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Rebirth, Renewal, and wonderful Wish Eggs

How can it be that Easter is less than a week away? Now that I have less than two months left of my pregnancy, I’ve entered that bizarre phase where I feel like the baby can’t get here soon enough, but I also want to cling to life as it is right now. I am occasionally paralyzed by fear that we can’t possibly get things ready in time, but then when I sit myself down and start making a checklist of what needs to get done, none of it feels especially important. I think it’s just nesting-brain, or maybe that inherent fear that my life as I know it is going to end when this baby comes, which, to be honest, is both true and not true.

I am working hard on my book, writing every chance I get. And the chapter I’m working on right now is (appropriately) covering March: themes of rebirth, renewal, and the enduring symbols of Ostara. Or Easter. Or Nowruz. Or Alban Eilir (as the Druids call it). Or however you and/or your ancestors celebrate the equinox.

The return of spring is our yearly reminder that the ultimate promise between Mother Nature and her children has been kept. As improbable as it all may seem, creatures, plants, and the very soil itself present us with endless examples of the continuity of life, signs that rebirth and renewal are not the exception, but the rule.

We are constantly being told that we live in “uncertain times.” Yes, between climate change, threats of gun violence, continued racial injustice, and divisive politics, it feels like a scary time to be a parent. But, sometimes you have to take a step back and remember that none of our ancestors lived in times where safety and happiness were guaranteed. A brief peek at your family tree can be a stark reminder that, just two or three generations ago, things that we now take for granted were far from certain for our ancestors. Lives cut short by common childhood illnesses and hardship. Whole branches lost to slavery, displacement, and war. And yet, in accordance with nature’s promise of rebirth and renewal, most of us have continued to shake off the darkness and push ever onward on that collective, everyday mission to create a world that is more safe, more just, for all of us.

Celebrating spring and that promise of renewal feels especially important when you are a parent, not to mention a parent who has just seen their family through a year of pandemic and civil unrest. Dying eggs with your kids might not feel like a profound act, but when you consider that it’s something humans across the northern hemisphere have done around this time for literally thousands of years, you realize that these small rituals connect us to something real and archetypal - a mythology long-forgotten, but remembered somewhere bone-deep.

Several years back, we started doing a yearly “wish eggs” ceremony with our family (and sometimes friends) as part of our Easter celebration. After we dye eggs, we choose a few of the ones we are most proud of, write our wishes on them for the coming warm months, and bury them in the garden. It always feels so good to write down our hopes and commit them to the earth, both as a prayer and an offering, since the eggs are good for the soil. It’s always fun to hear Hawthorne’s wishes; they usually involve hopes for lots of butterflies to visit our garden, for fun at the beach, for time with friends. Simple, summer joys.

The eggs we don’t bury, we eat (it’s like the one time my family will actually eat egg salad!) and then I grind up the colored shells to use in other spellwork throughout the year.

Whatever, however you are celebrating spring, I do hope you’ll take time out to soak in the spirit of rebirth and savor the gift of each flower and emerging leaf - if only for a day.

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