All Focus with Sherry Gewitzke

BRIGHTEST of blessings to you.

March is the month of the magical moon, equinox and the lead-up to Easter, known in ancient times as Ostara.

Popular legend is that Eostre, the goddess of spring, found a bird, wounded, on the ground late in winter.

To save its life, she transformed it into a hare. However, the transformation was not a complete one.

The bird took the appearance of a hare, but retained the ability to lay eggs.

The hare would decorate these eggs and leave them as gifts.

Roman god of war

Also known as Lady Day or Alban Eiler (Druidic) the name of March comes from the Latin Martius, the first month of the earliest roman calendar.

It was named for Mars, the Roman god of war who was also regarded as a guardian of agriculture and an ancestor of the Roman people through his sons Romulus and Remus.

His month Martius was the beginning of the season for both farming and warfare and the festivals held in his honour during the month were mirrored by others in October when the season 
for these activities came to a close.

Martius remained the first month of the Roman calendar year perhaps as late as 153bc, and several religious observances in the first half of the month were originally new year’s celebrations.

Even in late antiquity, Roman mosaics picturing the months sometimes still placed March first.

Equinox

People have recognised the vernal equinox for thousands of years.

There is no shortage of rituals and traditions surrounding the coming of spring.

Many early peoples celebrated for the basic reason that their food supplies would soon be restored.

The date is significant in Christianity because Easter always falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox.

It is also probably no coincidence that early Egyptians built the great Sphinx so that it points directly toward the rising sun on the day of the vernal equinox.

There are two Equinoxes every year – in March and September – when the sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night is nearly equal.

As seasons are opposite on either side of the equator, the March equinox is known as the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere and the autumnal fall equinox in the southern hemisphere.

Renewal

Many celebrate Easter, Ostara as a time of renewal and rebirth.

Take some time to celebrate the new life that surrounds you in nature – walk in a forest, lay in the grass, hike through the Downs.

As you do so, observe all the new things beginning around you and celebrate the change of the seasons.

Some organisations schedule Earth Day for March 20 while, for some, Earth Day is when people from all nations, religions and cultural backgrounds celebrate their similarities.

For others, Earth Day is observed to promote the protection of the natural environment from pollution and other destructive forces.

Earth Day activities include planting trees, cleaning roadside rubbish and conducting recycling and conservation programs.

Earth Day was first observed in 1970.

Birches

March is also the month of birches.

Birch twigs were traditionally used to make besoms – brooms – signifying a new start, beginnings and birth.

Daffodil is the birth flower of March.

It is frequently linked to the Greek myth of Narcissus, who became so obsessed with his own reflection that as he knelt and gazed into a pool of water, he fell and drowned.

In some variations, he died of starvation and thirst.

In both versions, the narcissus plant sprang from where he died.

Daffodils are grown commercially near Brecon in Powys, Wales, to produce galantamine, a drug used to combat Alzheimer’s disease.

I study herb lore and grow magical plants – there are some fascinating flowers with incredible healing powers. Long before pharmaceutical drugs, flowers were used as herbal remedies and recorded use goes back to 500AD.

Chinese medicine, ayurvedic and western herbal doctors all have a rich history of using flowers for medicinal purposes to heal a variety of afflictions.