The spring equinox is significant because after a long and dark winter, the hours of day and night are equal for the first time this year – about 12 hours each.
Astronomically speaking, the equinox falls on March 19 or 20 every year, marking spring’s beginning in the Northern Hemisphere (whereas it announces fall’s arrival in the Southern Hemisphere). The equinox happens at the same moment worldwide, even if our clock times reflect a different time zone.
The vernal equinox is the astrological name for the spring equinox. It marks the moment the sun crosses the equator from south to north. It occurred at 10.29 GMT.
At the Vernal Equinox, the Sun crosses the celestial equator on its way north along the ecliptic.All over the world, days and nights are approximately equal. The name equinox comes from Latin words which mean “equal night”—aequus (equal) and nox (night). Enjoy the increasing sunlight hours, with earlier dawns and later sunsets.
On the equinox, Earth’s two hemispheres are receiving the Sun’s rays about equally because the tilt of the Earth is zero relative to the Sun, which means that Earth’s axis neither points toward nor away from the Sun. (Note, however, that the Earth never orbits upright, but is always tilted on its axis by about 23.5 degrees.)
The equinox differs from the solstices, which occur twice yearly to mark the sun’s most northern or southern position relative to the equator. This year, the summer solstice falls on Wednesday, 21 June, while the winter solstice is on Thursday, 21 December.
Scientific explanation aside, our ancestors were more connected to the Sun than we are today. They observed its pathway across the sky; they tracked how the sunrise, sunset, and daylength changed, using the Sun (and Moon) as a clock and calendar. If you have ever been to Stonehenge or Machu Picchu, you’ll see examples of ancient seasonal markers.
Ostara is the name given by Pagans and Wiccans to the spring equinox and is one of the eight ‘sabbats’ – periods they believe make up the year. Some observers believe the event is a revival of ancient celebrations of spring, which merged into Easter after the spread of Christianity in the British Isles. Modern observers often see in Ostara at Stonehenge, in a similar fashion to the summer and winter solstices.
SIGNS OF THE EQUINOX IN NATURE
- Worms begin to emerge from the earth. Even the March Moon is called “The Full Worm Moon” for this reason.
- Notice the arc of the Sun across the sky as it shifts toward the north. Birds are migrating northward, along with the path of the Sun.
- Speaking of birds, did you know that the increasing sunlight triggers bird song? Cool, eh? Enjoy our Bird Songs page.
- Trees, shrubs and flowers are sensitive to temperature and daylength, too! Since ancient days, people have used them as indicators of when the weather is right for planting. For example: Blooming crocus are your cue to plant radishes, parsnips and spinach. See more of nature’s signs.
- Of course, the longer days bring warmer weather! Both we and the animals around us strip off our clothes and heavy coats!
- Ready, set, plant! March is time to start gardens and sow seeds in many regions. See your personalized Best Planting Dates.
On this day the Moon will be in a Third Quarter phase. Sometimes called a Last Quarter Moon, this phase occurs roughly 3 weeks after the New Moon when the earth is three quarter of the way through it’s orbit around the earth. If you live in the northern hemisphere the Moons left side will be illuminated and the right side dark. For thoughts of you in the southern hemisphere it will be the opposite with the right side illuminated. On the day of the Third Quarter phase the Moon will rise around midnight on the eastern horizon and set in the west around noon the next day. In the days following the Third Quarter Phase the Moon’s illumination will decrees each day until the New Moon.
Last Quarter Moon: Release, let go, forgive.
Letting go, clearing away, cleansing, releasing, shedding old patterns, undoing bindings, opening up problem-knots, making space
Now is the time to let go, release, and forgive anything and everyone that you may feel has hurt you in any
way. It is a time of emptying self and allowing the universe to take over or whomever you trust in your faith.
It is out of your hands and no more action is needed from you.
The moon is one-half and decreasing in illumination. This is like a half-way point – a kind of calm, contemplative time of introspection, reflection & re-evaluation for the future. The seed has now planted fully and all harvests have been reaped.
There is a sense of thinking about what has been accomplished, and shedding the old (including negative thoughts) before the new can come into place. This entails ridding of any kind of negative thoughts or energy for good so that you can focus positively on a higher universal perspective, take full responsibility, and allow for the creativity and growth that will manifest in the next stage of goals and new intentions.
The Worm Moon of March was sometimes referred to by names associated with other signs of spring. The more northern Native American tribes knew the March full moon as the Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signaled the end of winter; or the Crust Moon, because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing at night, or the Sap Moon, marking the time of tapping maple trees. Other names include the Chaste Moon and the Death Moon. Christian settlers also called this the Lenten Moon and considered it the last moon of winter.
Full Moon names have been used by many cultures to describe the full moon throughout the year. Specifically, Native American tribes used moon phases and cycles to keep track of the seasons by giving a distinctive name to each recurring full moon. The unique full moon names were used to identify the entire month during which each occurred.
In astrology, planets and heavenly bodies are considered as energy beings, affecting the life and states of people on earth. Each planet is associated with a physical, emotional and mental quality. The placement of planets and their distances from earth in this case are important factors in determining the quality and intensity of their influence. The Full Moon symbolizes the mind & emotions and because of its closeness to earth it is one of the most influential heavenly bodies on the life of people on earth.
Full Moon: a time for goals to be signed, sealed, and stamped.
The full moon traditionally symbolizes abundance, harvest, wish-fulfillment, manifesting desires, sexuality, achieving all dreams, and protection. This is the time that our goals and intentions become signed, sealed, and stamped. Note that it is not necessarily delivered. (They may be, but if it is not, do not be discouraged. We still have two weeks to devote to this intentional period. Know that the intention is “out there” in the universe and time is gathering all the circumstances and other people’s intentions and time frame together to make this happen the best way for all concerned.)
FULL MOON in VIRGO
As the Earth rotates, different constellations appear overhead. In the Northern Hemisphere the Full Moon in Virgo happens in the spring (when crops are about to be planted), and the New Moon in Virgo happens in the fall (when crops are beginning to be harvested). In the Southern Hemisphere the seasons are reversed but the symbolism is the same. Virgo (archetypically, the maiden) is about fertility and its changing seasons – in other words, about growth and the change that comes with it.
The Moon today is in a First Quarter phase. This phase occurs roughly 7 days after the New Moon when the earth is one quarter of the way through it’s orbit around the earth. Exactly half the moon will be illuminated and half dark. On the day of the First Quarter phase the moon is high overhead at sunset and is visible until mid-night when it sets in the west. The First Quarter phase is a one day event and in the following days enters a Waxing Gibbous phase becoming more illuminated each day until the Full Moon. http://www.moongiant.com/phase/today/
FIRST QUARTER MOON (“half moon”): Challenges, decisions, action. Taking direct action and managing energy. Building, growth. During the First Quarter Moon, we are met with challenges and obstacles that we have not prepared for.
planting roots, growing and moving forward. This symbolizes a period of strength, determination, concentration, decision-making or re-evaluation, and commitment to action.
During this time, remember to keep soldiering forward, despite any fears, emotions or doubts that might get in your way. Turn around any emotional energy into creative passion so that you can get things done and finish goals.
FIRST QUARTER: March 5, 4:32 am (PST)
FULL MOON: March 12, 07:54 am (PST)
LAST QUARTER: March 20 8:58 am( PST)
NEW MOON: March 28 2:57 am (UTC) = March 27, 7:57 pm (PST)