Spring (Vernal) Equinox
Message from the Host
Tara Celebration's Spring Equinox celebration will be held at Clogherhead, Co. Louth at 2.00pm on Sunday 19th March. Meet in the public car park near the harbour (Port Oriel) - (on the north side of the bay) - at 1.30pm.
The themes of the day will be Balance, Equality and Tolerance.
As usual we will begin our celebration by opening a circle and calling in the directions and elements but on the day, as well as meditating/reflecting on the above themes, we will dwell awhile on those initial acts . What does it symbolise? Why are we doing it? The fact that elements were an ancient symbol of balance will be discussed as well as psychologist Carl Jung's use of elements to describe 4 basic human psychological states and how they need to be balanced in order for us to lead more harmonious lives.
All are welcome to join us as we Celebrate this time as our ancestors did before us. Bring eggs, flowers, seeds and anything else that symbolises Spring Equinox for you.
We will have an "open heart" section as usual where anybody can contribute anything they feel appropriate to the occasion. Remember we will be outside, on grass, by the sea, near a cliff in Spring, in Ireland...so dress appropriately! Bring the kids too but note we will be near some rocky terrain by the sea.
Don't forget to bring something to eat, drink and share as we always finish our celebration with a feast (or coffee and cake at least).
If you cannot join us physically you can of course "tune in" Spiritually. (Let us know where you are in the world and we'll remember you during our ceremony - including the Southern Hemisphere which is celebrating Autumn Equinox at this time).
"Equinox" means "equal night" in Latin and this time of year is when there is equal light and dark in our days. So the "Balance" theme is obviously a reference to that.
However, we will also be looking at personal balance in our lives; time, work, family, leisure etc.
In researching this special time of year we discovered that celebrations have been ongoing through all ages by all peoples of all beliefs and none. Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists (& PRE-Christians, Muslims, Jews & Buddhists), Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, Mayans, Native Americans, Celts, pre-Celts, Wiccans, Pagans and more ALL celebrate/celebrated the Spring Equinox.
All are acknowledging at this time the return of Light, Fertility and Hope to our lives. Men and women, animals and plants, even the Earth itself seems to rejoice in this wondrous time of renewal and rejuvenation. Equality through the ages, beliefs and species all right there.
Speaking of the Earth, we have a reminder in Clogherhead of how Nature creates REAL borders which last for millions of years - unlike the lines that we as humans insist on drawing on maps.
Clogherhead marks the site of a collision of two continental plates millions of years ago - the evidence of which can still be seen today. These events took hundreds of millions of years and this knowledge could act as a catalyst for us to embrace and spread tolerance in the world today - here and now.
Proposed running plan - note this can change on the day
The reason I asked to host Spring Equinox 2017 is that I hosted the Autumn Equinox 2016 – when we bid farewell to the light – so now we can welcome the light back into our lives. We also remember at this time those who are “tuning in” energetically from other parts of Ireland, all over the world and from other realms.
Clogherhead marks the site of a collision of two continental plates millions of years ago - the evidence of which can still be seen today. (Note layout of rocks beside us!).
There is a feeling of transition about today: Dark-Light, Death-Rebirth, Land-Sea, Continent-Continent, Outside the circle-Inside the circle. (More about that later).
Themes of Day: 3 Themes; Balance, Equality and Tolerance. (“B E T” appropriate in Cheltenham week!)
Opening Circle/Calling Directions & Elements:
We begin as usual by opening the circle and calling in the Directions/Elements
Spirit of the Earth, Guardian of the North, You ground us and feed our connection to the earth. Be with us now to be witness and guardian to this celebration. (Thank you for your presence at our celebration).
Spirit of the Wind, Guardian of the East, You fuel our imagination and give us creativity. Be with me now to be witness and guardian to this celebration. (Thank you for your presence at our celebration).
Spirit of Fire, Guardian of the South, Your power leaves me in awe, I am comforted by your flame. Be with us now to be witness and guardian to this celebration. (Thank you for your presence at our celebration).
Spirit of Water, Guardian of the West, you are our pathway to the Goddess, you bring us peace. Be with us now to be witness and guardian to this ritual. (Thank you for your presence at our celebration).
All: Spirit of energy that surrounds us. Be with us now to be witness and guardian to this ritual. (Thank you for your presence at our celebration).
Let us pause awhile and reflect on why we do this...
The circle: There are symbolic resonances to opening a circle. It can mark the space between the worlds – our mundane, run-of-the-mill world is left outside the circle while the spiritual, higher consciousness world is inside. The circle can also be seen as a bubble...we are surrounded by energy that protects us during our celebration. Another thing opening a circle does is it focuses the attention and raises consciousness.
