Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring Equinox

Spring - a time when boys take off their clothes!


Oh wait, I meant to say it is a time when plants send up new growth, the trees start to awaken, the weather begins to warm up, animals and insects begin coming out of hibernation or returning from their migrations and on the Equinox - a time of change and renewal...


Most certainly a time of celebratory anticipation - Winter is officially over, even if it is still cold outside and we can anticipate growth, life and new adventures!

Many cultures around the world celebrated this time as the beginning of the new year. This was before the Gregorian calendar that most of Western Culture follows today.
Isis
Astarte
The Persians called it Nawruz, the Romans simply called it new year - but regardless of its name, it was a holy time of year when goddesses like Eostre, Aurora and Eos were worshipped with more fervent thanks because just as the dawn is the time of new light, so the vernal equinox is the time of new life. All the major goddesses had holidays at this time of year - Astarte, Isis, Aprhrodite, Cybele and even the Virgin Mary (lol yes she represents a Goddess).

Attis
Lambs and other newborn animals are sacred for this time of year and were often offered up as sacrifice to guarantee a successful planting of new crops.

Dionysus
New growth is so important that this is the time of year that the Christian church had to place the resurrection of Christ in order to co-opt the holidays that were already being celebrated throughout the Roman Empire and beyond - the festivals of Attis (son of Cybele), Osiris (mate of Isis), Dionysus,  Adonis, Christ (son of Mary) and several others if you look for them! One of my favorite things about the Christ myth is its similarity to other Gods born of women who die and come back to life after 2-3 days. This was such a common theme in ancient mythologies that it is really no wonder to me that it caught on and stayed as a major religion - all it needed (and what it had) was a large group of people administratively dedicated to its continuance and their own benefit.

Osiris
All that aside - the best part of Spring is the boys are taking off their clothes!







See what I mean boss?







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