Spring Equinox - Alban Eilir
Astrocelt's muse and thoughts on Spring Equinox - Alban Elier. A perspective on what it might or might not be, depending on ones viewpoint!
At this time of year mythology can come alive with thoughts of the winter and summer lord going into the climax of battle to find who has the strength to reign supreme. The myths inform us, such as those found in the Mabinogi with the adventures of Pwyll, and the battle between King Arawn the lord of the Underworld; and King of a neighbouring world; where one becomes defeated in battle, but is not slain.
Indeed astrology/astronomy has explained such an event through the earths orbit around the Sun, the tilt of an imaginary earth axis becomes vertical, or the Sun wanderings between the longitudes of Cancer in the North and Capricorn Southern Hemispheres will be very shortly crossing the Equator, as both haves of the spheres are bathed in equal light and darkness. Yet to arrive at these cognitive parameters an additional change from a geocentric point of view to one of Heliocentric had to occur. Coupled with the visual representation of seeing the world differently, not as one designed through the weight of the elements. Specifically where the belief of the transmigrating soul had to transcend before reaching a state of Paradise or similar, or where a deity resided. Today perhaps we visualise the earth being an integral part of a solar system. An earth which in an mystery school or esoteric frame work might be considered to be at a point of balance.
Such thoughts are perhaps far removed from a story which could be an attempt to explain a similar event. Specifically if one had to take a journey to find the answer to a problem, how poetic can such a story be? Two concepts given a human form so they can become understood, representing the winter, while the other summer battling over sovereign supremacy. These two meet at a river and at a ford between two worlds, and battle commences, ultimately one becomes defeated but not slain.
Where does the slain winter lord go to recuperate in these modern times? Perhaps banished to the Southern hemisphere, bringing a time of autumn where he can regain his strength to try his luck again. As the summer lord relishes his victory and moves into the Northern Hemisphere as the stirring of the earth becomes more prominent and celebrated in May. Indeed there are other ways in which the equinox can be explained and interpreted. Such as the earth mother coming to life, as the green man begins to show itself in the northern Hemisphere; even the Mabon born at the winter solstice reaching a stage of adolescent might even fit. Another view us its dealing with the psychological level of the conscious and unconscious mind. Even hint to two different worlds created in ones mind eye.
Whatever is the case, the multiple ways to explain these natural phenomena, it has been marked by human celebration of some kind, with a verity of names, icons and images. To day the northern hemisphere prepares for spring and the summer ahead, while the Southern Hemisphere prepares for autumn and the coming of winter. A total balance which today can be astronomical aligned and predicted to occur depending on ones time zone attributes.
However today such celebrations of the Equinox are very much governed by what has been uncovered to an extent and adjusted to particular Druid association, groups and orders needs. Such things which might be relevant can probably be traced to the revival period of the late 18th and 19th Century which was upheld in a Varity of countries Europe. From Wales Rev John William ab Ithel in the Annuals of the Cyrmry (1865), the bard or the participants at Alban Eilir would bring three gifts that are described as milk, meal and honey. The meal is probably rye, barley or corn. It suggests that it basically becomes an offering at this time. The herb trefoil is cited as having an integrate part within the celebrations. In contrast Owen Morgan within the Light of Britain (1893) cites the shamrock as being an emblem of this Alban. Alternatives could well be used today having been attributed a value and meaning within the practices which might be followed.
Considering the name Alban Eilir is related today to the vernal or spring equinox. Even though its foundation could be argued to derive from the revival period. A linguistic detour might be appropriate at this time. Now I’m no Linguistic but it’s nice to play a little. The word eilir appears to derive for an earlier obsolete form of 'eilirion', as a representation of regeneration and spring, thus arriving at the later eilir and the spring equinox. Alternatively the present day use of 'eilio' may well have a connection being an obsolete verb meaning is to weave, or to wattle. Depending on it context within the sentence construction and orally spoken determines one is going to plait, to construct, or to compose and perhaps sing. Another connection is through the 'eiliwr, wyr eilyddion' a plaiter, a poet or songster.
Perhaps this is what we are undertaking in the northern hemisphere we are beginning honour the return of the lord of spring or the swelling of the mother as nature gives birth. A poem or song within any type of spiritually celebration ritual might be appropriate as this resurrection of nature as new life emerges. On the other hand a poem and song of thanks in the Southern hemisphere is just as valid. A vibration which ripples, hums and traverses the globe, or around a circle.
Have an enjoyable Spring or Autumn Equinox whereever one is in the world.
Alban Eilir, Northern Hemisphere, Spring Equinox,