My favorite time of the year arrives today officially at 5:18 p.m. with the autumnal equinox. “Equinox” refers to the fact that the sun is directly over the equator, rendering the length of night and day across the earth to equal amounts. This occurs two times a year – spring and autumn. The other two important moments are the solstices – summer and winter – representing the longest and shortest days of the year, respectively. Essentially today, regardless of where you are in the world, the length of day and night are equal. It is the beginning of the astrological sign Libra – the scales, which represents a balance (my astrological sign so no wonder I have a partiality to this season). Autumnal equinox is commonly referred to around the world as a time of balance, equality and harmony in world. Pagan rituals adapted around the autumnal equinox revolve around the harvest and respecting and appreciating the bounties provided by Mother Earth.

Autumnal equinox is commonly called the first day of Fall here in the United States, but it is also known by the following: Cornucopia, The Feast of Avilon, Festival of Dionysus, Harvest Home, Harvest Tide, Mabon, Night of the Hunter, Second Harvest Festival, Wine Harvest and Witch’s Thanksgiving.

Traditionally, the full moon closest to the Autumnal Equinox is called the Harvest Moon because it was so bright that the farmers could harvest crops by the light of the moon. It is also called the Wine Moon or Wine Harvest since most wine grapes are harvested during the lunar period beginning in September.