Autumn Equinox 2019
Today is the Autumn Equinox for the Northern Hemisphere when the Earth is at equilibrium when day and night are equal lengths — ushering in a time of transition as the light begins to wane as the Northern Hemisphere begins its descent into slumber for the winter.
Astrologically, the Autumn Equinox occurs when the Sun ingresses into the zodiacal sign of Libra, when the Sun is at 0 degrees of Latitude exactly above the Earth’s equator, which causes both the southern and northern hemispheres to receive the same amount of light.
The astrological climate during the Autumnal Equinox is also revealing for it is during this time, the Harvest Season, the Sun is in the zodiacal sign of Libra. The archetypal quality of Libra resonates to relationships, group participation, balancing self with others, bringing about equilibrium and order, and seeking something transcendent to the self. Although both Aphrodite and Astraea are linked mythologically with Libra, the Greek goddess Athene (Roman goddess Minerva), the goddess of wisdom, war and the crafts, and favorite daughter of Zeus best exemplifies the archetypal qualities of the sign of beauty, harmony, and justice.
Autumn Festival – Hellenistic Era
According to the Hellenistic tradition, the Autumn Equinox marks the abduction of the goddess Persephone (the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, the goddess of Harvest and Fertility) to the underworld by Hades, which marked the transition from Summer to Fall. The ancient Hellenistic festivities celebrate during the Roman Era (200 BC – 500 AD) celebrated the time-honored Demeter, the goddess of the harvest, and Persephone, her daughter, whose six-month annual disappearance into the underworld was to be the cause of the barren winter season.
The Fall Harvest New Moon was a popular time to celebrate winemaking and deities connected to the growth of the vine. During the Hellenistic era, Dionysus (the Roman God Bacchus) – the god of the grape harvest, winemaking, and wine, of fertility, of ritual madness, of religious ecstasy rapture, and redemption, and theatre in ancient Greek myth – was celebrated. Therefore, celebrating Dionysus’ divine pneumatic presence through dramatic theater – that played a central role in Hellenistic Culture – and ritual consumption of red wine followed by love-making was key in constellating the Dionysian archetype during Hellenistic harvest celebrations.
Autumn Festival – Jewish Tradition
The biblical Jewish holiday of Sukkot celebrated on the 15th day of the seventh month occurs during the same period of the Harvest Full Moon. Sukkot is is a seven-day festival, also known as the Feast of Tabernacles, or just Tabernacles. Sukkot commemorates the years that the Jews spent in the desert on their way to the Promised Land, and celebrates the way in which God protected them under difficult desert conditions.
The week-long harvest festival of Sukkot celebrates the beginning (the “first fruits”) of the wheat harvest in Israel which continues throughout the summer and ends with Sukkot in the fall.
“Also, on the day of the first fruits, when you bring a new grain offering to the Lord during your Feast of Weeks, you are to have a holy assembly. You must do no ordinary work.” (Numbers 28:26)
During the intermediate days of Sukkot, gatherings of music and dance, take place. This commemorates the drawing of the water for the water-libation on the Altar, an offering unique to Sukkot when water was carried up the Jerusalem pilgrim road from the Pool of Siloam to the Temple in Jerusalem. The seventh day of Sukkot is known as Hoshana Rabbah (Great Supplication). This day is marked by a special synagogue service in which seven circuits are made by worshippers holding their Four Species;
- etrog (אתרוג) – the fruit of a citron tree.
- lulav (לולב) – a ripe, green, closed frond from a date palm tree.
- hadass (הדס) – boughs with leaves from the myrtle tree.
- aravah (ערבה) – branches with leaves from the willow tree
And reciting additional prayers. In addition, a bundle of five willow branches is beaten on the ground.
Mabon – Pre-Christian Era
The Autumn Equinox marked the mid-harvest pagan festival of Mabon (pronounced MAH-boon, or MAH-bawn) that that honors the change in season from Lammas (late summer, August 6th -September 20th) to early fall (September 21 -October 6th) and the completion of the 2nd harvest that occurs during the Autumn Equinox (that falls between September 21 – 23) when there is an equal amount of day and night.
