Recently, you’ve probably heard loads of people throw around the phase “autumn equinox” and you might be confused and thinking “what on earth is that?”
So let me sum it up for you!
An equinox happens twice a year, and one of those occurrences is between September 21rst -24th (autumn equinox) and it is the only time in the year when the sun is exactly above the earth’s equator, causing night and day to be equal length. The autumn equinox for 2023 will be on the 23rd of September, so keep this is mind, as now we are about to discuss why this event is so special!
Aside from the fact it’s another great excuse to have a party, this autumnal occurrence is a matter of importance for science, history and spirituality.
Scientifically, the autumn equinox is important as it marks the start of autumn; from now on the northern hemisphere is tilting away from the sun due to the orbit of the earth, hence the environmental changes we are all too familiar with in England (rain and grey skies, here we come!)
Throughout history this period of the year has always been celebrated. Before humans had technology, humans used the sun as a method of time keeping; in fact, archaeologists believed a number of prehistoric sites such as Stonehenge were created to track the position of the sun. In ancient China, they first began to celebrate the Harvest Moon during the Shang dynasty to express gratitude for the plentiful harvest and make offerings to the moon in hopes there would be another fruitful harvest in the following year.
Meanwhile in Europe, pagans have a long-standing history of celebrating autumn, in fact they have three festivals to celebrate autumn! These festivals are called Lammas/Lughnasadha, Samhain and Mabon; Mabon is the festival specifically for the autumn equinox. During these celebrations gratitude is expressed to the earth for the resources it provided for us and it is common for pagans to reflect on the year so far and let go of any bad habits.
For many spiritual people, this time of year brings a shift in energy, away from the extroverted summer period, to autumn where solitude, rest and reflection arise. This is because we spend more time indoors due to the dark weather which produces less distractions and a change in routine. These changes often prompt adjustments from other areas in our lives; for example, is there a new hobby you have been wanting to start but never got round to? Is there a part of your life that you are unsatisfied with? This new season is a fresh chance for us to choose what path we want to take, and even if we take a path that isn’t right for us, autumn will always be there to remind us change will always arrive and that there isn’t an end to anything, only a new start.
So overall, I think we can say that an autumn equinox is pretty cool right? This natural phenomenon is a link that has connected all of mankind for centuries, a bond that ties us together, with a history and symbolism that everyone can appreciate to no matter their differences.
Therefore we believe this autumn equinox is something to be celebrated, even in a small way, for instance taking a moment to appreciate everything the earth supplies us with. I hope that this blog helped to clear up any confusion around this occasion and has provided inspiration on how to enjoy it!