Autumnal Equinox Sunday, September 22, 2013 4:44 pm edt
By Mary Swanson
Dear, Honest and Brave Children of the Earth,
Three months ago we experienced Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. Now, Summer is ending and Fall Equinox is here, when day and night are of equal length. We can all sense the change of season. Everywhere around us the Earth is giving of herself. Apples fall from trees, leaves give back their light in the gorgeous fall colors and late crops are being brought in from the fields. It’s Harvest Moon, Halloween and Thanksgiving time. Our ancestors have always know the importance of coming together at this time of year to celebrate, give thanks and share.For Pagans, the Autumnal Equinox is celebrated as Mabon– A time to celebrate and share, of course, and also a time to reflect upon the truth that all things must come to an end– that death is part of the cycle of life. We can watch Nature letting go, dying back, bursting open. Change is happening. This is the realm of the Crone, the Crossroads and navigating the terrifying darkness of the unknown.
–We all experience fear. Fear, the neurobiologists tell us, is the strongest human emotion. And fear of the unknown is the strongest human fear.
In the language of astrology, we’re deep in the long transformation of Pluto (Power) and Uranus (Innovation) learning to work together. For all of us, some more shockingly than others, our “chickens have come home to roost.” We’re all dealing with choices we’ve made as we’ve responded to life’s challenges. Somewhere in our lives, something’s falling apart or ending. Somewhere in our lives, change is trying to happen. How can we cope with the change? What do we do with the fear?
It’s scary, the letting go when you can’t know what happens next. As scary as ghosts in the trees and witches on broomsticks.
This time of year, Mother Nature shows us her face as the old hag, the Crone. Intimidating and very wise, she shows us how to navigate the Crossroads. She shows us how to draw inward and stay connected to what is most nurturing even as she gives away everything. It’s the perfect time to go outside, into the lengthening night and take a deep breath. And then allow the possibility that though you can’t see how, yet… everything might turn out just fine.
Kind of like trusting Spring.
Happy Changes Everyone, Mary
The Thing Is by Ellen Bass
The thing is.. to love life, to love it even when you have no stomach for it and everything you’ve held dear crumbles like burnt paper in your hand, your throat filled with the silt of it. When grief sits with you, its tropical heat thickening the air, heavy as water more fit for gills than lungs; when grief weights you like your own flesh only more of it, an obesity of grief, you think, How can a body withstand this? Then you hold life like a face between your palms, a plain face, no charming smile, no violet eyes, and you say, yes, I will take you I will love you again.
Read below for more information about Equinox & Mabon______
What is an equinox? The earliest humans spent more time outside than we do. They used the sky as both clock and calendar. They could easily see that the sun’s path across the sky, the length of daylight, and the location of the sunrise and sunset all shift in a regular way throughout the year.
Our ancestors built the first observatories to track the sun’s progress. One example is at Machu Picchu in Peru, where the Intihuatana stone, shown at right, has been shown to be a precise indicator of the date of the two equinoxes and other significant celestial periods. The word Intihuatana, by the way, literally means for tying the sun.
Today, we know each equinox and solstice is an astronomical event, caused by Earth’s tilt on its axis and ceaseless orbit around the sun.
Because Earth doesn’t orbit upright, but is instead tilted on its axis by 23-and-a-half degrees, Earth’s Northern and Southern Hemispheres trade places in receiving the sun’s light and warmth most directly. We have an equinox twice a year – spring and fall – when the tilt of the Earth’s axis and Earth’s orbit around the sun combine in such a way that the axis is inclined neither away from nor toward the sun.
Earth’s two hemispheres are receiving the sun’s rays equally now. Night and day are approximately equal in length. The name ‘equinox’ comes from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night). Image credit: Przemyslaw Idzkiewicz.
But, since Earth never stops moving around the sun, these days of equal sunlight and night will change quickly.
Where should I look to see signs of the equinox in nature? The knowledge that summer is gone – and winter is coming – is everywhere now, on the northern half of Earth’s globe.
If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you can easily notice the later dawns and earlier sunsets.
Also notice the arc of the sun across the sky each day. You’ll find it’s shifting toward the south. Birds and butterflies are migrating southward, too, along with the path of the sun.
The shorter days are bringing cooler weather. A chill is in the air. In New York City and other fashionable places, people have stopped wearing white. Creatures of the wild are putting on their winter coats.
