Spring Rituals and Altars: Spring Clean Your Life with Intention
This time of year many of us find ourselves automatically engaging in some sort of spring ritual. We've got spring break, spring fever, and of course, spring cleaning. Spring is a celebration of renewal and change and often our craving to acknowledge spring and integrate into the cycle of nature is subconscious. Nature is waking up, and in the process, brings us out of our own winter hibernation. This spring, why not approach the new season with more intention and mindfulness?
Spring is deeply ingrained in our collective conscious not only because we come out of the darkness of winter and into the crisp light of spring, but also because the traditional religious holidays of spring lend themselves to spiritual cleaning as well. Lent, Passover and Easter are steeped in ancient, earth-based religious traditions of our ancestors and we all can expect to be affected by their influence, whether we observe the holidays or not.
The spring and fall equinoxes mark the two times of year when the sun crosses the equator, making the length of day equal to the length of night. The first day of spring is a point of perfect balance. This equality of night and day also represents the balance of masculine and feminine, dark and light, and within and without. Honoring the brief balance of light and dark at the equinoxes is a powerful way to reconnect with your own wholeness and balance of body, mind, and soul.
Spring represents fresh starts and renewal, both internal and external. We can look inside and find those places within ourselves that need to be cleansed—of ego, of anger, of sadness, of any negative emotion. And we do the external work of cleaning our surroundings because the physical effort we make creates a vessel, or a place, for a blessing to reside. Essentially, we are responsible for our spring cleaning and for planting the seeds for new growth. Spring is the perfect time to be intentional with your sacred spaces, eliminate the clutter from the past year and create a clean space inside of ourselves.
Just as we face reluctance in getting started on our physical spring cleaning of the home, it may be difficult to get started on a spiritual or intentional spring cleaning.
Here are a few suggestions to honor Spring, with a Spring Altar and Simple Rituals:
1. Spring Cleaning - Eliminate what no longer serves you. Start with the physical and spring clean your home, to honor your sacred spaces, but then move on to spirit. Get rid of distractions that block your spiritual flow. Are you watching too much television, working too much or going to bed too late? Maybe you have some friendships or a relationship that is toxic. Just as you declutter the home, clear your mind as well. Incorporate more activities that nurture your connection with spirit, such as meditating, reading, learning new skills, and practicing self-care. Eliminate clutter in your schedule to create space to focus on what’s truly important.
2. Set an intention for change and plant a seed to symbolize new beginnings and your new intentions. Then pull a weed to symbolize the end of winter and end to any behaviors or relationships you want to put behind you. (This only takes a few minutes, and the power of intention is huge!) You'll want to set an intention as you plant the seed by saying it aloud or writing it down. Once the seed is planted, make a list of the action steps you'll take over the coming season to ensure your goals will blossom into reality, and repeat your goal daily, speaking to seed with the same encouragement you would give your younger self.
3. Another Simple Spring Ritual:
Top your cleaning off with smudging. Use sage, sweetgrass, palo santo or other herbs. The purpose of smudging is to use smoke to carry negative energy out of the area. When you light sage, set your new intentions and allow it to flame for a moment, then blow out the flame. Declare the old, dirty energy is no longer welcome and invite new beginnings into your home.
Light a candle to symbolize the return of the Sun, and set your intentions for new beginnings and renewed passion. This is another chance to emerge with new vision, new commitment, and newfound wings. the flame represents the Sun who breathes life back into the Earth by fertilizing Her with His vibrant rays.
Create openings to let the sun in. Open the windows and doors to your home, and open yourself up to being vulnerable.
Connect to the spirit of your home. Open your front door and introduce yourself. Say, "I am [your name]. Please help me co-create a safe and sacred space."
From there, spritz or sage every room. As you walk around your home, open all the windows. Wherever you feel energy congestion, clap quickly to break up stuck energy.
When you are finished, create an altar for the new energy you want to bring in.
4. Create a Spring Altar:
An altar can be as complex or as a simple as you'd like. Even if I'm short on time, I always like to place crystals, flowers, a special candle, and some water on my springtime altar. And here are a few other ideas:
-For crystals use Green Aventurine. The light hues of the green aventurine represent the new life sprouting up in the warming Earth and abundance. Furthermore, aventurine is known as a balancing crystal, helping to balance both masculine and feminine energy, making it the perfect crystal to represent the Spring Equinox.
-Bring in an earth element; plant, rock or tree. The birch tree is known as the “White Lady of the Woods” and is associated with all love and fertility. Traditionally, our ancestors celebrated spring, or Ostara by dancing around the birch tree between spring equinox and Beltane. The birch is one of the first plants to sprout leaves in the spring, making it a long-time symbol of renewal, fertility, and new beginnings. Birch also carries properties of strength, beauty, and psychic protection.
-Seeds or bulbs are another symbolic earth element that represent spring. Or if you're in the south and spring flowers are already blooming, fresh spring flowers, like tulips, daffodils, irises, hyacinth add some color.
-Another great earth element are antler sheds like those dropped by deer, elk honor the shedding of darkness coming out of winter.
-The egg has been a symbol of spring long before the Easter basket. Eggs, along with all seeds, contain the complete potential of life within. The cosmic egg is a symbol of the entire universe and the balance of masculine and feminine. Eggs are sacred to Ostara, symbolizing fertility and the renewed cycle of life. As Spring begins, the birds flock back to their mating grounds, building nests and laying eggs that will give birth to the next generation.
-Carrots, with their phallic shape, represent masculinity, lust, and fertility. In fact, carrots are believed to cure impotence in men and increase fertility in women, making them the perfect addition to an Ostara altar. Furthermore, their orange color represents fire, passion, and the Sun.
-Include a jar of moon water, or melted snow water to include the water element.
Now that your body (your spiritual house) is spick and span, invite others to share the after-effect with you. Call up a friend, join a new class or join like energies at a retreat. The key to keeping clean is the periodical refreshing and reorganization of life.