From today's autumnal equinox until late December, the darkness is closing in as the night takes over from the day. The International Business Times writes that the autumnal equinox happened officially at 10:21 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (2:20 p.m. UTC) September 22, and fall is now upon us. That means winter is on its way with cold, dark, lengthening nights for many parts of the world, but don't worry. There's plenty you can do to fill your long nights with magic.Humans have had equinox rituals forever, it seems. The changing of the seasons is a powerful time, especially when the Harvest Moon is so close to the actual equinox. Druids, Wiccans, pagans of every creed, and even Christians hold special rituals to celebrate the autumn equinox. According to National Geographic, there's a "notable example" of an ancient way of noting the magical time of the equinox in Mexico at the ancient Maya "step pyramid" called El Castillo (The Castle) in Chichen Itza.
"Exactly at sunset on the spring and autumn equinoxes, sunlight hits the building's steep staircase at just the right angle to create an eerie snake-like shape that appears to slither along its length."If you want to do some autumnal magic in your own home, try making a cornucopia, or Horn of Plenty. The Horn was "once a revered ritual object symbolizing the unlimited procreative powers of mother nature," according to the wild food blog, Gather Victoria. The cornucopia was carried by goddesses of fertility and immortality and celebrated the female divinity of Mother Nature. Some pagans and Mabon rituals groups use this darkening time of the autumnal equinox to practice gratitude in a special way. They believe that gratitude helps "healing through transitions," and the equinox is all about transition. The Yogalicious blog suggests that the autumnal equinox leading into the long winter night is the perfect time to say, " 'thank you and goodnight' to the earth as she starts her slumber into the winter and begins her rejuvenation." Across the Atlantic, Stonehenge is the iconic place for all kinds of pagan rituals and "hundreds of druids and pagans" flock there from around the world to practice their own magic when fall begins. The Daily Mail reports that the autumnal equinox is one of "only four public annual events that allows people to get so close to the stones." Usually, the ancient standing stones are roped off so that the public can't reach them since they are precious and would be easily worn down by constant touching. There's also a risk of deliberate damage to the sacred site.
The spring and autumnal equinoxes and summer and winter solstices are considered so holy by most practicing pagans that eventually the British government agreed to open the site so that the ancient rituals could be enacted where the magic is strongest.
"Anyone can turn up on the day to get close to the stones, but people are asked not to touch or climb on them."Of course, everyone feels the impending doom of cold, dark winter creeping into hearth and home, and the magic rituals are all about getting through safely to Spring. Here on Earth, we have it pretty good as far as long winters go.
Elsewhere in the universe, things are a "nightmare," especially if you happen to suffer from seasonal affective disorder. Uranus orbits around the sun every 84 years, and that means the planet has truly dreadful, "mind-numbing winters that last a whopping 42 years."According to the Independent, even Google is marking the magic of the equinox with a revisit of their popular Autumn Equinox Doodle to help everyone make the transition to fall. Rocks and stones even on a cute small scale can be as magical as the step pyramids of Stonehenge if you make them magic! What kind of magic will you make this autumnal equinox to help you transition into fall and the darkness that awaits?
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