All around us, trees and plants are ending this year’s cycle of growth. Perhaps they are responding with glorious autumn leaves, or a last burst of bloom before winter comes.
In the night sky, Fomalhaut – the Autumn Star – is making its way across the heavens each night.
Does the sun rise due east and set due west at the equinox? Generally speaking, yes, it does. And that’s true no matter where you live on Earth, because we all see the same sky.
No matter where you are on Earth, you have a due east and due west point on your horizon. That point marks the intersection of your horizon with the celestial equator – the imaginary line above the true equator of the Earth.
At the equinoxes, the sun appears overhead at noon as seen from Earth’s equator, as the illustration at right shows. This illustration (which is by Tau’olunga) shows the sun’s location on the celestial equator, every hour, on the day of the equinox.
That’s why the sun rises due east and sets due west for all of us. The sun is on the celestial equator, and the celestial equator intersects all of our horizons at points due east and due west.
This fact makes the day of an equinox a good day for finding due east and due west from your yard or other favorite site for watching the sky. Just go outside around sunset or sunrise and notice the location of the sun on the horizon with respect to familiar landmarks.
If you do this, you’ll be able to use those landmarks to find those cardinal directions in the weeks and months ahead, long after Earth has moved on in its orbit around the sun, carrying the sunrise and sunset points southward.
New Albany, Indiana. Photo credit: EarthSky Facebook friend Duke Marsh
So enjoy the 2013 equinox – September 22 or 23 depending on your time zone – a seasonal signpost in Earth’s orbit around the sun! http://earthsky.org Mabon Lore Autumn Equinox, around September 21, is the time of the descent of the Goddess into the Underworld. With her departure, we see the decline of nature and the coming of winter. This is a classic, ancient mythos, seen the Sumerian myth of Inanna and in the ancient Greek and Roman legends of Demeter and Persephone. In September, we also bid farewell to the Harvest Lord who was slain at Lammas. He is the Green Man, seen as the cycle of nature in the plant kingdom. He is harvested and his seeds are planted into the Earth so that life may continue and be more abundant. Mabon (“Great Son”) is a Welsh god. He was a great hunter with a swift horse and a wonderful hound. He may have been a mythologized actual leader. He was stolen from his mother, Modron (Great Mother),when he was three nights old, but was eventually rescued by King Arthur (other legends say he was rescued by the Blackbird, the Stag, the Owl, the Eagle, and the Salmon). All along, however, Mabon has been dwelling, a happy captive, in Modron’s magickal Otherworld — Madron’s womb. Only in this way can he be reborn. Mabon’s light has been drawn into the Earth, gathering strength and wisdom enough to become a new seed. In this sense, Mabon is the masculine counterpart of Persephone — the male fertilizing principle seasonally withdrawn. Modron corresponds with Demeter. From the moment of the September Equinox, the Sun’s strength diminishes, until the moment of Winter Solstice in December, when the Sun grows stronger and the days once again become longer than the nights. Symbols celebrating the season include various types of gourd and melons. Stalk can be tied together symbolizing the Harvest Lord and then set in a circle of gourds. A besom can be constructed to symbolize the polarity of male and female. The Harvest Lord is often symbolized by a straw man, whose sacrificial body is burned and its ashes scattered upon the earth. The Harvest Queen, or Kern Baby, is made from the last sheaf of the harvest and bundled by the reapers who proclaim, “We have the Kern!” The sheaf is dressed in a white frock decorated with colorful ribbons depicting spring, and then hung upon a pole (a phallic fertility symbol). In Scotland, the last sheaf of harvest is called the Maiden, and must be cut by the youngest female in attendance.
Mabon Activities * Make grapevine wreaths using dried bitter- sweet herb for protection. Use ribbons of gold and yellow to bring in the energy of the Sun, and decorate with sprigs of dried yarrow or cinnamon sticks. * Make a Magickal Horn of Plenty. * Make Magickal Scented Pinecones. * Make a protection charm of hazelnuts (filberts) strung on red thread. * Collect milkweed pods to decorate at Yuletide and attract the faeries. * Call upon the elementals and honor them for their help with (N-earth) the home and finances, (E-air) school and knowledge, (S-fire) careers and accomplishments, (W-water) emotional balance and fruitful relationships.