September 22, 2012 is officially the first day of Autumn, or “Fall” as we Americans call it.
Long ago, when the air cooled and the leaves turned gorgeous shades of gold, red and burgundy, people did more than don sweaters and switch their clothing to darker colors.
Anciently, the Autumn Equinox or Harvest Home was called Mabon, pronounced ‘MAY-bon’, after a Welsh god called Mabon ap Modron which literally means ‘son of mother’.
One Mabon Celtic ritual was taking the last sheaf of corn harvested and dressing it in fine clothes, or weaving it into a wicker-like man or woman. Apparently, they believed the sun was trapped in the corn and needed to be set free. So they burned it and spread the ashes on their fields.
Mabon is also known as the Feast of Avalon, derived from the word Avalon which means ‘the land of the apples’. It was also traditional at Mabon to honor the dead by placing apples on burial cairns as a symbolism of rebirth. It was also a way for the living to anticipate being reunited with their loved ones who had passed on.
Many people often associate autumn with being melancholy and facing the end of the liveliness of summer and the beginning of the bleakness of winter. Grey skies cause many people to retreat, both physically and mentally. Autumn is the time of year when the celebrated English poet, John Keats, wrote his most acclaimed poem, “To Autumn” which has a distinctly melancholy beauty.
The ancient Celtics, however, used this time to reflect on the past year as well as celebrate nature’s bounty by having a feast and a celebration. I imagine those were the roots for the Thanksgiving feast that Americans celebrate.
Since southwestern Arizona in the U.S. where I live doesn’t get the gorgeous color autumn is famous for having, I gaze wistfully and pictures of places that do.
The beginning of my fantasy novel, Queen in Exile, takes place in Autumn, so I posted beautiful pictures by my desk to inspire me as I wrote descriptions of the scenery.
Though I love autumn, I used the season in Queen in Exile as a symbol of the death of a reign, and the destruction of the country and the heroine’s way of life. The heroine’s darkest days happen during winter. Hunted by the enemy, and fighting the fierce winter without home or family, she seeks the means to rescue her county from death and tyranny, all the while reaching out to the untouchable knight sworn to protect her. Their triumph occurs in early spring, the perfect season for new life.
To welcome the arrival of Autumn, I’m giving away an absolutely dreamy smelling candle called Pumpkin Caramel Latte by Bath and Body works to one lucky person today. Just leave a comment telling me anything you like about autumn, or about any fun personal or family tradition you do during autumn. I will draw a winner randomly. Please leave your email address so I can easily contact you if you win.
One entry per person.
Open to US and Canada mailing addresses only.
Void where prohibited.