Have you noticed the change in the light? The sun is already much lower in the sky at noon. Even though it still feels like Summer, the Equinox is upon us so get ready for what is known in Seattle as the season of Rain, also known as the season of Dark. Years ago my friend Jules commented that she missed the “real” seasons of Montana. I countered that we have seasons here, but she replied, ‘Inga, mold is not a season.’ That still makes me chuckle whenever I think of it.
September 22nd is the Autumnal Equinox: The day the Sun enters Libra and the beginning of Autumn. In the same way that the Solstice marks the days of longest and shortest “light,” the Equinoxes mark the day of equal light. Nox is the Roman goddess of night so equinox literally means “equal night.” The glyph for Libra represents the setting sun expressing the balance between night and day. According to tradition, the Sun is “exalted” in Aries while halfway through its circuit along the ecliptic, it is in “fall” in Libra, Aries’ opposite sign.
The rising of the constellation Libra marked the beginning of the New Year in ancient Egypt. Equinoxes are the two points in the year (March 19-21 and September 21-23) when the Sun crosses the celestial equator. At these times, day and night in Northern and Southern hemispheres are of equal length. The Spring (vernal) Equinox occurs midway between the Winter and Summer solstices; the Autumnal Equinox occurs midway between the Summer and Winter solstices. The Autumn equinoctial festival of Mabon mirrors the spring equinoctial festival of Oestara with the Light and Dark forces of the Universe switching ascendancy.
In myth, the goddess Persephone departs the earth to join her husband in the underworld. It is time to give thanks for the summer and to welcome the impending dark. Traditionally, this is when some of the heaviest work of the agricultural year begins. The harvest is stored away, the farm animals are measured against their feed and decisions are made about how many to keep and how many to slaughter and eat. This is why so much Thanksgiving feasting goes on now. Preserved meat and fruit only last so long.
Symbols of Autumn:
Blackberries, cranberries, wine, gourds, pinecones, acorns, nuts, corn, apples, pomegranates, ivy
Foods of Autumn:
Breads, nuts, apples, squash, pomegranates, and pumpkin pie.
Colors of Autumn:
The colors of the sunset: violet, orange, russet, maroon, brown, and gold.
Stones of Autumn:
Libra is pink tourmaline, opals and rhodochrosite. Scorpio is topaz, bloodstones, garnets, and yellow agates. Sagittarius is turquoise and jasper.
Activities of Autumn:
Making wine, gathering seeds and seedpods, walking in the woods, Halloween, and Thanksgiving celebrations, Christmas shopping.