Equinox, when Sun gives way to Moon: This Week on the Storyteller's Night Sky

Sep 18, 2017

Summer blues give way to Autumn gold on Lake Michigan at Equinox time

After the drama of causing last month’s Total Solar Eclipse, the Moon wanes out of sight in the morning sky this week, and comes to New Phase on Wednesday, just two days before Autumn Equinox, when Sun and Earth achieve their twice-each-year seasonal balance, and day and night are equal in length.

Even though the date of Equinox is determined by the relationship between Earth and Sun, the mood of the season is very much determined by the Moon. 

When the Moon comes to New Phase just before Equinox, as it will this year, then both Sun and Moon are above the Celestial Equator, which means the Sun is still dominant and the lunar forces are held in check. 

But then, after the Equinox moment, the Sun appears to slip below the Celestial Equator, and the Moon, growing brighter and brighter through the sky for the next two weeks, will arrive at Full Phase above the Celestial Equator, as though challenging the Sun for the rest of the season.

In former cultures, Equinox was the time for purification; for shedding all the ills and wrongs and negativity in one’s behavior so that as the forces of growth seemed to die away in the waning sunlight and the creatures began their hibernations, they wouldn’t “take with them” the undigested wrongs of humanity. Fasting and prayer were not uncommon during the three days around Equinox, because it was believed the diminishing sunlight wasn’t strong enough to burn up the negativity streaming from human beings. After Equinox, the Moon becomes more active, but unlike the Sun, it can only reflect and magnify what streams from humanity.

New Moon will happen at 1:30 am on Wednesday, September 20th, followed by Autumn Equinox at 4:02 pm on Friday, September 22nd. Until then, here’s a fitting verse to contemplate from Austrian philosopher and scientist Dr. Rudolf Steiner: 

What we bury deep in the earth to sleep, wrap of earth must be. What we love abides above, all through eternity.