The Autumnal Equinox of 2012 falls on Saturday September 22. This is the time of year when the earth tilts on it’s axis so that the sun crosses the equator. It is commonly known as the day when day and night are of equal length, but you will actually see this on September 26, when the sunrises here in Florida at 7:16 am and sets at 7:17 pm. This is referred to as the equilux. Between these dates, the Sun also moves into the astrological sign of Libra. This is an excellent time to reflect on where you have or need balance in your life. You can simply visualize opposing forces that work in balance, like light and dark or turning wheels. We cannot exist with out balance.

Fall harvest festivals begin in many places of the world in September. One of the most famous ancient festivals that still continues is China’s Mid-Autumn festival. People of all the provinces celebrate with feasts and enjoy them in the spirit of wishing for a good harvest again next year. Also in the northern hemisphere, neo-pagans observe Mabon. While the name Mabon comes from Celtic mythology, ancient stories of harvest and death and rebirth can be observed from Egyptian festival of Osiris to the Eleusinian mysteries of Greece. For all, it is a time of a noticeable shift in the weather and all of nature.

The heat continues for me so near the equator. My thoughts are not on harvesting but planting. Fall gardens thrive in Florida and you can have a bounty of vegetables in the spring. What I will harvest are some of the wild berries that will be ending soon. One of my favorites at this time is Callicarpa or American Beauty Berry. This is a common roadside shrub or to many, an annoying weed on over grown property. Most people would not believe the dense fuchsia berries are edible, but they make the most delicious jelly, filling the house with a slight minty smell as they cook. It doesn’t take many of these berries to make several jars of jelly. Here’s a recipe you can try:

1 1/2 qt. beauty berries, washed.
2 qt. water
Boil for 20 minutes and strain to make infusion.
Use 3 cup infusion, add 1 envelope Sure Jell and 4 1/2 cups sugar.
Bring to boil for 2 minutes.
Remove from burner and allow to stand until foam forms.
Skim off foam.
Pour into sterilized jars and cap.

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