The ancient Druids called this celebration Alban Elfed (meaning Light of the Water), a time when they honor and thank Mother Earth – their concept of the divine feminine for her abundance as it manifest in the 2nd and final harvest, thanksgiving for the fruits of the Earth, and observation of daylight becoming equal to the hours of the night when darkness begins consuming more time then the light.
During this time, when trees turn color and begin to shed their leaves, Druids would walk in the woods and call out to the ancient God of the Forest by offering libations to the trees. Mabon was also a time for bringing old business to completion, and a time of rest, reflection to what was achieved, and enjoying the fruits of one’s personal harvest.
The three-day Mabon autumn feast celebration was where one would decorate the doors of their homes with wreaths and villagers hung fruits of the harvest throughout the village. One would wear one’s best finery and dine and celebrate in a lavish setting with food that included breads, nuts, acorns, grains, corn, beans, squash, gourds, root vegetables, some seasoned with sage, dried fruits, pomegranates, grapes and apples spiced with cinnamon and cloves, ale, wine and cider.
Other activities during the Autumn festival celebration were making wine, gathering herbs, plants, seeds, and seed pods, scattering offerings in harvested fields, offering libations to trees, adorning ancestral burial sites with leaves, acorns, and pinecones to honor those who have passed over.
The Druids would also perform rituals at this time, as Mabon was both celebratory and solemn, around themes of gratitude, rites of passage, death, and the looming winter. Spell-work or ritual magic was centered around balance and creating a better future, especially if the past harvest went badly, and future prosperity and wisdom in preparation for the coming harsh winter months ahead.
Autumn Equinox – Medieval Era
During the Medieval Era (500 – 1500) in Europe, the Harvest Full Moon is seen as the time at which the crops are all harvested, and considered a powerful time energetically, referred by neo-pagans as Mabon. Mabon was seen as a time of balance between the opposing forces of light and dark, life and death. The Celts in Northern Europe would conduct a mock sacrifice on this date, burning a wicker-work figure that represented the spirit of the vegetation.
Oktoberfest – Modern Era
Oktoberfest is a folk festival held annually in Bavaria, Germany, that is a 16-to 18-day modern harvest festival running from late September to the first weekend in October, during the period of the Full Harvest Moon. The festival started on October 12, 1810, to celebrate the royal wedding of Prince Ludwig and Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. In 1811, horse races were added to the festival accompanied by tree climbing, bowling alleys, and swings and other attractions, to promote Bavarian agriculture.
By 1819 it was decided by Munich city officials that Oktoberfest become an annual event. On October 1st, 1887, during the Harvest Full Moon, the parade of the Oktoberfest staff and breweries took place for the first time. This event showcased the splendidly decorated horse teams of the breweries, traditional marksmen’s clubs, beer-tent waitresses, and the bands that play in the festival tents. This event always takes place on the first Saturday of the Oktoberfest around 9:45 am and serves as the official prelude to the Oktoberfest celebration. The parade arrives at the Theresienwiese (open space in the Munich borough of Ludwigsvorstadt-Isarvorstadt) which serves as the official ground of the Munich Oktoberfest and the official tapping of the first keg of Oktoberfest beer by the Mayor of Munich occurs at 12:00 pm in the Schottenhammel tent.
Today the Munich festival host bear tents, festival rides, attractions, and a thriving annual fairground trade, surrounded by a city rich with history.
The Harvest Moon – 2019
Because the astronomical seasons do not always match up with the lunar month, the month the Harvest Moon occurs in varies. Most years, it is in September within days of the Autumn Equinox. However, every three years, the Harvest Full Moon occurs before that window and we then technically have two harvest moons: the 1st Harvest Full Moon occurring prior to the Autumn Equinox and another 2nd Harvest Full Moon occurring after.
