Manage episode 340884126 series 2634748
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Mark: Welcome back to the wonder science based paganism. I'm your host mark.
Yucca: And I'm Yucca.
Mark: And today we are celebrating the autumnal Equinox, which goes by various other names. I like to call it harvest myself. And the. The holiday is one of the roughly equivalent length of the day and the night around the 20th of September.
And so it's a time when we celebrate many metaphorical meanings of that. And we also observe a lot of what's going on in our natural environment. At this time, as in the Northern hemisphere, we moved from summer into. Into the autumn. So we're gonna be talking about that today and celebrating the holiday,
Yucca: Right. And as always, it's just amazing that we're here already.
Yucca: is just, just flown by. So,
Mark: It really has. It's. Well, it's extraordinary. I mean, a as you know, Yucca, I've been unemployed now for almost 14 months.
Mark: And I mean, on the one hand, it seems like all the time in the world, but on the other hand, it's like, well, that's kind of flown by in a way it's involved a lot of struggle, but it's. leading to some good things. Now that I'll talk about later on. So I'm, I'm feeling like this is the harvesting season. It's the time when I'm, you know, reaping the benefits of stuff that I've had in the ground for a long time and have really been working to tend.
Yucca: Hmm. That's exciting. Yeah. So for us, and we should mention being in the Northern hemisphere, this is the autumn for us. Although we do see that there are quite a few of you listening from the Southern hemisphere. So for everybody in the Southern hemisphere, it's the other side of the wheel,
Yucca: So happy spring.
But for us to September. We're talking about how fast the year goes, but September seems to just really fly by for, with us starting September. It's still summer by the end of September, it's we're full in autumn. It's winter's right at our doorstep, right? It's a, we get a very kind of short autumn and it's says, Nope, here we are.
It's fall. And this is actually one of my very favorite times of the. And I know a lot of people really, really love this time, but let's actually start with what is this holiday often represent in the broader pagan community. And then we can get into our individual practices and, and observances around it.
Mark: Sure. That sounds great. Well, traditionally, this is viewed as the second harvest of the three harvest festivals. The first being the holiday at the beginning of August which is. The grain harvest and so beer and bread and all those kinds of things. Well, this is the second harvest and it it's often conceptualized as the overflowing corn utopia of vegetables, right?
The vegetable gardens are pouring out all of the winter squash and the tomatoes are still really going. And there's all these
Yucca: zucchini. So many zucchini
Mark: so many zucchini, same numbers of zucchinis. You've got, you know, people door ditching zucchini to everyone else. And so it's a time of a great abundance of food.
Much of which is perishable and is not really gonna last into the winter. And so traditionally it was a time when you ate a lot, right? You, you, you put as much, you stored as much of that stuff as you could, like the winter squashes and so forth, but what you couldn't, you ate, you put on your body as, as much as you could in order to kind of fatten up for the winter.
Yucca: Right. This is also the, the time of year where they're the most babies born. So you would think that it would be pretty evenly distributed throughout the year, but we actually see in the August, September, right in this area, right before we're going into the, the season is really switching into that cold time when we see a lot more births.
Mark: that kind of makes sense. Because if this is the time of year, more than any other this in the ne into the next couple of months, when food is really abundant, right? So it makes sense that the time when you would be having births would be the time when mothers could be as nourished as possible. And there would be as good a shot as possible for the babies to survive into the next year.
Yucca: Right. And when you count backwards to the time when you're feeling horrible and having terrible morning sickness, it's the time of the year when there's the least food. Anyways. so you're okay. Right.
Mark: Never thought of that, but
Yucca: the, yeah, it's, it's how it works. It's so, you know, we, we can forget sometimes in our modern world, how part of.
The rest of nature, we really are. Right. We really are seasonal creatures that have figured out some clever things in the last hundred years or so to, to help us kind of forget that. But, but this time of year is, is, is lovely because it is a reminder that no, this, whether we like it or not, the season is changing and might as well like it and embrace it because it's happen. And it's it just feels like this tipping point time period.
