Have you ever wondered about the meaning of an equinox or solstice and how they tie into Astrology? Not surprisingly, there's a major significance to these periods of time and they each have something in common.
Have you ever wondered about the meaning of an equinox or solstice and how they tie into Astrology? Not surprisingly, there’s a major significance to these periods of time and they each have something in common.
An equinox or solstice tells us about our relationship here on Earth to the Sun at any given season.
That’s right .. the first thing to remember about an equinox or solstice is that they mark the beginning of a new season. There are two equinox points each year (spring and autumn) and two solstice points (summer and winter). They each correspond to one of the four Cardinal signs of the zodiac -- also known as the Cardinal axis. This axis is extremely important in Astrology because it is where we find the powerful angles in a birth chart. These angles are points of energy manifestation. They are highly sensitive points in your chart that trigger every major life event. Each of these points on the Cardinal axis will correlate to one of the four cardinal directions (north, south, east, west).
The official midpoint of winter, Winter Solstice is the middle of the cold, dark, bleak season, which begins on Halloween (or Samhain). Astrologically, the event is marked by the Sun moving into Capricorn, the final earth sign, so we can anticipate a shift in energy 0º Capricorn: Winter Solstice. December 21st marks the Solstice, a time where the Sun ‘stands still’ and the seasons change. The Solstice also brings the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, where we are encouraged to enter the dark night of the soul, and the longest day of the year in the Southern Hemisphere, where we are encouraged to celebrate the light.
Let’s dig into the astronomy and Astrology behind solstices and equinoxes so that you can understand more about their implication for our life and our planet!
By definition, a solstice is an astronomical event that happens twice a year -- once at the beginning of winter and again at the start of summer. During a solstice, the Sun will reach its highest or lowest point relative to the celestial equator. The celestial equator is a fancy term for the giant imaginary circle that’s on the same plane as our equator. The word solstice literally means 'Sun stands still,' and that’s exactly what appears to happen during a solstice point from our perspective here on Earth.
During the Summer Solstice, the Sun will appear to stop and then begin declining in the slightest way each day in a southward direction. The date of the Summer Solstice marks the longest day of the year because at that point the Sun stops right over the Tropic of Cancer which is the northernmost point. After a few days it will backtrack south towards the equator. The Solstice occurs on June 21 and astrologically, it coincides with the start of the Cardinal sign Cancer.
The Winter Solstice, on the other hand, occurs when the Sun appears to stand still at the southernmost point of the equator (the Tropic of Capricorn) and then slowly begins to trek north again. The Winter Solstice occurs on December 21 and marks the shortest day of the year. Astrologically, it coincides with the start of the Cardinal zodiac sign Capricorn. From a soul perspective, the Winter Solstice is about celebrating the rebirth of life in all forms. From here on out, the days will get longer and the Sun will shine brighter. Hope is renewed.
In contrast, an equinox occurs when the tilt of the Earth’s axis is neither away or towards the Sun. At this time, the center of the Sun is in the plane of the Earth’s equator. What happens as a result is that the Sun is at one of two opposite points on the celestial sphere. The word equinox is translated in Latin to mean 'equal night' because during an equinox the day and night will be at equal length.
The Spring Equinox begins on March 21 and marks the start of the new astrological year in the tropical zodiac since the Sun will enter Aries -- the first sign in the zodiac. Virgo horoscope for january 2021. This is typically a time of new beginnings and we have come to associate the Spring Equinox with a 'fresh start.'
The Fall Equinox occurs when the Sun reaches the opposite balancing point in its path through the tropical zodiac. Once again, the day and night are of about equal length during this time. This occurs on September 21 and correlates to the sign Libra. This time of year has become connected to 'harvest' and reaping the fruits of our labor. At the same time, it brings up a certain respect for the fact that now, nights will become longer and it’s time to conserve energy and resources.
An important point to note is that the seasonal relationship to solstices and equinoxes specifically apply to the Northern Hemisphere. Seasons in the Southern Hemisphere are reversed.
Either way, it’s no accident that the zodiac signs correlated to equinoxes and solstices are all Cardinal signs. Cardinal signs begin each season and are associated with qualities of initiative. Whether it’s an equinox or solstice, we’re celebrating the start of something new. Each season has a specific and essential job that we rely on for our very existence. The equinox and solstice points are sacred markers in time that help us connect the dots to the mystery behind the Earth’s never ending circle of life.
Wednesday 21 June in the southern hemisphere marks one of our annual turning points, the winter solstice, which is the shortest day and the longest night of the calendar year. The term solstice comes from the Latin “sol” meaning the sun and “sistere” meaning to stand and at the winter solstice the Sun does seem to stand still very low in the sky for a period of 3 days.
The ancients honoured the Sun as a life giving force and worked in harmony with nature and the seasons. During the winter months as the crops became dormant and life seemed to slow down, the ancients relied on faith and the hope that the Sun would reappear and life would return. The winter solstice, as the shortest day, marked a time of spiritual rejoicing and celebration at the promise of renewed life associated with the days increasing in length and new hope symbolised by the rebirth of the Sun.
Astrology was developed in the northern hemisphere and the winter solstice takes place around 21 / 22 December as the Sun moves into Capricorn. This is marked by festivals such as Christmas, Yule and Hanukah which are often celebrated with lights, thought to balance out the lack of light in the winter months and remind us of our inner light.
In the southern hemisphere, our winter solstice coincides with Sun moving into the sign of Cancer (ruled by the Moon); emphasising yin energy and as the Sun energises this receptive watery sign. As the Sun stands still, so we slow down physically, conserve our energy and reorientate our emotional, mental, physical and spiritual energy. It’s a time to rest, renew and nurture ourselves, in sympathy with nature resting.
In tune with the season of winter, the increased darkness and nature dormant and buried beneath the earth, we have the opportunity to explore that which is dark and buried within ourselves. It is a time to turn inward, embrace the darkness and explore the unknown. We feel our way as we connect more with our intuition, trusting that it will guide us as the ancients trusted that the Sun would reappear. As the Sun symbolises our potential to shine in the world and express our authentic Self, the solstice reminds us to pause and reflect on what holds us back from fulfilling our unique potential. What lurks in our shadow that holds us back from sharing our light?
This can be a good time to gently unearth some of our shadow side and to set intentions for new ways of being and shining in the world with renewed energy.
The Sun moves into Cancer at 2.25 pm AEST on 21 June. Happy Solstice.