Today is the Vernal Equinox! Spring is officially here and the deep shadows the climbing sun creates affirms this. Today we will see equal light and equal dark, and from here until the Fall Equinox will see an increase in sunlight.
This is also the day which turns the Rewilding Wheel from Winter Quadrant practices that played with the associations between the Winter season, the element of Air, the cardinal direction North, the spiritual traditions that connected to the sage-qualities of the high places, and the wisdom soul work of the crone. Now, we move Eastward, the place of the rising sun and the kindred element of fire. The Spring Quadrant works with the symbols of Spring, new life, creativity, imagination. This is the season of birth and transformation. The Rewilding Wheel does something different with these universal indigenous symbologies. This sacred circuit lands the prayers and practices associated with these correspondences in a particular locale with the intention of attuning to the spirit of a place. In our Pacific Northwest bioregion, the spirit of this quadrant lands us in low land forests. Within the mythopoetic world, the forest is the place we enter to be transformed, and it is often the lantern, or flame, that guides us through these dark and transformational places to a the grounded sense of Self Knowing.
Here is to the turn of seasons! Here is to the turn of the Rewilding Wheel! I’m excited for this new attunement and the spiritual practices and disciplines that align with this quadrant.
I co-created this mandala today as a spiritual practice to attune to the new season and see anew how the plant world was emerging on this vernal day. As I noted, this Spring season will place my delight and discipline within forest and woodland landscapes. I thought it was completely appropriate then that this mandala is presenting along with shadows cast from a still-southern arcing sun through the fringe forest that is our back yard.
Plant Friends who co-created this mandala with me:
Daffodil—in honor of my son River’s birthday which follows quickly after the Spring Equinox; I tell him every year the daffodil’s are blooming to trumpet their celebration of his birth)
Rosemary and Forget-Me-Not—these sweet blooms both carry the theme of remembrance. As I was in my garden today, there was the machine-and-wheeled presence of trucks, cranes, and drills in the fringe habitat of our neighborhood woods. Three centurion trees were felled for more development. I sit in the tension as I witness the removal of habitat and tree beings to accommodate the relentless growth of our city. These flowers seemed to implore me to not forgot the faithful lives of these trees and continue this important work of deep remembering.
Equinox Eggs—lovely eggs laid by our lovely hens. Eggs are symbolic in this season of the return of vibrant life after a long and cold winter.
Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus)—Snowberry grows throughout our neighbor-wood as well as on the slopes around our home. Plants have extensive root systems and are used to stabilize soils on banks and slopes. Cut some of the branches and tie them together to be used as a broom (fun activity for kids after they help pick up the branches during a late winter prune!). Into natural deodorant? The crushed berries have been rubbed into the armpits as an antiperspirant!
Grand Fir—these fresh Grand fir tips are delicious as a tea or infused to create a simple sugar! Young tips are harvested when they are limey green and tender. These ones were harvested from our neighbor-woods and represent the move towards a deeper engagement with forestscapes in the Spring quadrant of the Rewilding Wheel. Pinch off the new growth here and there – making sure to not to gather too much in one place and being sure to harvest with gratitude.
White Icicle flowering current (Ribes sanguineum)—Profusely adorned by hanging clusters of white flowers in early spring followed by blue-black berries in summer. Superb as a hedge and indeed is present in the living fence (i.e. hedge) we have created between our home and our neighbors. Wildlife are attracted to the summer fruit so planting this in your yard increases your habitat potential. Deciduous.
Indian Plum or osoberry (Oemleria)—this too is a harbinger of spring but within the cool of the low woodland forest. With the first vibrant lime green leaves to unfurl in late Winter, Indian Plum boasts a delicate white flower before anything else blooms. If you can catch them before the birds do, the fruit is edible, albeit bitter. Indigenous native tribes ate the fruit fresh, dried, or cooked.
Forsythia—bright yellow harbingers of spring. These are lovely planted as a border or hedge and make lovely cuttings to bring into your home, office, or school.
Pussy willow (Salix)—My children love collecting the catkins and using them in their play. Plant a grove and cut some every year for crafts. Willows are pliant and strong and make beautiful wreaths and chairs and tables and trellis--the only limit is your imagination!
Evergold Variegated Japanese Sedge—our backyard paths are lined with this sedge, which prefers the moist soil that is fed by the seasonal spring in our neighbor-wood. Birds enjoy the coverage the long leaves provide.
Sword fern—these fiddleheads emerge in the early spring and are delicious fried up with olive oil and garlic. Harvest carefully and never take too many from one plant as these unfurl to become the sword fern’s fronds. My totem, sword ferns have shown up to me in revelatory ways in times when I have most needed divine presence.