Friday, March 8, 2013


We see two equinoxes in a year, one in March, and the other in September. It is a time when the tilt of the Earth's axis is not inclined either away from or towards the sun. A time when the sun crosses the plane of the Earth's equator, which causes the night and day to be (nearly) equal in length. The exact length of the day and night on the equinox varies with where you live, but in many locations it will be close to an even split.That's essentially what equinox means - equal night - as in equal amounts of night and day.

In the southern hemisphere, the March equinox is the first day of autumn, and here in the north, we'll be celebrating the coming of spring. Both equinoxes are quite important in my personal path - they are where I split the year into the light and dark halves. From the spring equinox forward the days are longer than the nights, the light half, and when we get to the autumn equinox the nights become longer than the days, the dark half. They are the sunrise and sunset of the year.

At the spring equinox, we get ready for the planting and growing season (literally or metaphorically), and at the autumn equinox we're bringing in the harvest, giving thanks to the land that sustains us, reaping the rewards of our hard work, and getting ready for the colder winter months.

In New Hampshire, it's usually still cold and somewhat snowy at the time of the March equinox. It can be hard to really feel that spring has begun, even though some of the early signs are there. It's not yet time to get the garden ready for planting, it's still too cold for that. However, there's still some preparation that can be done - the seeds can be blessed, and some seeds do better when they've been given a head-start indoors. Getting those seeds started at the equinox will have them ready for transfer after the last threats of frost have passed.

It's become a bit of a tradition for me to get up a before sunrise on the morning of the spring equinox to go out and welcome the sun, the spring, the light half of the year. To make offerings to my Gods and the land spirits. It's very informal, just some offered incense and a shared meal, yet it's become one of the points of the year I look forward to the most. It's cold, it's quiet... but it just feels so rich with potential. I can sit out under the big maple tree and perfectly picture the coming summer. The growth everywhere, the leaves and the shade they provide from the hot sun, the flowers, the noisy insects that have been gone for so long. Part of it still feels so distant at the equinox, but even so you just know it won't be much longer.

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