Saturday, September 22, 2018

Third Week #4 and finally, the Autumnal Equinox and Mabon

The autumn equinox takes place this year, depending on where you live, on Sept 22 or 23.  For us here, in the Northern Hemisphere, in the central time zone, it happens at 8:54pm tonight  (9:54pm EDT, 7:54pm MDT, 6:54pm PDT), Saturday, Sept. 22.

The Autumnal Equinox signals us that summer is gone – and winter is coming.   Shorter days bring cooler weather.  People have stopped wearing white. Creatures of the wild are putting on their winter coats. Yea!  Our long, hot, swampy, soggy, fiery summer is finally coming to an end. 

Please note the time – 5:34AM
in the morning
very early in the morning
before sunrise in the morning

Well, unless someone turns the outdoor thermostat down to 50° probably not yet.  When I went outside early, I walked into the “wet electric blanket set on HOT” that is the atmosphere in my back yard.  Plus I was immediately attacked by the thousands of berserker mosquitoes that are beating on the back door.  I immediately came indoors.

Equinox literally means “equal night.”  And during the equinox, most places on Earth will see 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night.  For you purists (quibblers, fusspots, hairsplitters, sticklers) out there, some exceptions occur, for instance, Fairbanks, Alaska, will see 12 hours and 16 minutes of daylight and Key West, Florida, will see 12 hours and seven minutes.

Many people claim that you can balance an egg or a broom on their ends when the equinox occurs - the moon and earth are in exactly the right alignment, the celestial bodies generating the perfect balance of forces needed to make it possible.  And doesn’t that sound cool!  However you can balance an egg on any day if you have the right egg and patience.   

This is also the time when the trees signal their leaves to stop the production of chlorophyll.  The leaves turn a beautiful rainbow of orange, yellow, red, brown – well, not here.  Here they turn dirt brown and fall off. 

I want this!
of course, I’ll have to live elsewhere but ….

During the winter and summer solstices, crowds flock to Stonehenge in the United Kingdom. During the solstices, the sun either rises or sets in line with the layout of the 5,000-year-old-monument.

And while some flock to Stonehenge for the autumnal equinox too, the real place to be is in Mexico.

That’s because on the equinox, the pyramid at Chichen Itza on the Yucatan Peninsula puts on an impressive show. Built by the Mayans around 1,000 years ago, the pyramid is designed to cast a shadow on the equinox outlining the body of Kukulkan, a feathered snake god. A serpent-headed statue is located at the bottom of the pyramid, and as the sun sets on the day of the equinox, the sunlight and shadow show the body of the serpent joining with the head.  Very cool.

This is also Mabon, the mid-harvest festival; the day to honor Aging Deities and the Spirit World.  Consider this a time of balance, a time to stop, relax and enjoy the fruits of our personal harvests, whether they be from working in the garden, working at a jobs, raising families, or just coping with the hussle-bussle of everyday life.

Although the traditional American holiday of Thanksgiving falls in November, many cultures see the second harvest of the fall equinox as a time of giving thanks.  After all, it's when you figure out how well your crops did, how fat your animals have gotten, and whether or not your family will be able to eat during the coming winter.  However, by the end of November, there's not a whole lot left to harvest.  Originally, the American Thanksgiving holiday was celebrated on October 3, which makes a lot more sense agriculturally.

If you choose to celebrate Mabon, give thanks for the things you have, and take time to reflect on the balance within your own life, honoring both the darkness and the light. Invite your friends and family over for a feast, and count the blessings that you have among kin and community.

Take care

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