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 begins 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 19 (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?

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.”

Astrologer Lisa Stardust reiterates that it’s a convergence of three events: the spring equinox, the astrological new year, and the start of Aries season. She notes these astrology points around the time of the equinox and later in the spring:

  • Aries season is going to be a very intense time, according to Stardust. “Number one, we do have a lunar eclipse happening on March 25 in Libra, which is going to be more about who and what do we partner with,” she explains. “And it’s going to be a little bit intense because it’s getting a little push from Pluto. So that means there’s going to be a bunch of power struggles involved, which is typical when we’re deciding what we’re aligning with.”
  • Mercury goes retrograde in Aries about two weeks after the lunar eclipse from April 1 to April 25. “If you know anything about Aries, they can be really hotheaded at times and really direct,” Stardust says. “With Mercury in retrograde in Aries, we’re going to see a lot of people losing their cool really fast.”
  • The big solar eclipse on April 8 is also going to be an intense time, and that’s in part because it’s happening during Mercury in retrograde. “What’s going to happen is people are really going to begin to freak out or think a little bit, or just be a little more erratic and impulsive as they push towards putting themselves first and pursuing their passions and desires,” she says.
  • Later on in the spring, on April 20, there will be the Jupiter-Uranus conjunction in the sign of Taurus, which is the first time the two planets have come together since the 1940s. “Jupiter is all about expansion and growth, and Uranus is all about change right now because it’s in Taurus,” Stardust says. “We look to things with the environment (maybe earthquakes), changes in the stock market, economy, and relationships.” She’s also seeing a shift toward traditionalism and a move away from modernism.
  • Near the end of spring, Stardust says Jupiter will move into Gemini on May 25. While Jupiter is associated with expansion, since it’s in Gemini it might lead people to want to stay closer to home and do staycations rather than huge trips. “Jupiter is not in its favorite side when it’s in Gemini, Virgo, or Capricorn because those signs tend to look at the smaller aspects of situations,” she says. “Jupiter loves to be in Sagittarius, but the opposite is Gemini. When Jupiter is in Gemini, it’s like, ‘I like my routines, I like to go to the local coffee shop. I like to have my small world, but if I’m going to go away, I’ll go on a half-hour drive.’”
  • And right before the start of summer, on June 4, we are going to have the annual meeting of Venus and the Sun, which is called the Venus Starpoint. Stardust says it’s one of the best days for love. “It’s in Gemini. It’s really a time where you could really speak about what you want and discuss the future or really understand your emotions in more of a cerebral level,” she explains.

Some astrological sun signs may feel the spring equinox more than others—Stardust says that’s the cardinal signs: Libra, Cancer, Aries, and Capricorn, which are the initiators of the zodiac and they unlock the seasons. 

“I would say that for Cancers, they’ll be affected in the workplace. For Capricorns, it’s really going to be about your personal life, your home life. Your foundation might be a time for redecorating or doing spring cleaning,” she explains. “Libra is going to be more relationship-oriented—really trying to find more of an understanding on how they can be more assertive in relationships. And Aries really love to focus on themselves, so it’s their time to shine and thrive.”

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

Sumiko Scott/Getty Images

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 sour 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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