We are entering September, the beginning of earth’s slumber. Though we might still get some hot days in the weeks to come, soon it will be palpable when the trees shrug off their burdens–something we should learn to do.
A lot of people are melancholy at the thought of autumn, especially if winter is considered lacking in magic or wonder. To appreciate every moment, even in the colder seasons, it might help if we learned how our ancestors approached them.
Autumn and winter do not need to be boring. The right activities enable you to make as many memories as you did in the summer. Some people go out of their way for Halloween parties; others focus on recipes for holiday treats.
However it is that you celebrate the chill, these myths about autumn will provide context as foliage turns golden. Humans tell stories by nature; myths bring wonder to even the most sleepy of times.
Persephone & Autumn
In Greek mythology, the seasons revolved around Demeter, the goddess of the harvest. Her mood determined whether days would be be sunny or chilly. It was not until Demeter suffered great heartbreak that the four seasons began.
Demeter’s daughter Persephone was a lovely child. Flowers would spring up in the earth wherever Persephone walked. As she grew into a beautiful woman, Persephone caught Hades’ attention. Her abduction is one of the most famous Greek myths; a great many stories hinge on this event.
When Demeter was unable to save her daughter from the spell of the Underworld, she fell into a depression. The crops died and plants dried up, causing farmers to go into a panic.
Zeus was forced to strike a deal with Hades that would allow Persephone to leave the Underworld for six months every year; that was when the cycle of four seasons began.
Also known as the hours, the Horae in Greek mythology were goddesses of the four seasons. They were also wardens at the gates of Mount Olympus.
They are mentioned in two groups. The first was associated with Aphrodite and Zeus. The Horae in this group are linked to the classical three seasons of the year: Thallo as the goddess of spring and blooming, Auxo the increaser of plants, and Carpo linked to the harvest.
The second group, associated with Themis and Zeus, focused on law and order. Dike was goddess of moral justice, Eunomia goddess of order and good laws, and Eirene goddess of peace and wealth.
It’s interesting that these virtues are linked with the seasons; good qualities are therefore considered necessary as the change in the weather for the health of society.
Norse Gods of Weather
Though not specifically about autumn, Norse mythology held that there were gods who had power over the weather.
Skadi was the goddess of winter and snow. She brought coldness to the atmosphere. Vikings feared her because a terrible winter would freeze the crops and they might starve. Some scholars believe that Scandinavia was named after her.
Thor was the god of lightning and thunder. He had a pair of goats pulling his chariot; whenever he rode across the sky, the sound of their hooves could be heard below.
Freyr was the god of summer and rain. Vikings believed that, if they made appropriate sacrifices to him, they would be given plentiful harvests and good weather.
This time of the year is great for storytelling. We can enjoy traditions that come with Halloween–like our favorite ghost stories. There also scary novels, poems, and even recipes to learn.
As I learn more stories associated with autumn, I’ll share them here. Do you have a favorite ghost story? A tradition you would like to pass on? Feel free to leave a comment!