As the days turn cooler and the evenings shorter we are welcoming the transition to the autumn season.
Defined as the season of the year between summer and winter during which the weather becomes cooler and many plants become dormant, autumn extends from the autumnal equinox to the winter solstice. In the Northern Hemisphere this includes the months of September, October, and November whilst in the Southern Hemisphere it consists of March, April, and May. The autumnal equinox is a day when the daytime hours are equal to the hours of the night.
Autumn has contrasting symbols (depending on your outlook one could say) one of plenty, ripening, harvest, and abundance; and, at the same time decay, decline, old age, and even death, associating the season with things being past their prime. It is a time of transition, change, and unpredictability, reminding us that change can open the door to growth. For better or worse, transition is the catalyst for opportunity.
The folklore and festivities surrounding the autumn equinox are endless, and vary depending on the culture. In Greek mythology, the goddess of autumn was Carpo, who was part of the Horae. The three goddesses who were the offspring of Zeus and Aphrodite represented the three seasons: Thallo representing spring, Auxo summer, and Carpo autumn. Winter didn’t get a goddess as it was not recognised as a season. Additionally, the Greeks wanted to preserve the magic number of three so kept the group as a triad. Although the term Horae translates to Hours, it is derived from an Indo-European root meaning Years.
The folklore and festivities surrounding the autumn equinox are endless, and vary depending on the culture.
One Greek myth goes that Hades escaped with Persephone, the daughter of Demeter the goddess of the harvest, into the Underworld. Although her return to earth is agreed by all parties, she has already eaten fruit in the Underworld, and therefore cannot fully go back to the land of the living. An agreement was made with Persephone that she will spend half the year, the autumn and winter, in the Underworld with Hades, and the other half, spring and summer, on earth. During the time that Persephone is in the underworld, Demeter is so sad that she deprives the earth of crops until spring when her daughter returns to her explaining the cycle of the seasons.
The Chinese and the Vietnamese associate the full moon of the equinox with a favourable harvest. This affiliation started during the Shang Dynasty, which was a time when they harvested ample rice and wheat. The harvest was so abundant that they began to make offerings to the moon in a festival known as the Harvest Moon Festival. The harvest moon festival is still celebrated today. The festivities include the gathering of families and friends, making and releasing lanterns in the streets, and consumption of round pastries known as moon cakes.
In the 1700s during the French Revolution, the French in an effort to get rid of religious and royalist calendar influence established a calendar that complemented the seasons of the year. This calendar commenced at midnight of the autumnal equinox and had each month named after a naturally occurring element. It was later abolished by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1806.
In Jewish religion, Sukkoth, the harvest festival, is split into two celebrations called Hag ha Succot meaning Feast of the Tabernacle, and Hag ha Asif meaning Feast of Gathering. The festival is momentous to say the least with the building of temporary huts resembling those built by Moses and the Israelites in the wilderness, hanging grapes, apples, corn, and pomegranates in the huts, and feasting inside those huts under the evening sky.
In Ireland, there are sacred sites that align with the autumn equinox such as Loughcrew Cairns, also known as Sliabh na Caillaigh, in County Meath. The folk stories go that on Sliabh na Caillaigh, which translates to Mountain of the Hag, a hag (or witch) leapt from hilltop to hilltop carrying stones in her apron. As she did, some of the stones fell from her apron and landed on the hills below, thus forming the cairns of Loughcrew.
Loughcrew falls into the same category of importance, in terms of Irish archaeological sites, as Brú na Boinne more commonly known as Newgrange, Carrowkeel, and Carrowmore. The mounds mostly consist of long, narrow passages ending in a set of chambers, forming a cruciform shape. These have then been covered over with stones, thus creating the familiar domed cairn. These incredible sites are unbelievable to sit by and tune in to the powerful energies that be.
September is a time to get cosy and welcome in the new season and all it has to offer.
With autumn comes the falling of leaves, reopening of schools, and the arrival of colder and darker days. If this has got you feeling gloomy, don’t worry, we’re here to help. Our thoughts are, by infusing autumn into your home, not only will it brighten it up but hopefully it’ll also lift your spirits. Whether it's small changes such as accessories, or something a bit more extravagant like a fresh lick of paint on the walls, with our tips you can make your home an autumnal sanctuary.
Introduce a pop of those beautiful autumn colours into your home. Those red, yellows, and oranges are actually proven to have mood boosting properties so colour away!
Add some cosiness - the trick to comfort (ours anyway) is a nice warm ambience so maybe some woolly throws and a nice earthy scented candle to go with. Candles always gets us in the autumn mood.
Adorn your front door with an autumn wreath!
Lastly, bring the outside in - embrace the autumn season by spicing up your decor. autumn being associated with all things spicy, we don’t mean literally spice up your decor but instead embracing those warm colours in your home with some accessories (possibly with one of our wreaths or maybe some dried flowers..you know you want some).