Autumn Equinox 2014
A ‘balanced life’ means that one does not continually disregard the cyclic rhythms to which our body is subject or constantly try to swim against the stream. It means patiently hearkening to the rhythms of nature, the seasons and one’s own body, learning how to understand their signals, and adapting oneself harmoniously, like a good surf-rider to their continuous ups and downs. A priceless ability, if one wishes successfully to weather the storms that life has in store for all of us. – Paungger and Poppe, Moon Time
Autumn Equinox is a perfect expression of balance in nature, and gives us the perfect opportunity to reflect on balance in our lives.
The video above shares a simple reflection exercise to harness the expression of balance in nature during this time to invite more balance into our personal lives.
Interested in the astronomical details of Autumnal Equinox? Here is some info from EarthSky.org:
The 2014 September equinox comes on September 23, at 2:29 Universal Time. Although the equinox happens at the same moment worldwide, the clock times vary by time zone. So in the U.S. the this equinox comes on September 22, at 10:29 p.m. EDT, 9:29 p.m. CDT, 8:29 p.m. MDT or 7:29 p.m. PDT.
In the Northern Hemisphere, the sun is rising later now, and nightfall comes sooner. This is our autumn equinox, when the days are getting shorter in the Northern Hemisphere. At this equinox, day and night are approximately equal in length. For us in the Northern Hemisphere, people are enjoying the cooler days of autumn even as preparations for winter are underway. South of the equator, spring begins.
What is an equinox?
The earliest humans spent more time outside than we do. They used the sky as both clock and calendar. They could easily see that the sun’s path across the sky, the length of daylight, and the location of the sunrise and sunset all shift in a regular way throughout the year.
Our ancestors built the first observatories to track the sun’s progress. One example is at Machu Picchu in Peru, where the Intihuatana stone, shown at right, has been shown to be a precise indicator of the date of the two equinoxes and other significant celestial periods. The word Intihuatana, by the way, literally means for tying the sun.
Today, we know each equinox and solstice is an astronomical event, caused by Earth’s tilt on its axis and ceaseless orbit around the sun.
Because Earth doesn’t orbit upright, but is instead tilted on its axis by 23-and-a-half degrees, Earth’s Northern and Southern Hemispheres trade places in receiving the sun’s light and warmth most directly. We have an equinox twice a year – spring and fall – when the tilt of the Earth’s axis and Earth’s orbit around the sun combine in such a way that the axis is inclined neither away from nor toward the sun.
Earth’s two hemispheres are receiving the sun’s rays equally now. Night and day are approximately equal in length. The name ‘equinox’ comes from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night).
Where should I look to see signs of the equinox in nature?
The knowledge that summer is gone – and winter is coming – is everywhere now, on the northern half of Earth’s globe. If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you can easily notice the later dawns and earlier sunsets. Also notice the arc of the sun across the sky each day. You’ll find it’s shifting toward the south. Birds and butterflies are migrating southward, too, along with the path of the sun.
The shorter days are bringing cooler weather. A chill is in the air. All around us, trees and plants are ending this year’s cycle of growth. Perhaps they are responding with glorious autumn leaves, or a last burst of bloom before winter comes.