Muin Light: Autumn Equinox, C.E. 1995
Thank You For Your Blessings
The Autumnal Equinox, also known as Harvestide or Mabon, is usually celebrated on the evening of September 21st. The actual equinox this year is on September 23, at 8:14 AM EDT. Although Mabon is not considered one of the original Celtic festivals (seeing how the early Celts were a predominantly pastoral society and had little solar orientation), Yule, Midsummer, (the solstices) Ostara, and Mabon (the equinoxes) have been adopted as cross quarter days into the Wheel of the Year. Caesar once commented that the Celts measured time by nights instead of days. Lughnassadh marked the actual gathering of the harvest; but in its sacrificial aspect, Mabon marks the completion of the harvest - a time of thanksgiving with emphasis placed on future returns of abundance.
This is a time of equality when the day and night are of equal length. The pregnant Goddess bestows her gifts and the Green Man as Lord of the Vine begins to regain his strength. We strive for balance - to seek harmony between the male and female forces of life. Look for the inner qualities of masculine and feminine that all possess. Seek balance between the negative and the positive.
Autumn Equinox is a time of transition and we can clearlly see that this festive time is connected with the dynamics of the relationship between Sun and the Earth. We look to an older time when people were tuned to the rhythm of the Earth and her cycles were part of their daily lives. Doreen Valiente remarks in the book, The ABC of Witchcraft (p.166), that "most frequent spectral appearances occur in the months of March and September, the months of equinoxes -periods well known to occultists as being times of psychic stress." This would seem to contradict the idea of the Equinoxes being a time of balance. The balance, a time of suspended activity, is by its nature a time when the veil between the seen and the unseen is at its thinnest. This time is when human beings "change gear" to a different phase, and therefore is a time of psychological, as well as psychic, disturbances. Realizing the significance of these natural phases enables us to be exhilerated by them - instead of being distressed.
This time-ritual-celebration is also known as the Harvest Home and falls during the height of the harvest season and the season of vintage and wine making. As summer comes to a close, the agricultural work is been done for the year and food is being stored for the winter. We see work being done communally with sharing and participation by all.
Some things that will come to mind during this time are leaves turning, bird migrations, wine making, harvesting the corn, fruits and nuts, and time to spend with friends around the fire with sharing of food and drink as the chill of winter is anticipated.
Our purpose during this season will be to thank the gods for the harvest and ask their blessings upon that which has been set aside for future nourishment. At this time of the year, the seeds of desire that were planted during the Spring Equinox shall be realized and made manifest for those who sowed and nurtured in a true pagan spirit. Autumn's grain is Spring's seed.
Significant colors are gold, brown, warm reds, soft greens, orange and other harvest colors. You will want to decorate your sacred place with wheat, corn, nuts, and harvest items to bring the feeling of the season to the forefront, to please the senses, and to awaken the inner mind.
The feast to follow this celebration should contain pork, apples, and seasonal vegetables along with corn and breads baked from whole gains. Each person will want to contribute and participate in all the planned activities.
Persephone, virgin Goddess of Rebirth, carries a sheaf of barley as symbol of the harvest. The Welsh god Mabon is associated with divine youth. The tree of autumn equinox and of old age is the shifting-leaved white poplar, or aspen - the shield-maker's tree.
"The Whistling Swan takes flight as the Season of water ends. The rush of her wings stirs the bracken, and we see its reflection on her neck as she wings into the sky." Taken from Year of Moons, Season of Trees (p. 86)
Senior Druid's Report
Main Mound Madness IV went well. With a lot of hard work on everyone's part, we got over 11 hours of videotape that will be edited down to a couple of videos about ADF Ritual and Liturgy. Special thanks goes to Duke from Crow Grove for the audio equipment and expertise, Ron for the use of his generator, and to Frank and Ian for helping man the cameras. Our thanks also goes out to all the participants in the workshops and rituals.
With the heat this yer, the pool was the hands down favorite. Many pleasant hours were spent relaxing in the water or talking around poolside. The Grove made $395 on the event and $40 will be donated to the national. The money raised will be used to fund our Grove events and newsletter for the coming year. The National Organization has the paperwork in process to extend it's 401(c)(3) staus to the local Groves. By the end of this year, we should have tax exempt status and all donations will be tax deductable! More information will be available in the Samhain newsletter.
