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Image: Jan ShepherdAutumnal Equinox/Mabon

Here are Graham's thoughts:
The Autumnal Equinox marks the mid-point of the sun as it moves across the horizon from Summer Solstice to Winter Solstice. This means that the festival usually falls around the 20th to the 22nd of September. Astrologically, this happens when the Sun enters Libra.

This day is also known as Harvest Home and would have roughly marked the end of the grain or cereal harvest. The actual date would have varied from year to year with the climate and the crop. Today's traditional Christian harvest festivals provide a good template for the celebration - collect in all the harvest and food, arrange it nicely and bless it. The harvest aspects are overlaid with a real sense of gathering in, and making ready for the Autumnal storms. It’s a good time to go around the house or farm-stead, make repairs, and carry out maintenance.

Much as Lammas had ritual and tradition around the cutting of the first sheaf, so the Autumnal Equinox has similar symbols with regard to the cutting of the final sheaf. At this time of year, corn-dollies would be made. This is vitally important, because they represent the spirit of the corn. Essentially, the dollies are keeping this spirit alive until ploughing and sowing when the whole process will start again. They are the spiritual equivalent of saving the seed to plant next year. As a way to motivate everyone to bring the harvest in before the Winter set in, a great deal of importance would have been placed on being the first farm in an area to bring in the harvest, so this kind of symbolism has become attached to the Autumnal Equinox.      [More...]

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