I Wish You A Fruitful Autumnal Equinox

Today is the Autumnal Equinox (5:23 PM EST) and signals the beginning of Fall in the northern hemisphere. On this day there will be an equal amount of light and day, and after this day the nights grow longer and we head towards Winter. In many modern Pagan traditions this is the second of three harvest festivals (the first being Lughnasadh, the third being Samhain).

The holiday is also known as “Harvest Home” or “Mabon” by Wiccans and Witches, and “Winter Finding” by modern-day Asatru. Most modern Pagans simply call it the Autumn Equinox. Here are some media quotes and excerpts from modern Pagans on the holiday.

“Occurring one quarter of the year after Midsummer, Harvest Home represents midautumn, autumn?s height. It is also the autumnal equinox, one of the quarter days of the year, a Lesser Sabbat and a Low Holiday in modern Witchcraft. Recently, some Pagan groups have begun calling the holiday by the Welsh name ?Mabon?, although there seems little historical justification for doing so.”Mike Nichols

“These days, most people consider the Labor Day holiday weekend as the “official” end of summer. And with football season already in high gear, Sept. 22 is in many ways just another day. But in ancient times, the autumnal equinox was a time for a variety of pagan festivals, among them the celebration of the birth of Mabon, the son of Mordon, the goddess of the Earth. It is also the time associated with the harvest and is replete with fall and harvest festivals in many areas of the country.”Aaron London, The Daytona Beach News

“Making the season special are festively colored leaves, Halloween, trips to the pumpkin patch, television series and season premiers, corn mazes, Thanksgiving, bonfires, hayrides, Charlie Brown specials, caramel apples, fresh cranberries, Oktoberfest, hot cider, blooming mums and grasses displaying their plumage.”Autumn Grooms, La Crosse Tribune

“In western culture, the autumn is often seen as a time of new beginnings, even as we understand that the heat and light of summer are coming to an end. Summer’s dying fall, some have called it: nature’s greens grow less bright, the sun less brilliant, the days shorter. The changeable strangeness of the weather puts us in a liminal lull: cool misty mornings, hot sunny afternoons, chilly nights of frost and wind. The Equinox is an in-between time; the end of something, the beginning of something else, the cusp of change. The zodiac shifts from Libra, ruled by Venus, goddess of love, sex, beauty and relationships, to Scorpio, ruled by Mars and Pluto, planetary gods that rule death, insight and transformation. The Wheel of the Year that neo-pagans follow for our major holidays throughout the year is based on an agrarian calendar, the planting and harvest festivals of western Europe. Since most of us do not depend closely upon this agricultural cycle for our food and survival, the ways in which we pagans and witches interact with this information is to create metaphorical language and imagery in our rites and observations.”Peg Aloi, Witchvox

“This year, Sept. 22 marked the autumnal equinox, the official welcoming of fall and a day when the hours of sunlight and darkness are balanced. Pagans of varying practices will gather together to celebrate this balance in nature and the changing of the seasons with the second annual Winchester Pagan Pride Day from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Shenandoah Valley”Melanie Mullinax, Winchester Star

“For some, the rhythms of the Earth remain important, though age-old themes have become intertwined with a new spirituality. “In these modern times, a spiritual way to look at this time of year is: What did you harvest and bring to your hearth?” said Sarah Wardwell, a Wiccan priestess from Fargo whose religion is based on pre-Christian pagan practices. For Wiccans, the fall equinox is observed as the festival of Mabon, marking the end of the harvest.”Dave Olson, The Forum

“Lynne “Willow” Green, a first-degree Wiccan priestess (Willow is her “magic” name) attended Pagan Pride Day in Olympia last Saturday to celebrate the equinox, which is called Mabon in her belief tradition. The festival is a get-together for pagans of various beliefs. Mabon is a time spent with family and friends to celebrate the “harvest, where you give thanks to the creator for the bounty that you have received,” Greeen said. During the festival, many of the pagans held a food drive to collect nonperishable items to donate to food banks “to give from the bountiful to those who do not have a lot,” said Green, who lives in Aberdeen. In her living room, Green, who follows the Correllian Nativist Tradition, a Wiccan belief influenced by Native American culture, has an altar dedicated to the fall season.”Terry Loney, Daily World

“The four astronomical season changes are commonly thought of as pagan holidays, but one doesn’t have to be a pagan to reap the energetic benefits of these transits. Simply being thankful is a fine way to celebrate the equinox. Whatever your “harvest” is…”Holiday Mathis, The Sun Herald

I hope your harvest (whatever that may be) for the season has been a good one.