The Goddess at the Spring Equinox

The Spring Equinox, also known as Ostara, happens every springtime when the daytime and nighttime are of equal legth: Equi-nox! Ba boom!

In the Glastonbury Avalonian Tradition, the Spring Equinox is the festival of the Goddess of Fire. All the plants and leaves are awake and frantically growing for their lives. It’s a time of rapid expansion and fevered progress in the plant world: sprouts gotta grout, shoots gotta shoot, and flowers gotta bloom. The sun is returning to the earth and warming up all the creatures and plants ready for the hedonism of summer!

All this fast movement, growing energy and explosion of new life makes the Spring Equinox the festival of Fire in the Avalonian traditon.

In other traditions, it’s associated with other elements.  Spring is often associated with Air in other traditions for… some reason. I assume because of fast growth or something? I never got it. The Avalonian wheel of the year makes sense to me so I stick with it.

At Spring Solstice, we celebrate the Goddess in her form as the the Celtic Goddess of Fire: as Sulis, the Romano-Celtic Goddess of fire and water, specifically hot springs, and as Grainne, the Sun Goddess. The sun is back to warm the earth and ignite life again. Huzzah!

We are all about eggs and bunnies because it’s a festival of new life: the festival of the SPARK of LIFE (see? Fire fire fire.)

In the Avalonian tradition, we connect with Artha, the Bear Goddess. Now, Artha is an archetypal goddess, rather than a real goddess: as a concept, Bear goddesses have been a part of ancient European legends for millennia, seen as totems of strength, power and nurturance for indigenous cultures across the world. The bear is associated at this time because bears hibernate in the winter, returning to Mama Earth to emerge at springtime. The Bear is a powerful protective mother archetype, and Kathy Jones, the originator of the Priestess of Avalon tradition, gave this bear-goddess archetype a name: Aretha, based on the celtic word for Bear.

When I was training to be a Sister of Avalon, I had a tough time connecting with the Goddess of this season. There isn’t a lot of info on celtic fire goddesses (other than the infamous Brigit), we don’t get bears in the UK any more, and being a single girl, all this talk of fertility makes me uneasy. But then I got thinking about it.

The most famous Bear Goddess in Europe was Artemis, the Maiden Huntress of ancient Greece. For me, her Huntress archetype perfectly encapsulates the energy of the Goddess at this time of the year.

Diana and Endymion, by Walter Crane

The Goddess at the Spring Equinox is a young woman, a teenager I guess, who lives fully in her wild woman power. This is before she is interested in boys, before she settles down, before she becomes a part of society – this is her at her most wild joyousness. She communicates with the creatures of the forests, laughs and dances wildly under the full moon, and hunts with her bow and arrow.

Wild and independant. Young and free. No interest in a partner, or anything to impede her freedom.

For me, that is the Goddess at Ostara, at the Spring Equinox. The huntress. The independent maiden.

How do you see the Goddess at this time of year?

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