Power of the Vernal Equinox

Spring is the season of new beginnings!  The Equinox marks the time when day and night are of equal length.  The balance is about to tip to the yang after the winter season of yin.  In the spring, we can tap into the natural energy of re-birth and emergence, perhaps a particularly strong energy in this Chinese Year of the Rooster.

According to Wikipedia, the celestial location of the vernal equinox is the First Point of Aries.  “It is one of the two points on the celestial sphere at which the celestial equator meets the ecliptic plane, the other being the First Point of Libra, located exactly 180° from it.”

The University of Southern Maine Planetarium site states “The Sun used to be “in” the constellation Aries on the first day of Spring, otherwise known as the vernal equinox.   We should explain that as Earth revolves around the Sun, the latter will appear to travel through thirteen constellations comprising the “zodiac.”  Greek astronomer Hipparchus of Nicea (190-120 BCE) introduced the term “First Point of Aries” (or “Cusp of Aries.”) when he observed that the Sun was within the constellation Aries during the vernal equinox.     However, the Sun’s apparent vernal equinox position has continuously shifted along the ecliptic by about 1 degree every 73 years due to precessional wobbling.   The wobbling, caused primarily by interactions with the Sun and Moon, causes our planet’s pole to describe a 47 degree circle through the sky every 26,000 years.   Consequently, the thirteen zodiac constellations will all “host” the vernal equinox point during this 26,000 year cycle.        According to astronomer Jean Meeus, the vernal equinox point crossed the Aries-Pisces border in 68 BCE.  Ironically, this shift occurred less than a century after Hipparchus’ death. The vernal equinox point has been moving westward through Pisces ever since.  In AD 2597, the vernal equinox will move into Aquarius the Water Bearer.  Or, to be more specific, it will cross into the rectilinear region that the International Astronomical Union has designated as the Aquarius “region.” Perhaps even then, astronomers will continue to refer to the vernal equinox as the “First Point of Aries.”

first point of aries

illustration copied from https://usm.maine.edu/planet 

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