect icon of the universe, decorated eggs were taken out into the fields as the grains were sown, along with a candle blessed at Gromniczne (Imbolc), in order to bring life back into the warming soil. Eggs were also buried at the base of fruit trees to make them bear in abundance. Even the water in which boiled-style eggs were prepared is sacred; used to wash in, bless with, poured along the property lines to protect against lightening and thunder and the ravages of weather, and annointing bee hives to bring plenty of sweet tasting honey. A bowl of decorated eggs was kept in the homes at all times, to ensure good health and prosperity....Okana also creates her own pisanki for her online webstore -- here are five exquisite examples (if you place an order, allow at least 2 weeks for custom designs): http://www.okana.org/webstore.html#eggs: [Updated 2/19/02]
[Added 4/12/01]:This is another page on Polish Easter traditions, lore, and special regional foods.http://www.magyar.org/ahfc/museum/index.php?get=easter
This is "Easter in Hungary," by Emese Kerkay, an intriguing folkloric site about ancient Hungarian fertility traditions involving decorated eggs as well as water-dowsing:...When one handles somebody or something like a himestojás[Easter egg] it means that the person takes absolutely good care of that somebody or something....Linked pages will take you to the art of these eggs -- they have wonderful designs and symbolism:
...The decorated egg is knowingly connected with the custom of water plunging on Easter Monday. LOCSOLÁS - dousing with water - is a very old custom. In pagan times dousing girls with water was a magical fertility act.......The cult of the decorated egg is one of the most ancient religious customs of humanity, and goes back thousands of years. The egg plays a significant role in the story of creation for many people. It represents the secret of eternal life condensed in a small enclosed and perfect geometrical form. Inside of the protective white mass is the mysterious gold, the Secret of secrets....
...Over the centuries the meaning of some of the cultic drawings were forgotten, but Hungarian women still write the same symbols onto the eggs as did their ancestors more than a thousand years ago....
...The color most frequently used in decorating eggs is red. This is the reason for the other popular Hungarian name for the decorated egg: red egg (piros tojás). The magical red is the color of blood, which is the "residence of life" according to the belief of ancient people. Asian horsemen-cultures - the ancestors of the Hungarians included - often put a decorated red egg in the hand of the deceased. The color red also symbolizes eternal life, renewal, love, spring, joy, freedom, new life, resurrection....
Woman in Poppy Fields, a flower sacred to the ancients
This is an intriguing site on Bulgarian folk traditions concerning specially decorated Easter breads and red-dyed Easter eggs. There are many rich details. For example, families painted their eggs red on Holy Thursday and one of these eggs would be taken to services in the local church; immediately afterwards, this egg would be buried in the family's vineyard to protect against hailstorms and to ensure a good crop [Note: since Holy Thursday celebrates the Last Supper, when wine was changed into blood, perhaps it's not really far-fetched that the consecrated "wine"-red egg should protect vineyards]. Later, 10-15 of these red eggs would be sent to the family's Turkish friends along with a loaf of Easter bread -- these Moslem friends would be hurt if their Christian friends neglected to do this [Note: one can't help but be struck by the implications of friendship in earlier years between Christian and Moslem here].http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Oracle/2810/velykos.html
Customs not involving eggs are also touched upon: e.g., in one region, pumpkins were planted on the Feast of the Annunciation because it was believed that these would be especially sweet [as was the "fruit" of the Virgin's womb]. The site also offers links to more "orthodox" Easter traditions. (Note: this site is also listed on the second of my two Bulgarian pages.)
From Sacred Serpent comes a great page on the Baltic spring feast of Velykos:http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Oracle/2810/uzgaven.html...The week before Equinox, called the Velykos of Veles (souls), concludes the annual cycle of commemorations of the dead. As during Kucios (Winter Solstice Eve), families remember their dead and leave their dinners on the tables overnight for the veles to eat.Here, the cosmic eggs are those of harmless grass-serpents:
The verba, principally made of juniper, birch and willow twigs interwoven with colored papers and flowers, symbolizes the force of life, the birth of new life, and rebirth of nature. It also improves
health. Before or on the Equinox, people whip each other with verbas, wishing each other well.......Breaking eggs re-enacts the breakage of the cosmic egg, from which the snake, called 'gyvate,' comes to grant life and fertility. The zaltys, the sacred zigzagged garden snake of the Lithuanians, also wakes from hibernation at this time.
Also from Sacred Serpent comes this page on the springtide merriment associated with the Lithuanian fertility celebration of Uzgavenes:http://www.luth.se/luth/present/sweden/history/folklore/easter.htmlUzgavenes (uhzh-gah-VAY-nays), or the Escort of Winter, essentially waits for Spring and helps prepare for the new season. A.J. Greimas writes: "Under Christian influence Uzgavenes became a movable day, while earlier it was celebrated at the time of the Spring Equinox," usually during the weekend closest to the beginning of March.
The holiday consists of processions, costumes, tom foolery, games, and plays....
From Lulea University in Sweden comes an interesting page on rural Swedish Easter customs, including decorated eggs, fertility games, and several odd stories about Easter "hags" (i.e., witches) and their broomsticks.http://virtual.finland.fi/finfo/english/paaseng.html
[Added 4/12/01]: This is "Finnish Easter Traditions," a charming page by Sirpa Karjalainen, Assistant of Ethnology, University of Helsinki. Subtopics include: The Catholic Medieval Inheritance; The Silent Week; The Dancing Sun; Oven-baked Malt Porridge, a Finnish Easter Treat; Witches Fly at Easter; Witches Wishing You Luck Blend the Eastern and Western Traditions; and Easter cards from a century ago. Here's an excerpt from the introduction:http://paganwiccan.about.com/culture/paganwiccan/msubostara.htm...Well before Easter, children plant rye-grass seeds in little pots. Green grass is a sure sign of spring, even if it only grows on the windowsill. Pussy willows are ancient Easter decorations, and birch twigs are placed in vases, where they soon start budding. Nowadays tulips, lilies and daffodils are flown in from the Continent, but that doesn't mean Finns didn't always have Easter 'flowers'. These were made by hand, out of tissue paper and dyed feathers....
