Spring Cleaning for the Soul
Written by Rachel Bessman
Spring, as we experience it, is the time between winter and summer. The days become longer, flowers begin to bloom once again, and animals come out of hibernation. The historic importance of this season should not be undervalued. Spring essentially meant a new beginning for humans living in temperate zones, as they literally could not feed themselves easily until the frost melted. Although seasons may be a clear-cut idea to many people, recognizing and appreciating what the vernal equinox really means – beyond a scientific value – could be a crucial component to centering ourselves in this time year, and further connecting with the Earth and our surroundings, both physically and spiritually.
We have a cultural phrase and concept of “spring cleaning”, but what does that really mean to us? Is there more that we can do to celebrate the defrosting of our Earth aside from cleaning our closets? For those of us in the Appalachian region of the east coast, this has been a particularly hard winter that seemed to clutch onto coldness as warmth and longer days struggled to renew themselves.
To explore different avenues, I consulted my friends on what they do to ring in spring – whether it is cleaning the home, foraging for wildflowers, herbs and foods, or perhaps even creating alters within and around the home.
There is no right way to do any spiritual act; the most purely individual process is what we do to feel healthy and whole, mentally and physically. For many people, this means a literal cleaning of the home. Change your bedsheets, dust your baseboards and ceilings, rid yourself of possessions you no longer use or no longer have meaning. Consolidate and put away winter clothing and accessories, as you won’t need them for many months to come. Burn sage to stabilize the energy in your home.
In the spirit of springtime and respect for its importance to us, affirmations of gratitude are a wonderful place to start. Celebrating the defrosting of the earth – the longer days, and saying it aloud or simply in your head is an excellent way to steadily remind yourself of the blessings of spring, and it’s conceptual correlation to renewal and rebirth. Your affirmation doesn’t necessarily have to address the season itself, but rather the feeling and emotion that comes along with it. Affirmations are for ourselves – there is no “right” phrase for anyone. We should repeat to ourselves whatever creates and opens a spiritual connection to the world. However, if you’re not intrinsically able to come up with the words for this great appreciation, there are many to be found online and in texts.
Some affirmations of gratitude are as follows [these have been adapted from various people, books, and lectures]:
- The power and energy of all things prosperous and abundant now fills my being and surges through every aspect of my life – I receive it.
- Gratitude opens my eyes to all that is good. I am grateful for life, both new and renewed.
- There is a blessing in every fresh breath of air I take
- I am grateful for life. I am grateful for good. I am grateful for pure spirit. I recognize it.
CONNECTING WITH NATURE
Absolutely one of the best ways to embrace springtime is to connect back with the earth. During the winter months, most of us find ourselves inside more often than not, and even though our feet may touch the ground, our fingers and hands are rarely ever in it. Literally feeling the earth reminds us of what it means for it to be reborn, and how beautifully we connect to it.
There is an abundance of wildflowers, herbs, and foods that can be foraged from the nature surrounding you. It can be a truly awakening experience to adorn your home with flowers you picked from an open field, or to cook with herbs you found simply growing around your property.
It is always important to consult with a guidebook before foraging on your own, as some plants and mushrooms can be potential health hazards. Some very common herbs are rosemary, sage, dandelion, spearmint, and lemonbalm. Incredibly nutritious and delicious, morel and oyster mushrooms are abundant in the Appalachian region. Again, please consult a guide or guidebook before foraging your own mushrooms.
Aside from foraging, planting a garden is a wonderful opportunity to connect with the earth. Whether it’s foraging or planting, getting your hands literally in the dirt reminds us instinctually of how powerfully connected we are to it.
Creating altars and practicing rituals is among the most personal of endeavors. Like affirmations, there is truly no wrong way to do it. The key is to do what feels right – whatever makes you feel new and refreshed and open to growth. For those of us who don’t know where to start, I will share a ritual that a shamanic friend of mine recommended.
Set up a space for your ritual to take place by laying a cloth of some kind, placing crystals of your choosing (whatever you are intuitively called to in the moment) and put them in whatever pattern or placement feels right. Sit cross-legged at the end of the cloth and arrange some flowers to create a circle. At the far side of the circle, across from where you are sitting, place a candle. Light the candle while asking for protection and guidance. Meditate for a moment with a soft gaze on the flame. Then on a piece of paper, write down all of which you wish to release and let die in your life or within yourself. On the other side, write all of that which you wish to call in. Place the paper in front of the candle with a quartz over it. Then pull a card or three from your Faerie Oracle or Tarot deck. Or both. After the reading and some meditation on the cards, refer back to your piece of paper. Re-read both sides and envision how it will feel when you are free from the things on the first side and encompassing or experiencing the things on the other. Then put the paper in the flame of the candle until it is entirely burnt up and turned to ash. Express love and expectant gratitude, knowing that your intentions have been set and the Otherside is working to bring them to fruition. Blow out the candle ~ and so it is!
Though it may not always occur to us naturally, making an effort to reconnect with the earth and our surroundings during spring time is an excellent way to center ourselves and be open to the rebirth and growth that surrounds us. It can be easy to ignore or fully appreciate the natural beauty around you, but intensifying your connection to it makes it almost effortless to release our cold energy and bring in the light. No matter how you do it, the important thing is to be conscious of why you do it. We all need a chance to grow, and spring gives us that chance, year after year. Let’s give it the respect and recognition it deserves.