The Elements: We can pay equal attention to the four elements that we have invoked to help us today – as the Ancients also did. To them, the elements were a symbol of balance. The psychologist Carl Jung used the 4 elements to describe 4 basic psychological states:
Sensation-Earth, Feeling-Water, Thinking-Air, Intuition-Fire
He felt that we need to balance all of these qualities to lead more harmonious lives. So meditating within the circle – with the 4 elements – can hopefully produce insights on personal changes leading to balance in all aspects of our lives; Spiritual, Emotional, Mental and Physical; Work, Family, Friends and Ourselves. (Short meditation follows)...
Reflect on what we’ve just done: Did anything come up? What “seeds” can we sow NOW in our lives that we can reap the benefits of in autumn?
Open Heart: We now invite anyone present to contribute to the proceedings as they see fit. (Possibly with a poem, song, some thoughts, activity etc.)
Close the circle: (Ref “Opening Circle” above). Thanks to all for coming. Share food and drink and enjoy!
This beautiful crystal was a gift handed from a Shamanic healer to a relative of the current holder.
She felt strongly to take it to the ceremony and passed it around the circle at open heart.
It is a powerful stone and she knows it is with her for a good reason.
Our Host's comments:
We met in Clogherhead on a wonderful dry - and mostly sunny - Sunday afternoon. What followed was what one of those present described as "simple yet powerful" as we completed everything as planned in the preview.
The circle was formed - our "bubble of energy" enclosing us in a special space which both separated us from the outside world and allowed us to indulge in our special celebration where we shared a lot together as well as time spent in individual, personal reflection.
Within the circle we had symbols of the four elements: Air, Water, Earth and Fire. The Crystal represented the energy/ higher consciousness which among other things, connected us with those not present but tuning in. The Crystal Tree of Life was made at a workshop given by our friend Eileen (RIP) and represented those that have passed on/higher realms.
During the open heart section poems, crystals and lavender were shared - particular thanks to the person who recited a poem of gratitude which was passed down orally from generations within their family.
After the ceremony finished, there was a distinct reluctance by some of us to leave, we lingered in that beautiful spot for a while before adjourning to the local Chinese restaurant where we laughed our way through a delicious meal.
All in all, a wonderful day where we sowed some personal seeds - hopefully to be reaped at the next Autumn Equinox at the Holy Well, Hill of Tara in September.
Thanks to all who turned up on the day and also to those who were there in Spirit - your presence was certainly felt.
Daffodils in full radiant glory - Castleknock, Dublin
Below: First Spring Gentians of the Season at Lough Avalla in the Burren 11 days after equinox
Below some hearts tongue fern unfurling for Spring
A splash of colour from the dog violets
All are welcome to meet at the Seamus Ennis Centre in the The Naul for lunch. It is not possible to reserve a table beforehand so allow plenty of time to order food and eat, have a chat and then to travel the couple of miles to Fourknocks.
Please bring eggs... normal, unpainted eggs, can be raw or cooked, everyone can bring as many as they like (ok, maybe not 50 per person...)
- we'll bless / empower them, so basically one can bring more than one and specify the other(s) for a relative, friend, etc.
If anyone has flowers to share that would be lovely.
And to inspire the day here is a quotation that we can all become familiar with:
“I am the seed of spirit
I am the seed of life
I am the seed of creation
I am the seed of hope
I am the seed of trust
I am the seed of courage
I am the seed of change
I am the seed of understanding
I am the seed of respect
I am the seed of joy
I am the seed of love
Love over all
so mote it be"
Spring equinox / Ostara is pastel colours... light greens, blues, rosey, yellow, on the cheerful side. If you want to come all in pastel, the Masters of Ceremonies say 'be my guest', or flowery fabrics of course. One colourful visible item of clothes would be great and, of course, all should be warm and suitable for being outdoors.
Greetings to those in the Southern Hemisphere heading into winter.
Above the colourful center for the Spring Equinox ritual
We welcome Freya and Freyr to our ceremony and ask for their energies.
Both Freya and Freyr have boars they ride on, and rosequartz fits well for love and all kinds of loving energies (the rune sigil on the stone stands for the same theme).
If you are unable to join in 'in person' light a candle and join in 'in spirit'. If you have any pictures to share of the flowers where you are this Equinox and are willing for them to be included on the website we would love to receive them.
Bells used to clear space for the ceremony.
Thanks to Susan for this experience of the day
On a lovely Sunday some of us gathered at the Seamus Ennis Centre where we had a bite to eat, then made our way to the welcoming Fourknocks cairn. Dana and Marta, Sarah and John had been up earlier to open and prepare the space for us, we were blessed and cleansed before going in through the portal by Dana and Marta, we entered into another welcoming place, apart from our every day but connected to the other realms. More people gathered to join us and of course we had the usual visitors from other planes, including a bat!
The space was lit with candles and the four corners were represented in each hollow of Fourknocks and there was a lovely altar in the centre. We opened the circle calling in each element and the wiccans among us calling in the energies of Freya and Freyr to be with us as well. We put our eggs by the edge of the cloth on the ground, eggs being a symbol of fertility and also a symbol of what we want to bring to ourselves. Eggs of all sorts were there, cooked, porcelain, stone, plus chocolate ones but we didn't see them til after! Yum.
