The Link Between the Spring Equinox and Fertility
March 20 marked this year’s spring equinox – the annual moment when the day and night hours are in perfect balance, and the sun rises precisely in the East and sets precisely in the West. In legends and lore, there have long been ties between the spring equinox and fertility, as the day marks not only the change of seasons from winter to spring, but also Ostara, an ancient Pagan holiday honoring fertility and rebirth.
In fact, the ancient Anglo-Saxon holiday is named for the fertility goddess Eostre, traditionally depicted as a young woman who symbolizes dawn, new beginnings and spring. Eostre is often associated with the same symbolism as the Christian Easter holiday. Rabbits, spring flowers and eggs are all symbolic of fertility and the awakening of life during the spring season. In fact, the Easter holiday may get its name from the Saxon fertility goddess, and many of its traditions from the spring equinox festivals of the early Pagans.
The Legend of the Spring Equinox and Fertility
Many people think of spring as a time when the world comes to life, when animals pair off for mating and the trees burst into bloom. It is a season ripe with new beginnings, associated with fertility and birth.
Long before microscopes and science lifted the veil on the mystery of sperm, eggs and human conception, the egg was associated with fertility. For hundreds of years, eggs have been used as a symbol of spring, the spring equinox and fertility, as part of both Easter and the Pagan Ostara celebrations. So it seems fitting that on the first day of spring, many of our patients are focused on how science can help them use their own or donated eggs to create new life.
In keeping with the season, Pagans traditionally mark Ostara by planting gardens and trees, or simply by spending time in nature celebrating the new life emerging all around. In old times, the spring equinox was a time of great celebration because it marked the shift from the cold, dark days of winter, when food was scarce, to the longer, sunnier days of the season of plenty.
As we mark the first day of spring while struggling with infertility, the spring equinox reminds us to be hopeful that brighter days are coming, and that a balance between light and darkness is possible. This is a time to celebrate life and new beginnings – your own, your partner’s, and whatever the future may hold for you. With such close links between the spring equinox and fertility, this is a perfect time to make a new beginning, and commit to doing whatever is necessary to make your dream come true.
A Time for New Beginnings
After the spring equinox, days will begin to grow longer, with more sun to light our way and nurture the growth of all living things. What better time to focus on your own fertility, and to follow your dreams of motherhood?