Today is the Spring Equinox. In ancient calendars, this equinox was considered the beginning of summer, and summer solstice was the marker of mid-summer.
For some of us, this “beginning of summer” may come at a time when we are still wearing down jackets and scraping the ice off our windshields. And, yet, ancient earth-based cultures held an awareness not only of what is visible to us, but also of what is invisible and pulsing in our inner currents.
At the autumnal and vernal equinoxes, solar and lunar energies are in a state of equilibrium. At the Spring (vernal) Equinox the invisible downward growth of root systems, both plant roots and your own energy roots, now becomes counterbalanced by visible growth upward and outward.
THE NECESSITY OF DESCENT
Descending into the darkness of our unconscious and our inner selves is an age-old challenge for many human beings, as we encounter aspects of our psyches that feel threatening to our conscious ego-identities. C. G. Jung referred to this as our shadow material.
Challenging as this descent may be, it is a necessary encounter with our own depths. This descent has been the subject of many ancients myths: Inanna in Sumerian mythology, Persephone in Greek mythology, Osiris in Egyptian mythology, along with numerous other examples cross-culturally.
These descent myths share an understanding that one’s descent into darkness ensures fertility, growth and a renewal of life. (And, yes, the Christian resurrection story is a relatively recent adaptation of ancient mythologies.)
Without a conscious descent to the roots of our humanness, we have little empathy for all that lives and breathes, from the sacredness of this blessed earth to our fellow human beings. It could be said that our willingness to journey to our depths is a measure of our willingness to embrace the richness, complexity and mystery that is life itself.
The words human and humble derive from the Latin word humus meaning earth or ground. Without growing down into the dirt and darkness of the inner earth of our psyches we become desperately, even dangerously, separated from our humanness and our humbleness.
THE GIFT OF EMERGENCE
Periods of inward growth, if we seize the opportunity they afford us, connect us to a reckoning with the natural part of the growth cycle which is death. Death of the ego and death of the body: the psyche perceives them similarly.
The willingness to midwife yourself through this initiatory journey cultivates an awareness that all sentient beings are subject to this same dance of light and shadow, of life and death. The exquisite vulnerability of being human becomes something real and felt rather than quantifiable and intellectualized.
The balance of equal amounts of darkness and light at this time provides exceptional moments to integrate the shadow and the light, the lunar and the solar components of our psyches.
These extraordinary moments of Equinox, energetically speaking, are with us for about about a three to five day period. This is a a unique opportunity for releasing and detoxifying the compost from which we are emerging, while sending our first tender shoots of new growth upward toward the sun.
Has it been a challenging season of inward growth? Take a moment to imagine yourself curled up inside the hard, protective shell of your seed-self, and now: Unfurl, stretch, wake-up, open your eyes and shine forth into the light. It is time.