We then made a sigil (writing our our own phrase of something we want to manifest in our life, or a positive phrase, condensing the sentence down to a few letters and then making a symbol and drawing that on the egg, which we could eat at our leisure. Eggs (raw) can be used to draw negativity from a room, and then buried. Also ground shells can be used instead of salt to draw or mark out a circle, specially good if you are outside and don't want to harm the earth. We then made a witch's bottle, putting into a small bottle herbs - roses for love, chamomile for peace, lavender for calm etc, with our intentions too and finally drawing a rune on the outside and tied up with a lovely ribbon. This is a bottle that can be put where you see it, some bottles can be used for protection, these ones are usually buried, sometimes outside the front door for protection.
We each gave thanks to the visitors from Switzerland for doing so much and being so gracious and willing to share their knowledge with us. We then closed the circle and had a cup of tea outside. A wonderful day inside and wonderful sunshine greeted us outside. The whole process took about two hours, and was a great day. I think Fourknocks was glad to see some ceremony and light and uplifting things being done inside.
Below: Imbolc meets Equinox, Blanchardstown daffodils, the flower expressing the energy of the day and a candle in the Fourknocks
I wandered lonely as a cloud...
Pat says from Dublin 15 - On a dull, windy, rainy day I came upon this roundabout which cheered me up immensely...well done to the county council concerned!
Thanks to Susan, Pat, Martin, Nora and Nancy for the photos.
At Dowth we will acknowledge the dark and its gifts, then make our way to Bective Abbey, higher ground, where we will acknowledge the increasing light.
We will thank and acknowledge the land that we are on, its constant support, always supporting us with new buds, new life, new hope.
Dowth, (Dubbadh, Place of Darkness) - gateway to the darkness (darkness of eclipse).
Stone of the 7 Suns &
Gorse in flower on the mound
Dowth is the place of darkness, and we will acknowledge and thank the winter for its lessons.
Now coming out of the cold, we have had our time of introversion, so what do we want to plant and bring to fruition for the next stage of the year.
Signs of spring – even the name says it all. We spring to life...
Looking down from the height of Dowth
and south east towards the Boyne estuary
|The get together was held in the morning in the collapsed mound that is Dowth and it felt that it needed appreciating and acknowledging, so we welcomed the energies and thanked the earth and gifted a crystal, letting go of what we don't need, writing down and burning that which no longer serves. Then making our way along the Boyne to the higher ground of Bective Abbey, completely different energy altogether... bringing the energy of the group to the light,, bees, gorse, yellow colours, feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and a nice cuppa and chat back at Bective Mill B n B|
Anything we want to get rid of will be written down on black paper and burnt at Dowth.
What do we want to manifest? At Bective we put these intentions either as a symbol or writing onto golden yellow paper, then into the manifesting box.
We take some time to walk quietly and thank the land at both Dowth & Bective, with the option of gifting a small crystal to the land, or it can be taken away for your own garden, always holding the energy of the circle.
We return to the circle and then travel mindfully to Bective Abbey, Into the light, the higher ground while keeping the energy of the group together.
En route are new lambs, Slane Hill, River Boyne and Donaghmore.
We reform our circle to acknowledge the step now to the light. Again we thank the land for its abundance.
On the 21st threads from the 20th were drawn together:
1.. New Moon - moonrise 6.25am
2.. Partial Solar Eclipse - begins at 08.24am and ends at 10.37 with maximum at 09.29
3.. Spring Equinox - 22.45 UTC
Eclipse photos from Dalgan Park, Meath
filters bring colour to eclipse photos from Cork
|Clonakilty stone circle, monastic site and the new moon in Co Cork|
'Nancy looking for a shamrock'
This is the Canadian spring of 2015... the most snow falling in a short time in about 50 years.
10 joined in a ceremony held in sleet, rain and sun !
Many thanks to Pat, John A and Susan for the photographs of the event
Some met up at the Butterfly Garden Cafe in Kells, enjoying great food and hospitality at reasonable prices.
Then it was time to park and walk to the site on the beautiful wooded shore of Lake Ramor, Virginia, Co Cavan.
We expressed gratitude for time spent in winter hibernation and the benefit it had on body and mind. The intro talk about the significance of hibernation in nature. We remember the century old tradition of using eggs, also how at this time of Spring Equinox day and night are equal length.
We welcome in spring and its possibilities by writing 3 intentions for ourselves which we would like to fulfill in the coming months. We will place these in a small raft.
To honour spring and the planting of intentions we will sow seeds in egg shells knowing that, if they are attended to, they will flourish and blossom just like ourselves, if we take the time to nourish body and mind. We will place some planted seeds in the raft with intentions and release them to float in the stream, which will then be carried into the lake and our future growth.
