At 3:44 P.M. CDT on Sept. 22, the earth will stand straight up in relation to the sun. The sun will shine directly down on the equator. Day and Night balance at 12 hours each (or as close as we ever get to it). Light and Dark are perfectly counterbalanced. In the next second, the earth begins the slow tip to the south which ends on December 21. We literally fall into winter to be caught by gravity on the Winter Solstice.
I put up Halloween decorations on the equinox, partly because inside I am thirteen years old, and partly because I’m trying to push the season. Samhain (Halloween) is the true beginning of Winter with the Solstice the midpoint in that season. The sooner we start, I think every year, the sooner we can get it over and back to Spring. Doesn’t ever work.
For me the Autumnal Equinox or Mabon signals the end of Summer –not quite the beginning of Winter, but a time to begin preparing for it. It’s a melancholy time when green leaves blaze in one last bit of glory and then wither and fall. I feel the cycle of the earth most at this time. My birthday falls near the Equinox and I’m a Libra so I value balance in all things. The Equinox is my time to consider the past and the future.
Melancholy is balanced by the warmth of home fires, spicy apple cider and a gathering of family. It’s a time to boil a pot of beef and noodles and drink mulled wine (or peaty Scotch) and watch the snow begin to fall. A time to sing old songs and tell stories late into the night. A time to rest after the summer’s labors, a time to honor those who have died, and a time to build the fires high. It’s hunting season, football season, harvest season.
My favorite Pagan symbol is the Green Man who is usually associated with Spring. I see him in the Fall trees, too, his face peeking out from the red, gold, and orange leaves—just as puckish and ornery as he is in the Spring. Easy for him—he’s immortal, but fall reminds me of mortality—not in a scary way but in a lost potential and wasted time way.
On the equinox, we balance––for that split second poised between light and dark, life and death. This year, the Harvest Moon, is on Sept. 19, just a few days before the Equinox. It’s a wishing moon for me and I’ll be wishing for wisdom to maintain balance through the seasons and skill to make the most of the light and the dark.
Though the cycle of the earth is irrefutable, just as the cycle of life and death, the time in between is ours to do with as we will. It’s not a question of choosing good and evil; these are two sides of the same whole. And good and evil are such relative terms—my good may be your evil and vice versa. Rather it is a question of light and dark, push and pull, ebb and flow, weave and weft. These are dual concepts: one can’t exist without the other. It’s a question of how to balance the two, using the power of both to create a symmetry where we exist in peace.
The Equinox is a good time to consider how to accomplish that in the coming year.
- Celebrating Fall Equinox (brendaedwards.wordpress.com)
- Everything you need to know: September equinox (earthsky.org)