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Equinox

Equinox

The term "equinox" (from the Latin for equal night) refers to those times during the year in which the length of the day and the night are equal. The equinox occurs twice yearly, at the beginning of spring (around March 21) and the beginning of fall (around September 23). From an astrological perspective, the equinox occurs when the sun appears to be at the point where the celestial equator (the Earth's equator imaginably projected outward into space) meets the eliptical, the path that the sun appears to take as viewed from earth. As people observed the heavens in ancient times, among the first phenomena that became noticeable to them were the apparent movements of the sun, especially the different points on the horizon at which it rose day after day, and the variant length of days. The longest and shortest days (the solstices) and the equinoxes were important markers in the annual calendar, as were the points halfway between each of these days, signaling as they did important activities in the agricultural season. Very early these points became ritualized, the occasions for feasts and celebrations.

In astrology, the spring equinox is the beginning of the new astrological year. At that time the sun enters 0° Aries. At the fall equinox it enters 0° Libra. The planetary configurations at the time of the equinoxes have a particular importance in the interpretations of mundane astrology (the astrology of nations).

The astrological year was largely replaced by the Christian calendar in the West, but came back into use for marking the year with the rebirth of ritual magic in the nineteenth century. It was notable that magician Aleister Crowley named his biannual journal Equinox. However, as with most ritual magicians and astrologers, the equinox, while being an important marker in the calendar, was not a particularly significant point for ritual activity or horoscope interpretation.

Ritual significance was poured back into the equinox within the Neo-Pagan Witchcraft Movement launched by Gerald Gardner in the mid-twentieth century. Gardner revived the eight annual sabbats, two of which occurred on the equinoxes.

Sources:

Cunningham, Scott. Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner. St. Paul, Minn.: Llewellyn Publications, 1988.

Farrar, Stewart. What Witches Do. New York: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 1971.

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equinox

equinox (ē´kwĬnŏks), either of two points on the celestial sphere where the ecliptic and the celestial equator intersect. The vernal equinox, also known as "the first point of Aries," is the point at which the sun appears to cross the celestial equator from south to north. This occurs about Mar. 21, marking the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. At the autumnal equinox, about Sept. 23, the sun again appears to cross the celestial equator, this time from north to south; this marks the beginning of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere. On the date of either equinox, night and day are of equal length (12 hr each) in all parts of the world; the word equinox is often used to refer to either of these dates. The equinoxes are not fixed points on the celestial sphere but move westward along the ecliptic, passing through all the constellations of the zodiac in 26,000 years. This motion is called the precession of the equinoxes. The vernal equinox is a reference point in the equatorial coordinate system.

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"equinox." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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equinox

equinox Either of the two days each year when day and night are of equal duration. They occur on the two occasions, (one spring, one autumn) when the Sun crosses the celestial equator. In the Northern Hemisphere, the Vernal (spring) Equinox occurs around March 21 and the Autumnal Equinox around September 23.

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"equinox." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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equinox

e·qui·nox / ˈekwəˌnäks; ˈēkwə-/ • n. the time or date (twice each year) at which the sun crosses the celestial equator, when day and night are of equal length (about September 22 and March 20).

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"equinox." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"equinox." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved August 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/equinox-1

equinox

equinox XIV. — (partly through (O)F. équinoxe) L. æquinoctium, in medL. -noxium, f. æqui- EQUI- + nox, noct- NIGHT.
So equinoctial XIV. — (O)F. équinoxial — L. æquinoctiālis.

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"equinox." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"equinox." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved August 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/equinox-2

equinox

equinox the time or date (twice each year) at which the sun crosses the celestial equator, when day and night are of equal length (about 22 September and 20 March).
See also precession of the equinoxes.

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"equinox." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"equinox." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved August 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/equinox

equinox

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