Autumn equinox occurs every year at the beginning of the last decade of September, when the astronomical longitude of the Sun reaches 180°. From this moment on, we enter into the period of the astronomical autumn.
The point of the autumnal equinox, also called the ‘autumnal point’, is located on the celestial sphere at the intersection of the ecliptic (which represents the projection on the celestial sphere of the plane of the Earth’s orbit) with the celestial equator, which the Sun crosses at this time, passing from the northern hemisphere of the celestial sphere to the southern one. The Sun will now rise and set at the celestial equator at the eastern and western cardinal points, the duration of the days being equal to that of the nights, regardless of latitude.
The only exceptions are in the polar regions, where the North Pole enters into a long polar night, and the South Pole where the Sun rises over the horizon for 6 months until the spring equinox. In fact, in the southern hemisphere, 23 September marks the beginning of spring.
Autumn equinox. What you need to know
Unlike the New Year, which is at midnight in all time zones, the autumnal equinox occurs at the same universal time, only the local time will differ slightly.
The autumnal equinox occurs when the sun crosses the celestial equator. Every year, it occurs on 22, 23 or 24 September in the northern hemisphere.
After the autumnal equinox, the nights will get longer and the days shorter. This will last until December. Then the days will get longer and longer until the spring equinox.
The exact date of the equinox differs from year to year. This is because it takes about 365.25 days for the Earth to revolve around the sun, and every four years it is a leap year.
For astrology enthusiasts, the morning after the autumnal equinox is the morning of the sun’s entry into the sign of Libra.
In China, the autumnal equinox is included in the Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival. On this occasion they celebrate the harvest and cook mooncakes.
Unlike the spring equinox, which brings the energy of rebirth and the joy of summer, the autumn equinox can bring feelings of depression.
Autumn equinox. Spiritual meanings
According to indigenous cultures, people should be guided by the four great points of nature in the year. These are the Winter Solstice, the Spring Equinox, the Summer Solstice and the Autumn Equinox. Each of these represents a spiritual journey, a spiritual cycle that every human must go through.
By realizing that we are one with nature, we will understand our own life cycles, which intertwine with those of nature.
Autumn is the time of harvest. Each person must be aware of nature’s abundance and his or her own abundance. As in nature, a human lifecycle consists of growth, harvest, death and rebirth. That is why the autumnal equinox is the time to honor abundance. We must shift our focus from scarcity to abundance.
Autumn equinox ritual
Light a candle and express your gratitude for all the things you have and the things that have made you the person you are.
Autumn is the time when we prepare the ‘soil’ for the harvest to come. Release yourself from all that has passed, do some cleaning and allow creativity to have visions.
Winter follows, the time when you heal. Winter, with its cold and frost, brings the cleansing, the healing that prepares you for spring, while spring is the time of rebirth.