Mark: It, it does. It feels, I was saying before we started recording, it feels kind of like the hinge of the year. There's a lot of preparation that has to happen before winter starts in earnest. For, and for me, This time of year is always a time for sort of taking stock of the last year's cycle. You know, what were my dreams?
You know, of my, my dreams from UL, my plans from From brightening at the beginning of February, you know, how did I implement those and how are they going? And is there something to harvest from those now? This year I'm, I'm hopeful. I, I believe I have a job I will know in about a week. but I believe I have landed a job, which was, will be a wonderful position.
And I'm happy to talk more about it. Presuming that it happens. I'm also. Most of the way done with writing the second book, the second athe paganism book and
Yucca: which is a publish.
Mark: which as a publisher, yes, loyal and worldwide is publishing it. And I have to deliver a manuscript at the end of November, and I'm still figuring out what the last 10,000 words are going to be. But
Yucca: But you've done a huge, I mean, you've done all the other words, so you've done a huge chunk of
Mark: I'm at 45,000 words now. So that's, that's a lot, there's a whole lot there. And it's involved a lot of days of sitting at a desk with a laptop, just tapping away and researching and pulling things in from other sources and synthesizing ideas. In, you know, as, as I see them. So it feels like this fall will be a, a real time of.
Of accomplishment. And the, the completion of some, some long held dreams which kind of goes along with my other conceptualization of this holiday. We've talked about this before, how I map the arc of a human life onto the wheel of the year.
Mark: Uh, this holiday is the holiday of being elder. so it's sort of the moment of reflection about, okay, well, I'm kind of at the end of this, but What has, what has life been like?
What, you know, what have I learned? What have I experienced sort of running your fingers through all those amazing moments of your life. And so I don't think of myself as elderly quite yet, but I still see that process happening for me this year with the, the things that I'm harvesting. So I, I find that exciting.
Yucca: Hmm, that's
Mark: How about you? How do you celebrate this time of year?
Yucca: Well, this season terms of how, how we see the wheel of the year this is the celebration of the decomposers. This is the, the fun guy and the microbes. And of course there are microbes involved in. All parts of the cycle. Right. But, but the, the, the little ones who are just breaking things down and, and getting the, the compost ready and that, again, that shift that we're talking about, and it's really the, the entering into fall or autumn and getting now is time to be getting things. Right. That's a big getting things ready for the winter and it's just, you know, winter's coming, winter's coming. We can feel it in the air now. It's still hot during the days. And the monsoon season is just finishing up, but you can feel that chill and it's okay. Well, do we have enough firewood? Let's start stacking that and.
Our, our solar panels, we switch them. Cuz this is there's no, there's no grid out here. Right. We're way too far away for that. And so, you know, we've gotta switch the, the panels, the angle now it's like, oh, okay, let's start. You know, we've had 'em down since the sun has been so high in the sky that, but now it's starting to, we can tell it's it's moving down on the horizon.
We gotta move those panels up to be able to catch that light. And. BA all that buttoning up. Right. Okay. Are there cracks that need to be sealed? And what do we have to worry about for this? Not gonna survive the cold? What do we need to bring in all of that kind of stuff? And it's just a, a lovely, it's a lovely time of just shifting and transitioning and, and there's a nice anticipation, but there's kind of a calmness to it.
Mark: Mm-hmm yeah, there's a
Yucca: Satisfaction like what's done is done.
Mark: and there's sort of a stillness, especially to early autumn. In my experience, we don't get very much wind here at this time of year. In the evenings when the heat finally dies down the it's just sort of very mild and there's. There's this kind of it's something in the air.
There's. Sort of presence in the air that I feel at this time of year. I'm reminded of it by our wind chimes. There's just something about the wind chimes, faintly tinkling in the little bit of air movement that's going on. That reminds me that it's fall. The other thing that I hear a lot at this time of year is.
Single crickets instead of a huge chorus like you have in the summertime, there will be one or two crickets outside kind of doing their thing. And it's in the, the warm late, late, late summer night. And it, it really reminds me of this time of year going back all through my life.
Yucca: Yeah. Yeah. You say that and I go, yeah. We have that too here.
