Autumn arrived with the Equinox last Friday when the Northern half of the planet began its tilt away from the Sun. Our Earth does not sit straight in the sky and the longest day of the year, the beginning of summer, occurs when the North Pole is closest to the Sun. The shortest day, the first day of winter, occurs when the Pole is furthest from the Sun. Between those extremes we experience the Equinox–twice each year once in late March and once in late September. For a fraction of a second, as the Sun crossed the equator about 3pm last Friday, day and night were close to same length and we began our journey into winter. We are on a path now into the cold and dark.
But I love that path: the Fall. The darker days are welcome here in the South after our August when the Sun boiled out of the horizon early and scorched us all day long. Philosophers and spiritualists, both modern and ancient, name this a time of transition; some believing movement from Summer heat to the cold of Winter be sacred. Fall is generally considered a time to let go of old injuries and seek peace and harmony; to take a breath and move ahead. Like the trees that let go of their leaves and plants that drop seed to the ground or get brown and dry and quiet, waiting for next year.
And this year, the Equinox and the New Moon occurred within a few days of each other. That confluence of heavenly changes has been traditionally believed to enhance our spiritual energy and help us make and accept changes in our lives.
Its fun to imagine the moon completely lit by the Sun during the New Moon phase. But it’s hidden to us. Then each night it becomes more visible, it grows before our eyes; a symbol of starting and succeeding at new things. And little things matter to me. My broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage seedlings were just put in the ground and the first of the Fall rains came today to speed their growth. The waxing moon lights them more each night and hopefully will encourage their success.
Big things like new beginnings and peace are very well but prediction is a perilous past time. What my practical side wants is a reliable prediction of winter temperatures and rainfall. Not too cold for the citrus trees, but cold enough for the peaches and apples to set fruit. Not too dry for the garden; but not so wet that the fungus goes crazy. These predictions are impossible, much less any prediction of our human path forward. Changes are part of our lives on earth and in the heavens.
The Moon is beautiful at night lately; a huge smile in the sky. Which always makes me think of the Cheshire Cat.
“Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don’t much care where.
The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.
Alice: …So long as I get somewhere.
The Cheshire Cat: Oh, you’re sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.”