As Above, So Below.
A journey into myth, meaning, and ritual.
The Old Ways speak to me. Skin, bone and soil, sun, rain, moon stars, and planetary alignments.
Our ancestors tracked the passage of time through celestial movements and the rhythms of the seasons. Equinox—the day that light and night are of equal length—occurs twice a year: spring and fall. If you, like me, are living in the northern hemisphere of the planet, then we are approaching the Spring Equinox. What does this mean?
On Winter Solstice we crossed into the lengthening of the light, transitioning from what had been a shortening of days from Samhain until that point. As we approach equinox we arrive, on that day, at a unique point of balance. Day and night are equal in length for a brief moment before we begin the ascent to the shortest night of the year on Summer Solstice.
Equality between the light and the dark on this day is a unique point of balance, both planetary and personal. The lengthening of the daylight offers the promise of growth, fertility, new birth, new life, and new beginnings. Let us also remember that all new life is seeded in the dark, in the soil, and in our mothers’s wombs.
We take root in the fecund, boundless subterranean, and we stretch our branches towards the vastness of the sky.
This is where the concept of as above, below really comes from: The Tree of Life.
We see in the image of the tree an equally extensive root system to support the growth above ground. And it is well-known that these root systems communicate with each other through various forms of signaling. Just as humans developed in tribes, trees tend to form in groves. We are part of these ecosystems whether we stop to acknowledge it or not, and they give us a map a for how our psyches and bodies function more naturally.
Many of the Christian symbols associated with Easter have pagan roots that were long before connected with spring rituals. Ever wonder what bunnies and eggs have to do with Jesus? Well…nothing, really. However, rabbits (with their prolific breeding habits) are a symbol of fertility, as are eggs and both are connected to the goddess Eostre.
The ancient art of Kingmaking was based on the selection of the goddess’s representative priestess and the king’s commitment to the land. It was a scared bond that tied the life-force of the king his kingdom and it was well understood that if failed to act as a good steward, as diminished the abundance of the land, so his own life-force would wane.
One might wander if that was what Jesus really meant when he said:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Matthew 5: 17
We assume that Jesus meant the Law of the Old Testament, but what if he meant the Law of Nature? It has been suggested that Jesus was actually Gnostic (if he lived at all or was ever more than a mushroom dream), and as a Gnostic he would have been a wisdom-seeker and devotee of the divine feminine, as She manifests through nature.
Yeshua is not the first god to die and be resurrected either, there are plenty of pre-Christian legends that revolve around the sacrifice of the god and his resurrection. One of the oldest is the story of Innana and Dumuzi, the Queen of heaven and her consort. Their story has a twist, (as she goes willingly to the Underworld), but it is not devoid of the sacrifice.
We who visit the Underworld do so at certain peril.
Sacrifices must be made for our return; this is the deeper meaning of the stories of the sacrificial kings and the priestesses that often resurrect them. The figure absent in having a direct role in resurrection in the tale of Jesus is his consort—if not wife, feminine counterpart, and beloved—Mary Magdalen. She is the first to see him upon his resurrection, but is given no true spiritual significance in traditional lore as to being the doula, or gatekeeper, who helps usher his soul back into his body.
Death, birth, and resurrection is women’s work, and these tales of dying and being reborn are the allegorical stories about the physical function of our wombs.
We see the story told again in the “disappearance” of Persephone, first known as Kore, a legend central the Elusinian Mysteries. The traditional telling paints her as a helpless maiden who is kidnapped by Hades and forced to dwell with him in the Underworld until her mother, Demeter, tracks her down and saves her. There is, however another possible twist to this story: What if she went willingly? A woman curious enough about her own nature, and the nature of existence, to descend into the depths of her own and the collective psyche in oder to mature.
Stories of resurrection, birth, and renewal are central to the Spring Equinox. These stories are also deep mythological gateways to the deeper aspects of our own psyches.
As the days warm, now is the time to plant seedlings, physically and metaphorically. Perhaps purchase a plant or a buy yourself fresh flowers. Crack a window and listen to the sound birds. Breathe in the air and imagine the scent of future blooms wafting on the breeze.
To join me in a more in-depth exploration of these and other spring mythologies, below is a link to a Spring Equinox ritual for my paid subscribers. We will gather over zoom on March 21, at 12 pm MT. If you are not yet a paid subscriber you can upgrade your subscription to be included in this and other rituals and special offers.
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