Right? It's the, and there's a, there's a different quality to their, to their song.
Mark: Yeah. Well, almost all their fellows have been eaten by now.
Yucca: yeah. So if they're there
Mark: Yeah, if they're there although if they still haven't made it, then that, that's why they're, that's why they're doing their, their noise. Trying to find somebody to hook up with at the very last minute. But I mean that deafening chorus of crickets that you get in the, you know, at the peak of summer is long gone by now.
And it's just a few holdovers that are, you know, kind of holding down the Fort there every night.
Mark: Yeah, I have such a fondness for this time of year. I just, even though we don't. Changing of leaves very much until later in the year, because it's gonna stay warm for us until October. know, we'll have, we'll have days in the high eighties and early, you know, low nineties even into October.
But we may get a rainstorm or two between now and say November,
Yucca: And when is your, when's your first frost? I mean, not till later,
Yucca: Okay. Yeah. So you, you really don't get much in terms of frost
Mark: Well, we've got that huge buffering Pacific ocean right near us. So that keeps it warmer. The air has to get very, very cold coming in from the east, from, from landward and, and the north in order to drop us down into those frost temperatures. And really it's mostly at the bottom of valleys most of the time, unless we get an Arctic storm.
Mark: The Arctic storms will put a little snow on top of the Hills sometimes. And, that can be pretty yeah, but this time of year is once again it's, as you say, it's an anticipatory time. This is the time when everybody cleans their gutters because they don't, when, when the rains finally come, they don't want them to be jammed up and overflowing and doing damage to their houses.
Mark: All of the vegetation has started to slow down. So, there's much less in the way of mowing and so forth, which I'm thankful for. Not because I do mowing, but because I have to listen to it and
Mark: I, I'm not, I'm, I'm such a non of lawns and all that they represent.
Yucca: We don't have lawns here, but when I have visited them, I quite liked the smell of the cut grass.
Yucca: That's a lovely, yeah.
Mark: That's the smell of spring to
Mark: having grown up in suburbia. When, when the when the lawns are no longer swamps,
Mark: And, and can actually be mowed
Mark: um, long about March or so. That's when you can start start mowing the lawns and it's a wonderful, you know, spring smell to me. So yeah it's a little early for me to focus on decomposition.
I do that later in the year around halls and then kind of going into, I, I think of decomposition and recomposition in new form as kind of taking place between halls and But I'm in a very different climb than you are. I mean, we're just, we're not gonna freeze for a long time and when we do, it's not very much,
Yucca: Yeah, by the time we get to hollows are we've already been freezing for several weeks at that point. So we, I mean that still, it still has that decomposition theme, but now it's, it's, it likes to get started when it's still warm.
Yucca: enough, you know, you've got enough of your mixes of the greens and Browns and, and also for us, we're coming out of, we don't get a lot of moisture.
We get maybe 12 inches in a good year, but we haven't done that in the past two decades since we're in this, you know, mega drought. But with, after the monsoons is when we do get the mushroom. And so we'll get the popup of the mushrooms or you'll turn over a log and you see the MyUM and and you know, we get the warnings every year because we have several mushrooms that you definitely do not want to eat.
Just a reminder of know what you're doing, everybody, because we've got a few here that,
Yucca: really don't want to try. You won't make it to the nearest hospital. That's two hours away.
Mark: As the late great Terry Chet once said all mushrooms are edible. Some mushrooms are only edible once
Yucca: Right. Yeah. But of course, most, I mean the vast majority are, are, you know, not a problem. They're just, there's a few that are, but you know, they're, they're popping up and they're just doing, and all of that is just getting ready to do its thing because we have the moisture, we're getting the chill nights.
It's not baking and, and throughout the winter, It'll slowly, it'll slow down, but that decomposition is happening down there in the soil. It's happening underneath the pine needles, you know, it's, it's working away. So
Mark: Yeah. Oh, there was something else. What was it I was gonna touch on. Oh this is a big time of year for feasting.
Mark: Because of all that, all that garden production and all that perishable food that you, you gotta get into yourself and share with your neighbors before it goes bad.
