Can you feel the pace slowing as we shift into autumn? The "busy-ness" of high summer gives way to a quieter harvest. Each flower I collect feels more like an offering (from the plant to me) ... their numbers are fewer and each is a treasured gift. My garden becomes shy, holding her secrets more closely. It's as if she knows only her "ghost" will be seen in the coming months of winter.
In the calendar of the "old ways," the season of the Second Harvest is known as Mabon. Once upon a time, life revolved around the change of seasons. Surviving winter depended on the generous harvests of summer and autumn. Feasts were held in gratitude for the generous gifts offered by the earth. Mabon, which occurs on the Autumnal Equinox (this year it's Saturday, September 22), celebrates the abundance gathered between Lammas (August 1) and Samhain (Halloween, October 31). Festivals were held to celebrate the community and to give thanks for each other as well as the crops that would hold them through winter.
The Autumnal Equinox marks the point in our journey around the sun where the length of day and night are just about equal. It initiates our move into the darkest part of the year. Following the equinox, our days quickly (or so it seems) become shorter and the nights become longer.
Along with the Spring Equinox in March, this day is one of perfect balance.
Although I (openly and loudly) dread the coming of winter, I do love the "balance" the entire autumn season heralds. I'm not spending every spare moment weeding, and cutting, and drying flowers and herbs for my incense, candles, and tinctures. And I've not yet entered the slow months of reading, and dreaming, and planning. I'm savoring the balance between warm days and cool nights. Between iced herbal tea and warm apple cider.
So what are some ways to celebrate the season of Mabon?
1. Consider a reiki or other energy medicine session to bring your body into balance.
2. Make a list of people and things for which you are grateful.
3. Follow #2 with a list of things that you'd like to release. (It's all about balance, remember.)
4. Pick pumpkins from a farm and enjoy the crisp air.
5. Find an orchard and grab some fresh apples (and cider and donuts).
6. Gather your friends around a fire and tell each one why you love them.