Tuesday, 4 September 2012
Secrets of Autumn
Autumn is popular for it's vivid fiery colours. Changes from warm to cold. Gather of crops, fruits and vegetation. And a season of gathering wood. It's also a time to hunt and fish. Bringing in plenty of food and wood to keep warm for the coming chill ahead. It's when light turns darker. Yet Autumn (also called "Fall"), is much better known as a period of death. There are many celebrations such as found throughout the globe during Autumn, when it comes to honouring, or proection against the dead. The war dead. Dead ancestors. Even the threshold of seeing the dead, or sinister spirits. It's better called Festival of the Dead.
In the UK, Halloween (All Hallow's Eve) coincides with the rituals of burning effigies of the Guy (on Guy Fawkes Night), mischief night, Samhain (Summer's End) and Remembrance Sunday. Anyway Samhain is much celebrated by Wiccans and modern neopagan Celtic religions.
There is also an ancient form of Thanksgiving in Autumn, around the time of the autumnal equinox, or later in the season, with harvest festivals, Harvest End, Mabon. This is to honour the glories and life force of the Earth and thank the gods for providing us with a bounty of food.
The Norse version of Samhain is "Winternights". This is to recognise the period of the fallen, souls of the dead, warrior dead, ancestral dead, ghosts, and the start of the Wild Hunt. All this really continues and ebbs off until the following wheel of the year, at the other equinox. The Anglo-Saxons adopted Samhain, due to the All Saints Day of the church, that tried replacing this time. The celebration became a darker play and was renamed All Hallow's Eve, or Halloween. That bulk of supernatural celebration, like the witches and ghosts, was a part of the Spring time season. In most Germanic countries in Europe, Walpurgis continues it's tradition of witches and spooks.
Apart from the supernatural element, Autumn has been associated with particular themes and creatures. Wolves, bats, domestic cats (especially black cats), spiders, mice, squirrels, dragonflies, moths, ravens, stag, boar and bison. Mist and fog is associated with Autumn, such as the dew on cobwebs, rain, snails, bonfires and fallen leaves. Smells like cinnamon, pumpkins, wood and berries are Autumny scents. Pumpkins, long time held as a typical Autumn foodstuff, is also a replica of a lantern. It has been carved into different shapes, and eaten in various ways from a soup to a biscuit. The colour orange is a soft, dark reminder of a setting, fading summer.
Picture if "Autumn Witch" by Shadow Brooke