The arrival of spring marks the end of the darkest season of the year. As the introspective influence of winter wanes, spring symbolizes growth and fertility, bringing the reemergence of light, warmth, plants, animals, new ideas and fresh perspectives into the world.

Every March, the Northern Hemisphere welcomes this season of renewal, balance, clearing and cleansing. Known as the vernal equinox, this time of year represents a symbolic shift in the annual cycle from longer nights and shorter days to equal hours of day and night. But it also has deeper significance acknowledged throughout history by numerous cultures.

The Spiritual Significance of the Vernal Equinox

From the ancient Egyptians and Romans to Hindus in the East and Pagans in the West, for centuries these civilizations and more have honored the arrival of spring through ceremony, ritual and festivals celebrating the abundance of sunlight and crops as well as the themes of revival, redemption and rebirth.

Today, a number of faiths celebrate holidays during this time of year, including: Holi, the Hindu festival of colors; Purim, a Jewish holiday observed in late winter/early spring commemorating the salvation of the Jewish people in ancient Persia; the Pagan tradition of Ostara, marking the arrival of spring; and Easter, a Christian holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

There are many sacred ways to recognize the spring equinox and invoke its energy for growth, rejuvenation and blessings in the next cycle ahead—and beyond.

3 Rituals to Usher in the Renewing Energy of the Spring Equinox

1. Spring Cleaning + Smudging Ceremony

Spring is all about starting fresh, and the act of making time to declutter your home will do wonders for balancing the energy in and around you. So, start by doing some spring cleaning, making sure to bag up old clothes and other items you don’t need or want and donate them to your local homeless shelter, Goodwill or another charitable organization of your choice. Then, once you’ve cleaned house, seal the clearing in with a smudge to diffuse any stagnant or lingering energies from wintertime.

How to Clear Your Energy with Smudging

The ancient practice of smudging is a simple yet powerful way to clear the energy of any space and your sacred objects, such as crystals or jewelry. It can also be used to clear the body, mind and spirit of negativity by circulating the sacred smoke around your body before you smudge your space. Here are three steps to smudging:

  1. When smudging, light one end of a sage bundle, palo santo stick or another bundle of smudging herbs with a fire source, and make sure to gently and safely blow out the flame while keeping the end lit.
  2. Fan the clearing smoke with a feather up and down, then side to side to honor the four directions and the four elements of water, earth, fire and air.
  3. To set down the lit or still-hot smudge, place it in an abalone shell, on fireproof glass or in a ceramic bowl. And don’t forget to give your feather a final pass through the sacred smoke to clear away any energies it absorbed before using it again for your next smudging ceremony.

2. Create a Spring Equinox Altar

Designating a place in your home in honor of spring is not only easy, but also incredibly effective. Altars serve as portals to the divine, and when built, create space for us to meditate, pray and focus our energies on manifesting what we want—while also bringing us closer to our ancestors, spirit guides, the ascended masters or simply certain vibrations we seek to embody. The beauty of creating an altar is that it doesn’t have to be too elaborate to be powerful.

Here are a few tips to get you started:
  1. Find a special area in your home where you can build your altar.
  2. Gather a few simple tools: crystals, candles, incense and smudge. You can add photos of loved ones passed, jewelry for charging and anything else that resonates with you. For spring, you’ll also want to adorn your altar with something that represents fertility and awakening, so fresh flowers are the perfect addition, even if it’s just one.
  3. Give an offering for your spirit guides and ancestors. This is typically a perishable item like a little bowl of honey, a piece of fruit or a glass of water. The purpose is to offer something from nature that has a life cycle, which is symbolic of your ancestors’ and guides’ journeys on earth and their transcendence from this plane. If it’s for a deceased loved one, it can be a cup of their favorite tea or something else they enjoyed while they were here.

Once your altar is set up, you can modify the elements on it as much as you want. Throughout the next three months, there will be lots of changes and your altar is an ideal conduit to help you channel the energy you need to thrive and adapt.

3. Hold an Intention-Setting Ritual to Formulate Your Goals

Ask, believe, receive…the ritual of intention setting is all about letting your wishes be known, imagining them in your mind’s eye and having faith that the universe will handle the rest. The best part: it’s something you can do anytime, anywhere. Here’s how:

  1. Gather a piece of paper, a pen and a small piece of clear quartz (optional).
  2. While sitting, close your eyes and take three deep breaths—inhaling from your nose and exhaling from your mouth.
  3. Start writing out your intentions.
  4. When done, read your intentions back to yourself silently or aloud. As you read each one, take a pause after to imagine yourself living in a reality in which you have already manifested it. An important thing to remember is that thoughts are energy, and like attracts like, so the act of envisioning yourself receiving your intentions is a vital part of the manifestation process. It’s also key to note that it works both ways, so just as you can use the power of your imagination to actualize your goals for the best, negative thoughts and visualizations can come to fruition the more you give them your attention. If you find yourself having difficulty with negative thought patterns, you can simply say the words “cancel, clear, delete” after a negative thought crosses your mind to shift and neutralize the energy.
  5. After the last visualization, fold your list into fours and place it on your home altar, a desk, bedside table or even in your car. If you have a piece of clear quartz, make sure to keep the stone near the list or on top of it. Clear quartz is a very powerful amplifier and is what is known as a programming stone, meaning it can be used to help manifest any intention or purpose the bearer wishes. You can hold the stone to amplify the effectiveness of your meditations, visualizations and prayers. Or, you can keep the stone in your pocket during the day to help remind you to stay focused on your intentions.
  6. Believe and receive. Keeping your faith will be no small task and is often the hardest step in the manifestation process. That said, it’s also the most rewarding. Through strengthening our faith, we learn how to surrender and lean deeper into the realities we seek to create, rather than resist them because of fear and self-limiting beliefs.

When you find yourself at odds with your faith, try saying the words “I believe” until your doubts subside. The best way to combat moments of uncertainty is to transmute the energy as soon as you become aware something feels amiss in order refocus your attention where it belongs: on your intentions.

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About the author

Naima Abdi is a writer, Reiki practitioner, tarot reader and crystal-healing expert who’s passionate about astrology, meditation, philosophy and metaphysical studies.