Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mabon-the Autumnal Equinox

Today, the autumn equinox, is my first without the guiding hand of family Astronomer Royal Professor Schwartz. I'll write about his incredible life soon.

In Celtic mythology, the autumn equinox celebrates the second harvest festival, marking the descent of the Earth goddess into the underworld, during which she fertilizes the earth in preparation for next years planting. While she is away the sun's strength diminishes awaiting the winter solstice.

The Greek legend of Demeter and Persphone tell the story well. From Sky Wing

Demeter's daughter, known as Kore at this time, was out picking flowers in a meadow when the Earth opened, and the god Hades dragged the girl into the Underworld Kingdom to be his wife. Kore's name changed to Persephone when she became the wife of Hades. For nine days Demeter looked everywhere for Kore, to no avail. In despair, she finally consulted the Sun god Helios, who told her that her brother Zeus had given the girl to Hades. Furious to hear the news, Demeter left Olympus and wandered the Earth disguised as an old woman. She finally settled in her temple at Eleusis. She cursed the Earth so it yielded no crops. Zeus became frantic and sent her a message as to why she had done this. She responded by stating to Zeus that there would be no renewing vegetation on Earth until her daughter, Kore, was returned to her.

Zeus sent Hermes into the Underworld for the girl. Hades, not wanting to give up his wife permanently, enticed Persephone to eat pomegranate seeds before she returned to her mother. Upon learning of this trick, Demeter again despaired, until Zeus declared that Persephone-Kore would live with her husband during half of the year, and return to live with her mother during the other half. In gratitude, Demeter lifted her curse on the Earth, thus creating Spring at the time of her great joy of her daughter's return; and Fall at her time of great sorrow when her daughter returned to the Underworld to live with her husband, Hades.



Martha said...

How interesting -- and that's how we got winter!

Anonymous said...

I love a good Greek " wheel of the year" myth! Thanks!
Aka Muffy

Summer is a Verb said...

Something else to blame on a man's libido :)