Spring Equinox 2024

He who speaks with primordial images speaks with a thousand tongues…

-Carl Jung

This year, in the Northern Hemisphere the Vernal Equinox falls on March 20th, as the Sun crosses the celestial equator going north. This particular Vernal Equinox holds so much more symbology than usual for pagans – the people of the Earth. Generally, the Equinox is the time when daylight and darkness move toward balance, and indeed, in 2024, the pendulum is swinging on so many levels.

Like creatures who have been in the darkness too long we emerge, blinking from our confinement. Like tender green shoots we tentatively poke out our heads to assess the landscape, to see what the world looks like after being gone from it for so long.

We have literally walked through the valley of the shadow of death, for a full turning of the Wheel. Some of us didn’t make it and we grieve their loss. Some have been left broken. Being in a constant state of tension, high alert, and hyper vigilance can wear on a body and soul. None of us have been left unchanged.

And still Spring comes, with her glorious earthy fragrant wetness, shy green buds, and youthful sense of hope. The dawn is streaked with rosy gold now, the morning grass frosted with dew. The birdsong is sweeter, less urgent, and life gets restless below the surface. Since the beginning of time, this return of life has not failed us. Ragged and tattered as we are, still we rise.


The Spring Equinox, the time of resurrection has a collection of stories, mythologies, and symbols connected to it that are used as metaphors, and placeholders. Many of them may not be the historical truth, nevertheless, they hold meaning. In this time of accessibility to vast knowledge, we are challenged to question everything. It is good to know the truth but there is also value to the softness of embracing the mythology. For who are we as humans if not the mythmakers?


To begin with, something I just recently learned is that we can dispel with the idea that on the Equinox, day and night are equal length. There are days around that time where this is so but, twice a year, day and night reach a perfect balance of 12 hours each, creating a little-known event called the equilux. When they happen depends on latitude. In the US, in 2024, it happens on March 17th.  Since the equilux is not an astronomical “moment” the way a solstice or equinox is, there’s no *exact* moment of occurrence.


Moving on from that, most of us are familiar with elaborate Spring celebrations, that involve bunnies and eggs and fertile maiden goddesses – none of which are actually verifiable as any ancient pagan religious traditions of Spring. Not the eggs, not the bunnies, not the goddesses. Between the liberties taken by Venerable Bede, and the motivation and agenda of the Brothers Grimm, we have had crafted for us, a veritable treasure trove of fiction, some of which is much more recent than most pagans would care to admit.


The truth is that in the Spring, the earth is fertile. Mating season begins, the rabbit population explodes, colors burst forth from dry brown stems and the world becomes a magical place as it begins to give birth to itself once again. The dark and dying part of the year is over, and the living, growing part of the year is upon us. This is cause for celebration, and whether our ancestors enacted it formally, ritually, or not, they still felt it, just as the tree feels the sap rising. As do you, if you’ll take the time to pay attention.


As time progressed, we added tales about Spring goddesses, magical bunnies, and beautifully colored or inscribed eggs – a symbol of new life. And eventually these were caricatured in chocolate. So long as we are not authoritatively spouting fiction as truth, I fail to see a problem with any of this!


So, at this time of balancing energies, on Equinox morning, or a morning thereabouts, I would encourage you to go outside.

Close your eyes.

Inhale through your nose, taking in all of the scents around you, and the sounds of a world awakening. Take off your shoes if you dare! Put bare the soles of your feet to the softening but still cold earth. There are conversations happening beneath your feet, and in the branches of the trees. Let your naked toes sink in, listen, and feel!


Let yourself connect with that gossamer, shimmering web on which we all stand and from which we are all suspended. And then, raise your face to the sky, look up. The stars and the Moon that we all share are still there even if you can’t see them. Feel the thread that holds you in your earthside form reach into the network of stars. Allow yourself to expand. Let the gratitude for life, new life, and renewal wash over you.


If you have seeds that have been incubating since Imbolc, now, is the time to plant them, or eat them, or take them onto the next level of whatever plan you had for them when you selected them at Imbolc.


Finally, this evening, as the sun dips below the horizon, light a candle to represent the fire inside of you. Your passion, your illumination, your warmth, your very life that is part of this ever-cycling character of Nature. Gaze into the dance of the flickering light and smile, and plan, plan to dye eggs and jellybeans, and chocolate bunnies because you are alive, it’s joyful, and Spring is upon you. Welcome to the resurrection!

Rev. Angie Buchanan is a founder and the spiritual director of Earth Traditions, a Pagan church, and of Gaia’s Womb, an interfaith spirituality group that has produced women’s spiritual retreats for over 20 years. A certified death midwife, she developed and teaches a certification course that provides hands-on, intensive training for compassionate end-of-life care and information on ecologically sensitive funerals (www.deathmidwife.org). She currently serves as the pagan student spiritual advisor at the University of Chicago.

Rev. Angie has been involved with numerous organizations that promote interfaith dialog and peace. In addition, she is a longtime activist for religious freedom, women’s rights, and First Amendment protections. In 2014, she was inducted into the Martin Luther King Jr., International College of Ministers and Laity, at Morehouse College.