ūüĆěūüĆĚHappy Autumnal Equinox 2023!

(Or is it Equilux? Read on to learn the difference between Equinox vs. Equilux, and why we should pay attention.)
Equinoxes always feel like powerful times of year to me. They are the time of greatest change and flux in nature. I can always feel a shift at these times in my own evolution.
But this year I learned something cool about equinoxes that has opened up some questions in my mind.
It happened when a member of my private membership, Spoken Earth Ministries, reached out to me late last summer. Her name is Zuzanna Vee, and she is a practicing astrologer of over 30 years.

It started with a dream…

“…(I)n April I had a dream that Goddess told me that August 8 would be a big celebration day,” Zuzanna wrote me in an email.
“In May I did some research to confirm what I’d felt: that there was something off with the Spring Equinox. I checked various sources and discovered that, if we take the Equinoxes to be equal days and nights, they are way off.
“Spring Eq(uinox) was 16/17th of March; Autumn will be Sept. 26th this year. The Solstices are correct as they stand for some reason… So, that means that Cross-Quarter days were off… and Lammas, the Feast of First Harvest, falls on the 8th of August!”
Weird, no? I’d always been taught that the equinox was when day and night were equal, and took it for granted that the dates on the calendar were correct.
Intrigued, I asked Zuzanna if she’d be willing to fill me in on what she’d discovered.

What Zuzanna discovered about the Equinox

Over Zoom, Zuzanna filled me in on how she came to realize that the equinox on the calendar doesn’t match up with equal days and nights.¬†

“I’ve been¬†in¬†nature¬†living¬†for¬†the¬†last¬†five¬†years,¬†sort¬†of¬†camping¬†and¬†being¬†very¬†nomadic…And¬†so¬†I¬†have¬†a¬†weather¬†radio¬†that¬†I¬†listen¬†to¬†every¬†day¬†because¬†it’s¬†important¬†to¬†know¬†when¬†it’s¬†going¬†to¬†rain,¬†what¬†the¬†temperature¬†is¬†going¬†to¬†be¬†so¬†I¬†can¬†be¬†prepared.

…(T)he weather¬†radio¬†very¬†kindly¬†every¬†day¬†says¬†when¬†Sunset¬†and¬†Sunrise¬†is.¬†This¬†spring,¬†something¬†caught¬†my¬†attention…I¬†thought,¬†wait¬†a¬†minute, that¬†sounds¬†like¬†that’s¬†an¬†equal¬†day.¬†An¬†equal¬†night.¬†It¬†was…And¬†it¬†felt¬†it¬†also¬†felt¬†to¬†me that¬†it¬†was¬†the¬†spring¬†energy¬†that¬†day.¬†I¬†think¬†it¬†was¬†like¬†the¬†17th¬†of¬†March.¬†So¬†when¬†the¬†Equinox¬†actually¬†came¬†around,¬†I¬†think¬†it¬†was¬†the¬†21st¬†this¬†year, it¬†didn’t¬†feel¬†like¬†spring.¬†

“And so...¬†I¬†looked¬†online¬†for¬†a¬†site¬†that¬†had¬†a¬†list¬†of¬†sunrise¬†and¬†sunset.

“…(T)he equinoxes¬†were¬†really¬†easy¬†to¬†find¬†because¬†it’s¬†equal¬†day¬†and¬†equal¬†night. ...¬†And¬†I¬†found¬†that¬†they¬†were¬†off.¬†They¬†were¬†really¬†off, like (on the) 16th¬†or¬†17th.¬†And¬†our¬†equinoxes¬†and¬†solstices¬†are¬†celebrated (on)a¬†range¬†of¬†dates¬†between¬†the¬†19th¬†and¬†the¬†23rd.¬†

“…The solstices¬†were¬†really¬†hard¬†for¬†me¬†to¬†see,¬†to¬†track¬†my¬†eyes,¬†to¬†look¬†at¬†these¬†these¬†dates. …(But)then¬†a¬†couple¬†of¬†weeks¬†later,¬†I¬†redid¬†the¬†calculations¬†and¬†the¬†solstices¬†were¬†correct.”

Naturally, this raised a lot of questions in our minds.
Are we being deceived?
Or is there another reason for the discrepancy between the equinox dates we are given on the calendar… and the actual date of day and night being equal?
Over the following few days, Zuzanna and I looked deeper into it. And here is what we found:

EquiNOX vs. EquiLUX

“Maple Leaf Rag,” digital illustration by Ona Chrisie Martin

We discovered that the “equinox” on the calendar is indeed not always the date when day and night is equal – and this is a known fact (albeit little-known at this point even amongst experienced astrologers).¬†
The term “equinox” means “equal night”. According to most definitions I found, it’s the date when the sun crosses the plane of the earth’s equator. This will be the same time and date everywhere around the globe.
But there is another date called the “equilux”, which means “equal light.” And that refers to the date where day and night are equal.¬†
The equilux can be several days after (in the fall) or before (in the spring) the equinox.
This year, the equilux falls on or around September 26 (it varies depending on where in the world you are.) 

Why does this matter?

