The Promise of Spring happens half way between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. The actual day varies a little from year to year. In 2019, it happens from sundown on February 3 to sundown on February 4.
Although all days are sacred, we mark the 8 holy days to remind ourselves to step back in the flow of Nature and give thanks. The Promise of Spring is just that. Winter is loosening it’s grasp. We see this in the crocuses that peak their heads out of the snow. The udders of sheep and goats are beginning to swell with the milk for their newborns or those that are coming soon. Although there are still no leaves on the trees, we can see the beginnings of buds that are starting to appear. The morning light appears a bit sooner and lasts a little longer. All around we see life renewing itself.
With this influx of masculine energy, we are beginning to feel the desire to get moving. This can mean that we start to clear out old clutter, move that stale energy out, and get rid of all the things that died over the winter. We’re making space for the things that spring will bring. If you used your winter well and did some meditating and contemplating, you probably have new plans. Now is the time to set them into action and plant those seeds that will blossom later.
Although most of our holy days are times for community celebration, The Promise of Spring is a smaller one, an inner one. Instead of a bonfire, there is a hearth fire or just candles. Instead of a group ritual, a solo ritual is often used or perhaps a family gathering. This is because it’s still winter. It’s probably too cold to be outside with a big bonfire. The energy of winter is still feminine, so it’s still a time of introspection.
Some themes you may wish to use as a focal point for your celebration or ritual are:
- change – the world outside is transforming. If you allow it, this can happen for you personally too.
- candles/fire – to represent the return of the sun
- dairy products – to represent the return of milk and kidding/lambing season
- water – for purification
Here are two solo rituals that you can either use just as they are or adapt for your own personal observation. Remember that it is more important that you observe in a way that is heartfelt and authentic to you. Simple can be just as good, or even better, than creating something elaborate.
Take a Ritual Bath
As this is a ritual bath and not just part of your daily routine, you want to make this mindful from beginning to end. This is not just to cleanse your body, but to purify your mind and spirit as well. Keep your mind focused on your intention from start to finish.
Prepare by gathering things you would like for this bath. You could use candles, meditation music, or scented oils – either within the bath or in a diffuser. An herbal sachet with purification herbs such as sage, chamomile, cinnamon, lemon balm, sandalwood, lavendar, rosemary, peppermint., epsom salts, or baking soda makes a relaxing, soothing bath. You could also choose two cups of raw apple cider vinegar or two cups of baking soda with two cups of sea salt. If you are using an altar, create something that represents the spirit and theme of the season. Put it where you can see it and be inspired by it from the bath tub.
Run the bath. Add your choice of purification additives. If you are using herbs, if you don’t have tea sachets, tie the herbs in cheesecloth and hang it from the faucet. Allow the water to run through the cloth releasing the aroma and medicine into the tub.
Light your candles. Turn on the music and diffuser, if you are using one. Sink into the tub and relax. Once you are completely relaxed, tune into any places within that seem unsettled, are ready to let go, or don’t belong there anymore. Allow this staleness, this negativity, or whatever it is that is ready to go to flow out of you and into the water. Trust that it is being cleansed by the water and the additives. When you feel “done”, leave the bath tub. Thank the water for their work on your behalf. Know that when the water drains, it will carry away everything you intended leaving you fresh and new for the Promise of Spring.
Personal Candle Ritual
At sunset, purify the space you intend to use for this ritual with sage smoke or incense. Then sage yourself. Light eight white candles and place them in a container of water. If you wish to call in your spirit helpers, gods, or any other energy, you can do so now.
Sit where you can see the flames. Stare into the flames and allow your mind to empty and tune into the energy around you. Once you are centered, meditate on your intention. You may discover answers to questions, feel things releasing, experience peace, or gain inspiration. Whatever happens, let it happen.
If it feels right, you can journal. Perhaps it feels more appropriate to chant or tone. Let whatever needs to be expressed to come out.
When it feels “done”, break your meditation. If you called in energies to support you, thank them and say goodbye. Close the sacred space by retracing your steps to took to purify the space. When you get back to the beginning, touch your hand to the ground to ground the energy back down.
If it feels safe to do so, and the candles are in a place where they will not be disturbed, allow the candles to burn until they burn out. Know that the water and flames will purify and release everything that needs to clear out so that your intention can be realized. When you dispose of the candles and water, thank them for the work that they have done on your behalf.