Thursday, September 22, 2011


September 23rd is the autumn equinox this year, for the Northern Hemisphere. The word equinox comes from the Medieval Latin equinoxium, meaning “equality of night (and day)”. Twice a year the amount of darkness and light are approximately equal. Like the major lunar phases each month, sacred places have amplified energy on these solar dates. We invite you to walk the labyrinth here at Whatever Works Wellness Center this Friday.

The four directions come from the daily path of the sun. It rises in the east at dawn, reaches its zenith in the south around noon, sets in the west at dusk, and passes hidden beneath the north. The sun actually rises and sets at different places on the horizon daily. During our winter it moves further south, stopping on the winter solstice. During our summer it moves further north, stopping on the summer solstice. Between these two extremes, twice a year on the autumn and spring equinoxes, it rises due east and sets due west.

Just as sunrise and sunset appear similar but herald light or dark, many traditional cultures associate the equinoxes with east and west. Although equal today, night will increase until we reach winter solstice. Autumn equinox is therefore associated with the west, the direction of sunset. The corners of the labyrinth are roughly aligned to the cardinal directions, as are the stones in the center. You can pause at the areas that honor the west to connect with the day’s energy:

  • Western Corner: When entering, the back left corner is the west. When you are walking the labyrinth, it is the corner with the stone table and statue of Saint Francis.
  • Western Stone: Standing stones symbolically link heaven and earth. They were used historically to mark seasonal celestial events on the local horizon. (Unfortunately we cannot accurately do this is our wooded urban location.) When you first enter the center, the standing stone furthest from you is south and the one nearest is north. East is to your left and west is to your right.

You can pray, meditate, set intentions, or offer at these points. The autumn equinox is the yearly solar equivalent to the last quarter moon. People across religious traditions harness this day of balanced light and dark to:

  • Align with the cycles of nature.
  • Call on the Divine to balance your own inner light and darkness.
  • Call on the fruitfulness of autumn, pray for abundance, fertility, or success.
  • Make a personal harvest. Determine what you want things you want to carry with you, what things you want to shed as chaff.
  • Harness the day’s increased energy to bless and charge spiritual tools like crystals, flower essences, gem elixirs, etc.
  • Reach deeper states of meditation.

I hope you can visit this autumn equinox! This is not a scheduled group event, just an invitation to visit sometime today. Specific times are stronger energetically, like the daily turning points of the Sun (dawn, noon, dusk) and the actual solstice time (5:05 a.m. Eastern Time). The labyrinth is only open during regular store hours, 12 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Fridays.

C. L. Matthews, 2011

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