Open heart contributions – an opportunity for everyone to share a reading of an inspirational piece, a song, a dance, a joke.
Back to tea & snacks in car park
Thanks to Anne for these photos of Equinox sunrise on 22 March, snow flurries and the Well of the White Cow (Bo FInne). Tara magic.
Looking towards Skreen
Skreen tower to the left
Sun and ice (frost)
The hawthorn hedge has been layered
Spring offering of yellow, red and blue. Pennies have been thrown onto the flooded step.
Tuning in at a distance - thanks to Bernadette for this lovely photo of her centre
Dropping stones from aprons & kingship themes - Cailleach (Loughcrew, Ireland) or Devil (Stiperstones, Great Britain)
Each Equinox sunbeams enter the inner chamber illuminating symbolic rock art at Cairn T, Loughcrew.
Hag's Chair at Loughcrew - behind is the Neolithic Cairn T.
Loughcrew is high land with prominent hill summits orientated approximately east - west, near Oldcastle, Meath.
It is a neolithic 'cemetery' of stone cairns, viewed here from Tower of Lloyd, Kells.
Stiperstones is a 5 mile long ridge in Shropshire, on the English / Welsh borders.
Running north / south, with prominent jagged outcrops or tors, amongst the natural rocks there are also Bronze Age cairns.
Photos below taken Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 4:57pm - 24 hours before actual equinox on 20 March at 4.57pm.
Why we sensed to celebrate the equinox here 24 hours early is a mystery!
Further along the Stiperstones ridge is the Nipstone - part of the Back to Purple project, replacing conifer plantations with purple flowering heather moorland.
Coincidentally, purple is the colour of kingship.
Scotland also has a presence as a flock of Hebridean sheep stop the trees returning by grazing the young saplings.
Aprons and Stones:
Although there are many different versions of the stories about these two places they share similar legends. At both the rocks are said to have fallen from the apron of a mythical figure. The Stiperstones legend has the added information that it was the Devil and he was travelling from Ireland across Britain (or the Devil organised 6 giantesses to do the work). White quartzite stones are scattered around the Loughcrew cairns (the hills are also known as Carnbane meaning white cairn). The Stiperstones are made of a unique type of quartzite. At both there is a special rock designated as a chair.
The Devil is said to sit on his chair at the Stiperstones calling together all the unearthly spirits, on the the night of winter solstice, when the King is chosen for the following year. Loughcrew is the legendary resting place of many High Kings of Ireland, the highest place (Cairn T) being the tomb of Ollamh Fodhla, a great king who created the Brehon Laws. Although the Annals of the Four Masters have him buried at Teltown (see Lughnasadh). Ollamh Fodhla's Seat, aka the Hag's Chair, is on the outer kerb of Cairn T.
St Patrick's Day - 17 March 2013
St Patrick's Island off Skerries on the East Coast of Ireland - 53.6 N, -6 W
The islands of the Cow and Calf
balanced by Connemara marble from Galway on the West Coast of Ireland
The Island of the White Cow (Inishbofin) on the horizon
We are all composed of the same materials - earth and us - we are all the same stuff. At this time of balance at Spring Equinox we shall be meditating on the flows of life. We shall also have samples of Earth from other sites in Ireland to connect to during the evening.
At the Imbolc 2013 planning meet, something occurred that we have never experienced with Tara Celebrations before. Three of us met. We had 3 distinct places we felt drawn to and 3 different themes of what we wanted to do. Before we have resolved these variations into one ritual. This time we did not. And very quickly we agreed that each would celebrate their own inspiration. Although, on the day, two were together on Tara, we worked independently. The creative dynamic of the core group had changed and some of us wondered how we could or would continue. (note written end 2013 - at Autumn Equinox of 2013 we re-organised how the gatherings were set up - it took just on 9 months to birth the new format)
And so we come to Spring Equinox 2013 team meeting. Except there was no meeting. No one came at the agreed time and place, and hence no ceremony was created. And so, what is the way forward? Is there a way forward? The fact is, every Monday there is a meeting on Tara, organised by many of those who also join in the 8 annual Celebrations. The Monday Meditation and Healing Circle in the Tara Healing Centre. We are actually doing more on Tara than we have ever done before. We are now doing weekly what we once did only eight times a year. This is the new focus of Tara Celebrations. The by line of our website page is – gathering to celebrate our lives and all life on earth. We do this every Monday evening on Tara. And so there will be no separate Spring Equinox ceremony...
… but, as always, all are invited to come along on Monday night at 8.15pm to Tara to share in the sacred and profound, the fun and joy, as we journey on our paths on earth.
Evening Ritual Meditation
Music - Primavera – means Spring - ends in an a and is therefore feminine – by Einaudi – male invoking female : Deer's Cry aka Lorica or St. Patricks Breastplate – Angelina – female invoking male : Be Thou my Vision instrumental (tune Slane) : The Year is Awaking - Brother Sun, Sister Moon 1972 film directed by Franco Zeffirelli based on the life of Saint Francis of Assisi - sung by Donovan
Healing Circle - Spend few minutes cultivating lovingkindness. - Contact heart, see how feeling, and cultivate a sense of acceptance for whatever emotions happen to be present. “May I be well. May I be happy. May I be at peace,”
Meditation understanding the Earth Element - Earth energies are waking up now.