This Post Equinox Harvest-October Full Moon is also traditionally called the Hunter Moon. The Hunter’s Moon is mentioned in several sources as the Anglo-Saxon (earliest use of the term based on the Oxford English Dictionary is from 1710) name for the Full Moon of October that follows Autumn Equinox that refers the hunting season. Since the harvesters had recently reaped the fields under the Harvest Moon, hunters began preparing for the coming winter. Traditionally, this included hunting, slaughtering and preserving meats for use in the coming winter months.
During the period from Autumn Equinox to the October Hunter Full Moon, the wild game in the forest is fattened and hunters could easily see the deer and other animals (along with the foxes and wolves that came out to prey on them) come out at night to gather and gleam.
It is believed according to Celtic and Druid tradition that the Harvest Full Moon season is a good time for practicing prosperity magic and divination magick for according to traditional sources, the veil between the spiritual and mortal worlds is particularly thin around the autumnal equinox through Samhain – Halloween. Therefore, any form of divination you partake in will be particularly revealing now.
Whether you’re celebrating with a ritual, a feast, or simply by spending time outside, this is a perfect excuse to enjoy the season.
The Post Equinox Harvest Full Hunter Moon’s exact time is for October 13th at 4:20 pm EDT. Because the Full Hunter Moon rises from the horizon around sunset – 8:31 pm EDT, it may appear bigger and more orange than your typical full Moon.
“Shine On, Harvest Moon”
Note: The name” Harvest Moon” was popularized in the early-1900s song credited to the married vaudeville team Nora Bayes and Jack Norworth that was one of a series of “Moon theme” related songs of the Tin Pan Ally era. The song was debuted by Bayes and Norworth in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1908 to great acclaim. It became a pop standard and continues to be performed and recorded even in the 21st century.
Shine On, Harvest Moon
By Nora Bayes and Jack Norworth (1903)
The night was mighty dark so you could hardly see,
For the moon refused to shine.
Couple sitting underneath a willow tree,
For love they did pine.
Little maid was kinda ‘fraid of darkness
So she said, “I guess I’ll go.”
Boy began to sigh, looked up at the sky,
And told the moon his little tale of woe
Oh, Shine on, shine on, harvest moon
Up in the sky;
I ain’t had no lovin’
Since April, January, June or July.
Snow time, ain’t no time to stay
Outdoors and spoon;
So shine on, shine on, harvest moon,
For me and my gal.
I can’t see why a boy should sigh when by his side
Is the girl he loves so true,
All he has to say is: “Won’t you be my bride,
For I love you?
I can’t see why I’m telling you this secret,
When I know that you can guess.”
Harvest moon will smile,
Shine on all the while,
If the little girl should answer “yes.”
William Stickevers is an astrological consultant, hypnotist, life coach, and business strategist, advising clients from 28 countries for over three decades with strategy and insight to live a more fulfilled life according to their soul’s code and calling.
A trends forecaster, William’s annual global forecasts are backed by a deep study of economies, geopolitics, archetypal cosmology, and modern astrological forecasting techniques. William’s predictions for the outcome of the U.S. Midterm and Presidential Elections are well documented on his blog.
William has been a guest on Coast to Coast AM with George Noory, The Unexplained with Howard Hughes, Beyond Reality Radio with Jason Hawes and JV Johnson, The Jerry Wills Show, and Alan Steinfeld’s New Realities. An international speaker, William has lectured at the New York Open Center, Edgar Cayce’s Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.), two Funai Media events in Tokyo, Japan, the United Astrology Conference (2018), for the National Center for Geocosmic Research (NYC, Long Island, New Jersey, San Francisco chapters), American Federation of Astrologers (Los Angeles), the Astrological Society of Connecticut, the San Francisco Astrological Society, and in Europe (Munich, Germany, and Bucharest) and Japan (Tokyo, Osaka, Yokohama).