Tuesday, 20 September 2016
Here is your latest almanac snippet! The sort of information that you will just have to hand once you have your Almanac. I feel slightly like the bearer of gloom this time, as this Thursday marks the autumn equinox, when day and night are of equal length. This state of delicate balance lasts for one day only before we are tipped into the dark half of the year. Persephone is off to the underworld. From here until spring nights will be longer than days, growth slows then halts, and we tuck ourselves away. But it isn’t all bad news, we do make up for this lack of light. The dark half of the year in the UK is peppered with festivals of light and fire: hallowe’en, bonfire night, divali, Christmas, all majoring on lanterns, sparks, candles and twinkling lights. When we don’t have the sun we have a good old play with its substitutes. All of these sparkly things are coming.
The equinox itself is known as Mabon among pagans, and celebrated with plenty of fire and lots and lots of apples. It is a festival of thanksgiving for the harvest and particularly celebrates the gathering in of the fruits, something I really have to get on with myself as my Bramley apple tree branches weigh down heavily. Thank you tree. Thursday seems as good a day as any to pick and wrap the best in newspaper to store in my allotment shed, and to use a couple of the nibbled and the bruised for the first crumble of the season. I think the occasion warrants the first fire of autumn too, and we can sit and eat crumble next to it, and remember that the sun will come back, and that the dark half of the year has its compensations.
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