Autumn Equinox


A muse on the Autumn Equinox or Alban Efled.

This is marked astronomically when the Sun moves over the Equator towards its southern counterpart moving that Hemisphere into spring. The marking of the Equinox can be witnessed in various places within the northern Hemisphere for instance, in Ireland at Loughcrew, Carn "T" in Co. Meath. Here the rays of the rising sun on the equinox lights up specific rock art on the back stone at the rear enclosed chamber. In similar fashion the autumn and Spring Equinox sun raises at the centre, between two Standing Stones known as the Gossan stones in Co. Wicklow. In the Orkneys a Neolithic burial chamber known as the Tomb of Eagles, is also aligned to the eastern quarter of the equinox sunrise. In Malta, the temple site of Mnajdra, which has three temples, where the guides often described each being constructed in the outline of a female figure. Its southern temple aligns to the Equinox as the first rays of light move through the doorway to light up the rear smaller chamber. This space has been referred to the head of the female figure. Much like Stonehenge at the summer solstice, Mnajdra temples opens at sunrise to witness the play of light from the Sun. Further south, in Egypt the Great Sphinx of Giza is aligned due east to the Equinox rising of the Sun. Elsewhere, at Mexico, the ‘Mayan pyramid at Chicen Itza casts a large shadow in the shape of feathered serpent god Kukulkan onto the North staircase, as rays from the sun play upon the edges of the pyramid's elaborate terraces.' Whatever the purpose was of marking the rising Sun by various cultural monuments, the equinox had an importance in the society cultural worldview of understanding the world.

The Equinox suggest it's marked by various structures aligned to the rising Sun and mythological associations. It to have become celebrated in a variety ways within the Northern Hemisphere by associated cultural activities. In Japan it's a time to remember the ancestors as family members pay there respect at the graveside. In Europe at the city of Vilnius, Lithuania, it's celebrated in modern times with a fire festival with the burning of a goat and other mythological effigy, which is surrounded in a carnival atmosphere. In Poland there is the Feast of Greenery celebrating the produce of the harvest prior to the autumn equinox. In Spain the ‘Feria y Fiesta de la Vendimia. La Palma del Condado, Huelva, Andalusia; one of the oldest grape harvest festivals in Spain.' There too is the Fiestas Patronales de La Virgen de Gracia which honours the Virgin. Additionally in Mexico there is the Fiestas de San Mateo

Cultural mythology associated with the Equinox can be varied, seeing there are two in every year. Such as , with Demeter entering the underworld and is not released until the Spring Equinox. One could even wonder whether the story in the mabinogio with Pwyll entering the underworld also occurred at this time; specifically with the battle representing two male underworld kings ruling over the respective halves of the year. Nonetheless, the autumn was also a time for initiates to be allowed to join Mysteries cults as found in classical Rome at the festival of Boedromion. The list could be endless if one wishes to pursue this further.

Today the Autumn Equinox has been voiced as a modern conception, within Modern Druidry referred to as Alban Elfed, a name introduced by Edward Williams aka IoIo Morgannwy. On the other hand modern Pagans/wiccans relate this time of year to the Mabon, which has become popular in recent years. The festival is the in-between time and a transition from summer to winter. It too is a time of balance when the period of visible light of the day and night are the same duration. Yet attributes relating to the harvest have been associated in the revival period suggesting a continuation of the harvest tradition found elsewhere. In those days which is not that far away really, Specifically where contemporaries of IoIo such as ab Ithel and Owein associating 'Ears of wheat' which the participants of the early revival groups brought to the meal as a part of the celebrations. The inclusion of which has perhaps been tested by time itself.

Irrespectively one thing which is noticeable is the temperature falling at nights together with the abundance of wild fruit in the hedgerows, and on specific trees like the Mountain Ash, Hawthorn and the Blackthorn with its slow berries. The leaves in the trees have also began to turn in some cases, and as the in-between time of autumn gathers speed and strength, these will turn to various colours which will decorate the landscape.

Internet Sources

Aequinoctium Auctumnale

Autumn equinox at Chichen Itza.

Gossan Equinox

Loughcrew Autumn Equinox



Equinox, Alignments, Festivals,
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Hawthorn's picture

Many Thanks

The depth of a soul cannot be measured by what appears on the surface


Thanks Astrocelt you are a mine of information.

I too find this equinox more difficult to get to grips with.

I generally miss celebrating the equinox, however just looking into the sky at night at this time of year, one cannot help but be transfixed and bewitched by the beauty of the moon.


Eadha Deora's picture

Thank you! That really set

Thank you! That really set the tone for my day and gave me some serious background thought. I find the Autumn Equinox perhaps the hardest festival to 'get along' with and I think I am just beginning to get to know it.