Despite the turning of the wheel, I know many places are still shrouded in the death throes of The Winter Crone. Even here in the land of eternal Spring, we've still been having cold days and frosty nights. The other night there were flurries! It's been keeping me from beginning my gardens as early as I normally do, not wanting the baby herbs and vegetables to be burned or killed by ice.
But still, she is coming. The Maiden Spring and her train of merry making and beauty. You can see signs of her arrival all around; in the return of the warm weather birds, in the buds of trees, in the flowers that say "I've slept enough, I'm blooming now!". In the growing strength and warmth of the Sun. She is coming, slowly, not being rushed by a calendar date or the celebrations of the Equinox.
And quiet, as her returning, were my celebrations of the shifting seasons. I woke up early on Ostara morning and had coffee with my visiting friends before heading out in to the warm sunshine after 3 days of cold and rain to sit in comfy chairs and catch up while the dogs played in the yard. My altar, much in need of a cleaning, was stripped of its stones, crystals, bones and bric-a-brac. These treasured pieces were brought out to let the sunshine burn away old energies and be renewed with the energies of the Equinox.
The space itself was cleansed with smoke and fire and the ringing of bells. Then everything was lovingly returned and rearranged, ready for this new cycle.
In small ways, I'm still celebrating Spring's returning. The windows are stubbornly thrown open whenever the sun is shining, the cobwebs of winter are being chased from nooks and crannies and the house is getting a top to bottom scrubbing of both the physical and spiritual variety. I've got yellow candles and sweet rose incense burning amidst bees and birds on my mantel and am soaking up the sound of birdsong.
Most years I celebrate the coming of Spring with a lot of pomp and circumstance on the Equinox, as the transitional seasons are the ones with which I am nearest and dearest. But this year, I'm taking my cues from the Maiden herself and doing so slowly, quietly and with faith that soon enough the Crone will retire her cold throne and make way for rebirth, renewal, growth and warmth. Making way, inevitably, for the Mother's return. Which, as I prepare to enter her sacred circle, will be extra special this year.