Monday, September 21, 2015

the first day of fall

 Blessings and bounty on this Equinox,  and above all balance, our ancestors must have noticed that also, they also must have found great reassurance in their observations that  the opposite always returned.     The Autumnal equinox, in the northern hemisphere, and the Vernal equinox in the  southern hemisphere will in six months time it will be the opposite    The Autumnal Equinox is the traditiona start of Autumn and  a few days later is the Equilux of equal daylight, this does vary from location to location,   and in my area it is the 26th of September.

The ancient Greeks celebrated Oschophoia, the grape harvest, the Romans also celebrated the  harvest  with, in part, a festival dedicated to Pomona, from who's name we derive the names of some fruits and vegetable, like potatoes and apples.  On the 29th Michealmass is still celebrated in several parts of the former British Empire, dinner is prepared using oversized loaves of bread, and  the "stubble goose" meaning a goose that has grazed on the stubble from the harvest fields, is the main course.  The Iroquois Nation celebrates this time with a large gathering called  the Corn Dance.   Oh, yes and in Bavaria, in the early 1700s Oktoberfest was begun, it was usually celebrated  the last week of September.  Before
Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation setting the date of Thanksgiving as the last Thursday of November,  it was celebrated on October 3rd.  

Usually  Mabon is celebrated on Sept 21st.  A new name for a very ancient holiday, first came into use about 1970, when Aiden Kelly author of the  book Crafting the Art of Magic {1991} gave Celtic names to the Quarter and Cross Quarter days.   There is no evidence to suggest that these names were ever used by the ancient Celts.  Mabon is a Celtic name, generally given to a male child, it's literal meaning is "son".   it is a celebration of home and family, much like Thanksgiving, both are celebrations of the second harvest, both of which find us on the edge of the ever darkening winter.
Hospitality and  sharing food were important  in a time when people had to survive winter on what they managed to store away.

The Druids called  this times of the year when the light and darkness shifted Alban Elfed which is translated to "the light of the water"  as the darkness begins to prevail over daylight.  The nights grow long, and people gather indoors, and at the same time gather their thoughts and ambitions inward,  in an effort to make it through the difficult  months ahead and  be ready when spring arrived.  

Equinoxes are balancing points, they mark a change, often a gradual change. between a time of mostly light and growth, abundance and turning outwards, and a time of darkness and dormancy, silence, turning inward to our own thoughts and recourses.  The name Mabon suggests a new life, 
 and the wheel of the year reminds me of a life,  it is the dormancy , the quiet of pregnancy, when new life is still hidden, new ideas, and new resolve and a new life are being created.   The upcoming weeks are a time for getting  things done before the world freezes over, a time when we can truly turn inward and prepare for the future, change any courses that need changing.  Soon there will be plenty of time to mend, repair and create new things for our lives.  That was the world of our ancestors knew, a life governed by the seasons.  Though for many of this it is no longer that way, even those of us who live as close as we can to the land can forget that.  Now we are given a new opportunity to be in balance with the earth we live on,  also to balance what is in our hearts and minds.

Mabon Balance Prayer
Equal hours of light and darkness
we celebrate the balance of Mabon,
and ask the gods to bless us.
For all that is bad, there is good.
For that which is despair, there is hope.
For the moments of pain, there are moments of love.
For all that falls, there is the chance to rise again.

May we find balance in our lives
as we find it in our hearts.

~~Patti Wigginton


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