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I am a pagan atheist: I believe in no deities, but am passionate about myth and nature. The "lessons" that go along with nature and the turning of the wheel are not religious: they give us tools to live by. And with that preface . . . Today is the Autumnal Equinox which marks one more turn of the Wheel of the Year, a cycle that will continue as long as the earth spins (though with some variations). The Equinox, coined “Mabon” by modern pagans after the Welsh deity Mabon ap Modron, is considered by most to mark the advent of fall (which will end on the Winter Solstice) and is directly “opposite” the Spring or Vernal Equinox. Regardless of being opposite each other on the Wheel, they are twins because these are the two days of the year that are of equal length with the night. Below the equator, though, it is the Vernal/Spring equinox today.

The Autumnal Equinox is the second harvest, followed by Samhain as the third. It is a time to celebrate harvest home and give thanks to the earth for its bounty, but as the advent of winter, it is also marked by sadness. One of (if not the most) prevalent archetypal myth in the world is that of the dying and resurrecting deity. Some deities die and are physically reborn; Lugh is said to be born each year from the Mother Goddess. Other deities descend into the underworld and remain there during the winter. As such, Persephone prepares to descend and her mother, Demeter, mourns, causing winter. These two deities have many predecessors including Inanna and her counterpart, Ishtar, who both descended but did not return to the land of the dead after they ascended. While Persephone’s descent triggers winter, Dumuzi and his sister, Geshtinanna, take turns in Kur, the Sumerian afterlife; their alternating stints mark the growing seasons for grapes and wheat/hops.

Equinox is a time for balance, considering and reconsidering our lives and how to bring ourselves into focus, but some of us are chaosists (yes, I made up that word)! I do not like to stand in the middle of the teeter-totter to achieve balance—it is stagnating and boring; I prefer to run from one end to the other, which produces another type of balance. Equinoxes last but a day, and like balance in our lives, they are fleeting and we do not stand in the center for long.

Continue to give thanks for what you have, reflect on the past summer, look ahead to the winter. Know that this, too, shall pass: chaos will come, but so will elusive balance.

And eat a pomegranate in remembrance of Persephone.

Gwendolyn2018 8 Sep 22
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9 comments

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1

I like the way you think. I believe that I too am a chaosist, if I may borrow the term. Don’t worry though. I will give it back… he he.

Just give me credit for the word!

1

Don’t forget, it’s also the Spring Equinox in the Southern Hemisphere.

Am welcoming the change, after experiencing the warmest and wettest winter ever recorded.

I said that! "Below the equator, though, it is the Vernal/Spring equinox today."

It was a hellishly hot summer here and winter is forecast to be bitterly cold. However, it is still summer weather and it is almost October, so I am wondering when the cold will begin.

@Gwendolyn2018 Thanks, my apologies, I should have picked that up.

Yes, I read about the very hot summer. Climate change is definitely happening, Hopefully our summer won’t be too hot either.

I lived in the Northern hemisphere for a while. Coming back, I realised that there’s a subtle bias in media. For example, Invasion,” the science-fiction drama series on Apple + has all its main characters and the action based in the Northern hemisphere. Nothing about the South.

There’s only 10–12% of the total global human population there, so that’s probably a reason why.

@Zealandia on the other hand, are you familiar with Nevil Shute's apocalyptic novel On the Beach? In it, the only people left alive after a nuclear holocaust are those below the equator. However, all of you were dying off, too.

I would consider emigrating to NZ if I didn't have grandkids. My schools wouldn't let me teach if I lived outside of the US, but I will retire someday. Maybe I can come visit you and see if it is a place where I could live. (Evil grin.)

@Gwendolyn2018 Yes, I remember reading the book On The Beach, it’s a powerful novel. Seen the movie too, which was a worthwhile watch.

There’s a few Americans dotted around, they seem to like it here. Judging from the comments from an American kiwi citizen I met on a airport bus in Sydney pre covid, when I was flying between the hemispheres….

You’re perfectly welcome to visit and check it out. The borders are open again, a number of American airlines are starting up their routes too as well. There’s a direct flight from New York to Auckland now, for example.

@Zealandia I saw the movie before I read the book. I read it in high school and it began a long love affair with apocalyptic/post apocalyptic novels. The most memorable are Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank and Earth Abides by George Stewart.

Someday, I would like to do a bit of traveling. When I have the time, the biggest holdback will be that I have not travelled abroad and I find the thought of going alone intimidating. Going with a tour group sounds boring, but . . .

@Gwendolyn2018 I enjoy post apocalyptic stuff as well, usually movies that don’t take themselves seriously. Don’t read fiction now, doesn’t appeal to me. Just a personal choice.

I understand how travelling abroad can be intimidating, maybe a group tour might be the way forward. However, NZ is very tourist oriented and people are usually pretty helpful. Could start off with a group tour to gain a bit of confidence, then try some independent travelling afterwards.

