In less than twelve hours, the earth will hurtle past the point of the September equinox, at 12:50 am Pacific time on Monday, September 23rd, which will be 3:50 am Eastern time in North America.
Those times are actually given using the misleading system of "daylight savings time" (which continues this year until November 3rd), so in terms of where we actually are on the turning of the earth in relation to the heavens, add an hour to those numbers. In other words, earth will speed through the exact point of equinox at 12:50 am Pacific time, but "daylight savings time" misleadingly tells us that it is 11pm when our part of the globe is actually at the hour of midnight, when the part of the world upon which we are standing is turned most directly away from the sun -- so if we were to do away with "daylight savings" then we would call the moment we speed past that point of equinox 1:50 am in the Pacific time zone and 4:50 am in the Eastern. As it is, however, clocks set to daylight savings time will say 12:50 am in the Pacific zone and 3:50 am in the Eastern.
The Greenwich Mean Time at the point of equinox will be 7:50 am on 23 September. This should help you to calculate what time it will be in your part of the globe when earth hurtles past the equinox point.
A long time ago, I wrote a blog post using a metaphor which compares the earth to an old sailing ship, with the bowsprit representing the north pole and the stern lantern representing the south pole.
This metaphor helps us to understand the celestial mechanics behind the solstices and equinoxes. As the ship orbits the sun, the orientation of the bowsprit (representing the north pole) and the stern-lantern (representing the south pole) remain the same -- they point in the same direction in space.
The point of summer solstice for the northern hemisphere is reached when the bowsprit of the ship sweeps past the very point where it points most directly towards the sun. There is one specific moment where this takes place during the orbit. Similarly, the point of winter solstice for the northern hemisphere takes place when the ship reaches the opposite end of its orbit from the summer solstice, at which point the bowsprit is pointed most directly away from the sun and the stern-latern (representing the south pole) points most directly towards the sun (which explains why it is summer time in the southern hemisphere when it is winter in the northern).
The points of equinox take place halfway in between these two points, when the ship is arranged "broadside" to the sun, and there is one specific moment in time where earth passes through the exact point of equinox.
The exact date of the equinoxes and solstices "slips around" due to the fact that earth does not make an exact round number of spins on its axis during the period it takes the planet to come back to those exact points of solstice or equinox. That's why the September equinox date is usually the 22nd, but sometimes falls on September 21st, and this year falls on September 23rd. It's not the equinox point that is changing but rather the calendar itself, which fits rather "loosely" over the year due to the fact that there is not an exact fit between days (spins on the axis) and orbital period.
The points of equinox are days of "crossing over" in the world-wide system of celestial metaphor which forms the foundation for the ancient myths of cultures on every inhabited continent and island of our planet. At the equinox. the path of the ecliptic "crosses" the celestial equator, and at the equinox we "cross over" from the "upper half" of the year when hours of light are longer than hours of darkness to the "lower half" of the year when hours of darkness are longer than hours of light (at the fall equinox), or vice-versa from the "lower half" of the year when darkness exceeds daylight back to the "upper half" in which daylight again exceeds darkness.
The ancient myths dramatize the equinox crossing in many different ways, but one of the most important ways in which the myths allegorize this "point of transition" is by likening it to the transition of our soul into (or out of) the material realm. The point of the autumnal or fall equinox (the September equinox for the northern hemisphere), the "crossing point" where we transition "downwards" into the half of the year in which hours of darkness are longer than hours of daylight, was particularly associated with the plunge down into this "lower realm" of material existence which each of us undergoes when we are born into this physical body.
This physical birth was seen as our "first birth," but it was nearly always paired with our "second birth" or spiritual birth -- and this, as Alvin Boyd Kuhn explains in his masterful 1940 text Lost Light, explains why there are so many examples of myths featuring "two mothers" or "two-mother symbolism." On page 8 of that text, Kuhn writes:
The ancient books always grouped the two mothers in pairs. They were called "the two mothers" or sometimes the "two divine sisters." Or they were the wife and sister of the God, under the names of Juno, Venus, Isis, Ishtar, Cybele or Mylitta. In old Egypt they were first Apt and Neith; and later Isis and Nephthys. Massey relates Neith to "net," i.e., fish-net! Clues to their functions were picked up in the great Book of the Dead: "Isis conceived him; Nephthys gave him birth." Or: "Isis bore him; Nephthys suckled him," or reared him.
What can this ancient teaching possibly mean, and how can it help us where we are, in this present moment?
I am convinced that one of the powerful teachings contained in the myths for our benefit and blessing in this life concerns the recovery of our authentic self -- our essential self or Higher Self, sometimes referred to as the "divine self," and associated in the ancient myths with the symbolism of the second birth, rather than the first (material and physical) birth.
The ancient myths, over and over, and from all parts of the globe, dramatize a story of trauma: a story of separation from who we actually are -- a story of loss of connection with the essential self, and a need for reconnection and reconciliation with Self.
The symbolism of the two mothers -- and the two births -- is one of the powerful ways in which this teaching was dramatized within the incredible esoteric teachings given to humanity in their "original instructions" in myth.
We see this imagery, for example, in the story known as the Judgment of Solomon, which is related in the third chapter of the book of 1 Kings in the scriptures of the Bible. In that story, we see again the pattern of the two mothers, and of two births (represented by two babies). One of the babies is a living baby, and one is a dead baby. Solomon must use his judgment (itself a gift from the divine realm, as discussed in this recent video) to solve the dilemma of how to proceed when faced with these two mothers.
The ancient myths consistently associate our physical or material birth -- and our physical and material body -- with death and mortality (hence the dead baby in the Solomon story). The second birth is associated with the spirit, with the divine, and with the essential self, the authentic self, the Higher Self.
The second birth, and the reconnection with our own essential self, is not something we achieve by reaching for anything or anyone outside of ourselves -- how could it be?
It does, however, have at its core the realization that the "lower self" or the natural self, perhaps best referred to as the egoic mind (which all of us create for ourselves, as part of the process of becoming entangled in this material realm) must relax its grip and allow room for the Higher Self to come back.
This profound teaching is dramatized again and again in the world's ancient myths. Previous posts which discuss this vitally important subject include:
Thus, as we reach this point of September equinox -- which in the world's ancient myths is associated with our plunge down into matter (even as the northern hemisphere plunges down into the "lower half" of the year, when hours of darkness begin to outweigh hours of daylight) -- we should consider not just our "first birth" but the fact that the ancient myths nearly always pair the births (and pair the mothers, as with Isis and Nephthys, or Apt and Neith, or the two harlots in the Judgment of Solomon, or the two Mary's in the gospel accounts).
In other words, as we reach these significant points in the great cycle of earth and heavens, it is an occasion to contemplate the urgent work of recovering and reconnecting with our essential self, who in fact is always available to us, always with us, and through whom we come into connection with the wider realm of nature and even beyond it, to the Other Realm, the realm of pure potentiality . . . the realm of the gods.
No one else can do it for us. But I am convinced that the myths are there to point the way.