Artwork by Jos. a. Smith©
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Seasonal Celebrations Home
Next Holiday: Mabon/Autumanl Equinox September 22, 2021
Despite the bad publicity generated by Thomas Tryon’s novel,
Harvest Home is the pleasantest of holidays. Admittedly, it does involve the concept
of sacrifice, but one that is symbolic only. The sacrifice is that of the
spirit of vegetation, John Barleycorn. Occurring one quarter of the year after
Midsummer, Harvest Home represents midautumn, autumn’s height. It is also the
autumnal equinox, one of the quarter days of the year, a Lesser Sabbat and a
Low Holiday in modern Witchcraft. Recently, some Pagan groups have begun
calling the holiday by the Welsh name ‘Mabon’, although there seems little
historical justification for doing so.
Technically, an equinox is an astronomical point and, due to
the fact that our leap-year cycle causes dates to slip and then snap back into
place, the date may vary by a few days depending on the year. The autumnal
equinox occurs when the sun crosses the equator on its apparent journey
southward, and we experience a day and a night that are of equal duration. Up
until Harvest Home, the hours of daylight have been greater than the hours from
dusk to dawn. But from now on, the reverse holds true. Astrologers know this as
the date on which the sun enters the sign of Libra, the Scales (an appropriate
symbol of a balanced day and night).
However, since most European peasants were not accomplished
at calculating the exact date of the equinox, they celebrated the event on a
fixed calendar date, September 25, a holiday the medieval church Christianized
under the name of “Michaelmas”, the feast of the archangel Michael. (One
wonders if, at some point, the Roman Catholic Church contemplated assigning the
four quarter days of the year to the four archangels, just as they assigned the
four cross-quarter days to the four Gospel writers. Further evidence for this
may be seen in the fact that there was a brief flirtation with calling the
vernal equinox “Gabrielmas”, ostensibly to commemorate the archangel Gabriel’s
announcement to Mary on Lady Day.)
Again, it must be remembered that the Celts reckoned their
days from sundown to sundown, so the September 25 festivities actually begin on
the previous sundown (our September 24). Although our Pagan ancestors probably
celebrated Harvest Home on September 25, modern Witches and Pagans, with their
desktop computers for making finer calculations, seem to prefer the actual
equinox point, beginning the celebration on its eve.
For the rest of Mike Nichols' article on Mabon/Autumnal Equinox click here
Next Holiday Southern Hemisphere: Ostara September 22, 2021
For an article on Ostara by Mike Nichols click here.
2021 Wiccan/Pagan Calendar
Link's Lesson Book
Your Own Celebrations of Summer
village one year’s journey from here.
And in that village lives a woman with four children. Like any family, all four children are
kindred and similar -- yet very, very unique.
One is a feisty child, with brilliant golden hair, and a natural glow
warmer than any other. This child’s name
In an entire
year, perhaps the 91 days (and nights) of Summer seem to fly by the
quickest… When you think of summer, what
comes to mind?
Summer is the
peak, the pinnacle, the realization of what took root during the Spring. One lesson the seasons teach is that many
things in nature grow, mature, and then fade.
Imagine yourself old and gray and wise.
Look back upon your own life as if it were a single turn of the
year. What part of your life was your
high point, your “Summer,” your peak?
Where did you shine your brightest, glow your hottest?
We too change
like the seasons. When Mother Nature
puts on Her Summer wardrobe, so do we.
Except these wardrobes seem quite opposite. In Summer, the forest grows more thickly
covered, while we become less covered.
Summer is a season of short sleeves, short pants, short skirts and bare
toes. While the trees might wear their
thick green coats, we often frolic clad with nothing but the sky! More of our natural selves comes out in the
Summer – arms, legs, skin – what we are beneath all those layers of cold Winter
clothes can shine forth in the Summer.
Maybe we resemble our animal cousins, who also shed much of their fur
and feathers in Summer.
warmth lets us enjoy a great many simple pleasures. After a cold Winter, the freedom of just
being outdoors is a true gift! The
increased energy of Summer brings increased activity of all kinds: festivals, vacations, travel. What special Summer gatherings do you look
forward to? All the adventure,
experiences, learning, worship, fun, freedom, passion, celebration and joy that
these festivals offer are the unique gifts of Summer!
Read the rest of this article by clicking here