We are in the midst of festival season across the world. We’ve just had Vernal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, Holi, Passover, and are gearing up for Easter followed by Ramadan. It’s no coincidence that these celebrations fall at this time of year. The equinox is the moment in time when there is complete balance in the sky: day and night and therefore light and dark are equal.
This Spring equinox, as experienced in the Northern Hemisphere, marks the moment the light takes over the dark in terms of day length. Similarly, I believe all religious festivals point to something hopeful, as well as practical for us human beings on earth.
The stories behind these religious events are of fasting, rebirth, and liberation and reflect what is happening in nature. After a period of quiet, the buds begin to blossom, shoots are flowering, life is springing up around us. The rabbits are multiplying (classic), and the birds are singing their songs with a bit more gusto. And this is only possible because of their having hibernated during the down time of winter.
So what does this mean for us?
It is the beginning the astrological calendar, and the time for us to start afresh: nature is asking that we let go of what is not serving us, and be open to what will help us flourish. We are given the opportunity over winter and the beginning of spring to get rid of the weeds in our mind and body that might hold back our true bright and bountiful nature from revealing itself.
I don’t believe there are any coincidences in life, rather we are surrounded by constant opportunities to learn, become more adept at listening, then respond in supportive ways for our growth.
I believe we’re all on journeys to become more present. Here to immerse ourselves in the wonders of life. By removing the dust from our eyes and sludge in our systems we are able to see, discern and participate fully in the joy of being, rather than get confused by our mind and its tendency to take us round in circles by way of our habit-patterns.
And what does Ayurveda have to say about this?
In Ayurveda, the doshas represent different forms of energetic principles, and each timeline of life, whether it be a day, season, menstrual cycle, year or lifespan is delineated by these doshas. Every cycle begins with kapha; this is the period of collection and creation, it is the gathering of energy in order to have reserves for what is to come. For example: the first 4 hours of the day (from 6am-10am); the first period of a person’s life as in their childhood; kapha dominates the follicular and proliferative phase of a female’s menstrual cycle, as well as the first sprinklings of spring.
This is why I love Ayurveda, it was written down with such precision and care. It asks that we deeply look after ourselves, each other and our environment. It points to a mindful and ever-present way of being, asking us to constantly check-in with ourselves and respond to what is going on around us.
Ayurveda loves balance and rejuvenation, as well as pointing to ways we can gracefully navigate the cycles of our life and the seasons as they come and go. And this, I believe is what different religions are trying to inspire through their touchstones-in-time in the form of festivals. We can then use them as alarm bells reminding us to be present. As well as opportunities to fast, cleanse our channels, go inwards and take time to hear what our bodies and beings are in need of.
I pray that people use these opportunities as they are given them, rather than sleep-walking through the circadian cycles, glued to phones that trick the mind and body into thinking its always day and summer. It is all in support of our feeling vital, present and immersed in the wonder of being alive. When you realise that nature has your back, and wants you to be in flow with it, life becomes an extraordinary journey made of hundreds of thousands of opportunities to really experience it.