some festivals appear to be mainly God or Goddess based, the Autumnal
is more balanced. The Queen of the Corn is symbolised in a corn dolly,
but the spirit can also be seen as a male figure at the same time, in
British folklore called John Barleycorn. The traditional folk-songs
describe how John Barleycorn must be cut down, and often list the ways
he is mistreated – beaten, ground, cooked and eaten. This actually
illustrates the process of cutting the corn, then winnowing, grinding,
and baking it into bread. Whereas some festivals appear to be mainly
God or Goddess based, the Autumnal is more balanced, featuring both in
Like the Vernal, the Autumnal a contradictory
day. It is both a still point, where day and night hang in balance, and
a dynamic day of forward motion. At this time of year the sunset or
sunrise is moving at its fastest across the horizon while day and night
are of equal length. This is also the middle of the waning year – after
this point, the nights become longer than the days. So there is a
real sense that the dark half of the year is accelerating.
well as the end of the corn harvest, this time of year is heavily
associated with the harvest of fruits and berries. The very practical
activities of making pickles, jams, chutneys and other preserves have a
direct parallel in terms of the energies of this day. This is a time
for gathering in the energy, making it real, manifesting results. And,
when that has been done, it is a day for storing up that bounty and
preserving it so that it can last into the months ahead. [More...]
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