Last Easter, I went with friends to watch the sun rise over the Dorset hills, before heading to a fire on the beach, breakfast and a swim in the sea. This time it was just me and the dog in Welsh hills. Lots has changed, but the sun, the earth and the sky were the same and that gives me a sense of peace and continuity. They will remain long after we have stepped off our mortal coils. Life will carry on.
Eostre, another word for Ostara, is linked to the word oestrogen; the female fertility hormone. For that this what this time of year represents; spring, new beginnings and fertility. Long before the egg became a symbol for the stone rolled away from the Jesus’ tomb, the egg was a representation of birth. This time of year is also linked with the archetype of the maiden, the virgin; eager anticipation for what is to come, hope of adventure and love, nervous about stepping out into the world, but full of energy and readiness to do so.
Spring and lock-in
So what does all that mean for us now, in hibernation, lock-down, an autumn time?
First it is to just recognise how the energy of the maiden will want us to go out, take risks, adventure, to go to the coast, family, the open spaces. With these longer days of course this is what out body, sun and air starved through winter, wants to do. And yet we must resist. For those of us with gardens, now is the time to plant, to weed, to listen to the birds, to enjoy the sun. For those of us in flats or without outside space, open your windows, inhale deeply, sky gaze, listen to the sounds, tend any indoor plants you have.
It is not easy to be held back when we want to grow but there is opportunity in this frustration.
I planted marigolds out two weeks ago and they have all died. For spring things are fragile. The chick, the lamb and buds, all are very tender and in need of protection. When we are born is when we are most vulnerable.
So this hibernation gives us time to find our feet, to let our feathers dry. It is too soon for us to run and fly. Instead, use this energy of new life inwardly, to muse and dream and plan just how you would like the world to be when we all re-enter it.
It gives us time to reach out to those who are vulnerable, each taking care of our own corner of the world. Phone the friends and family you have living alone, those who are ill, those who are working in the NHS, the police, the supermarkets, the hauliers and see how they are doing, be the nest, the holding environment for their vulnerabilities.
And be the nest for yourself for this covid time has the potential for new growth and possibilities for us all. Illness and death have forever sat alongside new life and birth and I don’t want to diminish the experience of the former, I have written before of my sadness and guilt. But on this Easter day, it seems right to focus on what is budding, what is blossoming, what hatching within us all.
- Who will you be?
- How have you changed already?
- What are the gifts of this time?
- What seeds can you plant?
- What needs tending and tenderness in you and your life right now?
For just as the seasons cycle from darkness to light, so too will this time pass and although we are still inside our nests, our wombs, our eggs, those who are lucky enough to be reborn, have an opportunity to change ourselves and the world for the better.
Let us use our rebirth for the good of all.
Wishing you love and tenderness today.