Each year on the 22nd / 23rd September Druids and Pagans gather at Stonehenge early in the morning to mark the Spring Equinox and to see the sunrise above the stones.
It's an ad hoc celebration that brings together England's New Age Tribes (neo-druids, neo-pagans, Wiccans) with ordinary families, tourists, travelers - usually about 100 people!
For many the impulse to arrive at Stonehenge in time for the Solstice and Equinox is a little like all those people drawn to the strange rock in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It's akin to a spiritual experience. Anyone who has witnessed the crowd become silent as the sky begins to brighten can attest to that. There will only be a handfull of people at the Equinox
Stonehenge Autumn Equinox
This is the third of the four ‘sky points’ in our Wheel of the Year and it is when the sun does a perfect balancing act in the heavens.
This is the point of the year when once again day and night are equal - 12 hours, as at Ostara, the Spring Equinox. The Latin word for Equinox means 'time of equal days and nights'.
After this celebration the descent into winter brings hours of increasing darkness and chiller temperatures. It is the time of the year when night conquers day.
After the Autumn Equinox the days shorten and nights lengthen. To astrologers this is the date on which the sun enters the sign of Libra, the scales, reflecting appropriately the balanced day and night of the equinox. This was also the time when the farmers brought in their harvested goods to be weighed and sold.
Here in Wiltshire (as with the rest of rural Britain), it was traditional to drink dandelion and burdock cordials at this time as these herbs help to cleanse the blood and are a good tonic for the body after its winter hardships.
The full moon nearest to the Autumn Equinox is called the Harvest Moon and farmers would harvest their crops by then, as part of the second harvest celebration.
Mabon was when livestock would be slaughtered and preserved (salted and smoked) to provide enough food for the winter.
At the South Pole they will be celebrating the first appearance of the sun in six months. However, at the North Pole they will be preparing for six months of darkness.
During Medieval times, the Christian Church replaced Pagan solstices and equinox celebrations with Christianized occasions.
The Autumn equinox celebration was Michaelmas, the feast of the Archangel Michael
Want to experience the 2017 Autumn Equinox ? Click here
Spring (Vernal) Equinox 2017 Information- Click here
The Stonehenge Tour Company have been operating exclusive 'small group tours' of the Solstice and Equinox events since the 1990's
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