I’m not being ironic; I genuinely find the equinoxes dull, but especially the Autumn one. I’d love to be creating an ironic “let me describe loveliness using isn’t it awful style sarcasm” post. The kind my local paper loves to write about seaside towns. But I’m not.
The Autumn Equinox is a bit blah and I see it as a chore rather than an important cog in my spiritual wheel of the year.
September is for going back to school and looking forward to the veil starting to thin for Halloween. It’s for tidying your house and enjoying the darker evenings.
I don’t care for your second harvest when we already had Lammas and have the blood harvest coming up at Samhain. Half the apples have been picked and the blackberries are already jam.
Look at your Facebook feed, the only thing anyone posts about this festival are smug “It’s not called Mabon, I know more about pagan mythology than you do” memes.
(And they’re right, it isn’t Mabon. You can worship the Mabinogian heroes as deities for sure, but do you have to sticky tape them onto festivals because they suit your Goddess/ God heteronormative wheel of the year? Sorry, that’s a bit smug of me, and that’s a whole other subject area. You do you.)
The cross-quarter days of the equinoxes and solstices give a useful “eight times a year” calendar but for me the “fire” festivals of Imbolc, Beltane, Lammas, and Samhain feel more relevant to my practise.
The solstices I can understand because they (potentially) form an important part of ancient spirituality. Solstice at Stonehenge has become a symbol of Paganism within the UK and Midsomar and Midwinter are big parts of Scandinavian culture.
I can even consider the Spring Equinox as having a place within the wider UK culture as it’s close to Easter and linked with the March hares.
The Autumn Equinox is a bit random and stuck out on its own. Aiden Kelly had to shoehorn Mabon into it as there’s nothing else happening then, apart from a whole lot of “New Year” babies being born.
Much of the UK country festivals were associated with the agricultural year. The school year also reflects this. The kids were out of school and in the fields when they were needed, and all the holidays work with this schedule.
Every half term and end of term break reflects an agricultural need. It’s the time planting or harvesting needed to be done. Our pagan festivals link in with these.
Imbolc fits with the February half term
Spring Equinox with Easter
Beltane with May Day
Summer solstice with Whitsun
Lammas is right in the middle of the harvest season and the six weeks of summer
Samhain is the Halloween half term
And Christmas is the two weeks of the year when the light is too bad for anyone to really do much on the farm so the whole gang have a little break and an indoors party.
There’s no school holiday for the Autumn Equinox because there isn’t anything to harvest or plant. It’s redundant. It doesn’t fit.
I completely agree the eight spoke “wheel” of the year has a much better symmetry and there’s something which doesn’t quite fit if you celebrate one equinox rather than the other. I’m certainly not suggesting we remove it from modern paganism.
It’s been celebrated for over fifty years, that in itself has given it tradition and energy.
Besides, if you invite me to any religious party, I’ll mostly be there.
But that doesn’t mean I have to be all “whoo hoo Autumn Equinox, let me enjoy celebrating a big pile of nothingness”
Without the presence of others, I don’t celebrate it. I can’t be bothered. There are better things to do in September than seasonal magick. Like deciding what Halloween costume I’m going to wear and starting to reach out to the ancestors.
You may also be interested to read the update to this post – Why I’m Reinventing the Wheel (Of the Year)