Within the next 12 hours, the vernal -- or spring -- equinox arrives.  In the Northern Hemisphere, this means spring begins, while folks in the Southern Hemisphere start their autumn.

Human beings and the natural world have their own ways of celebrating spring's arrival.  As sure as the redbuds will burst into bloom and birds wake us earlier each morning with their songs, people begin tilling their gardens and unpacking their warm-weather clothes.  But while the days are certain to get longer and warmer, the equinox is not primarily an earth-bound event, but rather a celestial one.  What this means is that at on Tuesday, March 20 at 5:14 UTC (1:14 am Eastern Daylight Savings Time) the Sun will be passing over a hypothetical point in the sky called the celestial equator.  In the Northern Hemisphere the Sun appears to be heading north of that line; in the South, it's moving south.  From now until the Summer Solstice, the Earth's Northern Hemisphere will tilt toward the Sun while the Southern Hemisphere will be inclined away.


The waning crescent this morning, the 19th.  It was a beautiful morning, light rain, the smell of skunk and fresh loam.

The moon kept flitting in and out of the cloud cover. It should be visible tomorrow morning as well, just before dawn.

Without the convenience of the internet, there would have been at least one employee of Indigo Night (full disclosure -- me) persisting in the belief that it is only on the vernal and autumnal equinox that one can balance an egg and easily ascend into a yogic headstand.  While there's nothing wrong with doing some inversions of eggs or bodies, this is not what makes the equinox different from any other day of the year.  The one thing you can discern on the day of the equinox -- spring or fall -- is the direction of due east or due west.  Note where the Sun rises tomorrow morning and where it sets, and you will have the correct orientation.  If you have an unobstructed view of the eastern horizon you might be fortunate enough to see a slender crescent moon as well, waning toward the new moon on the 22nd.  Watch for the moon to begin waxing in the west by the 24th, popping up once again to highlight the separating Jupiter-Venus conjunction.