Burning of the old plant life and history (newspaper), addiing to bowl earth from Giants Causeway, Sligo, Murrisk Mayo, Westport, Clonmacnoise, Inagh Valley, Glenveigh, Derry and seeds of the the oriental poppy to welcome new beginnings.
Healing Circle “May all beings be well. May all beings be happy. May all beings be at peace,” Take that well-wishing into the world radiating outwards.
A message from New York - I hope that you have a joyous Equinox and a beautiful spring. Peace, Jody
Today, on the Spring Equinox, I woke up to cold and snow (20 F with a wind chill of 10 F, that’s -12 Celsius). My first thoughts were “this is not right, it should be warmer with early spring flowers and birds singing!” I layered up and dutifully went out to feed my horses. They don’t seem to mind the cold, and after their hay is gone they enjoy pawing through the snow looking for some new green grass morsels.
After chores, I went for a walk out back, still feeling sad about the weather, but as the sun peaked through the clouds, the snow sparkled with a million diamonds and the serenity at the ice covered pond, along with the crisp air, cleared my senses. I started my spring meditation there and then continued to my favorite woodland trail where I could see the creek that runs through our property flowing freely.
As I gazed into the clear waters, my heart was filled with the beauty of the moment and I realized that spring is here after all, just dozing under the snow until soon she will burst forth in all her bountiful glory. I sang “I am So Blessed” and as my voice rose up the first songbirds of spring joined with me, the sun burst forth and I felt a golden warmth travel through my soul.
Snow in Halifax, Nova Scotia
Snow in Bakewell, England
The apple appears as a solid red ball. Yet bite into the apple and you reveal a hidden interior, soft, fleshy and juicy.
As you continue to eat, at the heart of the apple, you discover small hard objects, the seeds.
Visually the seed is solid and pebble like.
If we hit a pebble it shatters into many fragments, revealing that it is totally composed of stone. Sometimes we get a suprise and discover a geode filled with beautiful crystals. But this is a rare experience. However on opening the seed we discover a soft and very different interior. The real truth has been in shadow, hidden inside a toughened shell.
In this ceremony we now look behind the facade and bring everything into the light. We do this by celebrating the basics, the intention of the evening being to recognise, acknowledge and thank the primal elements of earth, fire and water and reclaim the hidden energies, potentials and wisdom of the earth and of ourselves.
For those unable to attend in person this is the planned outline format of the ceremony - of course on the day the gathering may take on its own form and content:
We stand around 3 plates – one covered with a cloth, one contains pebbles, one with a bowl of water. We thank the elements of earth (pebbles) and water (bowl) and then reveal the covered plate and thank the element of earth.
Gifting apples and water to the earth we then meditate on our own hidden selves. When we bite into the apple we discover a sweet interior, We consider our own hidden core. When we walk the Path of the Unknown, our Life Path, we do not need to know the outcome, for it is the journey that is important, the act of living. As we journey we seek the hidden wisdoms, potentials and energies in ourselves and in the land around us. This spring we have a chance to nurture these with the primal elements of earth, fire and water.
Open heart contributions – bring your inspirational readings, writings and songs to share with the group.
If you do join with us in your own ceremony and have any photographs you are willing to share we would be delighted to post them on this page.
Seasons greetings and blessings to everyone, The Spring Equinox planning team, John, Bernie and Nora.
Thanks to Bernadette for these photographs:
white chrysanthemums adorn the well
During the evening our eyes were constantly drawn skywards as lovely bright Venus, Jupiter and a thin sliver of new moon apparently weaved their way across the dark night sky. Of course, nothing is as it seems, it was us that was moving, not they. Every constellation seemed to be visible... Cassiopeia, the beautiful queen, Orion, the great hunter, King David's Chariot, aka The Plough, circling the Pole Star, the sisters of the Pleiades... all watched as the mists arose on the horizon.
Many thanks to Anne for this verse inspired by the apple:
turn around, upside down,
side to side, turn over
apple harvest's autumn time
in spring we have the clover!
nothing quite the way is seems
topsey turvey times instead
energy patterns out of place
one wonders what's ahead?
southern apples chomped in spring
harvest at the sowing
and eat the fruits of what's to come
before we start the growing.
Martin joined in Cork, lighting a candle under the watchful eyes of Buddha
Two balanced equinox Catkins from Gearragh, Cork
Nothing is as it seems: Part of the Cork St. Patricks day parade 2012....Dragons and Leprechauns all representative of earth energies which are waking up this time of year.
