Autumn Equinox – a time of balance and harvest


September 23rd is the Autumn Equinox – celebrated as one of the eight solar holidays in the Wheel of the Year and echoed in the Christian feast of Michaelmas on September 29th.
Druids call the festival for the Autumn Equinox Alban Elfed.  The festival is now also named after the God of Welsh mythology, Mabon. He is the Child of Light and the son of the Earth Mother Goddess, Modron, although in truth, there is little evidence that Mabon was celebrated in Celtic countries and the term Mabon was applied as recently as the 1970’s.

The Autumn Equinox marks yet another point of perfect balance on the journey through the Wheel of the Year.  Its counterpart is Ostara or the Spring Equinox.  Both Equinoxes take place when night and day are of equal length and in perfect equilibrium – when there is total balance between dark and light, masculine and feminine and the inner and outer.

The Autumn Equinox differs in that, unlike the spring, this moment of perfect balance marks a transition to the year waning.  The Sun’s power is in decline and from now on the nights grow longer and the days are shorter and cooler.  For our ancestors, this would have been a busy time of year as they worked to bring in the harvests, the fruit of their year’s labour. The sap of trees returns back to their roots deep in the earth, changing the green of summer to the fire of autumn with its flaming reds, oranges and golds.

The cycle of the natural world is moving towards completion.

This is the Second Harvest, the Fruit Harvest and the Great Feast of Thanksgiving. The Goddess is radiant as Harvest Queen and the God finally dies with His gift of pure love with the cutting of the last grain, to return again next year.

As the grain harvest is safely gathered in from Lammas and reaches completion, we enjoy the abundance of fruit and vegetables at this time. It is time to thank the waning Sun for the wealth of harvest bestowed upon us. It sometimes seems that each Festival requires the making of celebration and the giving of thanks, but this really is so, each turn of the Wheel brings both inner and outer gifts and insights.

So Mabon is a celebration and also a time of rest after the labour of harvest. In terms of life path, it is the moment of reaping what you have sown, time to look at the hopes and aspirations of Imbolc and Ostara and reflect on how they have manifested. It is time to complete projects, to clear out and let go that which is no longer wanted or needed as we prepare for descent, so that the winter can offer a time for reflection and peace. And it is time to plant seeds of new ideas and hopes which will lie dormant but nourished in the dark, until the return of Spring.
If you want to celebrate the equinox, you can create your own alter.

The Mabon Altar

The colours of Mabon range from green to red, orange, yellow, brown and gold. Take cloths or ribbons of these colours to drape over a small table or decorate a corner of a room.  If you can get hold of one, the Cornucopia, or Horn of Plenty, is a traditional symbol for Mabon. It is a wonderful symbol for the wealth of harvest and is beautifully balanced symbol which is both male (phallic) and female (hollow and receptive).
Your altar should be dressed in the very best produce you can find from field, forest and market, from garden and the wild. The apple is the symbol of the Fruit Harvest and is represented in many sacred traditions. It is a symbol for life and immortality, for healing, renewal, regeneration and wholeness. It is associated with beauty, long life and restored youth.

Adorn your altar with apples, pears, damsons, sloes, rose hips, elderberries, blackberries or hawthorn berries – anything to mark the gifts of the season.  If you collect from the wild, be not greedy – always leave plenty of fruit and berries for the birds and wee creatures.

This is also a very good time to make an outdoor shrine for the nature spirits in thanks for the bounty they help to provide.  Leave one of each flower, fruit and vegetable that you have, as a gift.

When it’s time to take your alter apart, if you can, put all the fruits and berries out to compost.  That way, everything will return to the earth and join again the great cycle of life.

Annie, Michele Knight reader ID 2120

About Annie:

In addition to being a practising Druid, Annie is an exceptional Tarot reader and shamanic healer.  She has undertaken her Tarot Association of the British Isles endorsement and has completed and received endorsement for two courses on the Thoth Tarot: Intuitive Psychological Perspectives and Advanced Intuitive Perspectives.
Annie is also working towards certification as a Tarot Master by the American Tarot Certification Board. She belongs to the Tarot Association of India and deeply believes in the worldwide worth of Tarot for personal development.
Annie is particularly skilled at connecting Tarot with her other healing work in the investigation into past life experiences.

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