It’s time to set some intentions.

Poppies in Hemet
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The start of spring, aka the spring (or vernal) equinox, is a cause for a lot of celebration. The season means warmer weather, more time outdoors and in the garden, and for many people, a fresh start. “Spring holds a variety of meanings in many traditions and cultures,” says Ryan Trinh, House of Intuition healer and in-house tarot reader. “Similarly, in a spiritual and metaphysical sense, the spring equinox is associated with rebirth and renewal. As the coldness of the winter months begin to abate, it makes way for spring to begin again, signifying not only worldly renewal but also personal renewal. Like seeds germinating, it is a fantastic time for our own personal growth and intention setting.”

A time for growth and new beginnings? That can be an appealing concept for many people. And if you’re looking to welcome spring with some rituals or want to learn how you can set some intentions for the new season, read on for tips.

Thomas J. Story

What Is the Spring Equinox?

Yes, it’s the first day of spring (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere), but it’s also so much more. On March 20 (the day of this year’s vernal equinox), there are equal amounts of daylight and night—12 hours each. “To us, the equinox is a time for reflection and a time to set intentions, under the influence of the potent, shifting seasonal energy of spring,” the team at Moon Canyon says. “A time to look back and honor what you have been composting in winter’s fallow time. And a time to nourish what you began to incubate. Winter, though more subtle in its energetic presentation, offers us the rest and fuel needed to feed the new birth seen in spring. This day, the vernal equinox, where we find balance and transition from darkness into days of ever-more light, we can hold both the richness of the lessons from our past and the potential of our future in each hand.”

What Does the Spring Equinox Mean in Astrology?

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If you follow astrology or are curious about it, you should know that the spring equinox is also an important date—it’s the first day of the zodiac and the beginning of the astrological New Year. “The dividing line between Pisces and Aries, The Ascendant, is this point of equinox and represents infinity,” explains Issa Marcantoni of Homecoming Astrology. “It is said that we are birthed through this portal to incarnate into form. In the land of Pisces we are infinite. We are in our whole state swimming in cosmic oneness. As we birth through the Ascendant we begin the individualization process and come into separated form in Aries.”

Marcantoni adds that the equinox chart (or how the sky is aligned on the day of March 20) will set the tone until the summer solstice. They shared some interesting transits and placements during this day:

  • This spring equinox is big in that Pluto will not just be in its final degree of Capricorn after entering 15 years ago, but it will also be in its last minutes before it shifts to Aquarius on March 23. The final degree, 29°, is a time of dissolving. Tests can arise as it goes through the transmutation process into the next sign (archetype).
  • Saturn, the ruler of Capricorn, will have just entered Pisces two weeks before, which is also the energy of dissolving. Saturn and Capricorn both rule society, institutions, government, and the status quo. This may be a moment where we see shifts in power with nations. This can be a time where underdogs rise up!
  • We also have Venus, the sign of values and self-worth, conjunct the North Node, our destiny. We are being asked to make adjustments to how we show up in the world in a way that honors our values, sees our own self as valuable, and therefore brings deeper stability to our life and livelihood. Money and who has it can be shifting here. 
  • Jupiter, Chiron, and Mercury will all be in Aries, too. These are the three planets of the “teachers.” This can be a time where we begin to heal inner ideologies of smallness or playing small in the world. Where we can awaken to a new perspective about ourselves and reconnect to our inner spark of inspiration. You may also meet a teacher who helps you with this.

Not every sign may feel the above. Fire, earth, and water signs will be most affected by this year’s spring equinox. “I would say that if you have any planets from 0-3° Aries, 14-18° Aries, 2-6° Taurus, 27-29° Capricorn or 0-3° Pisces you will feel this the most because the equinox chart will aspect your natal chart,” Marcantoni explains.

Spring Equinox Rituals to Try

There are a number of rituals you can do to celebrate the spring equinox, and the experts shared some of their favorites below. It’s also important to note that you can do a lot of prep beforehand if you think you’ll be very busy on the actual day. “It may be a good idea to get certain things started before the spring equinox, such as spring cleaning or burning cleansing sage!” Trinh says. “Gathering of ingredients for rituals and cooking beforehand is just time efficient.”

