AUTUMN greetings

"Samovila with the Spirits of the Forest"
(An Ancient Slavic Goddess)
Courtesy of Sandra Stanton*

As this last year of the millennium winds down,
may this eerie, halting love song from Hungary remind us of how fragile life is ----
human life, surely,
but also the lives of other creatures,
trees and plants,
waters and winds.

In this season ushered in by the autumnal equinox,
may the weather be kind,
may there be enough food for all creatures,
may the diminishing light in our daytime skies
be met by an increasing compassion and tolerance in our hearts.



Autumn Equinox arrives when the sun enters Libra
on Thursday, 23 September 1999.
In the western United States, this will take place when it's still dark -- 4:31am (PDT);
on the East Coast, it'll be past dawn -- 7:31am (EDT);
in Europe and further east, it'll be mid-morning -- 11:31am (GMT)


Note: We may all wish for abundant harvests, but the reality is that many people will go hungry in the coming months.  Here's one way to help: every time you go to The Hunger Site and click on the "Donate Free Food" button, each of the day's sponsors will make a donation of 1/4 cup of rice, wheat, maize or other food staple to a hungry person. You can do this once a day, and it's free.  This is a form of public relations for the sponsoring corporations because it associates the company name and its products with a good cause (it costs them about $350-700/day of sponsorship).  The food donations are distributed through the United Nations World Food Program, the world's largest food aid organization, with projects in 80 countries.

I was initially dubious about this new site, but my doubts have faded.  They're honestly trying to help and it's a wonderfully unique and compassionate way to use the web.  Here's the link -- you may wish to bookmark it and visit it once a day: The Hunger Site.   [FYI: if you wish to give more, this site also provides access to organizations who gratefully welcome individual donations -- and The Hunger Site itself  is always looking for additional sponsors, who can sponsor as little as one day/month.  If you wish further "outsider" background information on the site, Rick Hall, the Nutrition guide at, offers this hopeful and excellent report.]

If everyone gives a thread,
the naked one will have a shirt
[Polish proverb from Okana's Web]

autumn LINKS

From "Slavic Pagan Holidays" comes this passage on autumn harvests, which in Russia's cold Ukraine begins early -- on August 2nd, the feast known as St. Ilia's Day. This autumn season is a time of music, apples, honey, and grain sheaves:
Sometimes the last sheaf ceremony was merged with the ritual surrounding a small patch of field that was left uncut. The spirit of the harvest was said to precede the reapers and hide in the uncut grain. This small patch was referred to as the "beard" of Volos, the God of animals and wealth. The uncut sheaves of wheat in "Volos' beard" were decorated with ribbons and the heads were bent toward the ground in a ritual called "The curling of the beard". This was believed to send the spirit of the harvest back to the Earth. Salt and bread, traditional symbols of hospitality were left as offerings to Volos' beard.
This is the Celtic Connection's wonderful site by Akasha on Mabon, the Celtic celebration of September's autumnal equinox.  Akasha looks at Mabon's themes, symbols, herbs, foods, incense, colors, gems, spells, and deities.  If you click on the Holiday Index at the bottom of the page, you'll be given access to recipes, activities (for children and teens), and ritual (see below for a direct link to the autumn ritual...).

[FYI: this page wasn't written specifically for 1999, so if it isn't updated, ignore the date and times of the autumnal equinox here.]
This is a powerful, eloquent harvest ritual from Akasha (see above).

[FYI: this page wasn't written specifically for 1999, so if it isn't updated, ignore the date and times of the autumnal equinox here.]
Also from the Celtic Connection comes this lovely and evocative little essay by C. Austin on the "in between" nature of the Celts' autumn:
. . . . We have bid farewell to summer, but the sun's light has not yet faded. Such is the style of in between. . . . Night is falling on the year. The equinox grants us a moment of reverie, before we rush on to year's end at Samhain.
[FYI: this essay wasn't written for 1999, so if it isn't updated, ignore the date and times of the autumnal equinox here.]

This is Mary B. Kelly's vibrant painting of a "Black Goddess," the Hungarian Harvest Goddess, Dordona.  There's no link to the artist's home page so I'm including it here:
This is "The Elders Speak: About Autumn," a page of wonderfully evocative quotes about the fall season.  The page comes from the "Weather Doctor," Dr. Keith Heidorn, whose entire website on all aspects of weather (from science to philosophy to art) is a richly mulled pleasure for those with time to browse.  Note: from this page, you can get to his home page and from there to his no-frames site map, or click here for a direct link:
[Added 23 September 1999]:  I've had this URL for Waverly Fitzgerald's School of the Seasons in my bookmarks for months but never explored it because I assumed it was only a correspondence school.  It is that, but when I came across its URL recently and took a closer look, I discovered a little jewel of a site.  For openers, the overall design is unusually tasteful and elegant.  Even more important, Fitzgerald has wonderful, well researched content on monthly celebrations, feasts, and cross-cultural holy days; her linked pages provide further information on some of these days.

