Muin Light: Autumn Equinox, C.E. 1994
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 2:19 AM E.D.T. 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 III went well, other than the rain Sunday morning. There were about 40 people in attendance by Saturday afternoon. The Grove made $225 from the event and decided at the last business meeting to donate $25 to the Mother Grove.
People competed hard for the honor of giving praise to the Gods. The two winners were Ragnar and Duke. Both were excellent in their performance in the play that was our main praise offering during the ritual.
The mud pit turned out to be a surprising, at least to me, favorite. It will be back next year with some of the other games we played this year. Archery and spear throwing were also big favorites.
The pavilion will be re-designed next year so that it WON'T catch water and collapse. A smaller tarp will be used!
The feast was a very big hit. There was more food than we could have eaten is three days. The stuffed mushrooms as well as several other dishes, disappeared as if by magic. Maybe the fair folk were helping us to eat it up!
Next year we hope to see more of you there!
Return to the Back Issues Index