Ode to Autumn by John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’erbrimmed their clammy cells.

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Why the Autumn Equinox is not “Mabon”

It is that time of the year again that despite the ever lingering daylight savings, a definite change can be felt as the earth’s wobbling rotation pulls away from the sun here in the Southern Hemisphere.  The mornings are distinctively darker and the sun lingers longer below the horizon, and there is an ever slight chill in the air.  Yes, the time of the Autumn Equinox draws near (21st of March to be exact for this year).

As such, it appears time again to point out an erroneous association that first appeared in the 1970s and which, despite numerous attempts to rectify over the years, still perpetuates itself within modern Paganism – that being the usage of the term “Mabon” as an alleged alternative name for the Autumn Equinox.

The following is an excerpt from my own book, Dancing the Sacred Wheel: A Journey through the Southern Sabbats (TDM Publishing, 2014), where once again (in what is coming to be almost an annual posting) I address is ongoing error in usage.

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A Time of Balance – the Autumn Equinox

This Wednesday, 21 March, marks a time of equilibrium when the hours of day and light will be equal.  In the Northern Hemisphere, it will be the Spring Equinox, where the energy is manifesting before action, however here in the Southern Hemisphere, it will be the time of the Autumn Equinox, the time of repose after action as we edge towards the darker months of the year.

We can take satisfaction in the work undertaken during the warmer months and reap the benefits.  Daylight saving is also about to end, and with it the realisation that Summer is well and truly over.  It is now time to make preparations for the colder Winter months, if we have not done so already.

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Lughnasagh – The Festival of the First Harvest

As the seasonal Wheel of the Year turns, for those of us residing south of the equator, the festival of Lughnasadh is almost upon us.  Taken from a Celtic word thought to mean “the commemoration of Lugh”, the Irish God associated with the sun and agriculture, the festival of Lughnasadh marked the funeral games that Lugh held in honour of his foster mother, Tailte, who died while clearing the Forest of Breg and making it a plain for cultivation.  The modern day Telltown (Tailtean) in County Meath, Eire, is believed to have been named after Tailte.

Being the first of three harvest festivals, Lughnasadh is considered to be the festival of first fruits, where a blessing of the crop would take place as now was the time that apples were beginning to ripen on the trees, the summer vegetables being picked from the gardens, and the corn waiting to be harvested.  The first harvests of grain, wheat and barley are also harvested around this time of the year (save for here in South Australia where such grain harvests often take place ain December, round mid summer). Continue reading “Lughnasagh – The Festival of the First Harvest”