Of apples and autumn

Today is the autumn equinox: summer’s end and first day of the fall.

Apple page from Köhler's Medizinal Planzen (1887)

I so enjoy this time of year, out cycling or walking in the countryside, watching the trees turn ever deeper shades of red and gold as the days of early autumn pass by.

In Welsh mythology*, Mabon (Maponos/Maponus) was a hunter god taken from his mother Modron (Dea Matrona) shortly after birth. He then lived in Annwn (the Otherworld) until rescued by the hero Culhwch.

Mabon ap Modron is for modern pagans a god of music, love and fertility, and the personification of eternal youth is for them associated with autumn. This has to do with the apple harvest. We tend to think of the fall as a time of dying, but fruit trees need not perish in order to make seed. The apple seed needs only liberation in order for the cycle to continue, and therein lies a connection with the liberated, eternal youth of Mabon.

The actual moment of the autumn equinox is 21:28 UTC this evening.

Whether you call it Autumn Equinox, Harvest Home, Mabon or whatever, get out of the house and enjoy this time of richness and colour in the natural world.

* Mabon ap Modron appears in the prose tale “Culhwch ac Olwen”, which survives in two manuscripts: the Red Book of Hergest (“Llyfr Coch Hergest”), and the White Book of Rhydderch (“Llyfr Gwyn Rhydderch”).