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English teacher interested in language and culture, and also in fiction using magic, myth, folklore and the supernatural. Now teaching part-time in a Leicester Upper School (ages 14-19) and also writing for children, teens and teachers.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Magical Monday: Spring Equinox

This week sees the Spring equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, and the signs are definitely out and about. We've been seeing snowdrops, daffodils and the odd crocus around, and on our walk at the lovely Watermead Country Park this weekend saw plenty of green shoots on the willows. It was noticeably greener than last weekend around the lakes. We're also seeing an increase in activity in the birds in the garden and have been puzzled by the odd behaviour of long-tailed tits who've been pecking at the kitchen window and the glass in the back door. It seems (having prowled around the birdie forums) that they're warning off their own reflections who appear to them as challengers for their territory. Perhaps we'll get nesting long-tails this year!

This equinox, which falls on March 20th this year, represents the time when the light begins to overtake the dark as we move from the shortest day in the depth of winter towards the longest day at the height of June. This is the midpoint of the Oak King's reign in the symbolic annual struggle between the Oak and Holly Kings, representing the waxing and waning energies in the year.

Old names for this point, celebrated as a Pagan festival, include Ostara and Eostre - both associated with goddesses of fertility and growth (and with etymological echoes of Easter). This sense of everything developing and growing and preparing to bloom is easy to pick up, and the idea that this energy could be harnessed and translated into human lives via sympathetic magic isn't difficult to imagine.

We no longer routinely spring-clean to sweep away the winter darkness, but the sense of renewal is still infectious. I've noticed that although I tend to make new year plans (let's not call them resolutions, okay?), it's at this time of year that I tend to start really putting things into practice.

What about you? Do you find yourself buzzing with Spring energy?

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