Friday, September 20, 2013

Autumn Equinox

Autumn Equinox
It is the time of the Autumn Equinox or Mabon and the harvest is winding down.  The fields are nearly empty, because the crops have been plucked and stored for the coming winter.  Mabon is the mid-harvest festival and it is when we take a few moments to honor the changing seasons and celebrate the second harvest.  On or around September 21, for many Pagan and Wiccan traditions it is a time of giving thanks for the things we have, whether it is abundant crops or other blessings.
For the Nordic, it is time for a Winter Finding ceremony to bid farewell to the passing summer and to prepare for the rigors of winter. The Norse, like the other pre-industrial societies of Europe, depended heavily on a successful harvest in the fall to make it through the winter and so they took this time to thank the Gods for all that had been given during the harvest and to ask their protection during the cold of winter.   
In some Germanic countries, people worried about the fate of their grain harvest.  If there was a great deal of wind during the harvesting season, it could be because Odin wanted a share of the crop. To keep him happy, a few spare sacks of flour were emptied into the wind.
Depending on your individual spiritual path, there are many different ways you can celebrate Mabon, but typically the focus is on either the harvest aspect or the balance between light and dark.  While we celebrate the gifts of the Earth, we also accept that the soil is dying. We have food to eat, but the crops are brown and going dormant.  Warmth is behind us, cold lies ahead.
Find Some Balance
Mabon is a time of balance, when there are equal hours of darkness and light and that can affect people in different ways.  For some, it's a season to honor the darker aspects of the Goddess, calling upon that which is devoid of light.  For others, it's a time of thankfulness, of gratitude for the abundance we have at the season of harvest.  Try a ritual to bring balance and harmony to your home.

Veterans Day is an official United States holiday which honors people who have served in armed service also known as veterans.   A holiday celebrated by Nordic groups around the world is Einjerhar or the feast of the fallen. This is held on November 11, Armistice or Veterans Day, and honors those who have fallen in battle and joined Odin's warriors in Valhalla.  Generally some hold a quiet ritual and honor the ancestors and relatives who have died in war or served.  They also honor those who have given their lives for our country.
Honor the Darkness
Without darkness, there is no light.  Without night, there can be no day.  Despite a basic human need to overlook the dark, there are many positive aspects to embracing the dark side, if it's just for a short time.  After all, it was Demeter's love for her daughter Persephone that led her to wander the world, mourning for six months at a time, bringing us the death of the soil each fall.  In some paths, Mabon is the time of year that celebrates the Crone aspect of a the Goddess.  Celebrate a ritual that honors that aspect of the Goddess which we may not always find comforting or appealing, but which we must always be willing to acknowledge.  Call upon the Gods and Goddesses of the dark night and ask for their blessings this time of year.

Get Back to Nature
Fall is here, and that means the weather is bearable once more. The nights are becoming crisp and cool and there's a chill in the air. Take your family on a nature walk and enjoy the changing sights and sounds of the outdoors.  Listen for geese honking in the sky above you, check the trees for changing colors of the leaves and watch the ground for dropped items like acorns, nuts and seed pods.  If you live in an area that doesn't have any restrictions on removing natural items from park property, take a small bag with you and fill it up with the things you discover along the way.  Collect with respect and honor.  Bring your goodies home for your family's altar.  If you are prohibited from removing natural items, fill your bag with trash and clean up the outdoors!  Recycle what you find.
Thanksgiving Day is a holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. 
Thanksgiving is celebrated each year on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States.   Mabon is the Pagan's Thanksgiving, a time to appreciate and give thanks to the Goddess for her bounty and to share in the joys of the harvest.  A magical Mabon beverage: hot apple cider.  Apples rules the heart, cider alone is a self-love potion.  By spicing it with cinnamon, ruled by the Sun, we are in essence, ingesting the sunlight.

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.
Temperance and harmony protects the rhythm of daily life.



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