By Nikki Harper, Wake Up World
September 23rd is an equinox day, wherever you are in the world. In the northern hemisphere, it marks the autumnal or fall equinox, while in the southern hemisphere, it marks the spring or vernal equinox. Equinoxes have always been considered an important symbolic turning point in our seasonal calendars; from the creeping serpent shadow at Chichen Itza to the pagan equinox rituals at ancient stone circles around the world, most ancient cultures understood the significance of these moments in time.
But what exactly is the equinox, and why does it matter?
What is the Equinox?
Our earth spins on a titled axis, which is what gives us our changing hours of daylight and our changing seasons, as our path around the sun causes differing amounts of sunlight to hit different parts of the earth.
An equinox occurs twice a year, once in March and once in September, and this is the moment in time when the sun’s path is directly in line with the celestial equator. This causes the hours of daylight and darkness to be (almost) equal, across the world.
In the northern hemisphere, the autumnal equinox marks the point at which the nights will begin to draw in; from now until the winter solstice in December, daylight hours will get shorter as autumn and then winter take hold, with hours of daylight dwindling and hours of darkness increasing. In the southern hemisphere, the situation is reversed. There, the same equinox is referred to as the spring equinox, and it marks the point from which the days will start to get longer and warmer, as spring and then summer progress.
The key spiritual principle of the equinox is balance. This brief moment in time when all things are in balance – day and night, male and female, yin and yang. For both the autumnal and the spring equinoxes, this balance principle is at the heart of equinox spirituality.