Autumnal Equinox Comes
Report; Posted on: 2006-09-21 16:00:43
P. Murphy for V-News
The Autumnal Equinox will come to the Northern Hemisphere on the evening of September 22/23 (2006). This event is of historical and spiritual value to European-derived people and was traditionally honored by both our Pagan and Christian ancestors as an important date in our agricultural calendar, which itself was vital to the roots of our civilization as we know it today. A calendar allows a people to plan ahead: from planting grain to launching space-bound ships.
The word Equinox comes from the Latin aequi noctium; aequus means equal, while nox means night. At Equinox the length of the day and the length of the night are the same. There are two Equinoxes, the Vernal and the Autumnal, each of which are equidistant from the Solstices, the Summer and Winter respectively.
Our Pagan ancestors honored the Divine Feminine at the Autumnal Equinox: the holy forces that give birth, maintain homes, and lend guidance. Goddesses such as Demeter of the Greeks, Ceres of the Romans (who gave her name to cereal) and Ceridwin of the Celts all represented the fullness of the harvest to our foreparents.
Today, because of calendar and other changes, harvest festivals at this point of the year range from county fairs in August to the Equinox in September, through Oktoberfest to Halloween and on to Thanksgiving, which is itself a fairly new celebration. In a sense, even Yule -- Christmas -- is part of the sequence. (The other Equinox -- the Vernal -- is remembered at Easter).
According to European tradition, "Huge outdoor suppers are held for the field laborers. The last grain from the field is brought in on the Hock-Cart, which also carries the figure of a person made of wheat sheaves, either the goddess Ceres or "John Barleycorn*," whose death is celebrated in song. Local people entertain with morris-dances and songs, and ask the attending gentlefolk for "Largess" or gifts of money."
* In Europe, corn means grain, not only maize as it does in the US.
( http://www.nationalvanguard.org/story.php?id=10151 )
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