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The Vernal EquinoxSoft Flame

Here are Graham's thoughts:
The equinoxes mark the mid points between the solstices, when the length of day time and night time are equal. At the equinoxes, the length of day-time and the progression of the sun along the horizon are changing at their fastest rate.

From Winter Solstice onwards, the days are getting longer, so the Vernal Equinox represents a tipping point, after which the days will start to be longer than the nights. This also marks the entry of the Sun into Aries and can fall anywhere from the 20th to the 23rd (this year it is on the 20 March, at 22:45). This is a theoretical position, though; in fact, the earth wobbles slightly and the atmosphere bends the light from the sun. For these reasons, it's very unlikely that on the Equinox the sun will rise at 6:00am precisely and set at 6:00pm.

A lot of the information on the Wheel comes to us through Christianity, and the Vernal is no exception. This Equinox is a lunar festival about rebirth and renewal. It is also used in calculating the date for Easter. To find the date of Easter, start with Vernal Equinox on a calendar, then go forward until the next full moon, then it will be the Sunday after that. (Roughly, there are exceptions and ecclesiastical full moons!) But this explains why Easter moves from late March all the way into April from year to year.

There are interesting lunar correspondences with Easter. Christ died for three days, then was reborn – moon dark is a period of three days when there is no moon visible in the sky before the new moon. In any year there are either twelve full and thirteen new moons or the other way round, and the Last Supper has traditions associated with the thirteenth guest.This typifies the energy of the festival of reconciling opposites - in this case lunar influences on a solar festival.

This link with the Vernal Equinox also explains why Easter appears to have appropriated two pagan symbols – the Easter Bunny and the Easter Egg. The nearest we can find to an explanation for these is a German Goddess called Eostre. This gets mired in controversy as there is only one historical record of Her – the mediaeval historian the venerable Bede mentioned Her once. In neo-paganism this festival is called Ostara and the symbols of the hare and the egg are attributed to Eostre. But there is no historical evidence for this and Bede himself didn't mention either hares or eggs as being Her symbols.  [More]

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