Friday, 12 October 2018

The Dark Half

Here is an extract from our latest October Raven Newsletter, which goes out to folks on our Mailing List:

     The two Equinoxes mark the two points in the year when the length of day and night are equal.This only happens on two days each year, the rest of the year there is more light than dark, or more darkness than light.
     The Equinoxes also mark the transition points for the Goddess. The Spring Equinox celebrates the return of the Maiden, bursting with life and fertility.
     The Autumn Equinox marks the Goddess turning from fecund Mother to barren yet wise Crone.
     The Autumn Equinox is also the start of the Dark Half of the year.
     As soon as you say that, doesn't it make you feel spooky, sinister and magical? And yet all it means is that from now onwards there will be more hours of darkness than of light.
     The further North you go, the more dramatic this change is, until you cross into those latitudes where there is no light at all, the sun never making it above the horizon for days even weeks at a time.
     As the darkness grows, the night enfolds us and the stars and moon, and the Northern Lights too, are more easily visible.
     The sun loses its Summer ferocity and, although there can still be many sunny and even warm days, there is a distinct cooling, and a proper nip in the air.
     In the UK, we have a temporate climate, less harsh and extreme than places on the same latitude on the continents of Europe and North America. Yet we still see changes all around us.
     The leaves of the trees change colours, losing their Summer vitality and becoming the warm colours of Autumn, gold, russet and brown. In the fields the Winter crops are coming to ripeness, root crops, turnips, swede and parsnips, cabbages and brussels and apples too and the bright orange pumpkins. All food for warming stews, pies and pastries.
     At the beginning of October in Hull, every year for a week the Fair arrives. Loud, noisy and colourful, and only waking properly after darkness falls. With its Gypsy caravans and fortune tellers, stalls selling typical 'fair' goods, candy floss, nougat and brandy snaps, side shows, guess your weight and travelling rides which will be set up and taken down again, to vanish like magic after a week.
     And every year the weather seems to change with the arrival of the Fair, so that when you see your breath and the twinkle of frost on the pavement, people will say to each other, 'It's Hull Fair weather!'
     And as the darkness grows and encroaches on the firelight, so the magic grows.
     The power of the Winter Crone growing, encouraging us to light candles and cast spells. To seek out those who also feel the energies of the Old Ways.
     To become one with the magic.