Hill of Tara -Spring Equinox is the time of year when the sun rises due east and sets due west giving us equal amounts of daylight and darkness. It is a time that the earth’s axis is straight as a door post and suggests to us a time of balance has arrived. The Northern Hemisphere celebrates Spring whilst the Southern Autumn.
Our ceremony shall be based on a group meditation carried out on 11/03/11. There were 6 of us (3 men and 3 women coincidentally) gathered to tune into what would be an appropriate use of time and space and through a laborious process of threshing out ideas generated at the meditation we believe we are delivering a spirit filled, mystical experience.
The Gates of Revelation is a ritual based on rebirth. We are using the Banqueting Hall on the Hill of Tara as our ceremonial place, it is in effect the ritual birthing canal onto the Hill.
We welcome all those present and joining in ‘in spirit’. Opening with the introduction (by Nora at lower gate ) and directions we then gather as a group of souls, in silence, with nothing, just waiting, cut off from the outer world by high embankments, contained, as if within the walls of the womb. We start our journey and negotiating the pit falls we arrive at the first of 5 Gateways, the Gate of Earth. A Gate Keeper holds the energy of each Gate and reflects on its qualities.
The Earth Gate is where we manifest form as spirit using earth as our building blocks. We attune to the energies of this gateway (solidity, physical, groundedness, darkness, foundations, first principals) and pass through allowing assimilation of the energy. (which we do for each subsequent gate).
Water is the next gate. Here we reflect on the fluidity of form and the smoothness of life and how we move through it. We may consider movement, emotion, flexibility, circulation etc
Air is the third gate. We consider lightness, breath, life, levity, inspiration, paired with the solidity of earth this makes a harmonious balanced pairing.
The Gate Keeper of Fire reminds us of the volatility and passion of life, its heat, pleasure, expansiveness and creative transformation. Fire is paired with water as a contrasting balance.
The Gate Keeper of Ether reminds us of the mystery of life, the spirit that brought us here from the void, breathed the passion of life into our clay bodies and experiences life in the physical.
Having passed through this final Gateway we birth into the world in procession, to joyous drumming. We are now standing in the secret Neolithic monument on the Hill, a place where east meets west, up meets down, above meets below, north meets south, straight line meets curves, where the baby is birthed.
This is our birth day and birthdays are reasons for celebrating. So we assemble in a circle whose balance point is the center marked with a fire brazier. John will introduce the fire and offer each person the opportunity to dedicate the fire for a celebratory role: Participant
“I dedicate this fire to …..joy, fun, passion, abundance, growth, love, life, clarity, happiness, healing, health, hopefulness, understanding, wisdom, peace, unity, diversity, grace, self belief, confidence, strength, wonderment, etc etc.
John will then light the fire on our behalf dedicated to our intentions. Tom and Bernie will drum up the fire energy until established. Open Contributions are invited, each bringing their own creativity in the form of short verse, song, story. We now gather up this energy by sharing our heart infused intentions in the circle of spirit and then start the soft chant Shanti (Sanskrit for peace) turning out to offer peace and wholesome balance to the world. We end by closing the directions, snacks and small drink.
The Vernal or Spring Equinox is a time when the Sun rises and sets directly over the Equator. On the earth we experience it as a time of equal day and night and from now on the days will be slightly longer than the nights. The sun will rise and set further north each day and every mid-day the sun will be higher and higher. We will hopefully feel the days begin to warm as we head towards the summer. It is a time of re-birth and re-awakening. A time of re-trieval of things gone into abeyance, a time of re-turning to warmth and growth. A time for re-inventing ourselves.
Ardmulchan. Early Christian site with medieval tower dedicated to the virgin.
St. Melchu was the founder saint, a nephew of St. Patrick. He preformed miracles before St. Patrick to prove himself innocent of scandal. He is the Saint who ordained St. Brigid a bishop when the Holy Spirit distracted him during her ordination as a Nun. He and his 3 brothers have a line of monastic enclosures that lye in an east west line over the country. His feast day is (6th Feb) Imbolc, His mothers Feast day is March 22nd( Equinox) and His brothers feast day is 6th August (Lughnasadh).
Just today the Frogs returned to the pond in the garden, a full month later than this time last year and Claire said that, being Welsh, she had always daffodils for St. David’s day (1st March), but this year they are still only peeping above the ground. So this year the annual cycles seem to be noticeably behind. However, having said that, I did spend most of the day in the garden and got an amazing amount tidied . I got the onions and elephant garlic in and started to clear away some of the many plants that this years extreme cold had killed. Very often we expect things to be a certain way and when we find they are not we have to some how reconcile the reality with the expectation. So again this reflects the balance of birth and decay expressed at this time of the year.
This year for Vernal Equinox we thought we would be going to the North of Ireland. So we went on a reconnaissance trip up beyond Newry to Kilbroney forest park. Whilst we were impressed by the setting and the scenery we both felt it wasn’t the place to hold our Equinox gathering so we returned via Slane and climbed a mud track through rough ground festooned with brambles on the Hill of Slane, but again feeling this was not exactly where we were looking for. The sun was setting and we were racking our brains as to where might be a supportive environment for our activities when Ardmulchan seemed to suggest itself.
