Today is the Autumnal Equinox which signals the beginning of Fall in the northern hemisphere (our friends in the southern hemisphere are celebrating the Spring Equinox). On this day there will be an equal amount of light and darkness, 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, “Mid-Harvest”, “Foghar”, and “Alban Elfed” by some Druidic and Celtic-oriented Pagan groups, 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.
“The living earth provides us endless opportunities to experience reverence and worship. We have the freedom to do so in the way that is most appropriate to us. We must simply exercise that freedom. So may you pray with a good fire on this Autumn Equinox. May you harvest the light and keep it burning brightly in your heart, so that when the deepest darkness of winter is upon us, you will remember the summer sun.” – Teo Bishop, The Huffington Post
“As autumn approaches, think about what you’ve accomplished over the year. What seeds did you plant last spring that have grown and flourished? How will you prepare for the coming winter, a perfect chance for contemplation and planning? What will you harvest? My grandmother called this time of year the “wintering in”—the time to pile up a stack of books, fill one’s root cellar, put wool blankets on the beds, and be prepared for whatever was to come. How will you manage your own wintering-in, and how will you celebrate autumn’s arrival?” - Susan “Moonwriter” Pesznecker, PaganSquare at Witches & Pagans Magazine
“For scythe-bearing farmers of yesteryear, it was a dynamic time of harvest and wine-fueled revelry as people, standing still on the precipice of winter’s chill, took stock of once vibrant fields now laid bare. After reaping the harvest, entire communities would cast off the burden of work and get down by partying, making music and creating art. Keeping with the theme of balance, it was also a day to journey inward, and to prepare for upcoming changes by initiating them through meditation. While today’s hectic, technology-saturated lifestyles based on arbitrary notions of time may seem far removed from nature’s moods, the returning dark days of Mabon remain an ideal occasion to take pause as seasons enter the next phase.” - Shawna Burreson, MonroviaPatch
“Mythically, this is the day of the year when the God of Light is defeated by his twin and alter ego, the God of Darkness. It is the time of the year when night conquers day. And as I have recently shown in my seasonal reconstruction of the Welsh myth of Blodeuwedd, the autumnal equinox is the only day of the whole year when Llew (light) is vulnerable and it is possible to defeat him. Llew now stands on the Balance (Libra/ autumnal equinox), with one foot on the Cauldron (Cancer/summer solstice) and his other foot on the Goat (Capricorn/winter solstice). Thus he is betrayed by Blodeuwedd, the Virgin (Virgo) and transformed into an Eagle (Scorpio).” – Mike Nichols, The Witches’ Sabbats
“It is the time of the autumn equinox, and the harvest is winding down. The fields are nearly empty, because the crops have been plucked and stored for the coming winter. Mabon is the mid-harvest festival, and it is when we take a few moments to honor the changing seasons, and celebrate the second harvest. On or around September 21, for many Pagan and Wiccan traditions it is a time of giving thanks for the things we have, whether it is abundant crops or other blessings.” – Patti Wigington, About.com
May you all enjoy the fruits of your harvest this season.