by Aurora Star Light Bringer
As the wheel of the year turns once more, we find ourselves waking up to the Spring Equinox with fresh eyes, looking and finding the return of the light displayed not just in the sky but in everything it touches. The birdsong returns, the morning is brighter and the first flowers of spring look to the light with their yellow hearts wide open, reflecting back the sun. This is a time for us to rejoice with open hearts as the miracle of rebirth is displayed all around us.
Ostara marks a time of balance, a time of push and a pull. We shed coats and gloves yet in the just-warm air we can taste the memory of snow. We spring clean the indoors, but crave time outside. Light and dark find themselves equal partners in the dance, and the rustling of the winds whispers “peace”. It is in peace that we find the sacrament of the Spring Equinox.
Where Winter Solstice found us in the dark night of our soul and Imbolc found us at the dawn, Ostara finds us in the morning, rising up to greet the day. As we look out upon the possibilities the day holds, we also number the tasks and obstacles ahead of us. We look upon empty garden beds, seeing the work it will take to restore them. In taking that first step towards both possibilities and obstacles, and in understanding the balance within the two, we find peace.
Peace is a word that has been co-opted as of late, we have come to associate it with spas and massages. We sometimes confuse the word ‘peace’ with ‘relaxation’ and imagine a reality in which there is no conflict, no struggle, no work, no stress. This is not the peace that Spring Equinox’s lesson holds in store for us.
In the balance of Ostara, we find that peace is not the result of a lack of work or effort. Peace is the ability to see the promise of a future that does not exist and accept the labor it will take to bring that future to reality. We take the first steps of the journey knowing we all carry the tools to face what we will encounter.
As Unitarian Universalists, we understand that peace and work go hand in hand. In seeking the justice, equity and compassion that our second principle speaks to we recognize that peace is a labor of love, tempered by individual and community growth. Without work, there can be no peace. We strive to become leaders in working for peace and we are willing to devote a tremendous effort to achieve peace. We find that the path to peace is a long and laborious journey, often fraught with struggles and challenges that at times seem insurmountable.
Because we spend so much of our time and energies working towards peace, it is easy for we UU’s to become tired in our efforts. This is why the message of Ostara is an important reminder that can heal and inspire us in our efforts. As we look around us we are inspired by the growth of the seeds we have already planted, we can imagine what a garden filled with flowers and life will look like. Our spirit is renewed and we are inspired to do more to ensure that that garden becomes reality.
It is not surprising that we see images of eggs and chicks, bulbs and flowers during this season. These transfigurations are lessons in the peace of Spring. Contained within the egg is the spirit of the bird being formed into life. The chick does not avoid hatching to bypass the labor of breaking through its shell. It accepts the challenge and in hatching does not stop there, but goes forth to explore the world. So it is with the bulb, containing the promise of life. The plant heeds the call of the light and journeys towards the sun until it finally breaches the warm soil. But it, too, does not stop there, it continues to climb upwards until its full potential as a flower is achieved. So it is with peace. We cannot stop at the first successes in our efforts to achieve peace in this world, but must continue our efforts until the peaceful world we imagined comes to be.
May the messages of Ostara, on this day of balance, remind you that the light is drawing up the plants, awakening the earth and bringing beauty to the world. Let it inspire you to accept the work that building peace requires. May you find peace in accepting this task. Let us look to the first flowers to remind each of us to climb to our highest potential so world we imagine can come to be.