This month marks the end of summer as the long days now give way to darkness. Evenings cool and nights lengthen. Our garden burst with bounty and the first grains are now ready for harvest. To the ancients this was a magical time marked with feast days.

When early man settled an area that allowed plant life to flourish, agricultural societies prospered allowing for the pursuit of higher ideas. In areas where grain could thrive, civilizations grew cultivating religion with man's evolving ability to sense the changing seasons and note the motions of the celestial bodies.

The agriculture year falls into four quarters based on the movements of the sun marked by the solstices and equinoxes. The ancients feasted on these days to herald the changing seasons. Across the world, mid-autumn harvest festivals marked the month as the fruits of the field were gathered and all were thankful for the abundance.

Although in America we celebrate bounty in November with Thanksgiving, many cultures all over the world from the Indians, Chinese, Korean, Israelis to the Japanese celebrate a mid autumn festival, some at the fall equinox, giving thanks for the bounty of the year as they take time to reflect on nature's blessings.

The Autumnal Equinox on the 22 marks the day when the hours of light and darkness become equal, indeed the Latin word equinox means equal. From this point on the days will begin to shorten and nights cool and lengthen reminding all of winters approach. Now is the time when the warmth is behind us and cold lies ahead. To the ancients this was a time to take stock and be grateful for the gifts of the earth, knowing they had food to eat even as the crops whither and the fields grew dormant.

To the ancients bountiful grain fields were a sign of health and harmony. A Sumerian tablet from 260 B.C. lists the crops as rice, soy, wheat, barley and millet and from the cultivation of these five sacred grains a rich culture was established as deities of local power sprang up with symbols central to the agricultural cycles.

Today there are many grains and types of flour available to the baker. The time-honor tradition of baking for the holidays goes back to antiquity. There is something very rewarding in baking up a special dish for family and friends. Take time this month to reflect on the riches this year has brought you as you spend time with friends and family. Hold a feast and count your blessings and allow you heart to swell with gratitude.

There is something magical with adopting an attitude of gratitude. When you are thankful, your troubles fade and your blessings will seem to multiply. You will find yourself smiling more as your positive attitude draws positive things into your life. You will succeed and accomplish more of the tasks you take on. The people you encounter will be drawn to you and will respond to you with positive reactions. Your relationships will be strengthened all because you have let your heart swell with joy.

Find out just how much your attitude and life can change by the simple act of being grateful. Stop looking at what you do not have and be grateful for what you have. Bite back the bitter comments and allow uplifting words to pour from your mouth. Put away your fear and worry. Through them you will gain nothing. Take a moment to meditate on your blessings. Take in the beauty around you. Be happy for the food on your table. Let you heart fill with gratitude and be aware of how a smile can transform your face. Now is the time of bounty. Rejoice. Let your heart be glad. Gather your family to you and celebrate knowing life is good.





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