This page is for September 1999: it begins with a large number of names for this month from various peoples.  Then a calendar-chart follows.  If you click on a particular day, you'll go to more detail on another page -- or you can go directly to the page covering the first half of the month below. . . .
[Added 23 September 1999]: This page from the School of the Seasons covers 1-15 September 1999 -- for example, the Nativity of the Virgin is on the 8th; Rosh Hashana begins the 11th; England's Day of the Holy Nut is on the 14th; and the remembrance of the Virgin's Seven Sorrows is on the 15th. . . . [continued below]
[Added 23 September 1999]: . . . . and this page covers 16-30 September 1999 and includes the God Pan on the 17th; Yom Kippur on the 20th; Autumn Equinox on the 23rd (with a special link to its own page); also on the 23rd is the beginning of the 9-day Eleusinian Mysteries (there are links to 2 pages with further details); the 25th is the Harvest Moon, also Sukkoth, and the Chinese Mid-Autumn Moon Festival (this Asian feast also has a linked page with more data, including ideas for celebrating it); the 29th is Michaelmas, honoring Michael the Archangel.

Fitzgerald's command of the lore surrounding these days is exceptional and I intend to include her monthly pages on all my future seasonal greeting pages.  [Note: her monthly updates come out on the first of each month.  When October first arrives, I'll add those links.]
[Added 10/16/99]:I did indeed intend to add this October 1999 page from Waverly Fitzgerald's School of the Seasons promptly on October first (which is when she put it online), but other time-demands prevented it and I'm now two weeks late.  Click on any date and you'll be taken to more data (see above 3 links for how she arranges things).  Since November is fast approaching, here's her homepage link so that interested visitors can find the November 1999 page for themselves (this home page also includes links to her pages on autumn & Halloween):

[Moved from Samhain page 10/16/99]: From England's erudite Michael B. Quinion comes "CIDER INSIGHT: The jargon of an ancient craft."  This is on autumn cider-making in southern England. . . . . .
[Moved from Samhain page 10/16/99]: . . . Yet another autumn-related essay from Michael B. Quinion is his engaging "TALKING TURKEY: Names for a much-travelled bird." [Note: a much longer entry on Quinion and his word-loving work is on my Samhain page -- see below for link.]
[Moved from Samhain page 10/16/99]: Finally, still on foods, and this time from, comes this page of links to everything you might want to know about pumpkins.  It's called "The Great Pumpkin: Pumpkin Picking, Recipes & More!"  The focus is on New England and upstate New York, but much of the data is relevant elsewhere.

 Samhain (Halloween),
and the soul-feasts of November:
I have created a separate page for these:
(Note: from this Samhain link, you can get to pages for the Wheel of the Year and for "European Earth-Based Ways.")
To Autumn Equinox 2000
To hear the embedded music, you'll need to have your JavaScript enabled (and not be on AOL). The "square" on the mini-console below will stop the sound; the "triangle" will start it again; the two lines will pause it; the slider controls the volume.

<BGSOUND SRC="Romanian~eerie~moldva094.mid" LOOP=infinite>
This Hungarian love song, Kerek a szolo levele, is at least 200 years old; it comes from a region in what is now Romania, so it's known among both non-Slavic and Slavic peoples.  Courtesy of Robert Szlizs, whose collection of Hungarian music is at Robert's Midi Creations.

* About the painting of Samovila, Sandra Stanton writes:

"SAMOVILA WITH THE SPIRITS OF THE FOREST: Slavic Goddess of the woods who is the fierce protector of all animals. She has the ability to shapeshift into a falcon, horse, snake, swan or a whirlwind and would not hesitate to cause harm to anyone who threatens her creatures. She lives deep in the woods and has great knowledge of plant medicine. She is holding a bear mother figure from Kosovska Mitrovica (Fafos II) Yugoslavia, Vinca culture, c. 5300-4000 BCE. Her earrings are from a Scythian diadem from Artjokhov's Barrow, tomb I; the Goddess figures in the tree trunks, left to right, top to bottom are all from Yugoslavia: Bariljevo 4500-4000 BCE; Predionica, Vinca mid 5th millennium BCE; Medvednjak, Vinca 5000-4500 BCE; Vinca, mid 5th millennium BCE; Vinca, late Vinca 4500-4000 BCE; Pristina, 6000 BCE; Medvednjak, Vinca 5000 BCE; Smederevska Polanka, 5000 BCE; Vinca, mid Vinca 1st half 5th millennium BCE; Crnokalacka Bara, late Vinca; Vinca, late Vinca; Supska at Cuprija, late Vinca; Vinca, 4500-4000 BCE."

Text and layout © 1999-2000 by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.
All rights reserved.

Image chosen & page designed 22 June 1999, 2:15am PDT;
Text & Hungarian/Romanian music added 10 August 1999, 10pm - 1am (i.e. 5-8am GMT -- or only a few hours before the solar eclipse would reach its peak over Romania at 11:03 am GMT);
first wave of autumn links added the evening of Friday, 13 August  1999;
page put online Saturday, 14 August 1999.
Latest Updates:
5 September 1999, 23 September 1999, 16 October 1999;
18 August 2000 (added this year's link).