The autumnal Equinox occurs in September each year. This year, the autumnal equinox occurs on 23rd September at 7:50am BST.
At the time of the autumnal & spring Equinoxes – the Sun will illuminate the northern and southern hemispheres equally. It is a time of balance – to discard the unwanted and take on the new. 🙂 Deciduous trees undergo huge transformations by shedding their leaves. They trust that this needs to happen in order for renewal and more growth. Letting go is necessary and important in order to sustain life. There can be a sense of loss during this season too, so it’s important for families to spend more time with each other and develop closer, stronger, more loving and supportive bonds.
For many, this Equinox marks the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. However, there are three main different ways of defining autumn: astronomical, meteorological and phenological.
- Astronomically, the four seasons centre around the equinoxes and solstices. However, there is disagreement between those who see the equinox or solstice as the start of the season, and those who hold that it represents the middle of the season.
- By contrast, meteorologists tend to divide seasons into periods of three whole months based on average monthly temperatures, with summer as the warmest and winter as the coldest. On this basis, for most of the northern hemisphere the autumn months are usually September, October, and November.
- The third way of defining autumn is to use what are known as phenological indicators. These cover a range of ecological and biological signs, such as the leaves falling off the trees and the migration of birds to warmer climates. These events of course are greatly influenced by weather and climate, and so changing climate could cause autumn to start earlier or later than the standard astronomical or meteorological definitions.
Mabon is a modern Pagan ritual marking the autumnal equinox. The ritual gives thanks for a plentiful harvest and recognises the need to share the Earth’s fruits in the coming winter months.
In Japanese culture, the autumn equinox is celebrated with the tradition of Higan. It is a time to remember deceased relatives, as well as mark the passing of the seasons.
The Harvest Moon is the name given to the Full Moon that occurs nearest to the autumnal equinox. The Full Moon this month falls on Friday, 29th September.
Historically the light of the Harvest Moon was said to enable farmers to work late into the night, helping them to bring in the crops from the fields.