Autumn Equinox arrives Monday. It is the official start of my favorite season. I love autumn. I love the changing of colors (mostly viewed in pictures), the crispness in the air (it will get here, I keep telling myself), the scents, pumpkins, Halloween decorations coming out… there’s not anything I can think of that I don’t like about this season. The image that I’ve used for this post is a perfect place—I would love to be on that path, dressed in clothes from another century, breathing the air filled with the scent of dying leaves trodden underfoot.
Witches celebrate Mabon, or second harvest, at autumn equinox. It’s a time to be grateful for one’s blessings and to be mindful of what lies ahead in the remainder of the year. Mabon marks the beginning of the dark time for us. On equinox the day and the night are equal, but the next day it tips toward darkness until Solstice brings back more light than dark to us. It’s a time to prepare the light within us that will carry us through the dark time.
Since it celebrates the second harvest, an easy way to symbolize Mabon in your home is with autumnal fruits and vegetables, such as apples, pomegranates, pumpkins, and squash. Apples are especially important as they represent wisdom. Ivy, thistle, and acorns can be used to adorn different areas of your house, and colorful items containing the familiar autumn colors of gold, maroon, red, brown, and orange can add to the flavor. Demeter is the goddess of the harvest and you can call on her to bless your celebration. Demeter is the Greek name for this goddess; the Roman name is Ceres, from whose name we get “cereal.” Demeter’s symbols are the torch, wheat, bread, and a cornucopia.
Mabon is a holiday associated with the changing sun, along with Ostara (spring equinox), Litha (summer solstice) and Yule (winter solstice). An equinox occurs when the sun crosses the celestial equator. When the sun goes from north to south, it’s the autumn equinox and when it moves from south to north, we are in the spring equinox. All these lines are imaginary. I once stood with one foot in the Northern Hemisphere and one in the Southern Hemisphere. It was fun, but I knew deep inside the place I stood was just something made up by people. The earth doesn’t have a line going around it, no matter what the maps say. Like many things in our lives, it’s simply an idea that allows us to feel as though we have a handle on time. What I love about celebrating the major sabbats (Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh, and Samhain) and the cross-quarter holidays (equinoxes and solstices) is that it makes me think about my life and time passing.
We don’t have a handle on time, at least, I don’t. I look at the date and wonder what happened to this year. Each day comes and goes, and while I accomplish something of what I want to do, I don’t seem to be able to do all that I plan. Part of it is the decreasing energy that comes with age, and part of it is the pain caused by a knee that needs replacing. The knee will be replaced in time, but the time until the event passes too slowly, while everything else whizzes by.
Time is passing, and on equinox I think about how to balance the time I have. There are many more ideas in my head than I have time to finish. I wrote a children’s story about a prairie dog several years ago. I need to illustrate it to finish it. I have the pictures to work from. But drawing is a hard task for me, and so it remains unfinished, nagging at me every now and then. I started a book on communication, my area of expertise. I wanted it to be for the general public, not another textbook. It languishes on my computer. I have art projects ready to go, sometimes even organized with all the supplies gathered in a box. They await fulfillment. My back yard remains as I found it when I moved in—weedy with uneven ground. I still can’t decide what to do with it. There are too many more things here to list that remain waiting in the wings.
But Mabon is a time to consider what has been accomplished this year. My friend and I started Awen’s Cauldron. In two weeks, we’ll be at back-to-back fairs to showcase our products. We’re hoping people will fall in love with what we’ve made and become our customers. In February, I went to Egypt on an adventure of a lifetime. I made it to Santa Fe to celebrate my friend’s 60th birthday. I started writing this blog, with help from Judith. I’ve watched the moon move across the sky. I’ve invested time and love in my precious grandson. There have been ordinary and extraordinary moments. That’s enough, I think. It will have to be.
Monday evening, I will gather with my sister witches to celebrate Mabon and the New Moon (a bit ahead of schedule; the actual new moon is September 28). We will look at the intentions we set at the last new moon and set new ones for the coming cycle. We will drink enchanted apple tea, and do apple majick, cutting an apple around its middle instead of from the stem. An apple cut in half looks like a pentagram, with five seeds representing the elements and Spirit.
Here is a way you can celebrate with us. Gather any autumn colored candles you have—orange, red, brown, gold, etc. Select a quiet place and set up the candles, along with any autumn decorations you have. If you can, gather in threes—three pumpkins, three gourds, three squash—to represent the triple goddess. Light your candles, then cut your apple in half along its “equator.” Hold the apple in your hand, and say this spell:
Apple in my hand
Symbol of wisdom from the divine
Bring wisdom to my life
Five seeds you have
And five things I need
Air from the East, make my thoughts clear and orderly Fire from the South, fuel my passion for life
Water from the West, comfort me during the dark time
Earth from the North, let my roots grow deep
Goddess, Spirit, Divine one, walk closely with me this season
The wheel turns, the darkness comes
I am not afraid
Five accompany me in wisdom
As I will it, so mote it be. And so it is.
A blessed Mabon to you!