Autumn Equinox – A Celebration of Bounty
Raise your glass and give a cheer for the bounty of the Fruit harvest is here
Autumn Equinox is celebrated on 21st September in the Northern hemisphere and is the second harvest festival, the fruit festival. This is the season when the vine ripened fruit and the orchard trees are harvested in great bounty.
During this festival we celebrate the abundance of the earth, and make wines, preserves and jams from the excess fruit, to preserve the richness of the fruits of the earth to give us joy throughout the year.
This is a time to celebrate the abundance of Mother Nature and to go out and explore nature’s larder in the hedgerows and woodlands.
Both equinoxes are times of equilibrium. Day and night are equal and the tide of the year flows steadily, but whilst the Spring Equinox manifests the balance before action, the Autumn Equinox represents the restful balance after action, the time to take satisfaction in the work of the summer and reap its benefits.
The theme of the Autumn Equinox is the completion of the harvest, the balance of light and dark, and of male and female, and an acknowledgement of the waning power of the sun and the descent into the dark half of the year.
Festival of Dionysus
Dionysus is the god of the grape-harvest, wine making and wine, of fertility, orchards and fruit, vegetation, insanity, ritual madness, religious ecstasy, festivity and theatre in ancient Greek religion and myth.
He is known as Bacchus in Roman mythology, where he is known for inducing a frenzy or partying and ecstatic ritual. His wine, music and ecstatic dance free his followers from self-conscious fear and care, and subvert the oppressive restraints of the powerful.
Those who partake of his mysteries are believed they become possessed and empowered by the god himself.
This is the time of the Vine. The God, who was Lord of the Greenwood in the summer and the Corn King at Lughnasadh, now dances his last dance upon the earth, as Dionysus, Greek God of wine, music and dance, before making his descent to the underworld to take up his role as Dread Lord of Shadows.
Mythology and Legend
Autumn Equinox is also known as Alban Elfed, Autumn Equinox, Autumnal Equinox, Cornucopia, Feast of Avalon, Festival of Dionysus, Harvest Home, Harvest Tide, Mabon, Night of the Hunter, Second Harvest Festival, Wine Harvest, Witch’s Thanksgiving, and the first day of autumn.
The Lord of Light, the Sun King, His power waning, exists briefly in balance with the Dark Lord before giving way to the growing power of darkness, but the power of the sun is encapsulated in the grape and the fruits of the earth.
The wine will remind us of his power throughout the year. The leaves falling from the trees and rotting into the earth are a reflection of the Horned God’s journey from the Greenwood to the underworld, deep into the womb of the Mother, where He will reside until He begins to emerge with the new green shoots in the spring. The Autumnal Equinox marks the completion of the harvest, and thanksgiving, with the emphasis on the future return of that abundance.
The Eleusinian mysteries – the sacred mysteries of Hekate, Demeter and Persephone – took place at this time, during which the initiate was said to have been shown a single ear of grain with the words “In silence is the seed of wisdom gained”.