Equinox: First Day of Fall, Sacred Sites and a Quarter Moon
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That slight crispness to the air that signifies the change in seasons is now
being backed up by the sun. Today is the second time of year that the sun rises
due east and sets due west, traversing the sky directly over the equator. The
axis of Mother Earth is straight rather than tilted in relation to the sun’s
rays. In other words, it’s fall.
Night and day are almost the same length on this day, though not quite.
The autumnal equinox, as it’s officially named, signifies, for the most part,
the end of those long, lazy, hot summer days. With this year being one of the
hottest summers on record in the United States, it may be a relief to see these
sweltering days pass.
day also signifies the beginning of the harvest season, when gourds, apples and
other ripe nuggets that have been nourished by Mother Earth’s soil all summer
are ready to eat. That does not hold for those places south of the equator, of
course. For them it’s the first day of spring.
Spout Run Site owner Chris White stands on two petroglyphs that he and local
archeologist Jack Hanricky discovered on September 19, 2012. The equinox sun
forms a halo over his head. (Photo: René White via Clarke Daily News)
Because of the important nature of today’s change in season, sacred sites abound
built by American Indians, Canadian Aboriginals and Indigenous Peoples
worldwide. A recent discovery of just such a site has been unearthed in
Virginia, the 12,000-year-old Spout Run Paleoindian site in Clarke County.
The site features three concentric rings that align with the equinox sun,
according to landowner Chris White. But recently he and local archeologist Jack
Hranicky made another equinox-related discovery: a triangular rock formation
topped by two footprint-shaped petroglyphs that appear to align with the
sunrise, the Clark Daily News reported.
stood on, during the equinox, the sun causes a halo effect over the person
standing on the prints,” Hranicky told the Clark Daily News. “This is a new
He said its 105-degree alignment with the autumnal equinox sun as it crosses the
Blue Ridge Mountains make the 12,000-year-old site’s original inhabitants
“Virginia’s first engineers,” the newspaper said.
White made his discovery in 2009 after purchasing the land and starting to build
on it, he told the Clark Daily News.
The ancients used the sky and the seasons’ changes as both clock and calendar,
EarthSky.org points out. Celebrate
and let the season begin!