The Christian term Easter is taken from the pagan Germanic fertility goddess Eostere who had a festival on the Spring Equinox. As much as we associate eggs with fertility, the Easter egg is a symbol of resurrection and new beginnings.
The Easter story speaks to the archetypal pattern of the Eternal Return or the sacrifice-death-rebirth cycle. We see this cycle in the seasons, in the tides and in the phases of the moon. The forty days of Lent leading up to Easter mark the time of giving up or sacrificing something such as meat or eggs.
The sacrifice-death-rebirth cycle has psychological relevance as well. Individual sacrifice is necessary to bring forth new energy. This means actively letting go of something of value in service of something larger. From folklore it was stated, “At Easter let your clothes be new, Or else be sure you will it rue.” Putting on new clothing symbolically represents the possibility of developing a new aspect of one’s identity. It is about letting go and accepting change. As is often the case with a new hair style.
Spring cleaning, which asks us to sort, rearrange and cull our material items, can be one way of letting go of “stuff.” You may even have items that have traveled from display, to cupboard, to basement, to the garage. Why can it be so difficult to let go of certain items?
Susan Whitbourne, Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, states, “The hardest thing is the memories that our possessions have for us. They are, in a way, linked to our sense of identity. Saying goodbye to something physical is saying goodbye to a part of our life.” What projections are we placing on items? The reality (as we, older and hopefully wiser, look at these items) of these projections may make it easier to get rid of them.
What clutters our minds?
- Too much information → Turn off those devices! Create tech-free zones.
- Worrying → Stop-thought these or figure out the problem and let it go.
- Ruminating and obsessing → A waste of time. Well, how does this serve a part of you?
- Seeing clutter! → As we tend to focus on outer surroundings inside of having the time to focus on inner clutter.
- Negative messages → Identify throughout the day the limiting beliefs a part of you is telling you (e.g., I’m no good, I’m unlovable) and start telling the truth, 100 times a day!) [Perhaps some deeper EMDR work is needed to clear these up.]
For these last 3 items, it’s time to clear these up. Do a life review and get them all out on paper. Feel your feelings around each item. Check if you even feel this way anymore. Check if you are even guilty (Did you consciously do anything wrong?). Make amends, apologize and forgive self and others. It is amazing how much of these, even the little ones, add up to clutter (weigh us down) our psyches.
On a psychic level, Ego is asked to surrender something – an old attitude or a tired way of seeing our self – in order for something new to emerge. This internal letting go is experienced as entering a void and we fear this darkened space. One needs to be courageous enough to leave behind what was once valued and trust that possibilities more worthy of your true self will appear.
Spring is a time to reflect on what belief, role or quality you are prepared to let go in order for something new to come into your life.