It’s one of those magickal times of the year when change is afoot as we move from summer into autumn. With a wonderful Fruit Full Moon (name from the Old English Tradition) to escort us this year as we arrive at the time of Equinox.
The name “equinox” is derived from the Latin aequus, which means equal, and nox, the term for night. So we should have 12 hours daylight and 12 hours of darkness. However the actual date when the timings are equal is known as the equilux, and falls a few days after the autumn equinox. It is the time when the two hemispheres swap over with us in the Northern hemisphere moving towards autumn & winter as we tilt away from our sun and the Southern Hemisphere towards spring and summer as they tilt towards the sun.
We consider this as the beginning of Autumn whereas the meteorological timing of Autumn is September 1st to 30th November. It is a time of harvest of hops, grapes, apples and blackberries and for many wonderful seasonal vegetables. It is a bountiful time and a time to feast from our earths gifts. It is also a time to think ahead to the coming winter and prepare food to see us through the times when fresh foods are in short supply making it a time to begin making preserves and pickles.
Traditional harvest festivals would take place on the Sunday nearest to the months full moon with people gathering in churches to bring produce to share and join together for blessings and giving thanks. Parishioners in churches enjoying singing harvest hymns that give thanks. Carts would be decorated with flowers and corn dollies carrying people to harvest suppers when ale and harvest foods would be plentiful over an evening of music and merriment.
An alternative name for this time time of the year is Mabon originating from welsh Celtic mythology, Madron was associated with light and was the son on Modron, the earth goddess. For some this signifies a festival time to thank Mother Earth and reflect on the past season. This association is considered relatively new dating as recently as the 1970’s although for many they believe it was an established name for this seasonal event.
Whatever your beliefs it really does feel a time for reflection and thanks, this year more so than ever as we are fortunate to be here for our harvest celebration. It often makes me feel wistful as our season changes with a feeling of loss of our summer. However it is equalled by a feeling of excitement of the coming of Autumn in all its glorious colours and the smell of fallen leaves in autumnal piles as the damp air and mists of this time mulches them to make fertiliser for the future growing seasons. I love seeing toadstools and mushrooms bring jewel like circles and patches to mist laden lawns and by long fallen branches.
It is a time to literally take stock . Make wonderful things to eat now and as preserves, create decorations for your home and celebrate this special time of the year. Autumn gives us time to prepare for winter by stocking up our pantry before we follow mother nature’s lead and hibernate a little. The slower living of winter approaches but not yet, for now be busy.
This year we have a wonderful crop of cooking apples and will be making Apple Butter Jam as well as crumbles and pies that will stock up our freezer.
We leave the many windfalls for our local wildlife and have seen our beautiful hares enjoying an early morning nibble. They become part of an essential late Autumn and early winter food supply for passing fieldfares and redwings as well as our wintering thrushes, blackbirds and jackdaws. We have lots to be thankful for.
It’s also the time that Talking Trees Books goes into busy mode as people buy our 2022 Country Wisdom and Folklore diary and wall calendar together with our Yuletide advent countdown calendar and seasonal cards. We are immensely thankful that so many of you help us in our endeavour to keep alive some of our old ways and celebrate the year. We have a bountiful crop of goodies in our shop on our website talkingtreesbooks.co.uk please do take a look.
blessings to you all at this time of change and may your harvest be bountiful - AML & RT x