Rev. Nancy's Blog

Equinox: Finding Balance in a Turning World

Equinox is again upon us – fall in the Northern hemisphere, spring in the Southern. Equal day, equal night? Maybe and not quite. “Approximately” might be a better word.

On September 23, the sun crosses the celestial equator and shines on the Earth’s equator [a simplified explanation]. Day and night may be equal at the earth’s equator, but the earth is round – the farther one is from the equator the less equal they are. There are lots of other influences, such as atmosphere, and where we are in earth’s approximately (there’s that word again) 26,000 year wobble.

The dance of light and dark at equinox is much like the dance of balance, internal and external. The music plays faster and faster. At this turning point in the year, the sun has reached the halfway point in its progression from the lightest light at the Northern hemisphere’s Summer Solstice to the darkest dark of its Winter Solstice. The Druids called Autumn Equinox Alban Elued, or “Light of the Water,” referring to the descent of the sun into the cosmic ocean.

Autumn Equinox marks the beginning of the season of autumn, and the second harvest. Grains have been harvested; now it is time to gather fruits. We watch the progression as colored leaves overtake green ones. The last remnants of color glow bright against a graying sky. The inexorable undercurrent of change and life cycles happens whether we welcome it or try to delay it. Change can be subtle, or hit us “up the side of the head” with the proverbial two-by-four.

What can one do?

Balance: Give and receive. Honor and release, gather in and nurture. Equinox is an opportunity to take stock. Review what you have harvested in this year’s efforts. Look at the patterns that emerge. Give thanks for what’s worked, and for the lessons learned from what hasn’t. Give thanks for the light in its waning phase, and prepare for the enveloping darkness. It’s time to clear the fields and plant internal seeds – set intentions – for what you want to sprout in the spring.

Let your heart guide you in identifying what you are ready to release. Write it on a piece of paper and give it to purifying fire. Or tear it into little pieces and bury it with a prayer that the Earth compost it into fertilizer for new growth.

Your heart will guide you, too, in setting intentions for what you want to grow. Write or draw it. Set it on your altar or a place of honor. Remember to be clear when setting intentions. We get what we ask for!

Seasonal thresholds such as Samhain and Winter Solstice are coming, which also invite us to release the old and initiate the new. Equinox, though, is the time to set in motion the internal process that will be expressed externally. Whatever growth you experience, whatever light you hold in your heart, will spread out in ripples across your pool. May it be for the highest good of all.


Matthews, Caitlin, The Celtic Book of Days: A Guide to Celtic Spirituality & Wisdom. Destiny Books, 1995.