The Fall Equinox, this year has happened on 22nd September, is a time of the year when day and night length are equal. Since the date night is becoming longer, trees are changing their colour, days are getting shorter and air is becoming colder every day. All these mean that autumn is actually here! And Autumn is, in fact, a time of great sadness, as well as, a time of great inspiration.
Leaves are yellow red and brown,
life cycle’s over,
Changes in the surrounding nature becomes noticeable, revealing the impermanence of life. Autumn has been often considered as a melancholic time. Shortening daylight time, grey skies and chilly wind on the rainy days, could make you, as many other people, to turn inward mentally and feel sorrow. As the four seasons reflect the life cycle, autumn reminds us our own ageing and inevitable death. Nature is freezing, as all alive creatures aware that winter is coming soon.
Autumn, meanwhile, brings astonishing impressions: wonderful sweet smell of fallen leaves in the air, trees are colourful, people celebrate the year’s harvest by arranging food festivals all over the country; more and more often you can catch a captivating smell of wood smoke rising above the chimneys. Despite of melancholy you may feel, Autumn, to be honest, brings a lot of cosy warm and wonderful moments.
Long evenings by open fire, warm mulled wine, gentle cashmere touch on your skin, mug of vanilla hot chocolate with a hint of cinnamon while it is raining outside, the relaxing sound of raindrops behind your window, spiced pumpkin pie on Saturday night, patches of gold and red trees in forests, dry acorns on the park’s footpath, caramelised nuts and toffee apples, chilly weekend picnics with a real fire and toasted marshmallows, oblique sunbeams getting through yellow leaves, smells of fire smoke and fallen leaves. These all are those wonderful things making us to love Autumn, aren’t they? And Autumn, indeed, was rather important time for our ancestors from ancient times.
The holiday of the autumnal equinox, or Mabon, is a Pagan ritual of thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth and a recognition of the need to share them to secure the blessings of the Goddess and the God during the coming winter months. Mabon festival celebrates the second harvest and the start of winter preparations. It is the time to respect the impending dark while giving thanks to the sunlight.
The Halloween is the most common harvest festival is celebrated by many people in a number of countries. It is widely believed that Halloween originated from ancient Celtic harvest festivals, particularly the Gaelic festival Samhain; that such festivals may have had pagan roots. Samhain is marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the “darker half” of the year, and happens on halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice. Traditionally, it is celebrated from 31st October day and all night to 1st November.
Samhain has Celtic pagan origin and has been an important date since ancient times. It was the time when cattle were brought back down from the summer pastures and when livestock were slaughtered for the winter. People lighten special bonfires which had a protective and cleansing powers and there were rituals involving them. Samhain was seen as a special time of the year, when the frontier between this world and the Otherworld could be crossed more easily, therefore Aos Sí, or Spirits, which are ancient pagan gods and nature spirits or dead souls, could come into our world. Samhain is the festival to pacify the Aos Sí to ensure that the people and their livestock survived the winter.
The impermanence, which Autumn highlights for us so clearly, means nothing is steady and changes, are definitely coming. To me, changes are always great, because they mean that everything is up to us and if we wish we can start a new life every moment!