Spring is in the air as the Covid vaccine is making its way into arms across America! After a year of soul-crushing news while we live our lives shoehorned in fear through Zoom, the early rays of hope are just beginning to peek over the horizon.
Indeed, as we emerge from this endlessly long dark night, we may feel like busting out all of the stops. I know I can’t wait to travel, go dancing, eat in restaurants, and hug everyone I know!!
But this idea that we can and should go “back to normal” is a mistake. Author and poet Sonya Renee Taylor writes:
“Our pre-corona existence was not normal other than we normalized greed, inequality, exhaustion, depletion, extraction, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate and lack. We should not long to return, my friends. We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment. One that fits all of humanity and nature.”
Furthermore, it would be a mistake to deny the traumas incurred over the past year. Many of us have lost friends, loved ones, relationships, jobs, and our way of life. We’ve had to completely rearrange our priorities, put our dreams on indefinite hold, or pivot to something entirely new.
In his book “The Wild Edge of Sorrow,” Frances Weller writes of the intimate connection between grief and soul, that how going through our own grief is the only true way to find our deepest connection to ourselves, our world, and each other.
For those of us who are emerging from this pandemic with some battle scars, I believe it is well worth our time and attention to dive into this grief, to feel it, to metabolize its wisdom, and to release the rest. It is only through our grief that we can begin to create this new garment -- one that fits all of humanity and nature -- that Sonya Renee Taylor envisions.
Here are five ritual ideas that can help you process grief and release it during this spring equinox season.
Go on a nature walk
Nature is an amazing teacher, particularly about life and loss. The cycles of death and rebirth are on full display this time of year. Dead leaves and flowers from last year, frozen ground, barron trees that have yet to start sprouting buds remind us that death is a fact of life and indeed that rebirth could not happen without it.
Cleanse your space
Covid has meant that we are in our space All. The. Damn. Time. Take a break from the normal routine to scrub the stove or clean out the fridge or donate clothes you don’t wear anymore. Instead of listening to yoru favorite podcast, use the time to reflect on what you want to do with the spaciousness you’re creating. Cleaning our space metaphorically gives us literal and metaphoric room to create the things we want to create.
Create a home altar
I am a big fan of creating visual reminders of our commitments to live with a greater sense of purpose. Clean off a shelf or a corner of the house or home office to make a (lower case “s”) sacred space for objects that conjure up spring and renewal for you.
Traditional spring symbols of course include fertility icons like eggs and rabbits, but you can and should also find things that have special meaning for you. I have photos of Alexandia Ocasio Cortez, Robert Downey Jr and Oprah, who overcame incredible odds to become forces of amazing good in the world. Whenever I look at this altar, I am reminded of the constant opportunities to shed ideas, beliefs that no longer serve me and make space for new ones.
Early agricultural civilizations including the Babylonians, Indians, and Zorostrians celebrated their new year on the vernal equinox, as it was the time when the natural world came to life.
We can take a page from these traditions and reflect on this season as the time for new growth as well. Set aside some time for yourself to reflect on questions like:
What do I want to create this year?
What do I want to leave behind?
How might I grieve the losses of that which I have had to leave behind?
I like to create artifacts that represent my answers to each of these questions and craft rituals around each.The things that represent my creative dreams/goals, I place on my altar. And that which I want to leave behind, I will often burn or bury in a ritual. Often I will use this time to allow myself to feel all the feelings I have around these losses so that I might experience the transmuting power of grief and release.
Keep an eye out for fertile soil
Dreaming big is a powerful practice for the equinox, too much dreaming without action can give us a feeling of being stuck. So it’s a good idea to take the next few weeks and keep an eye out for opportunities to plant some seeds to grow these dreams into reality. I find that when I have an intention for some sort of dream or goal, I am more apt to see opportunities as they arise.
The Center for Ritual Design works with people and organizations to create meaningful rituals to help navigate major life transitions. Please reach out at CenterforRitualDesign AT Gmail DOT com for a free initial consultation.