Looking for Luck in All the Right Places

I just now learned the Greek word for Equinox. While “equinox” comes from the Latin words for “equal night,” the Greek term, Ισημερία, means “equal day.”

I owe my vocab lesson to a kind soul who follows my author page on Facebook. Every Rosh Hashanah, when Amalia, who attends public school here in New York, has two days off because her Jewish classmates are celebrating the Jewish New Year, I think of what an article I read—and I can’t remember who wrote it—told me about the holiday. That forgotten sage wrote that it’s the time of year when the hours of daylight and the hours of darkness are equal, and therefore, the world of possibility and the world of reality are most open to each other. Every year on Rosh Hashanah, the person said, you should sit down and write a scene, in the present tense, from your life as you would like it to be a year from now. The theory is that the act of writing the life you dream of, as if it exists, will put that vision out into the universe, and the powers that be—including yourself—can set about making that vision a reality.

I’ve only tried this twice in my life, when I felt that I really needed to take advantage of the cosmic opportunity Rosh Hashanah presents, and both times much of what I wrote out came to pass. With results like that, naturally I felt the need to post a PSA on my Facebook page, passing on the tip! Someone wrote in and said, “We have a word for that in Greek—Ισημερία.” Which, to me anyway, sounds so much more poetic than “equinox.”

I started researching, and realized that Rosh Hashanah isn’t exactly timed to the equinox—this year the holiday was celebrated on the 10th and 11th, and the Ισημερία isn’t until tomorrow, Saturday, the 22nd. But I love a new year of any kind (Tet? Back-to-School? New Year’s Eve? Sign me up!) precisely because it makes me consider new beginnings, and the world of possibilities, again. I’ll celebrate anyone’s new year! It’s that cross-cultural, auspiciously ambitious, spirit which inspired my upcoming book, Lucky in Love: Traditions, Customs, & Rituals to Personalize Your Wedding.

The book is a cross-cultural collection of rituals from all over the world that are meant to bring luck to couples getting married, and there are traditions for every stage of the wedding process from getting engaged and picking a date, to favors, farewells, and moving into a newlywed home together. The theory is that you make your own luck, but why not tap into age-old customs designed to bring good fortune if they speak to you, the way every type of new year speaks to me? (Another reason I love the idea of equal hours of light and dark? I’m a Libra: I balance.)

An illustration from the Favors & Farewells chapter.

I’m so excited about the book—partly because it’s a return to my roots as a folklorist, since I studied Foklore & Mythology in college, and partly because I LOVE the illustrations that bring these beautiful traditions to life. Plus, what is a wedding if not a new beginning?

Book aside, whether you’re long married, never plan to marry, or married many times over, I think everyone is always looking for a little extra luck. Luck is like love—you can never have too much of it. Which is why I’m committed to pointing out opportunities for adding a little magic into your life wherever I see them. So here’s my second PSA of September, in case you missed the first: The Autumnal Equinox is tomorrow, Saturday, September 22nd (at 9:54 PM, if you want to be precise, when the sun pauses, balanced, in its transit). And while day and night aren’t exactly equal (they never are, because: twilight), they’re as close as they’re going to get. (Luck and life are not exact sciences.)

The way I see it, you have nothing to lose by taking out a pen and paper and making a little magic. Write down what you’re grateful for, give thanks for the good things you’re already harvesting in your life, and if you want to throw out some possibilities for the future, who knows? Maybe the world is listening.

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