I have been asked to write a blog about the Spring Solstice . I was going to write about how important the Solstice was to our ancients and the changes it meant to them.
However, I feel very strongly that I want to share, for the first time, what the Spring Solstice actually means for me and in this sharing maybe it will shine light on how we can celebrate Spring now. We have all felt the effect of these lockdowns, especially this last one, so please, let me highlight the hope and promise that the Spring Solstice offers.
There is a slow build up to the Solstice – you can see snow drops waving, the start of the daffodils pushing through, even the buds on the willow trees are slowly re-emerging. Like the plants and trees, I feel a real awakening happening, feeling the energy levels rising and the excitement of the light to come.
This excitement builds for me and when March 20-21 arrives – this year the Solstice is on Saturday March 20th , this marks the start to my new daily routine for the next seven months. I will arise at around 5am in the morning and head to the Pentland Hills where I have found the most amazing pool, here I will bathe every morning. This Solstice also happens to be the New Moon, an auspicious day indeed – in fact every new moon I fast for 36 hours (that’s another story) so I will enter the waters anew.
This pool in the Pentlands, I am sure, will have hundreds of people walking past every day in the summer but to me it is filled with love. However, being so early in the morning it is a break from the human world, it is a medicine; no people, no human sounds but busy, nature is so busy with the work in hand of Springing forth. This is the time when I can walk (it’s a round trip of just over an hour) the same circle everyday whatever the weather. In fact, sometimes in the winter when I awake in the middle of the night for no reason, I hear the water calling. I will walk in the pitch black, it’s amazing how quickly your eyes adjust, to the pool, and bathe in her waters, black as a seal’s eye, mysterious and magical – hypnotised by her beauty and slide into the cold waters to feel renewed.
This place I bathe in is surrounded by four Sycamores and share the space with an old oak covered in moss, a huge hazel, some young ash, willow and silver birch. These are friends which I watch in awe - from the first sticky buds on the Sycamore branches, watching how they unfold to offer their vivid, lime green, palm shaped leaves and then in no time the tree is covered in a cape of electric green – the green of Spring is filled with promise. Every year my awe for this magic deepens – I am struck by how truly incredible and beautiful this transformation is – the energy, the water, and the complex communication required to allow this to happen is nothing short of a miracle.
For me, to then slip into the cold waters adds to this connection, it awakens the body, allows you to breathe deeply, gaze intensely at everything, listen to all the sounds – time is lost, the veil is removed, you are held – here is Spring.
You may be very glad to hear that you don’t need to go to the hills and wild swim to celebrate the Spring Solstice. Even when I lived in town, I would go to the park early in the morning to feed the wild birds – open the window and allow the bird songs of Spring to fill your mind as they are rejoicing and celebrating the coming new season and all that it holds. Find a tree or a favourite plant and go every day and watch how it unfolds. Bring the yellow of the sun into your home with fresh daffodils or equally nurture the wild primrose or cowslips in a flower bed (never pick these from the wild though, (nurseries like ourselves sell them), allow dandelions to flower for they are a direct resemblance of the sun. Plant some seedlings on your windowsill and follow their growth with your hands feel the earth warming up, if you don’t have a garden consider volunteering, we have wonderful volunteers here at the Secret Herb Garden.
Bid the dark farewell and greet the light – listen, watch and feel - absorb the Spring into your very being.
I truly believe we all need this more than ever, having been cut off from family and friends let’s connect to the one true constant, Nature, to help heal our bodies, minds and souls.