4x16 relief carved and hand painted ceramic Saraswati tile.
Available from http://earthsongtiles.com
~Happy Spring Equinox~
The whole nature of life is dominated by the existence of periodic events which we have celebrated, dramatized and ritualized throughout our history. To eat and beget children has been the primary want of mankind in the past and will continue to be so in the future. Though many things are added to enrich and beautify human life, it will cease to exist without first satisfying these needs. For early man the beauty of a Spring morning was of no consequence compared to the fact that the animals and more importantly the plants that provide food were reappearing and would in time disappear again. It is these times, central to survival that became the focus of human interest and emotion, eventually leading to the dates of religious holidays. Seasonal rights and ritual with the same intent, the promotion of fertility in plants, animals and man, occur almost everywhere, with dates and traditions varying according to climate and geography. In the Northern hemisphere the most widely celebrated festival, to which we owe much of our art and drama to now, is the celebration of spring. The bringing in of a leafy branch or flower bouquet being perhaps one of our most simple of spring rituals, emphasizing the desire for joy and life. To the Greeks Spring is the 'anoixis', 'the opening' and it was with rites of spring that both Greek and Roman started their new year. In severer climates the emotion towards weather and seasons was fiercer and more complex. Along with spring festivities there was often ritual contests and struggle signifying life (spring) conquering death (winter.) The Central Australian spring on the other hand is not a shift from cold winter to summer heat but rather from a long arid, barren season to a short, often irregular torrential rainy season with a sudden brief burst of fertility. Primitive Australians to whom the life or death of the tribe was dependant on this season practiced intricate magical rites and ceremonies upon it's approach. The Esquimaux people of the Arctic have their one and only most important seasonal festival in the fall. For them the fear of a long harsh Arctic winter is stronger than the hope of spring. Though many of us are now free to celebrate the joy and beauty of the coming of spring, far removed from a time when a bad harvest could mean starvation, most people still maintain an intense emotional connection towards weather and seasons. And in keeping with the human tendency to re-enact what we feel strongly about, mankind continues to perform fixed and regular repetition of rites in celebration of the seasons, some simple or practical and many still magical and dramatic.