Standing on the edge, with a cosmically delineated point where the tide turns from winter to spring, we teeter on the brink of the spring equinox. It is a time for madness.
Many of us are not yet ready to run full tilt into the light of the summer sun – not yet ready to pull away from the skirts of winter and face all that summer will bring. Some of us are more than ready, like a horse left too long in its stall, ready to kick free and run in the fields with the spring grasses underfoot. Often times these two will clash. Some of us don’t feel a change at all.
Whether you are ready or not, if you are at all sensitive to the times and tides of nature, this is a time of uncertainty. Much as with our previous agrarian lifestyle, we don’t know if our crops will fail, whether the seeds we are planting will come to anything. Our dreaming of winter hangs in the balance – do we dare to take those dreams out of the darkness of inception and into the growing light, or do they need more time, in case they are exposed to the uncertainties much as a late spring frost could easily kill our early seedlings.
It is a time of courage. Like the seed that sprouts, not certain if the soil is good, its position prominent and well taken, we must go forth into the world out of our winter’s hibernation. We must find that spark deep within that allows change to happen, for we cannot hibernate forever.
It is also a time of hardship. All those creatures, especially the herbivores, find this the hungry season, where food is scarce after the long winter’s cold and the summer’s bounty still yet to come. Our ancestors knew this as the hungry time as well – the last of the winter cabbages and apples gone, awaiting the time of new lambs and calves to provide extra nourishment. The first of the nettles and primroses are now shining through, with their beneficial nutrients. We can take this opportunity to learn what it means to be hungry, and also what is available in our own landscapes that can nourish us both physically and mentally.
Hares are visible in the stubble or newly ploughed fields, or running across little country roads. Boxing males and females are spotted under the light of both sun and moon. Are they mad as well?
It is a time of great tides, such as the Severn Bore. Combined with a full moon, rain and storm surges it can cause havoc and severe flooding. Like the tides of spring and autumn equinox, we can ride them either into the growing light of summer or the fading light of winter. Is your raft well crafted? Will you be able to hang on? Are you able to ride the tides and see where they take you?
Like I said, it is a time of madness.
Joanna van der Hoeven is a Druid, Witch and a best-selling author. She has been working in Pagan traditions for over 20 years. She is the Director of Druid College UK, helping to re-weave the connection to the land and teaching a modern interpretation of the ancient Celtic religion. She has published many renowned books on Druidry including The Awen Alone: Walking the Path of the Solitary Druid and Zen Druidry: Living a Natural Life, With Full Awareness.