This about.com site on Ostara from Frances (Okelle) Donovan (whose reliable and witty wiccan pages appear frequently on my site), offers well chosen links on the Spring Goddess Ostara, Easter eggs, rabbits, and traditional pagan springtide rituals. Among the links you shouldn't miss on Okelle's page is Professor D. L. Ashliman's page on Ostara.http://www.utah.edu/planetarium/EquinoxVernal.html[Link updated 6 March 2000]
From Von Del Chamberlain at Utah's Hansen Planetarium comes this witty essay on the spring equinox and the "mystery" of balancing eggs at the exact moment of the equinox. You'll learn some fascinating information along the way.http://www.edhelper.com/cat147.htm
[Added 4/12/01]: For more fascinating approaches to the season, try Edhelper's great page of Easter celebration lesson plans for teachers and home schoolers. [3/8/02: note, Edhelper, strangely, has disabled this Easter category -- if enough of you write and complain, perhaps it will reappear <smile>.]
Russian Lacquer Box
Lady Day: from Mike Nichols comes this literate and enjoyable essay on "Lady Day," which may be celebrated either on the Vernal Equinox or on 25 March, the Feast of the Annunciation:http://www.wicca.com/celtic/akasha/ostara.htm...the old and accepted folk name for the Vernal Equinox is 'Lady Day'. Christians sometimes insist that the title is in honor of Mary and her Annunciation, but Pagans will smile knowingly....Nichols brings in lunar and solar deities, Welsh myth, King Arthur, the Goddess' Descent into the Underworld for three days, Easter, and much more.
From the Celtic world comes Herne's brief page on Lady Day:March 21 -- Ostara -- Spring or The Vernal Equinox. Also known as: Lady Day or Alban Eiler (Druidic):
http://www.farsinet.com/norooz/As Spring reaches its midpoint, night and day stand in perfect balance, with light on the increase. The young Sun God now celebrates a hierogamy (sacred marriage) with the young MaidenHerne lists the day's traditional foods, herbs & flowers, incense & gemstone.
Goddess, who conceives. In nine months, she will again become the Great Mother. It is a time of great fertility, new growth, and newborn animals....
Iranian Norooz Troubadour
[Added 19 March 2001]: This is a refreshing site on Persian New Year, Norooz, which is celebrated at spring equinox and lasts for two weeks beyond that date. If you scroll down this page, you'll find excellent data on lore and traditions -- also many illustrations. Click on the illustrations and you'll get additional data and sometimes further illustrations on the theme. About the troubadours:...Troubadours, referred to as Haji Firuz, disguise themselves with makeup and wear brightly colored outfits of satin. These Haji Firuz, singing and dancing, parade as a carnival through the streets with tambourines, kettle drums, and trumpets to spread good cheer and the news of the coming new year....
Detail of Palm Sunday Celebration in Mexico
Photography by Geri Anderson at Mexico Connect [see below]
From Jody Miller, the about.com guide to Mexico and Central America, comes this interesting 2-part essay on Holy Week, Semana Santa, in Mexico. She looks at Christian customs as well as prehispanic indigenous traditions among the Tarahumara (she has several additional -- and very moving -- links on Tarahumara).http://mexconnect.com/mex_/feature/easterindex.html
From Mexico Connect comes a lavishly illustrated website on Holy Week and Easter in Mexico. The connecting pages are rich with firsthand descriptions and photos (including the one of the little girls above).
Fragrant Japanese Plum Blossoms
[See directly below...]
Finally, I couldn't do a springtide page and leave out Japanese blossoms, soybean celebrations, and ancient doll festivals. This site, which covers February to early May, has many fine photos (clickable) and good lore on spring festivals and traditions in Japan. (For a brilliant, powerful depiction of the Doll Festival, try to rent a video of Kurosawa's "The Peach Orchard," one of several stories in his film, DREAMS.)
links to May Day
I have created a special page for this May Day celebration:
To the Wheel of the Year
To European Earth-Based Ways
To Earth Day
To Current Springtide
To archived Springtide 2000
To archived Springtide 1999
My complete Site Map will be found on the Home Page --
also my e-mail address (near the bottom of the page).The "square" on the mini-console below will stop the sound; the "triangle" will start it again; the two lines will pause it; the slider controls the volume.
The music is Nous Voici Dans LaVille, a 15th century FrenchCarol --
sequenced by John Philip Dimick,
courtesy of Classical & Flamenco Guitar MIDIs.
New page for 2001 designed 2 January 2001;
Unless noted, all links are from 1999 & 2000.
New text written 22 February 2001.
Published 22 February 2001 but much more remains to be updated & added.
23 February 2001; 19 March 2001; 12 April 2001 (added 3 last minute links); 15 April 2001;
11 July 2001 (Ned3.0).
19 February 2002 (Okana updates); 10 March 2002: added links-check data I've done for new 2002 page because I'm so far behind in finishing the 2002 essay.
11 March 2002, 5pm: archived. New page is now online.
The small, magical, morphing Green Man comes from Jay Williams at Green Man Graphics