Autumn Equinox, Pomegranates, And a Welcome Autumn Ritual

Pomegranate, Split Open

Pomegranate, Split Open © 2013 Bo Mackison

“Days decrease, And autumn grows, autumn in everything.” ~ Robert Browning

The autumnal equinox, which arrives today, mid-afternoon, marks the time of year when day equals night, twelve hours of day and twelve hours of night, and when the Sun rises due east and sets due west. A time to look back at summer’s joys and anticipate autumn and the blessed times in the near future. (Awaiting arrival of first grandchild!)

According to Greek mythology, Persephone and a few pomegranate seeds caused the change of the seasons. The Autumn Equinox marks the day when Persephone enters the underworld, and her mother Demeter, in mourning, refuses to allow anything to grow on the earth (well, at least in the northern hemisphere) until her daughter returns in six months time.

As the myth goes, Hades, god of the underworld, kidnaps Persephone and takes her into his world. Her mother, Demeter, with the help of other deities, finally finds her daughter in the underworld. Hades unhappily agrees to allow Persephone to return to her mother, but only if she has not eaten anything while in the underworld. Unfortunately, Persephone has eaten six pomegranate seeds. Hades and Demeter reach an agreement, and Persephone must spend 6 months with Hades and six months with her mother every year. On the Autumn Equinox, Persephone enters the underworld and does not return until Spring Equinox.

It seems appropriate, on this first day of autumn, to gather the harvest and spend time in the kitchen. The tomatoes of all sorts — a few Big Boys, the last of the Romas, and a wild variety of heirlooms — combine to make a tomato sauce honoring the day. Instead of the quick sauces of the summer, I spend my time in the kitchen blanching, peeling, and seeding the tomatoes, then add garlic and onions, and long simmer until it’s a perfect sauce for the freezer. Late summer tomatoes are a such welcome treat as the daylight shrinks.

Giving thanks, too, for this summer’s remarkable harvest, delivered fresh to my door courtesy of my local CSA. (Thanks, CrossRoads Community Farms!


Bo Mackison is photographer, book-artist, collector of stories, naturalist, curator and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. Celebrating the Autumn Equinox with a freshly made batch of tomato sauce, a delicato squash pizza in the oven, and Green Bay Packer football.

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. Deborah Hansen says:

    beautiful photo, Bo. I’m celebrating the Equinox by pondering what leaves need to fall from my life’s tree so that they can be “compost” for new growth. And I too am watching the Packers! (with much yelling and emphatic hand signaling!)

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Wondering if you figured out which leaves are falling and getting raked for the compost pile of renewal? Lovely image, though…

  2. Interesting myth. I never knew that.

  3. Beautiful, as always!

    I’m enjoying the first of our Fall weather today, so ready to let go of the Summer’s heat!

    Reading the post I could just about smell that sauce simmering!

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Autumn is always a lovely season, especially in its newness. Late autumn looks a lot like winter, when you live in the Midwest. !!!

  4. Sigh. Where was this split open pomegranate? Autumn rituals. Again with the melancholia. Where is that coming from? Must journal…..

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Ah, the pomegranate was hanging in one of my favorite haunts in Tucson — Tohono Chul Gardens. And yes, melancholy. That is hanging around, too…

  5. Great photo, and loved the retelling of the Greek myth. One of my personal favorites!

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