Ardmulchan is an early Christian site perched on the banks of the Boyne about 2 miles from Navan. It is host to a ring fort, standing stone, ancient holy well and the remains of a medieval church complete with a bell-tower dedicated to the virgin. It is named after the founder saint, saint Maelchon or Maelchou, who is a bit of a mystery man but may have been the nephew of St Patrick .
The picture below shows a stretch of the river lying in an almost perfect East West Alignment, most appropriate for equinox.
The traditions of the people state that, to save the bells of Ardmulchan from the church robbers of the Reformation, the parishioners threw them into Lug-Gorrom, or the Blue Hole, a deep pool in the Boyne, opposite Taaffe's lock.
Our celebration this year will be in keeping with balance, the yin and Yang, the darkness and light, forward and reverse, silence and sound, highs and lows, potentials and realised powers, revulsion and redemption.
Take the R153 Kentstown road out of Navan and at the first Y junction at the Ramparts car park, just outside the town, turn Left. Proceed past the cemetery on your right, continue another 6Km until you see a sign “Ardmulchan” pointing down a narrow laneway on your Left, It is the first road sign for a T junction you see after the cemetery and at the time of writing is actually pointing back to Navan!. Drive past all the houses and park in the carpark (Hide your Valuables).
What we will be doing:
We will begin with a general introduction and a brief tuning in period to our own energies.
This will be followed by a brief tour of the area taking in pleasant and unpleasant energies. We will be walking between both sets of energies and finding what each has to offer us. After leaving the unpleasant energy we may choose to re-appreciate the view of the river. We will be meditating on striking the balance between stress and peace, and then choosing to rebalance ourselves in the peace rather than the stress. We will be make a simple mandala from what Nature has to offer us and focusing our intent on Balance and healing and blowing bubbles with the intention that the bubbles will carry our healing and positive vibes into the ethers. There may be some time for dancing and singing as well as the all important open heart contributions where we encourage participants to contribute some thoughts, poetry or music to the proceedings. So a warm welcome to those joining us on the ground or in spirit.
Below:The trees where we will be meditating on balance and peace
Above: The Beech tree of wisdom at Ardmulchan
Above & Below: The Beech tree at Ardmulchan, site of the Spring or Vernal Equinox
Above: Roots of the tree at ritual site
Above: Part of the symbol laid out to represent Equinox Blessings
Above: Part of the symbol created for equinox Blessings which was then "Danced" into the earth
Equinox ritual at Ardmulchan with the candle representing the fiery southern energies
Above: More frogs!
Frogs with colours!
How many frogs?
First buds of Spring
Here I stand tall and thin.
See the life that stirs within,
Stretching from the air to ground,
Spreading roots all around.
Reaching from the ground to sky,
To feel the wind passing by.
This verse came to one of us during meditation with the trees.
Thanks also to all those who join with us at a distance and emailed in contributions and poems which we read out, our words echoing through the forest to the ears of all seen and unseen participants.
Thanks to Anne, Tom and Martin who recorded the day - a picture paints a thousand words...
The cushion softness of the deep moss underfoot, the crunch of the dry beech leaves, the alarmed flight of woodcock, the thrush calling from a high branch, the abundance of small and large beetles in the leaf mould, the bee, the spiders...
the peace, the joy... the silence...
Wood anenome, small delicate yellow primroses on exposed clay banks, tangled brambles and ferns....
At the base of a moss covered tree we gathered fallen branches, placing each on another in a balanced framework.
Rose petals, primrose and daffodil flowers scattered on the ground, mead and honey mixed with Tara well water poured by each in blessing. Crusty bread, broken from a long loaf, shared with woodland creatures and spirits.
An expression of our appreciation and thanks to the woodland and all its inhabitants.
We shared laughter and contemplation on the top of a moss covered mound in the woodland. With a meditation and a picture of an Indonesian elemental, the retelling of the Tuatha de Danaan and Milesian coming to Ireland, the Song of Amergin, and a commitment to do an earth serving activity, we connected in unity and harmony with all beings. Our intentions were for Balance with Nature.
The distant view and the plan...
Sow in Spring and reap in Autumn; in life as in the seasons
Thank you so much to everyone who came to the FourKnocks at Imbolc. I think everyone agreed that it was an excellent, atmospheric and moving ceremony which saw Brigid return to her maiden persona of the goddess after her role as the dark caileach.
We are still in Imbolc and Spring Equinox is the mid point of that season where the days and nights are of equal length. After winter Samhain it marks the time of year when fertility replaces barrenness. We enter the male half of Imbolc where Patrick complements and balances Brigid. Their integration brings the birth of the Bealtaine leanbh na Griann (Child of the sun...a golden child). Our theme for this equinox is standing in balance with nature.
