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Autumn Equinox Loughcrew Meath, Moville Inishowen Co Donegal.

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Equinox Moville Inishowen Co Donegal.

Equinox Moville Inishowen Co Donegal.

Autumn Moville Inishowen Co Donegal.

Archangel Michael Moville Inishowen Co Donegal.

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Grapes Moville Inishowen Co Donegal.

Aromatic Herbs Moville Inishowen Co Donegal.

Bacchus Moville Inishowen Co Donegal.

Goddess Modron Moville Inishowen Co Donegal.

Autumn Forest Moville Inishowen Co Donegal.

Three Goddesses Moville Inishowen Co Donegal.

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Horn of Plenty Moville Inishowen Co Donegal.


















































Autumn Equinox - Mabon (20th - 21st September)

The Autumnal Equinox signals the end of the summer months and the beginning of winter. At this time of year, days have been shortening since the Summer Solstice some three months earlier, and the Equinox is the point where nights reach the same length as days. After this point, the Sun will shine lower and lower on the horizon until the Winter Solstice in about three months' time.

Equinoxes occur because the Earth's axis of rotation isn't aligned with the plane of its orbit around the Sun: it tilts over by about 23½°. The direction of this tilt is effectively constant, relative to the stars, so that the Earth's north pole always points towards Polaris, the Pole Star, and the south pole always points at the constellation of Octans. (In fact, this direction is not completely constant, and the poles move against the stars by about a fifth of a degree every century).

Each year, the Earth completes a circuit of the Sun, and for its poles to remain fixed against the stars, their direction must rotate relative to the Sun. This effect gives us the seasons. When a pole is angled towards the Sun, its hemisphere receives more hours of sunlight, and when a pole is turned away from the Sun, its hemisphere experiences long cold nights.

Equinox is either of the two times during the year that the sun crosses the celestial equator, an imaginary line through the sky, and appears directly above the equator, the imaginary line that divides the earth into the northern and southern hemispheres. When this occurs, the length of the day and the night are approximately equal at every place on earth. While the earth orbits around the sun, the position of the sun changes in relation to the equator. Between the March, or vernal, equinox and the September, or autumnal equinox, the sun appears north of the equator. It appears south of the equator in the time between the September equinox and the March equinox. The word equinox is derived from the Latin word aequinoctium (equal night).

The equinoxes are not fixed points on the celestial sphere but move westward along the ecliptic, passing through all the constellations of the zodiac in 26,000 years. This motion is called the precession of the equinoxes.

The Autumn Equinox is a time of harvesting and preparation. It is a time to reflect on your life and to start making plans for the future. The main agricultural harvest has been gathered and all that is left are the late fruits, berries and nuts.

As plants wither, their energy goes into the hidden roots and nourishes the Earth. The leaves of trees turn from green to red, brown and gold - symbolic of the sinking Sun as nature prepared for winter. This is the time of balance between the outer and the inner worlds. From now on, we should turn towards nurturing our own roots, pondering our inner lives and planning for the long-term. Thoughts can be seeded, gradually growing in the unconscious until they can emerge in the spring.

In the 19th century, as agriculture became more mechanised and people became less connected with nature, the great harvest supper was moved from Lammas to the Autumn Equinox. This festival is still celebrated by the Christian Church at Harvest Festival. The coming of the long nights gave the Church an opportunity to establish Michaelmas on 29th September. St. Michael protects against the forces of darkness, which the Church tends to consider with trepidation.

September 29 Michaelmas Day. Michael, the archangel, and All Angels (Hebrew "Who is like God ?"). St. Michael is one of the principal angels ; his name was the war-cry of the good angels in the battle fought in heaven against He-who-has-no-name and his followers. In Normandy St. Michael is the patron of mariners in his famous sanctuary at Mont Saint Michel in the diocese of Coutances. (See bottom of page) In Germany, after its evangelization, St. Michael replaced for the Christians the pagan god Wotan, to whom many mountains were sacred, hence the numerous mountain chapels of St. Michael all over Germany. There are Michael hills all along the Michael Line in England including the Glastonbury Tor, which is dedicated to St. Michael. Michaelmas Day, in England and other countries, is one of the regular quarter-days for settling rents and accounts; but it is no longer remarkable for the hospitality with which it was formerly celebrated. Stubble-geese being esteemed in perfection about this time, most families had one dressed on Michaelmas Day. In some parishes (Isle of Skye) they had a procession on this day and baked a cake, called St. Michael's bannock.

Autumn Equinox, is also known as 'Mabon'. and many Pagans celebrate Mabon as one of the eight sabbats (a celebration based on the cycles of the sun). Mabon celebrates the second harvest and the beginning of winter preparations. Mabon,can be pronounced MAY-bun, MAY-bone, MAH-boon, or MAH-bawn. The Autumn Equinox divides the day and night equally, and we all take a moment to pay our respects to the impending dark. We also give thanks to the waning sunlight, as we store our harvest of this year's crops. The Druids call this celebration, Mea'n Fo'mhair, and honor The Green Man, the God of the Forest, by offering libations to trees. Offerings of ciders, wines, herbs and fertilizer are appropriate at this time. Wiccans celebrate the aging Goddess as she passes from Mother to Crone, and her consort the God as he prepares for death and rebirth.