The best way is to plan and book everything beforehand, then it doesn’t seem to be so daunting. So you know what you’re going to see every day and how you’re going to get there. All the information is on the internet now, the planning and breaking it down into individual days and destinations makes it a lot easier.

One option may be to book an airline and accommodation package with hotel transfers thrown in, then day trips when you arrive.

Information centres are so helpful, even the locals use them.

I went on a roadie (Road trip) earlier this month up to Cape Reinga, the very top of the North Island. A big bucket list ticking exercise, hadn’t visited before. Spent ages doing the itinerary in a Word document, so I had a mental picture of what I was doing on each day of the journey. Having the plan made the trip a lot more enjoyable. It was flexible, my mate Ivan and I changed it to fit in other things we wanted to see as the journey progressed.

Hope this helps.

@Zealandia thanks for the encouragement! I cannot travel while I am teaching, but someday, I will retire.

I don't read fiction now, but that is because I read dozens of papers--some are up to 20 pages--and small assignments every term for 5/6 classes. I have read the works we cover in class, and most reading I do is information relating to the works, i.e. analyses.

1

I believe the Earth is sentient.

So did the ancients! Maybe "she" is.

3

Living in the far North I always observe the passing of the seasons and the markers of the Equinoxes and the Solstices. These important feast days are observed worldwide by people's of the North...

For our ancestors, they marked time; this why they erected their important edifices to align with the rays of the sun. One does not have to be religious to marvel at the universe.

1

Your word Chaosist puts me in mind of the Discordians [en.wikipedia.org]
Hail Eris!

From my old practicing pagan days, I am very well acquainted with Eris! It used to amuse me when Yahoo still had chat rooms and teen girls would come into the pagan one saying, "Hail Eris!" and then get upset when I treated them per Eris. They had no clue.

@Gwendolyn2018 Only story I know about Eris is the golden apple. Did you set the teen girls fighting among each other over who was prettiest?

@MattHardy the myth of the apple is one of the few myths that I know about her, too. Her brother is Ares and it was said that she sometimes rode in his war chariot with him. The Greeks were not fond of Ares or Eris, but I think Ares was more respected or, perhaps, feared.

I didn't set them arguing as to who was the prettiest, but told them that they did not know what they were talking about in relation to paganism--and they didn't. I remember one woman, who was beyond her teen years, saying that she was in direct descent from ancient Irish gods--not just kings and queens, mind you, but the GODS. I told her that she wasn't; it was not well received. Had she descended from kings/queens or gods, they would have been embarrassed to acknowledge her.

4

Yes, but are you a “Born-again Pagan?” 😉

Pagans get recycled 😉

Well, I can find no evidence of a past life, so I guess not!

2

I consider myself to be an Atheist pagan too.

Humans like ritual, religious or not, and the rituals presented by nature and the cosmos are important. Many people, even Xtians, have an affinity with nature, but I think think that Xtians realize that when they are gushing about how nature affects them positively, they are "worshipping" it. They accuse pagans of worshipping the creation rather than the creator, but I do neither: I look at the universe and am just in awe--but not in religious awe.

@Gwendolyn2018 I'm in awe of nature. It is full of beauty and wonder.

@xenoview we are in agreement. Being in nature always calms me--it is the best therapy for me. The Greeks and Judeo/Xtians tried to separate themselves from nature. To the Greeks, it was scary and "illogical," i.e. one never knew when a storm or drought would occur. The "logic" was there, but it was not understood. Shakespeare called the moon "inconstant" because of its phases, but the phases are always the same and follow a pattern.

Jews/Xtians tried to dominate nature per Yahweh's decree in Eden. Whenever I hear the hymn "I Come to the Garden Alone," I am amused as Jesus is there and walks and talks to the narrator. Regardless of Yahweh being present in Eden, this is pagan ideology. The narrator should be able to go into a closet or walk downtown and be able to talk to Jesus--and walk with him in the latter scenario. Jesus went to a garden to plead with Yahweh for his life, but maybe the difference is that gardens are cultivated and the rest of nature is not. Most people also overlook that Eden was a garden, not the wilderness.

4

The couple of years in which I taught 8th grade English, we did a unit on Greek myths and also read the Odyssey (unfortunately, not the best translation).

I have taught myth at two schools and covered Sumerian/Egyptian to modern paganism--I also included Xtianity, which caused some students to drop the courses. I didn't call Xtians "pagans," but I did point out that the tales of Xtianity are taken from pagan myth which preceded Judaism and Xtianty. Some were not able to look at this without thinking it was blasphemy.

7

Not sure about giving thanks (to whom?). But am very glad there are far more species/ life in the world than just us. Life is a good thing.

puff Level 7 Sep 22, 2022

Give thanks to the farmers who produce the food and those who contribute to the ease of your life and your happiness. Life is good because of these people! I also thank myself. (Grin.)

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