The fall equinox, the first day of autumn, arrives Saturday, September 23, 2023, at 02:50 AM EDT.
Because Mabon and the Sun's transit into Libra also happen the same day, I am taking the next three days to write about each one individually.
While not a directly observable phenomenon, the second equinox of the year is characterized by equal amounts of day and night world.
SCIENCE AND ASTRONOMY
During this time, the Sun shines directly over the equator, dousing both hemispheres with equal amounts of sunshine. This also marks the first day of fall in the Northern Hemisphere. The September Equinox – called the “autumnal ( or fall ) equinox” in the northern hemisphere and the “vernal equinox” in the southern hemisphere – signals the point where earth experiences roughly equal lengths of day and night.
In addition, Mercury — generally a rare sight since its proximity to the Sun makes observing difficult — will reach a point visually furthest from our star. You'll be able to spot the planet around dawn on this day, before it disappears into the sky along its 88-day orbit.
The Moon that occurs closest to this equinox is called "Harvest Moon", which rises around sunset for several nights in a row. Traditionally, the Moon rises an hour later each night; however, around the time of the equinox, the angle of the Moon's orbit and tilt of the earth align, causing the Moon to arise earlier.
I'll be writing more about the Moon next week. But for now, the rising of the Moon assists farmers in completing their harvest by illuminating the night across the fields.
According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, the fall equinox has been a day of celebration for cultures since ancient days. People tracked the transitions of the Earth’s journeys around the Sun.
At Machu Picchu in Peru, an ancient stone monument called Intihuatana—which means “Hitching Post of the Sun”—serves as a solar clock to mark the dates of the equinoxes and solstices.
In Mexico, the Mayans built a giant pyramid called Chichen Itza. On the equinoxes, it looks as if a snake made of light slithers down the pyramid’s steps. In England, Stonehenge was also built with the equinoxes and solstices in mind.
Here's a wonderful article about 6 Ancient Sites Aligned With the Solstice and Equinox: https://www.almanac.com/content/ancient-sites-aligned-solstice-and-equinox
My ascendant ( rising sign ) is Libra, and I view this equinox as a precursor to the astrological sign of harmony and balance. This liminal gateway invites us to examine these aspects within ourselves as we prepare to submerge into our own shadows in hopes of healing old wounds.
"The shadow," is a term coined by Swiss Psychoanalyst Carl Jung as the wounded or rejected part of ourselves. This is where Chiron, the wounded healer comes into play, and why I post so much about it.
The shadow is a cellar for repressed memories and/or the emotions associated with those memories. It can also include behaviors that didn't highlight our finest moments. It's the side of us or the face we'd rather not show the world, especially when attempting to make a good impression.
This is nothing to be intimidated by. On the contrary, it's actually a blessing that enables us the downtime we need, i.e. - shorter days, to integrate this shadow until, like nature, we are a balance that can emerge into the light fully healed.
I know many of you have your own personal rituals to observe on this equinox; however, I thought I'd share mine.
First, I will begin tomorrow evening at around 9:00 PM versus sunrise the following day, as this will honor and welcome my Shadow fully into my life for the healing season.
It begins with a warm, cleansing bath and autumn--colored candles/crystals. I'll also wear a special adornment for this ritual by wearing an autumn-colored kaftan.
Once cleaned and dressed, I prepare my altar for my ritual. This ritual is a commitment to honor my shadow throughout this season. When my altar is set and my supplies are gathered, I call forth my spirit team.
Once I've formed a safe and secure barrier of protection and safety around me, I initiate meditation by envisioning myself welcoming and connecting to my shadow. When emotions begin to rise, I envision what I want to release by writing it down before folding the paper into a small square.
I then speak my truth aloud, saying "I release ____(name the shadow issue) and bring balance into my life. So mote it be."
This process may not be immediate for you. You may have to sit with it, repeating your intention until you truly believe it yourself before you feel the shift. But trust me, you will feel the shift if you commit yourself to this.
I light the folded paper in the candle flame and place it in my burning bowl, extending gratitude to the Universe as I watch it burn. Once its embers have grown cold, I gather the ashes in a jar and mix with salt as a reminder of the balance of dark and light.
So above, as below. So within, so without.
I seal the jar's lid with candle wax. This will serve as a constant reminder of the commitment I have made to my shadow to honor its presence by balancing it with light.
Namaste, my dear friends and followers, for a beautiful equinox ritual to you each. May you discover peace, balance, and comfort in the dark.
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