Vegetable Seedlings

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1. Plant Seeds

Both literally and figuratively. In the proverbial sense, you can plant “seeds” or intentions that you hope to harvest in the future. And in the literal sense, it’s the start of growing season. It’s time to get outdoors. “Time spent in the garden on the spring equinox reminds us of our ability to grow and to create. And that we are in reciprocal relationship with the Earth,” say the folks at Moon Canyon. “What we put in, we get back. What we give allows us to receive. Take time to feel into the body and listen. What foods are you craving this year? What flowers do you want to see blooming all around you? What are you looking for more of in your days? And what do you have to let go of to make space for that? We often need to pull up ‘weeds’ to make space for the seeds we are sowing. This can be done with reverence and the acknowledgement that what was here once served us, but that there is a season for all things, even letting go.”

2. Set Intentions

As mentioned above, the spring equinox is prime time to set some new intentions. “Much like the planting of seeds, setting intentions is a spiritual form of planting seeds for what we want to cultivate in our year,” Trinh says. “We recommend lighting our Spring Equinox Magic Candle to help you manifest your intentions.”

House of Intuition Spring Equinox Candle

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House of Intuition Spring Equinox Magic Candle, $24

3. Generate Movement

You might have been a little more, um, sedentary in the wintertime, but spring is the perfect time to get moving. “Many of the earliest spring greens that make their way above the soil are plants that encourage movement and cleansing of lymph fluid. Bringing these plants into our days through food and herbal medicine can set us up for health throughout the cycle of the year ahead,” explains the Moon Canyon team. “The lymph system also requires physical movement to move itself, as it has no pump, apart from our breath and our muscles. So practices like walking, deep breathing, dry brushing, salt scrubs, and gua sha are perfect habits to begin building on the spring equinox and carry throughout the year.” They recommend buying or making a salt scrub and taking some time in the morning of the equinox to use it and “honor the flow of your internal waters.” Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day to cleanse and replenish, too.

Moon Canyon Salt Scrub

Courtesy of Moon Canyon

Moon Canyon Violet, Red Clover, Rose Geranium, and Wild Orange Lymphatic Salt Scrub, $44

4. Try a Renewal Ritual

Marcantoni recommends a renewal ritual where you gather two pieces of paper, a pencil, a bowl, some water, a lighter, incense/palo santo/sage, a stick, and a spot to plant something. Then, follow these steps:

  • Create a threshold with the stick. This line will act as “The Ascendant” line marking the past on one side and the future on the other.
  • Stand on one side of it with the bowl of water, pencil, and paper. Have your sage and lighter handy. Write on the piece of paper a belief, emotional pattern, or tendency that you are ready to dissolve. Fold it up and bring it to your lips. Thank the pattern for the care that it offered you in the past. Let it know that you no longer need this to be okay. Give it permission to leave your mind and body. Give it a kiss and place the note in the water letting it dissolve from your being. Place the bowl on the side of the line that is your past.
  • Grab your sage and light one end until it begins to smoke. Facing the line, sage in front of you like it is a portal or doorway you are blessing. Send your prayers for your life into this space. When you feel complete, step through, over the stick into your future.
  • Take your second piece of paper and write out the belief, emotional pattern, or tendency that would replace the old belief.
  • Dig into the soil and plant your new self into the soil. Bless this seed with all of your love and belief in its fruition. Thank the earth for her support in your manifestation. When you finish planting it, state, “And so it is.”
  • In a few hours or days, you will see what you wrote has dissolved. Feel free to compost it or even flush it down the toilet for a final goodbye ceremony!
  • Come back to this place as often as possible to tend to the earth and to send continuous love into your seed self. If you live in an urban environment and don’t have access to earth, you can find a flower pot and soil and plant your “seed” there instead.

