March, generally, is an active month. Weatherwise, it’s a transitional month filled with unpredictable and quickly changing weather. In the Northern Hemisphere, there is an adage about March weather: In like a lion, out like a lamb.
This weather pattern signals the end of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, and in the more northern areas of the Americas, can wreak havoc on the earth. One moment it’s below freezing, too cold to snow, and the next it’s too warm to wear a jacket and it’s raining…and flooding. These changes in temperatures causes rapid expansion and contraction in the earth, creating holes in roads and massive boulders in the middle of lawns.
In the Southern Hemisphere, rains become longer and temperatures become cooler, signaling a transition into Autumn. There aren’t dramatic shifts in temperature, unless one is quite high or close to Antarctic Circle. However, one is still aware that the season is changing and it’s time to pull inward and prepare for a time of rest and nourishment through the winter months.
March is also a month in which Mercury is usually retrograde. This is often really great timing as many people tend to go on a vacation of some kind in March, and a retrograde Mercury can support that…except…it might mess up some of the travelings to and from the vacation a bit. This year, although we haven’t had a Mercury retrograde in March, we’ve still had the shadow effects of it and will finally complete on the 21st…the same space as the Equinox.
The Equinox is the time of year in which light and dark balance each other. The day-time and night-time are equal lengths before tipping one way or the other…more light or more dark, depending on your hemisphere. In ancient times, and in many non-Western cultures, the Equinox is celebrated as the beginning of the year.
Such a celebration is fascinating to me, because it makes me wonder why, exactly, the change was made to celebrate at the extreme dark time. It also makes me wonder how that impacted society in general…to celebrate a new year in an extreme dark time rather than in a balanced time of year. Certainly, in the Western world, we not only celebrate the new year in the extreme dark, we also make a big deal of the height of summer…the extreme light. Not a whole lot is mentioned around the points of balance…the equinoxes.
In the Jewish tradition, I find it fascinating that there are several beginning points in the calender…celebrating different things. The three most prominent beginning points are: The birthday of the trees, the agricultural new year, and the beginning of life new year. The birthday of the trees usually falls sometime in late January or February, as that’s when the sap begins to flow again. The agricultural new year is celebrated around the March equinox with Passover, and the beginning of life new year is celebrated around the September equinox with the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot.
Judaism is strongly steeped in the ancient agricultural rituals and celebrations, which are, essentially, pagan. So, if we go back even farther, we discover that the equinoxes are quite important times in history…equal in importance to the solstices. The Vernal equinox, which is what we are celebrating in the Northern Hemisphere, was a time of rebirth and fertility. Its name is Ostara, relating to the eastern star, Venus and her symbologies were the hare and the egg. Later, the spelling changed to Oestar, and then to Easter. This rebirth is reflected, astrologically, in the shift of signs from water Pisces, the culminating sign of the entire astrological year, to that of fire Aries, the beginning sign of the astrological calendar.
In the Southern Hemisphere, however, this time is the Autumnal celebration and is named Harvest Home or Mabon in pagan traditions. Its celebration is a feast of thanksgiving for the harvest and the blessings of the earth to sustain humanity through the winter months. The shift from Pisces to Aries is not quite as strong as the shift from Virgo to Libra, but it is still significant.
These pagan traditions and celebrations really honor a more body-oriented time…of procreation and sustenance…something I feel that Western culture has shunned in fear. As a result, even though this is a time for balancing, many in this culture never find it. Not only is there a fear and shame attached to the physical-ness of the body, but there is also a separation from the natural rhythms of the phsyical planet and the effects She has on the body. So, it’s not surprising then, that this time of year requires some self-care when it comes to the body…for those in both hemispheres.
This point of transition is the time when the body releases in rather strong and dramatic ways. It naturally knows that a recalibration is in order, and it can do it most easily when we, the riders, choose foods that will support the body in its releases and balancing. In other words, this is the perfect time to do a cleanse…provided it’s done responsibly.
Cleansing responsibly requires several steps. The first, is to recognize that your body is already doing this on its own. Anything you do to support it will dramatically increase the results…whatever those results may be.
The second step is to recognize that not everyone can do the same cleanse, and no one can do the same cleanse every year for the entirety of his/her life. Every year requires something different, and your body will tell you what that difference is…if you ask and listen and trust the answer. For some people, it will simply be cutting out meat. For others, it will be increasing fluids. For others, it will be increasing greens and sprouts. For others, it will be fruit only. For others, it will be lightly steamed vegetables with cooked grains. For others, it will be raw food only. Whatever your body asks for, is what is appropriate.
The third step is to recognize that the cleanse doesn’t have to be a specific duration every time. Remember, your body is already doing this work…you’re simply supporting it. For some people who are super clean internally, 1-3 days may be enough. For others who have a heavy diet of meat and animal protein, a longer and more gentle cleanse will be the most beneficial.
The fourth step is to remember that a cleanse means evacuation. In order for the evacuation to be successful, the routes must work well. The four most common routes of evacuation are: the digestive system and bowels, the urinary system, the lungs, and the skin. If any of your systems of evacuation are sluggish, focus on a gentle cleanse that will take 10-14 days to complete. During that time, support the evacuation systems with supplements and activities to enhance health in those areas. For example, to support sluggish lungs, increase aerobic activity. To support sluggish skin secretions, evident through blemishes, do a full-body scrub, gently, and with a hot washcloth, 2-3 times a day. To support the urinary system, increase food fluids, such as soups, tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, herbal tea, lettuce, and fruits and avoid dehydrating items such as alcohol, caffeine, and sodas. To support the digestive system and bowels, consider taking probiotics and digestive enzymes.
The fifth step is to recognize that not everyone is healthy enough to do a cleanse. For those with inflammatory illnesses, such as arthritis, a cleanse could be beneficial. But, for those with contagious diseases, it probably is not a great idea…building up the body’s immune system is more important. Someone with poison oak should definitely avoid the full-body scrub, as should someone with ringworm or any other contagious skin condition. Anyone currently under a physician’s care and anyone with a chronic condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, should always consult with their physician before beginning a cleanse, as the changes in the body could be dramatic.
The sixth step is to spend time in meditation and gratitude. You, the soul, were invited here to this planet and to work with this body. Your body is perfect for you in this lifetime, and this is a beautiful time to take the time to appreciate all that it has provided for you. This could include phrases of appreciation, or it could mean getting a massage, or it could mean taking Epsom salt baths, or it could mean getting some exercise, or it could mean getting your nails or hair done. Anything that nourishes and refreshes and rejuvenates the body will not only be appreciated by your body, but will greatly enhance the process of cleansing and balancing. This step can be done by everyone.
Whatever you choose, may your body’s transition time be graceful and easy and joyful and supported.
And so it is.