Fall Harvest Moon
Michaelmas is here, the springtime of the soul. This is a new entry for the Great Wheel series and begins time with the four quarter days of the British old calendar (see information from Historic UK below*).
(delacroix eugene st. michael defeats the devil)
These quarter day are close to the equinox and solstice days, following the actual occurrence by a few days and having the advantage of a fixed date on the calendar for festivals and other events rather than relying on variable astronomical conditions.
Our Supreme Court begins its new term on October 1st and the government fiscal calendar restarts then, too, a shadow of this tradition well in place at the time of the American Revolution. If you read books that relate matters of witchcraft, they will sometimes refer to these quarter days and/or the Catholic holidays for the cross-quarter days. That is, Lughnasa, August 1, for example, was Lamas, a mass for the first loaves of bread made from the new harvest.
I love the imagery recounted below about Lucifer expelled from heaven and landing on a blackberry bush. Of course, the implication is that it was the Archangel Michael who booted him out.
By now, a full week after the fall equinox or Mabon, there are already 21 more minutes of darkness than light.
*”There are traditionally four “quarter days” in a year (Lady Day (25th March), Midsummer (24th June), Michaelmas (29th September) and Christmas (25th December)). They are spaced three months apart, on religious festivals, usually close to the solstices or equinoxes. They were the four dates on which servants were hired, rents due or leases begun. It used to be said that harvest had to be completed by Michaelmas, almost like the marking of the end of the productive season and the beginning of the new cycle of farming. It was the time at which new servants were hired or land was exchanged and debts were paid. This is how it came to be for Michaelmas to be the time for electing magistrates and also the beginning of legal and university terms.”
“St Michael is one of the principal angelic warriors, protector against the dark of the night and the Archangel who fought against Satan and his evil angels. As Michaelmas is the time that the darker nights and colder days begin – the edge into winter – the celebration of Michaelmas is associated with encouraging protection during these dark months. It was believed that negative forces were stronger in darkness and so families would require stronger defences during the later months of the year.”
“In British folklore, Old Michaelmas Day, 10th October, is the last day that blackberries should be picked. It is said that on this day, when Lucifer was expelled from Heaven, he fell from the skies, straight onto a blackberry bush. He then cursed the fruit, scorched them with his fiery breath, spat and stamped on them and made them unfit for consumption! And so the Irish proverb goes:
“On Michaelmas Day the devil puts his foot on blackberries”. Historic UK