Welcoming the Vernal Equinox!
The sun is bright, -- the air is clear,
The darting swallows soar and sing.
And from the stately elms I hear
The bluebird prophesying Spring.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Once again, the great wheel of the year turns and faster than you can say “March Hare!” the Spring or Vernal equinox is upon us. True to the prose, March would appear to be coming in like a lion and out like a lamb, and none too soon for us Northerners! I don't know about you but I'm just so grateful to see the sun again! The first day of spring is a time to celebrate our rebirth and renewal, the soil is beginning to warm and the flowers are quietly emerging. When I still lived on our farm, I always knew when the Equinox was approaching because I had a beautiful pussy willow that would begin to bud out always around that day. I’d bring in armfuls of the fuzzy catkins and put them in tall vases all around the house.
Everywhere I look there are the signs, even though it’s still chilly, buds are beginning to poke out on the trees, birds are busy building their nests and flowers are popping up everywhere. The earth is positively trembling with excitement and the maternal energies that always accompany the renewal of spring. Drive past any farm and you’ll begin to see baby goats and lambs skipping all around the fields. The rains are lush and the underground waters are once again springing towards the surface of the earth. The other day I turned over a spade of dirt and discovered very busy and very happy earthworms!
There's a lot of spring-cleaning work to do, chicken coops to build, more bee hotels and a hive to put in, but I am just thrilled by what I see emerging. Tons of fresh comfrey shoots beginning to appear just in time for poultices to sooth aching muscles! Handfuls of fresh lovage, perfect for stuffing a chicken and lots of asparagus show the earliest signs of appearing. Garlic chives and lots of leeks for soups and healthy stems of licorice flavored anise hyssop, just waiting to become a soothing tea. Fresh Rhubarb for pie and the biggest surprise? Three ramps, sending up shoots from where I lovingly planted them last spring and I am so thrilled. My favorite wild spring greens, actually flourishing in my yard! I won't touch them this year, but by next spring I ought to be able to grab a handful for a wonderful wild onion pesto. I'm just so excited!
Don't forget that Spring and especially the energies of the Spring Equinox when the day and night are equally balanced heralds a great time to begin a cleanse. It doesn't have to be anything too harsh, just a lightening up of sorts ... A movement towards lighter, fresher foods is what’s called for. Wild greens like ramps, dandelions, violet leaves, chickweed, purslane and stinging nettles will soon be everywhere and they'll make a wonderfully cooling and tonic salad that you can dress simply with a bit of goat cheese, a sprinkle of pink Himalayan salt, olive oil and lemon. Don’t forget to blanche your nettles quickly in boiling water to remove the sting, but don’t be afraid to try them, they are delicious and mineral rich! For a delicious springtime tonic why don't you try juicing these same greens, but be sure to add some parsley, swiss chard and for a touch of sweetness an apple or two. You can add honey and lemon and a couple of carrots if you’d like. This is a cooling and refreshing juice that you can start the morning with that will rev up your system and get it feeling fun and frolicsome for the warm days ahead.
Green teas, iced and sparkling with additions of fresh citrus fruits, berries, cucumber slices and herbs like basil, sage and mint are a wonderful aid for cleansing a system that's just a bit sluggish from the denser foods of winter. Adding a touch of raw honey during the cooling process will give you just enough sweetness and a lovely constant energy. I love to use maple syrup this time of the year in honor of the greening trees, and it is a flavor which is absolutely delicious blended into tea and very healthy on its own, providing huge quantities of polyphenols to calm inflammation and lots of antioxidants to boost the immune system!
Although it may sound odd, I love to add a tablespoon of pure French green clay to my juice in the morning to help draw the impurities from my system. The French drink it in their juice routinely as a tonic to heal the gut and cleanse the skin. There are so many supposed benefits to this practice including a powerful boosting of the immune system, and French green clay is said to be incredibly helpful for improving digestion, food absorption and liver function.
This ancient secret, that of using edible clays as internal drawing salves is my favorite thing to suggest as support when one of my clients is suffering from chronic constipation or indigestion. It also helps to cleanse the skin, because it doesn’t matter how many expensive cremes you purchase, you can’t create beautiful skin topically because beautiful skin begins from within. I've suggested this to many a client who was suffering from chronic acne, eczema and rosacea. The first time that I tried it, I broke out with acne but within a week it subsided and I noticed healing beginning to happen all over my skin. Last spring when a friend of mine was very ill and suffering from terrible lupus like symptoms, I started her on a course of French clay with her Doctor’s permission. She mixed with her juice and drank it for several weeks. When I next saw her the Rosacea was almost gone and she reported a substantial reduction in inflammation.
French Green Clay is also said to have the ability to remove toxic metals and chemical residues, in fact after the Chernobyl meltdown, it was mixed into chocolate bars and given to Soviet citizens because it was considered to be very effective in helping to remove the associated radiation, bacteria and blood toxins. It has virtually no side effects, and I have never experienced constipation, diarrhea, or stomach cramping while using it.
For fun, during the spring I always mix up my favorite face mask of French green clay, honey, rosewater and coconut oil. I pat it on my skin, sit back wrapped up in a soft blanket and relax for about 20 minutes before rinsing it off of my face with cool water. It leaves my skin clean and so very soft!
Of course, if you try this yourself and notice a new rash or any burning, itching or anything that would seem like an allergic reaction you should discontinue using it immediately. Also, when it comes to French green clay there are several instances for which is contraindicated. If you are using a prescription medication, have high blood pressure or iron intolerance always ask your Doctor before proceeding with any remedy listed here and remember, if your Doctor doesn’t know, check in with your local pharmacist, because they have all of the latest and most up to date contraindication information.
The most important bit of Spring-cleaning folklore that I swear by ? Always clean everything in your home in a clockwise direction so that your home is infused with a constant stream of positivity. I love to put bunches of daffodils all around the house in antique blue mason jars and bright clusters of dandelions as soon as they begin to appear. They just make me so happy and they draw the powerful energies of the sun into my home!
As you begin your spring cleaning, you’ll want to infuse Rosemary essential oil into your environment for it’s amazing ability to bring clarity, lots of lemon oil and lemon juice for cleansing and stress relief. Of course, in any magical household there would always be plenty of Lavender strewn everywhere to bring all of the best luck!
Tonight, with luck, we’ll all get to see the magnificent super moon, fittingly named the Earthworm moon! This is the time of year to write down your most closely held dreams and set some simple and intentional goals to work towards.
Remember, that although Spring seems to Spring upon us overnight, that there’s lots of work to be done underneath the surface of the soil before we ever see the brightest bloom. The vernal equinox is one of the times of greatest energy all year. As the light increases and the warmth returns to the earth, your intentions will gain power and you dreams will be more easily achieved. Celebrate by starting the gardening season by planting some seeds right now, even if it’s just a pot or two on your sunniest windowsill. Write down a wish or two on some recycled paper and place it into your potting soil. As you nurture your seedlings, you are nurturing your dreams!
Right now, the whole world smells like daffodils and crocuses popping through the rich soil to say hello! Come shed your winter skins and dance with me in the garden!
Wishing you the most delightful, joy-filled, creative and abundant spring!