We have been inspired to hold this next ceremony/ritual meditation in the beautiful forest setting of Mullaghmeen (mullach mín, smooth summit). On a sunny day recently we were led to a site deep in the wood where there was a small hillock set like a navel in the forest.... silence, the aroma of pine in the air and a profound sense of tranquillity, moss covered logs, stones, trees and ferns.
So moved were we by this tangible presence that we decided to use a very unobtrusive approach to the planned ceremony. We will have no smudge, no bowls, no cauldrons, no incense, no crystals...few if any of the trappings of ritual as this place is in itself a living breathing entity. We felt to go in smudging and “crystaling” would disrespect the energies who reside there and may not be used to human contact.
For those that are coming with us please bring something to acknowledge the environment. We are suggesting a poem or an inspirational quotation or a prayer or perhaps flowers....having to spend time considering what you will bring will allow you to invest your time and energy in tuning in to honouring the environment.
For those on our e-mail list near or far we extend the same invitation. If you want something read out then please send it to us before Saturday and we will include it in our ritual.
Outline of what to expect on the Day:
· Introduction and explanations
· Acknowledging the local directions/environment
· Creation of a circle from fallen twigs and branches
· Story telling
· Meditation with the trees
· Creation of a temporary shrine from forest materials in front of which it may be nice to make a personal pledge to honour the environment by recycling more, plant a tree, tend a garden, learn about herbs, use renewable resources sustainably etc.
· Reading of poems and open contributions
· Acknowledging the local directions/environment
· Sharing of some nice crusty bread
Bright Blessings - Mary Des Yamann Nora Martin
Flowers remind us of this season of renewed hope. Eggs and rabbits remind us that energetically the earth is waking up the creative generative potential within each of us, calling us to be more than we are. The black and white crystals and the Scales symbol remind us that this is a mystic time of balance and intergration leading to a time of growth. The seed for instance must crack its shell and expose itself to the dark but yielding soil to ever hope of seeing the light.
March 17th, St Patricks Day, starts an amazing week. We are all probably aware by now, 21st March is Good Friday and a Full Moon day, and we have also arrived at the mid-point of Imbolc, Equinox. And yes, we lose an hour in bed as clocks 'spring' forward on 30th March when Summer time begins. So many special events. An auspicious time to join together for a celebration of the season on Tara.
The symbol at the top of the flyer. It was created by putting a stylised Brigid's Cross within a circle. Traditionally the circle calls in the feminine energies but this depiction also calls awareness of Patrick, for the central square carries male qualities. The circle also represents the sacred whilst the square stands for the physical world. Contemplating the symbol provides an opportunity to review if we are integrating these, in a balanced way, in our lives.
There are five sections within the circle and, as at Autumn Equinox, this energetic vibration will be present in our activities, especially as we stand in the fifth province, Mide, and continue connecting to the fifth element - aether.
Below some wild Spring primroses (and a violet) in the Gabhra Valley, Tara
Below Lus an chrom chin an Irish (and Scottish, translating I think into golden headed lighted one) name for the flower below, to me the english language isnt poetic enough to describe it, photographed on the sun set of the vernal equinox at St. Patricks well Tara and planted by Adge the Druid who watches over his handy work. [All blessings BE Adge]
The Black Patrick
It occured to us recently at the meditation group that there was at equinox relatively few positive male role models to draw upon for Irish archtypes. For instance burish Patrick energy came in destroying an already intact celtic christianity. The church stands as an intermediary between us and the divine and regulates from a basis of fear and egoism. Modern leaders have become charalatins slick with deceipt, dishonesty, corruption, unreliability, cheating, cowardice and abuse, are dishonorable, deceitful, egocentric, unjust, unlawful, short-sighted and unaccountable.
So at this time of balance at the equinox we invoked a positive archtypal male energy, one that complemented and supported perfectly the brigidine energy. An energy that portrayed loyalty, fedility, protection, activism, stewardship, courage, honour, integrity, justice, even handedness, wisdom and responsibility. Hence we turned over the Black Patrick to recognise the Golden Patrick.
The return of the sun on Easter Sunday 2008
Tune in at the gate onto Tara, walk to the western trees and set up altar. Invocation of the directions, create sacred space with a candle and smudging. Coloured egg circle game, share water from St Patrick's Well, Tara. Walk the eternity symbol around a tree and the altar as centres. Renewed intentions for the year then food.
Again, many thanks to Thomas Eriksson, Sweden for this information
I thought I would send you some information about the blót celebrated at the time of the spring equinox. But all I could find about it is next to nothing.I could only find the name of it and the reason for celebrating it, which is basically the same reason as for any holiday around this time of year. This blót is called Segerblót."Seger" is Swedish for "Victory", and it is celebrated as the victory of daylight over nightly darkness and the victory of warmth over the coldness of winter.
Page last updated: 26th Sep 2017