There will be a meeting of three of the Guilds within ADF held at our house on the week-end of 10/13 to 10/15. The Bards, Diviners and Warrior Guilds will be meeting here. Workshops will be held by the leaders of each of the Guilds, there will be lively discussions about the role of the Guilds within ADF, and fun times around the campfire at night. There will be a potluck supper on Saturday night and I'm sure that we can talk some of our Bards into performing for us. You don't have to be an ADF member to attend. There will be a donation of $30 requested for the week-end. Come and learn more about the ADF Guilds! Further information can be obtained by calling Skip at 315-656-8681.
I walked into the damp, cold, stone monument.
A table illuminated with a thousand points of light caught my eye. I stole over to it, took a thin candle and touched it to the point of light and then placed my star in a small gold cup.
I approached a narrow, stiff row of wood. I knelt in front of the wooden row. I could feel the cold dampness enter my body through my naked knees. I bent my head in fear and awaited the words. I listened for what seemed like days when the colors caught my attention. I raised my head in wonderment as the glass spoke. I could feel her words fill me with an emotion I cannot explain. I laughed, cried and cowered in fear all at the same time. Her eyes suddenly drew away and she was gone and again I could feel the cold through my naked knees.
I drew close to her face and reached not knowing what I would touch. My fingers reached, then drew away quickly as I felt the age and stiffness in the head and colored glass. I looked through her and saw the earth and the setting sun and I felt my mother's love. I turned and walked out of the damp, cold stone monument knowing that this was not the place for me. I then walked to the edge of a pond and I could feel her warmth fill my body and I simply felt peace.
It is quiet, very quiet. We are gliding along in the canoe. My husband, myself and our son.
It is early morning with the sun hardly over the neighboring hills. The birds are calling to each other and the Lake Spirits are dancing their way to the sun in tiny wisps of fog.
There is peace in this spot and all is as it should be. We watch the loons and ducks idly swimming by in search of food and companionship but not in a hurry. There is no hurry here, just the quiet of the earth and the peace of the Lake as she awakens to another day.
How lucky I am to be here to witness Her awakening, how fortunate to share in the moment with my family. If only every single person could experience this just once in their life we would all have this time to remember when our lives are hectic and filled with too much.
Peace be with you my friends. Peace be with everyone.
The Herbalist Corner
by our Grove Herbalist - Sandi
Bee balm (Monarda didyma L)
Also known as: Oswego Tea, Indian Plume, and Scarlet Bergamot.
Size: 2' to 5' tall, flowers 1 1/4" to 1 3/4" long.
What to look for: Flowers are scarlet with arching lower tip. Dense heads at the tip of square stems. Leaves in pairs and oval to triangular.
Habitat: Stream banks, thickets, and moist woods.
Uses: Has hairy, mint flavored leaves. Used for teas, salads and jellies. Flowers appear early summer to mid-summer. Grow Bee Balm in full sun to light shade in sandy, neutral, well drained soil. It is quite invasive. Yearly division and replanting in either Spring or Fall may be necessary. This plant freely self seeds, so pick flowers as soon as they start to fade. Pick leaves anytime; they are best used fresh.
Comfrey (Symphytum officinale L)
Also known as: Ass-Ear, Blackwort, Bruisewort, Healing Herb, Knitback, and Knitbone
Size: grows to 3' high.
What to look for: Narrowly oval alternate dark green leaves grow on an erect stem and branches at the top. Both stem and leaves are hairy and rough. Pale yellow to purplish downy bell shaped flowers bloom continuously in drooping clusters from May to September.
Habitat: Will be found in wet places.
Uses: A poultice of the crushed leaves accelerates healing of surface wounds and sores and broken bones. It contains a substance called allantoin that is used in ointments for psoriasis and other skin problems. It is used internally as a remedy for numerous problems including bleeding. There is evidence that comfrey may cause cancer if taken internally for a long period of time.
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