TWH – This year, the autumnal equinox falls on Sept. 22 at 20:02 UTC in the Northern Hemisphere. It is the moment that officially signals the start of fall. At this time, there will be an equal amount of light and dark, after which the nights are longer as than days as we head toward winter.
Outside of religious life, this season is very well celebrated. It is punctuated by harvest celebrations, craft shows and arts festivals, outdoors sports, pumpkin picking, scarecrow contests, corn mazes, and the aromas of spice and apple cider.
From ancient to modern cultures, the harvest period was a time of both work and celebration. Many of these celebrations are marked by thanksgiving, whether religious or secular in nature. Thanks are given to deities, ancestors, family, friends, community, self, and nature.
It is also when the UN celebrates International Day of Peace (Sept. 21).
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” – Albert CamusIn some modern Pagan traditions, this is the second of three harvest festivals, with the first being Lughnasadh and the third being Samhain.
Autumn equinox holidays come in many names. For Wiccans and Witches, it is sometimes called “Harvest Home” or “Mabon.” In Druidic and Celtic-oriented Pagan groups, it can be called “Mid-Harvest,” “Foghar,” or “Alban Elfed.” In modern Asatru, it is sometimes called “Winter Finding.”
The Greek term for it is “Phthinopohriní Isimæría.” In Old English it was called “efnniht.”
Then, there are those who just simply prefer to use “autumn equinox” or “fall.”
At the same time, our friends and family living in the Southern Hemisphere begin the journey to summer. Sept. 22 will mark their vernal equinox and the beginning of spring. The days will begin to lengthen and become warmer as light triumphs over dark and the Earth reawakens from its winter slumber.
Here are some thoughts on the harvest season and the equinox:
“No matter what you choose to call it, the autumn equinox has long been one of my favorite sabbats. It’s a time when I can almost hear the wheel of the year turning, and signs of change are everywhere. There’s so much to harvest in the garden, and the sunflowers that stood so tall and proud back in August are now heavy and tired, ready to share their seeds with the waiting earth. ” – Jason Mankey, “8 Ways to Celebrate the Autumn Equinox/Mabon”
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“The young mother-maiden swings a picnic basket, and lays down a blanket, bread, and cheese. The old crone pulls a bottle of cyser mead from her carpetbag, and pours it into glasses. They clink and make a toast to Mabon, or the autumn equinox — the day when the light and darkness are most equal.
“I imagine the goddesses speak of the things that happened in the past six months.” – Astrea, “Mabon, Honor the Dark Goddess”
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“The trees are turning golden, their leaves taking on the autumn hues. The smell of wood smoke is in the air, and another cycle is turning, ever turning, the endless wheel of existence. Spinning, like our galaxy, through time and space, always changing, always flowing; the awen of Druidry.” –
Happy harvest to all of those celebrating, and a very merry spring to our friends in the south.