The Spring Equinox
A magical event, indeed: the Spring Equinox.
That’s the precise moment in time and space when the sun’s rays shine directly on the equator. It’s when we experience a kind of cosmic symmetry, or balance of nature, when 12 hours of daylight equal 12 hours of darkness almost everywhere on Earth. It arrives today at 2:58 p.m. PST.
To me, the birth of spring is all about light: where it came from, what it means.
And in this blog post I want to share a moment of light that I found truly awesome. That occurred when I stood among the ancient ruins of Persepolis, the seat of the Persian empire over 2500 years ago and experienced something magical that I did not think possible. It haunts me even to this day, and comes back to me each year at this time.
Our guide, a wonderful character with command of a half dozen languages, took us to a very special spot among these magnificent ruins, where Cyrus the Great, Xerxes and Darius reigned over their empire.
The spot was a square approximately three feet by three feet, no more, as I walked it step by step. As it happened, the entire ceremonial capital of the empire was built outward from there, from that square, exactly where the first rays of sunlight on the lip above the equator streamed down from the sky: the spring equinox. The revelation shook me up a bit, I quivered in the hot sun during our visit, and felt as if, somehow, I had been here before, deja vu, in a previous life, a builder and architect, which I still am in many ways today.
From those co-ordinates, measured by ancient Persian astronomers, a magnificent city emerged for the throne of kings and queens, known in Persian history as Takht-e-Jamshid, which means the throne of King Jamshid (from the epic poem Shahnameh).
It also marks, for Persians, the beginning of the new year, Nowruz (new day), the birth of all human and animal life, the blossoming of flowers and plants and trees.
Nowruz is a public holiday celebrated in many countries all over the world:
Azerbaijan (five days)
Iran (thirteen days)
Kazakhstan (four days)
Tajikistan (four days)
Turkmenistan (two days)
So, for me, I have the feeling that the first day of spring is also a new beginning, a new year.