Well, astrological dates such as equinoxes, solstices, and the cross quarter days (Imbolc, Beltaine, Lammas, Samhain) are portal points. The cosmic geometries formed when the sun and earth enter these specific relationships with each other shift the energetic fields around us. 
That’s why traditional peoples have always regarded these occasions as times for great ceremony. And also why if you are sensitive to energy you may find yourself experiencing more intense dreams, creative inspiration, spiritual downloads, etc. during these times.
So when is the proper time to celebrate the seasonal tipping points of increasing and decreasing light in the spring and fall?
  • On the equinox dates given to us on our calendars?
  • Or on the equilux, when we can physically observe an equal day and night?
That is a more important question than one may think at first because if the timing is off on a ceremony it can affect or diminish its energetic effect.
“If you’re¬†working¬†with¬†the¬†Earth¬†energies,¬†if¬†you’re¬†doing¬†Ceremony¬†with¬†Earth¬†Energies, it’s¬†really¬†good¬†to¬†to¬†be¬†connected¬†to¬†those¬†energies,” Zuzanna explains.
And¬†if¬†we’re¬†not,¬†then¬†the¬†power¬†is¬†not¬†as¬†strong¬†as¬†it¬†could¬†be. And¬†if¬†we¬†are¬†doing¬†these¬†ceremonies¬†or¬†having¬†focus¬†and energy¬†intention¬†on¬†the¬†earth‚ÄĒlike¬†at¬†sacred¬†sites ‚ÄĒwe’re¬†not¬†energizing¬†them¬†when¬†they¬†can¬†be¬†energized¬†and¬†we¬†are¬†not¬†receiving¬†the¬†energy¬†that¬†they¬†can¬†flow¬†to¬†us¬†when¬†they’re¬†ready to¬†really¬†push¬†it¬†out¬†there.”

Equinox vs. Equilux: a theological and ceremonial conundrum

One of the first questions in our minds was, “what did our ancestors do?”¬†

Did our foremonthers and -fathers celebrate the tipping point of the season at the equilux, holding ceremony at the observable time of equal day and night at their specific location?

Or did their calculations focus on the equinox- the alignment of the sun with the equator?

In my mind, it’s a question that merits further research.

One thing we have found when it comes to equinox vs. equilux is that we’re not the only ones taking this question seriously. While we personally are more concerned with when the energies are most intense and available, in certain Christian and Jewish circles, there is apparently some debate about which date is more legit according to scripture.

If you have any insights or can point us in the right direction to learn more about our ancestors’ approach to the equinox, please comment below!

Working with the energies of the Equinox and Equilux

In the meantime, if you work with Earth energies and want to align your ceremonies with them, this now presents a conundrum. Do you schedule your rituals for the Equinox as given on the standard calendar? Or do you find the date and time of the Equilux?

Do you want to know what I think?

I think we’re at a point in human evolution where we are being given more room for choice than ever before. And this question of Equinox vs Equilux is part of that equation.

Now that I’ve been made aware of the difference between the two dates, I’m noticing that each has its own energy. As long as we are clear on what we are really working with, is there any reason we can’t work with each of these energies as we feel guided?

Equinox vs. Equilux energies of September 2023

“White Rose,” Ona Christie Martin, watercolor, approximately 7″x5″, ca. 2004

Personally, I’ve been experiencing a lot of energetic clearing associated with this Equinox window. A lot of it is centered around getting into the flow, and aligning with one’s natural rhythms.

A couple of the insights I’m being given at this time of the fall 2023 Equinox include:¬†
  • Right Timing. Sometimes in order to get in step with the dance, you have to skip a beat. It’s OK to let things go for a bit if that’s what it takes to get back into the flow!
  • Be bold and fearless. If you ask for a sign (especially concerning a choice), sometimes it comes as a RESULT of making the correct choice (rather than before).¬† Trust your intuition and take that leap you’re being asked to take – then watch for confirmation.
And around the 2024 fall Equilux? 

Here I’m feeling a lot of strong energy of initiation and new beginnings.

This may seem counterintuitive for fall, but a lot of people don’t realize that autumn is actually a significant time for planting as well as harvest.

  • In the garden, I’ll be planting garlic soon, and have a few hazelnut bushes to put in the ground this fall as well.
  • And in my work, I have just been guided to sign up for two significant business programs that will hugely support me in reaching and helping more people in 2024. Coincidentally – or not! – they both start on September 26th – the very date of the 2023 fall equilux!

How about you? What downloads are you receiving at this time? Please feel free to share in the comments section below this article – it would be fun to compare notes!

Revised Seasonal Festival Dates for 2023-2024

In case you find it helpful, here is Zuzanna’s list of revised dates for recent past and upcoming seasonal festivals, using the equilux rather than the calendrical equinox for the equinox dates:

  • Lammas:¬† August 8, 2023
  • Autumn Equinox: Sept 26 (seems to shift between 25/26th)
  • All Hallow’s (Samhain): November 8
  • Winter Solstice: the same as on calendars (Dec 21st this year)
  • Imbolc/Groundhog Day: Feb 3, 2024 (not far off, this one, as it is traditionally celebrated on Feb. 2)
  • Spring Equinox 2024: March 16
  • Beltane 2024: May 4
  • Summer Solstice 2024: June 20th (same as on calendar)
  • Lammas 2024 will be August 9 (seems to shift between 8/9th)


Featured Artwork:

Light Rays painting by Ona Christie Martin - illustrating blog "Equinox vs. Equilux"

Rays of Light, 2022, original watermedia drawing by Ona Christie Martin, 10″x8″, $111. Contact me to purchase.