Various other names for this Wiccan Sabbat are The Second Harvest Festival, Wine Harvest, Feast of Avalon, Equinozio di Autunno (Strega), Alben Elfed (Caledonii), or Cornucopia. The Teutonic name, Winter Finding, spans a period of time from the Sabbat to Oct. 15th, Winter's Night, which is the Norse New Year.

At this festival it is appropriate to wear all of your finery and dine and celebrate in a lavish setting. It is the drawing to and of family as we prepare for the winding down of the year at Samhain. It is a time to finish old business as we ready for a period of rest, relaxation, and reflection.

Deities associated with Mabon include all Wine Deities - particularly Dionysus and Bacchus, and Aging Deities. Emphasis might also be placed on the Goddess in Her aspect of the Mother (Demeter is a good example), Persephone (Queen of the Underworld and daughter of Demeter), and Thor (Lord of Thunder in Norse mythology). Some other Autumn Equinox Goddesses include Modron, Morgan, Snake Woman, Epona, Pamona, and the Muses. Some appropriate Gods besides those already mentioned are Mabon, Thoth, Hermes, and Hotei.

At this point in the Wheel of the Year, two appropriate mythological legends are that of Mabon and Modron, and the story of Demeter, Persephone and Hades. The Sabbat is named for Mabon, the Welsh God who symbolized the male fertilizing principle in the Welsh myths. Some mythologists equate him as the male counterpart for Persephone.

The universal story of Mabon and his mother, Modron has been passed down to us from the ancient proto-Celtic oral tradition. Mabon ap Modron, meaning "Great Son of the Great Mother", is the Young Son, Divine Youth, or Son of Light. Just as the September equinox marks a significant time of change, so, too, does the birth of Mabon. Modron, his mother, is From the moment of the Autumn Equinox, the Sun's strength diminishes, until the moment of the Winter Solstice in December, when the Sun grows stronger and the days once again become longer than the nights. Mabon also disappears, taken at birth when only three nights old (some legends say he was stolen from Modron at the age of three years). Modron cries in sweet sorrow... and although his whereabouts are veiled in mystery, Mabon is eventually freed with the wisdom and memory of the most ancient of living animals - the Blackbird, the Stag, the Owl, the Eagle, and the Salmon (other legends state that King Arthur himself was Mabon's rescuer). All along, Mabon has been quite a happy captive, dwelling in Modron's magickal Otherworld - Modron's womb. It is a nurturing and enchanted place, but also one filled with challenges. Only in so powerful a place of renewable strength can Mabon be reborn as his mother's champion, as the Son of Light. Mabon's light has been drawn into the Earth, gathering strength and wisdom enough to become a new seed Great Goddess, Guardian of the Otherworld, Protector, and Healer. She is Earth itself.

Mabon is considered a time of the Mysteries and marks the end of the second of three Pagan Harvest Festivals, when the majority of crops have been gathered. It is considered a time of balance, a time of darkness overtaking light, a time of celebration of the Second Harvest. It is a time to honor the Aging Deities and the Spirit World. The principle key action of Mabon is giving thanks. Pagan activities may include the making of wine and the adorning of graves. A traditional practice is to walk in wild places and forests, gathering seed pods and dried plants. Some of these can be used to decorate the home or altar, others saved for future herbal magick. It is considered taboo to pass burial sites and not honor the dead. Considered a time of balance, it is when we stop and relax and enjoy the fruits of our personal harvests, whether they be from toiling in our gardens, working at our jobs, raising our families, or just coping with the hussle-bussle of everyday life. May your Mabon be memorable, and your hearts and spirits be filled to overflowing!

The symbolism of this Sabbat is that of the Second Harvest, the Mysteries, Equality and Balance - when day and night are equal. Symbols to represent the Mabon Sabbat are such things as grapes, wine, vines, garland, gourds, pine cones, acorns, wheat, dried leaves, burial cairns, rattles, Indian corn, Sun wheels, and horns of plenty. Altar decorations might include autumn leaves, acorns, pine cones, a pomegranate to symbolize Persephone's descent into the Underworld, and a small statue or figure to represent the Triple Goddess in Her Mother aspect.

Mont Saint Michel

Perched on a rocky islet in the midst of vast sandbanks exposed to powerful tides between Normandy and Brittany stand the 'Wonder of the West', a Gothic-style Benedictine abbey dedicated to the archangel St Michael, and the village that grew up in the shadow of its great walls. Built between the 11th and 16th centuries, the abbey is a technical and artistic tour de force, having had to adapt to the problems posed by Mont-Saint-Michel France Moville Inishowen Co Donegal.

Click on picture to enlarge

Perched on a rocky islet in the midst of vast sandbanks exposed to powerful tides between Normandy and Brittany stand the 'Wonder of the West', a Gothic-style Benedictine abbey dedicated to the Archangel St Michael, and the village that grew up in the shadow of its great walls. Built between the 11th and 16th centuries, the abbey is a technical and artistic tour de force, having had to adapt to the problems posed by this unique natural site.

I took this photograph this year, July 2005, while I was on holiday. It was a very dull day, as you can see, but it was worth seeing in any weather.






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