Area Pagan Dreading Big Family Vernal Equinox
MEDFORD, OR—Despite evidence that the planets are aligned in his favor, local pagan Jeff Birch, 27, said Monday that he would "rather have a peaceful weekend at home" than attend his family's Vernal Equinox celebration on March 21.
"I realize it's supposed to be a festive time of conception and new growth in the womb of Mother Earth and all," Birch said. "But I just know that within an hour of arriving, things will get so bad that I'll be reverting to my 12-year-old self, hiding in the rec room downstairs, wearing my Iroquois false face mask and fingering my runes for comfort. It's not worth it."
Most pagans look forward to marking the Vernal Equinox, when the hours of sunlight equal the hours of darkness. Yet for some, like Birch, this sacred springtime celebration of balance and harmony means contending with family infighting and undue stress.
"Talking to Mom the other day, it was the same old manipulative 'You're coming home, right?'" said Birch, referring to a recent phone conversation with his mother, Freyja Birch. "If I hesitate for even a second, she piles on the guilt — like how this may be the last year Nana Hippolyta can perform the garden fertility ritual, or that without my masculine energy, the yin-and-yang balance will be thrown off—until I finally give in."
"But I don't want to have to use up my vacation time and travel almost 300 miles to Portland just to listen to Grandma Moon Odin Rhiannon complain during the sunrise ritual that Mom's not putting enough rose petals in the cauldron or is letting the bonfire get too low," Birch continued.
Besides the usual maiden-mother-crone conflicts, the strained relationship between Birch's sister, Pythia, who recently converted to Wicca, and his father, a devout Dionysian, is another source of tension, according to Birch. "Last year, Pythia brought her covenmate home, and Dad's still having a hard time with it," Birch said.
Pythia isn't the first family member to stray from the fold. Fifteen years ago, Birch's uncle Jack married a Presbyterian and has raised two children in the faith. While he is still included in family celebrations, his eccentric monotheism is the source of much awkwardness, Birch said.
While he treasures happy memories of Vernal Equinoxes from his childhood, Birch said he comes away from today's holidays a few pounds heavier from the rich holiday food, several hundred dollars in debt from buying gifts "that will probably just get returned or regifted at Samhain anyway...."
Much thnx to The Onion for the news on the Birches.