You might not think that’s such a big deal – not like the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year or the Winter Solstice, the shortest day, but the two equinoxes, vernal and autumnal, are just as important.
Maybe I get excited about all this planetary stuff because my protagonist in the Zodiac Mysteries, Julia Bonatti, is an astrologer and she pays a lot of attention to the stars.
Each equinox and solstice is an astronomical event brought about by the shifting of Earth’s tilt on its axis. On this day the sun will rise exactly due east and set due west. At the moment of the equinox, the hours of the day and night are exactly equal all over the world. This year the vernal equinox occurs on March 20th at 3:29 a.m. on the west coast. But here’s an astrological chart of the event set at the Greenwich Meridian.
If you look near the top of the chart, you’ll see the symbol for the Sun at exactly 0 degrees and 0 minutes Aries. It looks like a circle with a dot in the middle. The very beginning of the the zodiac. A harbinger of the coming spring.
Many cultures and religions through the eons have celebrated this time of the year with festivals and symbols of rebirth and fertility. The egg is a prime symbol, promising new life. Folklore tells us that eggs balance on their ends most easily at the equinox. Seeds, like eggs, hold the potential of new growth. Rabbits, because of their many offspring and constant breeding, are also associated with spring festivals.
Passover takes place in the middle of the Hebrew month of Nisan and although the calendar was constantly being adjusted, the most important factor in deciding the day was the spring equinox. No Ruz (New Day) is celebrated in Iran, a festival rooted in the beliefs of Zoroastrianism. In Egypt the Festival of Isis was held as a celebration of spring and rebirth. The ancient Romans observed the Feast of Cybele, a mother goddess at the center of a Phrygian fertility cult.
In Poland, a little lamb made of butter or sugar is placed in the center of the Easter table, which is laden with food and decorated with eggs. In Italy, colored eggs are baked in braided loaves of bread at Easter. In Russia, the celebration of Maslenitsa is observed as a time of the return of light and warmth. St. Patrick’s Day is March 17th and we’ve all heard that St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland . A double meaning here because the serpent was a metaphor for the early pagan faiths of Ireland.
Easter is named for the Saxon goddess, Eostre, a goddess of the dawn. And the date of Easter is determined by a moon cycle – always the first Sunday on or after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. This year the first full moon will appear on April 9th. It’s sometimes called the Pink Moon or the Egg Moon or the Sprouting Grass Moon. So this year Easter will be celebrated on April 16th.
Many holidays dedicated to the great mother goddesses take place in the month of March: Astarte, Isis, Aphrodite, Cybele and the Virgin Mary. The goddess shows herself in the blossoms, the leaves on the trees, the sprouting of the crops, the mating of birds, and the birth of young animals. We are reassured that life will continue.
We are bound to our beautiful blue ball and its movements. We depend on the earth, so of course our important festivals are celebrated at the solstices and the equinoxes with symbols that hark back to ancient pagan influences.
How will you celebrate this Vernal Equinox? Will you do something special to show your gratitude to our planet? Plant a tree? Call your representative or senator and ask her or him to protect the EPA? Start a flower garden?
Happy Spring ~
Allyson Charles: https://www.allysoncharles.com/blog
Gillian Baker: http://gilianbaker.com/blog/
K.B. Owen: http://kbowenmysteries.com/blog
Layla Reyne: https://laylareyne.tumblr.com
Kirsten Weiss: https://kirstenweiss.com/blog
Mona Karel: https://mona-karel.com/blog/
Misterio Press: https://misteriopress.com
Shannon Esposito: http://murderinparadise.com/blog-2/
Victoria De La O: http://www.victoriadelao.com/
And you can visit me at Facebook or Twitter @askzodia too!
All Signs Point to Murder
(Book 2 in the Zodiac Mysteries)
Coming soon: August 8, 2017
Rob Ramer was the perfect husband until he committed the ultimate family faux pas ~ he shot his sister-in-law to death. Was this a murder plot or a tragic accident? Julia Bonatti, San Francisco astrologer, vows to find the answer in the stars.