I just felt autumn as the equinox just clicked over in the Northern Hemisphere at 4:02 PM. I queued this post for that time in advance so that I could stand outside and feel it. Okay, it’s not true that you can feel or even see anything happen at that moment. But…
The Autumnal equinox of September happens and the astronomical start of fall in the Northern Hemisphere (and spring in the Southern Hemisphere) for a brief time is “equal night” – a day of about the same length as the night.
For real, the Sun crosses the “celestial equator.” This is an imaginary line that marks the equator on Earth extending up into the sky from north to south.
It may not happen tonight or even the next few weeks, but the days and nights are somewhat cooler in Paradelle. The days are definitely getting shorter, though that is hard to observe on any daily basis. I already had to change the setting on the timer that turns on some lights in my house.
When I say that I felt autumn, it is because as I stood outside at that moment of equinox I saw the changes in the plants around me. My vegetable garden’s leaves are turning yellow. I will start pinching out some of the tomato plant’s flowers in order to send all the energy to the remaining fruits. Some of those will never turn red and I will pick them half-ripened to falsely turn red in the house. I’ll grab some green ones before the first frost (not due around here for about another month – but no one knows for sure) and make fried green tomatoes and pickle some of them.
The squirrels have increased their activity. The chipmunks seem even more frantic than usual.
The maple leaves are changing.
In the morning when I take my coffee outside to drink, I see a few insects clinging to the screens or window glass trying to grab some house heat overnight. I find a few insects in flowers that didn’t survive the night.
In Ancient Greek mythology, the equinox is associated with the story of the abduction of Persephone. She was taken from her mother, the harvest goddess Demeter, to the underworld to become the wife of Hades, the god-king of the underworld. Demeter eventually got her daughter back from Hades, but only for nine months of the year. So, every fall Persephone would return to the underworld to spend three months with Hades. During these months, Demeter refused to use her divine skills to make plants grow, explaining why we have three months of winter every year.
Mabon is a modern Neopagan celebration which takes place around the September equinox. It is one of the six Sabbats based on the cycles of the sun. The ceremonies are based on the myth of Persephone, and it celebrates the second harvest and the start of winter preparations.
Gather at Stonehenge or Castlerigg and watch the sunrise. Respect the impending darkness; give thanks to the sunlight.