This year, the Autumnal Equinox falls on Wednesday, September 23 in the Northern Hemisphere. (In the Southern Hemisphere, it’s the Vernal Equinox!) Halloween candy is already on the shelves in stores, people, and in many parts of the world, tree leaves are changing color. Unfortunately for me, I don’t live in a place where the seasons change much (except television seasons), but if you do, embrace it!
The Autumnal Equinox is the first day of Fall in Western cultures. It signifies the beginning of shorter days and longer nights. On the equinox, day and night are equal: twelve hours of light and twelve hours of darkness. On this day, the Earth’s north and south poles are not tilted toward nor away from the Sun, and the length of the day(light) is theoretically the same all around the world. In traditional Eastern cultures, the yearly calendar is divided into 24 parts, and the equinox actually marks the middle of Autumn. In this context, the balancing act is an equal division within the season.
The sun sign Libra begins on this day as well. Libra’s symbol, the scale, not only represents justice (as in “the scales of justice”) but also the balance of light and darkness and the desire to create partnerships with other people.
In some modern Pagan cultures, the Autumnal Equinox is called Mabon. Adherents celebrate the harvest season and give thanks for the blessings they have received during the past season. The name Mabon was coined in 1970 in reference to a character in Welsh mythology, Mabon ap Modron.
If you have time today, get outside and take in the wonder of the Sun, Earth, and life around you. Have some friends over for apple pie and discuss your upcoming holiday plans!