Each year, the world experiences two equinoxes, one in March and one in September. But what actually is an equinox, and what is its astrological significance?
What is the September Equinox?
The September equinox, or the autumnal equinox, always occurs on a day of the year between September 20th and September 24th. In 2020, it occurs on September 22nd. It doesn’t last a whole day, but just one moment in time – the moment when the Sun lies almost directly over the equator. On equinox day, day and night are each (almost) exactly 12 hours long, no matter how close to the equator you are or whether you're in the Northern Hemisphere or Southern Hemisphere.
Technically speaking, equinox daylight hours are slightly more than 12 hours, because of light refraction and the way sunrise and sunset are defined. Likewise, hours of darkness are slightly less than 12 hours for the same reasons – but it’s the symbolism of this equality of lightness and darkness which makes the equinox a powerful moment.
At the September equinox each autumn, when the Sun is directly over the Earth's equator and the celestial equator, the Sun shifts into the astrological sign of Libra. This marks the midpoint in the astrological year (which begins with the March equinox and the arrival of the Sun in Aries).
The equinox also marks an official changing of the astronomical seasons. In the northern hemisphere, the September equinox is the last day of summer and the start of fall. In the southern hemisphere, it marks the last day of winter and the start of spring.
What is the Astrological Significance of the September Equinox?
At this halfway point in the astrological year, a lot of the astrological significance leans on the symbolism of the changing seasons. In the northern hemisphere, leaves are falling, animals are preparing to hibernate, and the longer nights are becoming noticeable. Autumn is a time to reflect and prepare for the winter to come – but it’s also harvest time, a time of bounty and plenty, for which civilizations through the ages have given thanks.
The other significant symbolism is that of balance and equality – this is the ideal astrological moment to root out things which are out of kilter in your life and think about how to get them back on an even keel.
In the southern hemisphere, by contrast, nature is emerging from winter and springing back into life. This is a time of rebirth and renewal as flowers bloom and new generations are born. Levels of optimism are high, and surges of creativity occur.
The magic of the autumnal equinox as a point of balance enables each of us, wherever we are in the world, to reflect on our journey through the year, and to engage with what is to come.
The September Equinox for Each Zodiac Sign
The astrological energy of the autumnal equinox- with equal night and equal day - is effectively similar to the Sun in Libra transit, but with an added focus on reflection and finding balance. This energy is about finding elements of life which are out of balance and doing our best to fix them.
Aries Sun Sign (Aries Dates: March 20 – April 19) during the September Equinox
Seek to balance your need for attention with your need to care for others, Aries. This energy is about finding give and take within your close relationships but also within your wider social circle and your community. It’s not a time to be selfish, but nor should you give so much that you have nothing left.
Taurus Sun Sign (Taurus Dates: April 20 – May 20) during the September Equinox
The autumnal equinox shows you the need to serve your own bests interests as well as seeking to serve others, Taurus. Here is your reminder that you cannot keep helping other people unless you also take time to look after your own health, well-being and emotional needs. Find that balance by taking some time out for you now.
Gemini Sun Sign (Gemini Dates: May 21 – June 20) during the September Equinox
Figure out how to balance what you want to do against what you know you ought to do, Gemini. This equinox energy mirrors your struggle to follow your dreams when you have real life responsibilities to handle. There are no easy answers, but at this time you should err towards fulfilling your duties before your desire to play.
Cancer Sun Sign (Cancer Dates: June 21 – July 21) during the September Equinox
The security of what you know, Cancer, or the thrill of what you’re yet to discover? Your task now is to balance your desire for stability and safety against the need to break out of your comfort zone. Take baby steps. There’s no need to rip up all of your comfort blankets but do take a peep out into the big wide world.
Leo Sun Sign (Leo Dates: July 22 – August 21) during the September Equinox
Seek to balance logic and reason with emotion and intuition, Leo. The equinox reminds you that neither your head nor your heart has a monopoly on the truth. To navigate this complex world successfully, you need to employ the best of both. Banish your bias towards one or the other; make rational decisions with emotional intelligence.
Virgo Sun Sign (Virgo Dates: August 22 – September 21) during the September Equinox
The equinox balance you are seeking has to do with your inner resources, Virgo – your personal skills and qualities – versus your outer resources, namely your finances. Use this time to consider whether you could gain greater satisfaction while earning less money, or conversely, whether you could earn more money with less effort.
Libra Sun Sign (Libra Dates: September 22 – October 22) during the September Equinox
For you, Libra, the equinox may bring a moment of realization regarding your identity. It’s time to find a balance between who are you are inside of you and the image you show to the world. If you’re not honestly revealing your true self, you may feel discomfort now – which can be a catalyst for change.
Scorpio Sun Sign (Scorpio Dates: October 23 – November 21) during the September Equinox
This equinox reminds you that it’s possible to find inner calm even when the world around you is anything but settled, Scorpio. Look to spiritual solutions to quiet and sooth your mind, perhaps through meditation or prayer. It’s time to find a balance between what you accept from the world and what you refuse.
Sagittarius Sun Sign (Sagittarius Dates: November 22 – December 20) during the September Equinox
Seek balance between your desire for independence and your contrasting desire to belong, Sagittarius. You’re reminded now that you are part of a wider community, and that you cannot change the world single-handedly. Look for ways in which you can express your own individuality through a group effort.
Capricorn Sun Sign (Capricorn Dates: December 21 – January 18) during the September Equinox
Look for a balance between the way you react to authority and the way you wield your own authority, Capricorn. Don’t tell others how to behave if you don’t like being told that yourself. Strive for fairness in the way you approach the world and take extra steps to be a responsible citizen. This energy is about walking the talk.
Aquarius Sun Sign (Aquarius Dates: January 19 – February 17) during the September Equinox
You’ve got the vision, Aquarius, but can you make it work? The equinox reminds you that your great ideas have to be balanced by a practical attention to detail. If your manifestation efforts aren’t working, ask yourself whether your big picture mentality is obscuring the baby steps you need to take to give something the impetus it needs.
Pisces Sun Sign (Pisces Dates: February 18 – March 19) during the September Equinox
The equinox reminds you that your forgiveness of others must be balanced by your forgiveness of yourself, Pisces. You’re happy to give other people a free pass, yet you can be your own worst critic. Seek to balance your compassion for others with some long overdue compassion for yourself.
*Note: The exact date and time of the September Equinox will differ depending on your timezone. This planet update was published the day before the September Equinox in Eastern Standard Time (EST) in the year 2020, which is September 22, 2020 @ 09:31 AM.