The Vernal Equinox
Here are Graham's thoughts:
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.
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
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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