Yucca: Get put up if you're doing drawing or canning
Mark: do any of those
Yucca: do. Yeah.
Mark: preservation processes, this is the time and around here where I am.
You know, people are canning apples and, and making apple sauce and apple butter and all that kind of stuff from our apple crop and the the, what we call the crush, which is the grape harvest has started. It's always, you know, right around this time of year, starts in late. August and extends into early October.
So that's a very seasonal thing as well. If you drive around the rural roads in the west county, they all smell like, like wine. They smell like rotting grapes, right? So, so it's a good time to have a feast, you know, invite your friends you know, focus on local produce and, you know, local, local food stuffs.
I was I was mentioning when, before we started to record that this is when the salmon run. One of the, one of the salmon runs comes up the Russian river in our local area. And so we will have fresh local salmon here available, which is delicious. And sustainably farmed or sustainably caught wild caught. It is part of an industry that is doing a lot to conserve and improve riparian habitat and breeding grounds around here. So I, I feel that's an important thing to support.
Yucca: Yeah, that's really important.
Mark: Yeah. I mean the salmon runs of north America and they still are in Alaska, but the salmon runs of the California and Oregon and Washington coasts used to be millions and millions of fish.
There are reports of tributaries to the Russian river during spawning season where you could walk across the tributary without getting. Feet wet because there were so many spawning salmon in these creeks and of course development and deforestation, tation, and climate change, and all those things have had a huge impact, but they're still living runs.
And so this it's something that we like to appreciate this time of year.
Yucca: Yeah. Oh, that sounds wonderful.
Mark: Yeah, it is.
Mark: So, We wish all of you the, the best of the season really invite you to go out and find out what's growing locally, you know, find out, you know, what does your neighbor's garden have in it?
Mark: See what, what stuff is coming up, check out the farmer's markets they're overflowing right now.
It's a great time.
Yucca: This is also a time where, where folks are often cutting back herd numbers. So that's another one
can get as well. Yeah.
Mark: right. Yeah. Traditionally that's sort of more associated with, with Hallows, with the October holiday as the, the so-called flesh harvest, but realistically speaking, I think you're right. I think it's probably earlier in the year uh,
Yucca: it really? Yeah. Well, and this is when you get, you know, if you, you. Talk to the rancher and you kind of figure out there, this is when they're figuring out, okay, what do we, you know, taking account? What, what do we have? What are, what are we gonna need to get through the winter?
Mark: How many, how many of these animals can we get through the winter?
Mark: if we try to get them all through, they're all gonna starve. So, you know, hard decisions have to be made,
Mark: And. You know, cycle of life. So it goes.
Yucca: And that's, you know, each point in the wheel of the year there. There's something going on. Right. And oftentimes there's an overlap, right? We talk about the, in the spring, we're often talking about these, this planning and this anticipation. And yet here we are in the autumn thinking about the anticipation.
And yet we're planning for winter, right? In the spring. We're planning for summer and the fall. We're planning for winter and then the winter's for the next year. And it's just all overlapping and continuing and continuing. Here we get to be our little moment getting to be part of it with everybody else.
Mark: Right. And that's one of the things that I really appreciate about this time of year is that because I think of it as a reflective time, you know, the, the, the time of culminations of harvests it, it does give me a chance to sort of sit back and, you know, look at where I've, where was I? Where was I?
12 months ago. And how has that changed? And, you know, how do I feel about how I spent that time? What did I learn? You know, what would I, what do I wish I had done differently? What am I really glad I D I did that. I didn't think I was going to like all those things, right. A a life reflected on is a life well lived.
Yucca: Well, we'd also love to hear from all of you, if there's special traditions that you have this time of year or anything that you wanna share with us, we always love getting your getting your emails and feedback. So
Mark: And you know where to find us the wonder podcast cues at.
Yucca: And that's QS.
Mark: QS, gmail.com. And we would love to hear from you. Thank you so much for your comments and your, your questions and your topic suggestions. We appreciate all of them.
Yucca: Happy autumn, everyone.
Mark: Happy sol-Equinox! Sorry.