Day and night are equal and the God prepares to
depart and begin the journey back to the strength and development within his
mother's, the Goddess', womb. Both sad and joyful, the Goddess lovingly
awaits her God's rebirth.
- Other Names: Autumn Equinox, Harvest
Home, Second Harvest, Alban Elfed, Witches' Thanksgiving, and
- Colors: Brown, Orange, Violet, Maroon,
Russet, and Deep Gold
- Symbols: Grapes, Wine, Vines, Garland,
Gourds, Burial Cairns, Rattles, Horn of Plenty, Indian Corn and Sun
- Ritual Meaning: Celebrating the Second
Harvest, Balance, Honoring Aging Deities, Darkness Overtaking the Light
and the Celebration of Wine.
- Key Actions: Giving Thanks
- Ritual Oils: Apple Blossom, Hay/Straw,
Black Pepper and Patchouli.
- Stones: Yellow Topaz, Carnelian,
Sapphire, Yellow Agate, Lapis Lazuli and Amethyst.
- Plants: Vines, Ivy, Hazel, Cedar, Hops
- Activities: Wine Making and Adorning
- Taboos: Passing Burial Sites and not
Honoring the Dead
- Animals: Dogs, Wolves, Birds of Prey
(Especially the Owl and Eagle), Blackbirds, Salmon, Stags and Goats.
- Mythical Creatures: Andaman, Cyclops,
Gnomes, Gulon, Minotaur, and the Sphinx.
- Deities: All Wine Deities (especially
Dionysus and Bacchus), Persephone, Modron, Morgan, Snake Woman, Epona,
Pamona, Muses, Demeter, Ceres, Thor, Mabon, Thoth, Hermes, Harvest
Deities and Aging Deities.
- Foods: Grapes, Acorns, Wheat Bread,
Indian Corn, Cornbread, Corn, Root Crops (Onions, Carrots, Potatoes,
etc.) Nuts, Dried Fruits, Apples, Beans, and Squash.
- Drinks: Wine, Ale, and Cider
Maenads (Wild Women)
especially were drawn to following Dionysian celebrations and the deeper
mysteries beyond the wild rites. There was a lot of the uninhibited
riotousness of a modern day rock concert-and more- to these exuberant and
According to some ancient writers it was possible for a woman for whom the
pressures of life had simply gotten too great, to take off for a week,
month, or more and join with the maenads, the "wild women," who did indeed
run completely wild and totally free in the forest, enjoying riotous,
ecstatic dancing, singing, and drinking in the mountain wilderness.
Encountering them was terminally unfortunate for the unlucky wanderer, the
curious rogue, or the wild animal that trespassed on their domains! They
were viewed as sacred madwomen, and by both religious law and popular
sentiment; no harm was ever to come to them, on pain of death. Offerings of
food and drink were left by the devout in places, where the maenads would
find them. There was a risk to performing this duty to Dionysus, however,
for anyone caught by the wild women could quite possibly meet a violent end.
After a woman had "been wild" for long enough and felt that all the stresses
of house and family responsibilities had been worked out of her system, she
could apparently return home to resume her life as before, no questions
asked, dignity intact.
Will we ever have a return of the maenads, the Bacchae, the wild women? With
some modifications for this very different era it might still be a very
interesting idea, and a way for getting life's hard pressures out of the
soul and spirit. Perhaps some day.
time of Greece his worship was centered in Thrace and Phrygia (though it
spread far and wide), and a thousand or more years previously he seems to
have come from ancient Crete. In the eras before Rome he was called
Dionysus, the young and virile god of vegetation, wine, and ecstasy.
During the time of Rome, he was known as Bacchus, the god of wine. Bacchus
was the protector of those who imbibed a little, a lot, or simply were
totally drunk! He gave a release from stress and a relaxation from hard
work, and he was present when businessmen, politicians, soldiers, friends,
and lovers would come together.
But there was a much darker and wilder side to Bacchus/Dionysus in centuries
before. He was recognized as a god who was both riotous and oddly enough who
would reveal the deepest mysteries of life to those who were willing to take
His cult was wild and dangerous: the unwary risked death and dismemberment
in trespassing on the rites or attempting to spy on the worshippers.
And the deeper mysteries of life, death, and immortality? They're still here
for those who wish to seek them. But for now, celebrate the fruit of the
fall season. Raise a chalice of fine red wine, and give a salutation to
Bacchus, to Dionysus.
stories of Dionysus' birth vary. The original legend, from the far more
ancient sea-empire of Crete, seems to be that the Goddess coupled with the
primal male-force of the serpent while she was herself in serpent form to
beget the ambitious and daring young goddess who later was called
Some people believe that Persephone was not seized and carried off by Hades
to the underworld, but quite willingly sought him out and went with him.
Hades, in addition to ruling the land of the dead, was and is still the
patron of wealth and power, and possesses the vast wisdom of life, death,
and what lies beyond.
Then the primeval serpent mated again, or perhaps it was Hades himself, but
Persephone gave birth to Dionysus. His symbol has become the snake or
The snake is an arcane symbol of earth and water. It has its own
intelligence. Like a river winding its way above ground or far below, it
creeps silently along its path. It dwells in the earth and comes forth like
a fresh spring of water from the hillside, or a new shoot from its hole.
Above all, the serpent can penetrate the tomb, and in sloughing off its own
skin represents rebirth and immortality. It can be a dangerous creature, but
similarly there is danger in seeking the deepest of wisdom.
In the Bible, it is also a serpent who offers Eve the
Forbidden Fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. It is said that
the Serpent offered Eve an Apple, who then tasted and offered it to Adam.
When they ate the fruit, they lost their innocence and were thus cast from
and Apple Trees have played an important part in world folklore and history.
Universally, the Apples represents wisdom and long-life.
According to Norse mythology, the Goddess Idun cared
for the Golden Apples of Immortality and Eternal Youth.
Some fairy tales feature apples in them...
particularly the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.
Many pagans also believe that the afterlife or the
time between incarnations is spent in Avalon, also called the Apple Isle. It
is also said that after King Arthur's death, his body was taken to Avalon by
three Queens (Morgain, Genevieve and Morgause) to rest until the time when
Britain has most need of him.