100’s of people gathered at Stonehenge to mark this years Autumn Equinox and enjoyed a spectacular sunrise.
Stonehenge has been an important religious site for over 4,000 years. Modern druids have been celebrating the Autumnal Equinox there since the early 20th Century.
On September 21st – 23rd every year 100’s of people travel to ancient religious sites, such as Stonehenge and Avebury in England, in order to celebrate the Spring and Autumn Equinox. The Autumn Equinox is also known as Mabon and is an important festival day for many modern pagans.
People were unable to access Stonehenge during the Equinox and Solstice after a ban was imposed in 1985 at the request of English Heritage. This ban was lifted in 2000 and annual celebrations have been held ever since
Almost all pagans celebrate a cycle of eight festivals. Four of the festivals have Celtic origins and are known by their Celtic names, Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh and Samhain. The other four are points in the solar calendar. These are Spring and Autumn Equinoxes, and the Summer and Winter Solstices.
Autumn Equinox Photo stream – click here
The Autumnal Equinox marks the moment when the sun crosses the equator on its apparent journey southward and we experience a day and a night that are of equal length. It’s the time of the final harvest when many crops including apples, grapes, nuts, squash, corn, and berries are gathered. Astrologically speaking, this is the date when the Sun enters the sign of Libra, the balance.
The equinoxes (there are two- the Vernal Equinox, when the Sun enters Aries around March 21, is the first day of spring) have a rich place in mythology and ancient tradition. From Stonehenge in the British Isles to the pyramids in Central America, ancient cultures created means by which to measure the change of the seasons. For example, the Anasazi Indians of Chaco Canyon, NM made a hole between some boulders that the sun could shine through. The shafts of sunlight made a dagger shape of the far wall and they drew a spiral there to mark the equinox. It is said that the Druids would cut wands from the willow trees at this time of year. The willow was sacred to them and the wands were seen as powerful tools for use in divination.
Mythically, this is the day when the god of light is defeated by his twin and alter-ego, the god of darkness. It is the time of year when night conquers day- propelling us toward the Winter Solstice which marks the longest night of the year. Mabon, a Welsh god who symbolizes the male fertility of the land, is associated with the Autumnal Equinox. In some myths, he is seen as the male counterpart to Persephone of the Greek myths.
During the weeks around the Equinox, assess your harvest of the seeds of dreams and goals you planted earlier this year. Analyze your progress, acknowledge your successes, and give thanks. After that point of balance, natural law encourages us to turn inward for growth. Like Persephone going to the underworld on her annual journey, the time from the Autumnal Equinox to the Winter Solstice is a perfect opportunity to take a deep look inside yourself. Weed out what has completed its cycle and nourish the roots of what you want to grow again in spring.
Blog sponsored by The Stonehenge Tour Company – www.StonehengeTours.com
Merlin says “A Spectacular sunrise and a peaceful gathering made this years Equinox celebrations one to remember”
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