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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in autumn equinox
Fire and Flood, Wind and Rain: Balance at the Equinox

The Autumn started this morning, and I went looking for balance.

                Is there balance in between the fires that charred California, Oregon, and Montana, and the floods that drowned Houston?

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   Autumn Equinox is about the mid-life phase of a woman's life, and also about the poignant seasonal turning toward winter and inward time. We encounter opportunity for personal assessment, asking ourselves pointed questions as we explore the psychology of harvest-time. We can name, ground and ritualized our harvests for the year: things that have come into being, that have gone well, things for which we are grateful.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Come Ye Thankful People, Come

The Autumn Equinox: it's a holiday of many names.

None of them—to be perfectly honest—quite there yet, if you know what I mean.

Equinox, of course, comes from Latin: “equal night.” It has the advantage of being readily comprehensible, at least. The down side is, of course, that it's ambiguous, since it's got a twin in the spring. And somehow it's got that clinical sound to it.

Then there's Evenday. This is a modern loan-translation from the word for “equinox” in the Scandinavian languages. (Interesting that, to describe a time when day and night are of equal length, the Southrons focus on night and the Northrons on day; make of that what you will.)

“Evenday” has a nice, colloquial sound to it, and is probably relatively transparent to anyone with light behind the eyes. Interestingly, it has already developed two pronunciations, and (curiously) I find myself using both of them: Even-day and Even-dee, just like the days of the week: the formal and less formal options, respectively.

Wishing folks a “Happy Evenday” has a good sound to it, certainly. But, of course, there's still that vernal-autumnal ambiguity.

So far as we can tell, the ancient Kelts did not observe the sunsteads and evendays as holidays (focusing instead on what we would call the “Cross-Quarters”), so there were no traditional names for them in any of the Keltic languages. To rectify this situation, Druidic Revivalists in the 19th century coined Welsh names for them; the autumn evenday is now called Alban Elfed (supposedly, “Light of [the] Waters”), and the name has gained a certain currency in Druidic circles.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Thanks Ariel; the poem is the first verse of a song that we sing at the Harvest Supper every year, our version of a 19th century A
  • Ariel Aron
    Ariel Aron says #
    Nicely said I love reading your stuff. I also love the little poem.
  • Andrew
    Andrew says #
    "Usage determines correctness." No it doesn't. Pronouncing ask as arks does not make it correct no matter how many people do it,
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Given that living languages are in a constant state of change, Andrew, who then gets to decide what's correct?

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Crowning the Harvest

 Now the falling of the leaves, now the shortening day:

for Summer is a-going out, and Winter's on the way.

 

You won't find our Autumn Evenday ritual in any Book of Shadows.

In some ways, it looks more like Thanksgiving at your mother's house.

Well, assuming your mother was Sybil Leek.

After all, this is Witches' Thanksgiving.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I've quoted from seven different songs here; there are lots of Harvest songs. Here's Albion Band's version of the last, The Reapho
  • Haley
    Haley says #
    How does the tune of this song play? I hear something akin to 'Oak, Ash and Thorne', perhaps.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Back to School Partay

Fall Equinox is so tantalizingly close you can taste it. Whether you are a parent who routinely coaches homework, or a "non-traditional" returning bookworm yourself, fall is a glorious time of year. Truth be told, I geek out every year over needing to purchase new school supplies. Often noted as everyone's favorite season because of its best-of-both-worlds weather, rich warm hues in clothing and nature, and an excuse to overindulge in all things scented pumpkin – this is the perfect time for a get together to overindulge with pals in tow. Here's how:

Compile a playlist of several school-themed movie soundtracks: "Breakfast Club," "Dazed and Confused," and "Valley Girl," are just a few that immediately come to mind. "Rock 'n' Roll High School," and "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," are other excellent selections.

If folks are game, have everyone dress as an archetype from high school: cheerleader, jock, nerd, drama club weirdo, hippie teacher, hard-ass principal. Dress to reconnect with your former teenage self, or to indulge a fantasy of what it may have been like to be someone else for a day. Let this be a warm-up for Halloween.

One word for food fare: apples. They are so succulent/tasty/lovely/tart/juicy at this time of year, no one can get enough of them. Cut up slices to accompany various cheese plates with grape garnishes, and make them the dipping favorites for a caramel apple sauce centerpiece. If you're feeling ambitious, bake a homemade pie. And by all means, break out the hard cider. Assemble "after-school snacks" of "Ants on a Log," (celery, peanut butter and raisins on top), or "Lincoln Logs Sandwiches." Do not be shy about breaking out a package of Totino's Pizza Rolls or a fresh bag of Cheddar Combos. Believe me, people will delight in the nostalgia.

For other gimmicky fun, create an initiation to gain entry to your event. If leaning more toward a college theme, pop in a DVD of "Animal House." Create a drinking game where everyone does a shot whenever John Belushi  as Bluto pulls a crazy stunt onscreen (food fight, breaking dude's guitar). I leave you with this from the FoodChannel Editor:

"WHAT IS A LINCOLN LOG SANDWICH?

"Question: I was watching the 'Sopranos' and saw Carmella making a dish which she called Lincoln logs. I am curious, what are they? They looked good, so how do you make them what are some of the ingredients?

"Answer: Lincoln Logs (as seen on the 'Sopranos') are apparently hot dog buns or white bread, in which you place hot dogs layered with cream cheese. They can be served warm or cold. They are also known as Seattle Cream Cheese Dogs, although the Lincoln Logs variety is said to be an East Coast version. The basic recipe appears to be:

Take a slice of white bread, spread cream cheese on it, split a cooked hot dog lengthwise and place each half, cut side down, on the bread. To get the Lincoln Log effect, you may need a second hot dog that is laid over the first in the other direction. Some versions appear to mix a little mayonnaise with the cream cheese for spreading ease. You can lightly toast the bread or add a piece of American cheese before adding the spread and hot dog.

"Or, you can try the standard Seattle recipe as found at All Recipes."

Resources:

Photo, "Early Morning," by Carlos Porto at freedigitalphotos.net

FoodChannel Editor. What is a Lincoln Log Sandwich. Foodchannel. The Food Channel®. April 30, 2008.  http://www.foodchannel.com/articles/article/what-is-a-lincoln-log-sandwich/

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Joining the Dance

I start awake with the prickling knowledge that someone is in the room.

Every house has its secrets. I am about to learn one.

My eyes fly open. A luminescence hovers mid-air at the foot of the bed.

We'd been in the house nine months. My bedroom faces west, so I was accustomed to wake to darkness.

But now a shaft of red-gold, ancestral light slants in, spans the room, and illumines the windows of the west.

Minneapolis is a four-square city, its good Midwestern street-grid laid out cardinally. As the Sun rises due east at the equinoxes in his annual journey along the horizon, his light shines in through the east window, streams in a thick, tangible column down the hall, and into my bedroom on the west.

Like something out of New Grange.

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Swim Beyond  © Carrie Wachter 201

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