Happy Fall Equinox, or Mabon! Of course, our spherical planet also gives us the beautiful symmetry of the Spring Equinox (& Ostara) being celebrated now by our Southern Hemisphere friends. The equinoctial moment, this year, is on September 22nd, at 1:21 pm EDT. Archaeoastronomy is a great site to check the exact moments of our quarter holidays.
Isn’t fall wonderful!?! The weather is no longer hot, and the feeling of preparing for winter is in the air. Around us, we see other animals getting ready for winter too. The deer are eating to build up fat, with their coats already thickening (though the color change comes later, during late October here in Michigan), squirrels are building nests, and hornets are abandoning their nests, including the newly grown princesses who will hibernate over the winter, to be queens next year. In Anishinaabe legend, the personification of winter, Kabibonokka, will soon return – and to foretell his return, he is already visible in the night sky. You can likely see him this week – he’s very easy to recognize.
Many of us were raised in Western culture, which includes the ancient Greek religion. Due to Christian privilege, that religion is often referred to as “Greek Mythology”, though it is of course no more “mythological” than Christianity or most other newer or older religions. To be fair then would be to treat all religions equally, such as referring to them all as “mythology”, such as Greek Mythology, Christian Mythology, Norse Mythology, etc. Or equally as “religion”, such as “Greek Religion, Christian Religion, Norse Religion, etc.
Getting back to Kabibonokka, from the Anishinaabe Religion – He’s as real as any other symbolic figure or god. You can see him yourself, rising in the Southwest on any clear night now, with three stars in a row making his belt, arms upraised to bring the winter snow and wind. Yes, many of us know those same stars as “Orion the hunter”, and indeed I’m preparing for the upcoming hunt. Yet Kabibonokka stands there yet – even after thousands of years and with so many no longer recognizing him – telling us that winter is coming. My Anishinaabe Ancestors may have been especially wise to see Kabibonokka in those stars, because those stars are not visible in the summer – only appearing as the Sun recedes and the temperature drops.
Some of the ways many of us are celebrating were published a few weeks ago. In addition to those, the night sky is rapidly becoming more accessible now with the growing darkness. This growing darkness can be a reminder that this is a great time of year for campfires, and of the celestial events like auroras*, or a time to look more inward. In whatever way you are celebrating, Happy Equinox!
*In September, Equinox Cracks in our magnetic field often open, making auroras more likely this month.
May Kabibonokka watch over you, this autumn and always.