Autumn is my favorite time of year. Hands down. When I am living in a place w/ four distinct seasons I can actually smell it coming. I love changing leaves, bonfire, the first chill in the air, layering my favorite clothes, and other things that I took for granted living in Michigan that despite my all encompassing love of Hawai’i I miss. Hawai’i is not w/o it’s fall splendor (especially having a school aged child– Hello! Pumpkin patch!), but I do miss jumping in piles of raked leaves and scarves and hoodies.
Mabon, named for the Welsh God, or Autumnal Equinox is such a fun time. Cooking and baking turn to things I love (potatoes, root vegetables, grains, quick breads, not-so-quick breads, cider, apples, corn), and that means opportunity abundant for entertaining w/ my culinary wiles. Yum! Everyone wins!
But Mabon is so much more. It is a time obviously for giving thanks. It is the second of three harvests, and I like to call it the first of three Thanksgivings, this one being the traditional Pagan one, then there is Canadian Thanksgiving (second Monday in October), and the US version (fourth Thursday in November), which is awesome for those of us w/ lots to be thankful for, and a real jones for feeding masses of people. I notoriously neglect to honor Lughnasadh, and love to make up for it at Mabon. I like to use Mabon as a time of reflection, especially personal internal reflection. I make lists of things to be grateful for (gotta have something to toast w/ all that wine in which I plan to indulge), as well as lists of things to let go of at Samhain. At Mabon I like to write the blessings on pieces of paper to burn, and at Samhain I do the same w/ things I want to let go of, such as bad habits, grudges, and other things that I feel I would be better letting go of. While some like to spring clean and purge fall is that time for me. I like to donate food and clothes when I can and start making my resolutions.
I love Autumn for the way it overlaps w/ other major religions. Mabon is around the time of year that the final rice harvest falls in China, and the Jewish festival of Succoth happens, and since I find the Jewish my greatest religious allies, I do like to include my Jewish friends in my holiday celebrations (like spending Christian Christmas eating Chinese food w/ them). In my study I find that many prayers of Thanksgiving are actually quite interchangeable (and a lot of hymns as well) w/o actually changing much of the language used.
One thing that I use for reflection is a dark bowl of water. I am not the world’s greatest meditator, but I do try to contemplate the water for answers to questions I need to work out on my own. It is a challenge I enjoy, trying to stay focused and yet relaxed and open to the spirits for answers. On this day of perfect balance I try to listen to the world around me. Since it is the day when the God and Goddess are in equal power I find it important to listen for guidance in the Mother stage of my life. Next year, now that I have a nice stock of cookbooks I am hoping to start making my own wines for celebrating, including blackberry wine, which sounds sooooo very yummy (I wonder if you can have things like bottled wine shipped w/ HHG…doubt it, but I would love to have homemade wines on hand).
Regretfully I have not lived in a place where I am able to visit my dad and grandfather’s graves to properly honor them and make an offering. In addition to hopefully being able to one day visit Europe for Beltane balefires w/ VBFitU, The Guy and The Kid one day, I hope to one day be able to offer an apple at my dad’s grave in hopes of reuniting our spirits one day.
No matter how you celebrate fall, or what path you follow, may the Gods and Goddesses of the season bless you and yours fully. For fellow followers of the Old Paths, feel free to share blessings and your favorite parts of this Equinox here. It is always interesting to see how others in the community cherish these blessed times. For those of you who think that taking Comparative Study of Religion in college makes you an expert on Paganism over our life experiences, I pray to the benevolent Crone that you take some new and factual understanding of this time of year.
Bright Blessings to all