5. Anoint with Vinegar

The Moon Canyon collective believes vinegar is a “medicine” with many helpful properties to benefit your body like restoring the microbiome, helping to promote metabolism, and balancing the nervous system. “We love to infuse vinegar with dried herbs in the spring, especially herbs that offer nourishment, and encourage detoxification, like alteratives,” they say. “Start the morning of the vernal equinox by drinking 2 tablespoons of vinegar (possibly a medicinal vinegar) in a large glass of water. Notice the activation and aliveness of your digestive system, and the way that impacts your mood and presence. You could even consider making your own herbal-infused vinegar leading up to the equinox. To do so, fill a glass quart jar about halfway full with dried herb(s) of your choice. Fill the jar to the top with vinegar. Place a piece of parchment paper under the lid, if using a metal lid, to prevent corrosion. Let steep for three weeks, shaking daily. Then strain the herbs out with a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth, leaving you with a medicinal vinegar. Store in the fridge and enjoy daily! We like to use nutrient-rich, cleansing herbs in the spring like nettle, dandelion leaf and root, burdock root, oatstraw, and red clover, but you can use whatever herbs you have access to or are calling to you.”

6. Greet the Sun

“If you’re a night owl, this may be a little difficult, but many people like to wake up to greet the rising sun as a way to represent the sun’s renewed strength and the beginning of longer days,” Trinh says. “You can see this as a way to help attune yourself with the natural world as well!”

7. Cleanse

“We hear the term ‘spring cleaning‘ a lot!  For some, they may do this on the spring equinox, though some prefer to do it a little before the date,” Trinh explains. “This can be seen as a symbolic way of clearing out the old to give space for new things to grow. The fall equinox can also be used as another important date to do cleansing and purging of old energies.”

House of Intuition Cleansing Kit

Courtesy of House of Intuition

House of Intuition Ritual Cleansing Kits, $25

8. Awaken With Sour and Bitter Foods

“The flavors of sour and bitter are our greatest allies during spring, as they create movement and flow in the body,” says the Moon Canyon team. “They awaken our system, stimulate digestion, encourage enzyme secretion, and bring energy back to the body to greet the days of growing light and increasing activity.” They suggest bringing some sort of bitter and/or food into each meal on the equinox, like endive, dandelion greens, cucumber peels, citrus zest, sauerkraut, kimchi, and cranberries. If you find it makes you feel good, consider doing this beyond the equinox.

9. Detox with Herbal Alteratives

The Moon Canyon collective explains that in Western herbal medicine, herbal alteratives are the plants and foods that open the body’s channels of elimination, encouraging the natural detoxification process, and gradually restoring optimal function to the body. Consider adding them to your routine on the equinox (and after if it suits you). Some examples of alteratives include nettle, dandelion leaf and root, burdock root, violet, calendula, and red clover. Importantly, do your own research on these ingredients (and any others mentioned in this article) to see if they’re suitable for your own specific dietary needs.

10. Gather Outdoors

“For many, the spring equinox also heralds a change in the temperature so many like to celebrate outdoors as a way to enjoy the new weather but this is also a way to commune and welcome the spring,” Trinh says. “Eating outdoors, hiking, anything nature-related is a great way to celebrate the equinox, and again, attune oneself to the movement of the seasons.”

Airstream/RV at camp with picnic table and coastal view

Thomas J. Story

11. Tend to Your Soil

Sure, you can do this literally in your backyard, but figuratively, the Moon Canyon collective recommends doing some grounding meditation practices and resting to avoid burnout. The reason? Spring can be a time that brings a flurry of social activity and can take a lot of energy out of you. “Engage in a short grounding meditation practice to close out the daylight of the spring equinox,” they suggest. “As the day retreats, making way for night, recognize the power of stillness and of rest. Let the grounded presence you gain as a result of your sit carry you forward into the season feeling held. Consider adopting a daily grounding practice to keep you tapped in, and firmly rooted all season long. On our site, we offer a free 12-minute guided practice meant to connect your breath with that of the plants, grounding you into relational presence. Enjoy!”

12. Foster Creativity

Let the creativity flow with the start of spring. The Moon Canyon folks say the day can also be one of inspiration and invitation. “On the equinox, if weather permits and you feel safe to do so, take time to sit outside and attune all of your senses to your environment,” they recommend. “Welcome a state of receptivity and openness. Create the space for true listening. Not only with your ears, but with your nose, your eyes, your skin. What plants are around you? What birds? What bugs? Is the breeze cool, wet, quick or gentle? Is the sun warm upon your face? Just be and listen. And then, in the stillness, notice what comes through. Because it’s yours. Meant for you, only you, and your body at this moment, directly from the Earth. What will you do with what you receive? What action/re-action will spring forth? This is co-creative expression.”

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