Saturday, September 22, 2012

Autumn Equinox: Persephone's Descent

Today is the Autumn Equinox, the temporal and celestial midpoint between the Summer Solstice and the Winter Solstice.  Here in the northern hemisphere, from now and into winter, the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer.  This is the beginning of the dark half of the year.

The equinox aligns with the story of Persephone / Kore / Proserpina and her abduction into the underworld by Hades / Pluto as myth and allegory of the origin of winter.  The Autumn equinox is considered to be the time frame during which the Eleusinian Mysteries were observed in ancient Greece.  Persephone's myth cycle was an important observation during these mysteries.  The Autumn Equinox is also a sabbat in the wheel of the year.  It is a holiday of thanksgiving, the second of three pagan harvest festivals.
Now for a bit of science to round things out.  The equinox is generally thought of as the point where day and night are equal, but apparently that is not correct.  Checking wikipedia, equal day and night is called the equilux.  The equilux will be variable to your placement on the globe whereas the equinox is a time point common to the entire planet.  Looking at the timing of sunrise and sunset in my area places the equilux closer to September 26th/27th.  To find the equilux in your area, I recommend the excellent sunrise/set calendar generator at  For you werewolves out there, it is also a good way to track moonphases and moon rise/set times.

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{Digital Images manipulated in Adobe Photoshop}

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