Autumn equinox / the festival of Mabon

As the sun begins to sink lower in the sky and the evenings become more chilly, our senses notice the Autumn equinox before our minds do. Our internal connections are always more perceptive than our physical outward ones, so they have been working towards this time without our knowing. You may have found that you have been slowing down over the past couple of days or wanting to sleep for longer. This is our inner teacher preparing us for the winter to come. The time of gathering and eating the supplies we have been building up during Summer.

Nature and the animals are also preparing, the leaves on trees are changing colour to give one last show of beauty before departing for the winter. Squirrels are gathering nuts and hiding them away in their winter stores. Bears are putting on vital amounts of fat to keep them safe during their winter hibernation.

Not only will our bodies feast during this time but also our minds and spirits. The Autumn equinox is a good time to start something new. Especially if it is learning a new skill. The longer nights that are coming give us more quiet time. Time to reflect on what we have and think about what we can add to our lives. It is also a time to reap from what we have sown this year and give thanks for our achievements.

The equinox actually happens at 3.30pm on Tuesday the 22nd of September. The word ‘Equinox’ actually comes from Latin and means ‘Equal night’. Everything is in balance and hangs suspended for a brief moment, before turning into the darker half of the year. It is a time for reflection and connecting with your innermost thoughts. There are many ways you can celebrate the equinox without having to spend a lot of time or money. Here are some suggestions :-

Make a gratitude list, where you list everything you are thankful for this year.

Make Autumn crafts, Create artwork themed on the colours of Autumn.

Begin something new, to prepare for an inner and outer harvest.

Prepare a meal with Autumnal flavours.

Have a bonfire and celebrate the time of equality.

Light a yellow or Orange candle and give thanks for all that you have and all that you are.

If possible, use the time of the actual equinox to meditate on everything being equal, not just day and night but other things in your life. I would set aside half an hour, starting at 3.15pm and ending at 3.45pm so the equinox time falls in the middle of your meditation.

Our lives go through periods of growth, harvest, death and rebirth just as nature does. So now is a good time to make inner space for the new things that will come in over the later half of the year. Get prepared and listen to your inner voice. We become more creative when we go into the dormancy of winter and our creativity is awakened to new possibilities. Possibilities that we may have been too busy to see in Spring and Summer. If you have a sudden idea to try something you haven’t done before, do it, you never know where it might lead.

The heart of spiritual practice is usually silent, invisible and unnoticed by others. By making time to enact a simple ritual at the Equinox we are acknowledging it and making it part of our reality. In doing so, you are honouring, not only your own growth and light within, but also the ancient wisdom that has served our health and wellbeing for thousands of years. This simple act is so important, and will bring many benefits, strengthening you for times when you need that extra support.

The symbol for Mabon is the Cornucopia, which is a perfectly balanced mix of male (phallic) and female (hollow and receptive). Of course, it also represents the wealth of harvest too, so is perfect for this time of year.

Another symbol is the Apple, which is associated with long life, immortality, renewal, regeneration and wholeness. The Ogham name for apple is ‘Quert’.It is at the heart of the Ogham and is the source of life. Cut an apple width ways and it reveals the pentagram in the centre containing the seeds. The 5 points represent Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit at the top. Also the five directions, East, South, West, North and within. The circle of the apple’s flesh represents the unbroken circle/cycle of life unbroken. It can be used as protection for both people and houses. There are many other ways you can use the apple this is just one to get you thinking. If there is some reason you feel you cannot wear a pentagram in public, how about a charm of an apple that contains it within. 😉

How about making a buttermilk charm for Mabon, I have listed the ingredients below.

3 mugs of strong white flour

500ml of buttermilk

1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

Mabon ribbon in your choice of colour-  red, orange, brown, gold,yellow

A handful of dried fruit of your choice, raisins, sultanas, currants, dates etc

Place all the fruit and flower into a large mixing bowl, make a well in the centre and pour in the soda, you can also add a little salt if you want to at this point.

Pour the buttermilk into the mixture slowly and mix it in until the dough feels springy. If you have too much milk and it goes sloppy just add a bit more flour.

Take it out of the bowl and put on a board shaping it with your hands into a circle. Take a sharp knife and score it into either 5 sections to represent a pentacle or 8 to represent the cycle of the year. Then place onto a greased baking tray and put in the oven on a medium temperature. Keep an eye on it and it should be ready in about 20 mins. You will know its ready when it changes colour and sounds hollow when you tap the bottom.

Let it cool on a rack and then tie it with your Mabon ribbon. As you place it on the table turn it 3 times and say “From the fields and through stones, into the fire, Mabon bread, as the wheel turns may all be fed.” God and Goddess blessings to all.

Enjoy sharing your bread with friends if possible at this time, or just eat it yourself and share a little by leaving some out for the birds and other animals. 

Blessings of Mabon to you all. /l\

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