Sunday, September 23, 2007

Autumnal Equinox

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The Autumnal Equinox is defined as the point at which the Sun appears to cross the celestial equator from north to south. The celestial equator is the circle in the celestial sphere halfway between the celestial poles. It can be thought of as the plane of Earth's equator projected out onto the sphere. Another definition of fall is nights of below-freezing temperatures combined with days of temperatures below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The word equinox means "equal night"; night and day are the same length of time.

In Europe and Britain, the conclusion of the harvest each autumn, was once marked by great festivals of fun, feasting, and thanksgiving known as "Harvest Home." It was also a time to hold elections, pay workers, and collect rents. These festivals usually took place around the time of the autumnal equinox.

Harvest Home, the Druidic Mean'n Fo'mhair, or Mabon is considered a time of the mysteries.... a time of balance,when we stop and relax and enjoy the fruits of our personal harvests, whether they be from toiling in our gardens, working at our jobs, raising our families, or just coping with everyday life.The Autumnal Equinox usually falls around Sept. 21-23.

Symbolism of Harvest Home or Mabon:
Second Harvest, the Mysteries, Equality and Balance.

Symbols:
wine, gourds, pine cones, acorns, grains, corn, apples, pomegranates, vines such as ivy, dried seeds, and horns of plenty.

Herbs:
Acorn, benzoin, ferns, grains, honeysuckle, marigold, milkweed, myrrh, passion flower, rose, sage, solomon's seal, tobacco, thistle, and vegetables.

Foods:
Breads, nuts, apples, pomegranates, and vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, and onions.

Incense:
Autumn Blend-benzoin, myrrh, and sage.

Colors:
Red, orange, russet, maroon, brown, and gold.

Stones:
Sapphire, lapis lazuli, and yellow agates.

Activities:
Making wine, gathering dried herbs, plants, seeds and seed pods, walking in the woods, scattering offerings in harvested fields, offering libations to trees, adorning burial sites with leaves, acorns, and pine cones to honor those who have passed over.

Blessings:
Protection, prosperity, security, self-confidence, harmony and balance.

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Michele Bilyeu blogs "With Heart and Hands" as she journeys between Douglas, Alaska and Salem, Oregon.