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Brooklyn Shaman to Welcome Spring with Egg Balancing

PARK SLOPE — Spring will march into Brooklyn's Grand Army Plaza early Wednesday morning with a puff of sage smoke, the beating of drums, and a group of people balancing more than 300 eggs on end.

"Urban shaman" Mama Donna Henes will lead the egg-centric balancing ritual to mark the equinox, the twice yearly moment when the day and night are exactly the same length and a new season is born.

For 38 years, Henes has welcomed the seasonal passage with a public gathering where participants crouch on the ground and balance an egg upright during the "eggsact moment" the sun passes over the equator into the northern hemisphere.

Balancing an egg is said to be easier on the equinox, and those who accomplish the challenge — "an ancient Chinese custom" — will be blessed with good luck, Henes said.

The ritual is also a chance for urban dwellers to connect with Mother Earth, said Henes.

"The important thing is for people to gather together and participate in a cosmic moment," Henes said. "It's this very primal, tactile, bottom line, gestalt understanding of our connection with the greater whole. It's a very profound experience."

Henes, who specializes in leading rituals including baby namings, funerals, weddings and "energy clearings," hosts similar public events during solstices. She also serves as the "Grand Spirit Marshall" of the Greenwich Village Halloween parade.

Wednesday's equinox will happen bright and early at 7:02 a.m. and Henes is looking for volunteers to help her set up the eggs. When the balancing act is over, the eggs will be donated to the CHIPS soup kitchen on Fourth Avenue.

"Once a year they have a gigantic omelet that's been blessed by the cosmos," Henes said.