Ostara, the Spring Equinox, is always beautiful here in Sonoma County, California. This year was threatening to be different because we have had a disturbingly dry winter. The grass was green, but very short. We were having to water parts of our garden, something largely unheard of for this time of year. As we began our Full Moon last week rain was not in the forecast other than maybe a little one day this week. For our Full Moon we did a serious rain ritual. I am sure we were not alone. Everyone around here was worried.
The rains started early in the week and it has rained almost non stop ever since. It was never destructively intense, but steady. Inch after inch after inch fell, and soaked deep into the ground. Today, Saturday, the clouds have cleared for a time, leaving a beautifully flooded Laguna de Santa Rosa and huge puddles all around, all brightly intense in the sunlight. The plants are celebrating. It will probably still end up being a dry year, but it will not be disastrously so. Spring will be its usual lush and abundant green.
Our local season and Ostara’s symbolism have moved into perfect harmony.
Wiccan Sabbats celebrate our Wheel of the Year, and like the phases of the moon, the Wheel of the Year symbolize to us the stages of life, from birth to death to rebirth. All things are born, grow, die, and then return to wherever it was that they came. Four Sabbats are “Greater Sabbats” originally linked with Celtic agricultural cycles: Brigit, Beltane, Lammas, and Samhain.
The other four “cross quarter” Sabbats are correlated with the solstices and equinoxes. Over the next few days we Witches and many other Pagans will celebrate Ostara, the Spring Equinox.
Equinoxes are times of balance between day and night, light and darkness. But the balance is dynamic, lasting a day, before shifting into playing a role in that greater balance that is the Wheel of the Year. For me this sense of balance should be the dominant theme of either Ostara, or Mabon, the Fall Equinox. But otherwise they are very different Sabbats, for after Ostara the light will continue to grow, whereas after Mabon, it is darkness that increases.
My altar will be bedecked with bright yellow daffodils and the blue of rosemary. Tomorrow, if I have my act together and it isn’t raining I’ll hike out to the Laguna for sunrise. (It might rain for many more days according to the weather and I’ll happily give up sunrise for that.)
I have been too engrossed in doing much more than this because I have been working to meet a deadline for a big writing opportunity. A little pamphlet a few of us created for the Praxis Peace Institute to respond to the libertarian subtext in the movie Thrive led to a publisher asking for a more complete criticism of libertarian politics. My share of our project needs to be done tomorrow. In a way that is another transition point as well and fits this time.
I’m a political scientist by training, and for thirty years I have been gradually working my way out of a strongly libertarian position while preserving its important insights. All this time I have been striving to share my work with others of that persuasion. Mostly this has been frustrating because so many libertarian scholars were more interested in promoting an ideology than thinking about addressing its weak points or about how to ground it better in speaking to human needs. But I am persistent to a fault.
Finally, at the end of last month my connections with the libertarian establishment came to an end due to some less than honorable actions on their part. I will not go into details because they are irrelevant in this context. But it meant there was no longer much point in trying to address their scholarly side because it had become, for most, nonexistent except as an adjunct to their political agenda.
About the same time I was asked to write a long critique addressed to a non-libertarian mostly progressive audience! I would be making the same arguments and offering the same insights as before, but presented not “in house” to ultimately hostile audience uninterested in ideas except as weapons, but rather outside, to bolster criticisms and deepen understanding. From the vantage of Ostara’s symbolism, the appropriateness of this shift is striking. I am working with the same ideas (balance) but have shifted from one audience to another (from non-receptive to receptive).
That the chapter will be done tomorrow, on the equinox, seems very fitting.