For information regarding Holidays, Book of Shadows, Moon Phases, and other interests.
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Autumn Equinox- also called Mabon, Harvest Moon, Harvest Home (a quarter point, a solar holiday)
The end of the summer months and the beginning of winter, with the first day of fall. Light and darkness are in equal balance marking the change from the light half of the year to the dark half of the year. From this point forward there will be more darkness than daylight until the spring equinox.
This is a time for harvest, appreciation, reflection, and preparation for the winter months. This is the calm of rest after labor. This is the second harvest festival of the year.
According to some sources Mabon is the neo-pagan name for the holiday. It’s thought that the origin of the name comes from the Welsh God ‘Mabon ap Modron’ (the great son of the great mother), history shows no use of the name Mabon for the fall equinox past the 1970s.
____________________ The following has been collected by shadow kitten from pagan forums; and she has given me her permission to post it here! _____________________
List of Mabon Customs/Traditions:
-The Autumn Equinox altar is simple. Leaves in the new fall colors and late-blooming flowers make beautiful adornments. You can also add small pumpkins or a pomegranate. Autumn is associated with water, emotions, and relationships, so you can include a small bowl of water. This bowl can be used for scrying at Samhain.
-At this festival it is appropriate to wear all of your finery and dine and celebrate in a lavish setting. It is the drawing to and of family as we prepare for the winding down of the year at Samhain. It is a time to finish old business as we ready for a period of rest, relaxation, and reflection.
-Mabon is essentially about thanksgiving. You can choose to have either a large celebration involving lots of family and friends or an intimate celebration with just for your immediate family. Decorate your dinner table with fall colors. Use harvest ingredients like apples, pumpkin, corn, grapes, pomegranates, wines and ciders, and game such as turkey, duck, pheasant, quail, rabbit and goose. Discuss the meaning of Mabon and let everyone express what they are grateful for.
-Mabon lends itself to beautiful wreathes that reflect the richness of the season. Add green and orange leaves, vines, berries, pods, pine cones, flowers, and whatever else you can find. Don't be afraid to use non-traditional items like shed snakeskin. They can be completely natural or you can purchase some items from your local craft store. You can also make floral centerpieces.
-The Autumn Equinox divides the day and night equally, and we all take a moment to pay our respects to the impending dark. We also give thanks to the waning sunlight, as we store our harvest of this year's crops.
-The myths of Mabon and Modron and Demeter and Persephone are among the most popular at this time of year, but there are figures that can be explored. John Barleycorn (Britain), Xilonen (Aztec), and Pomona (Roman), Dionysus (Greek), Herne and Cernunos (Celtic) are a few examples. You can incorporate myths into your rituals by having your kids write and/or act out simple plays.
-Apples are often featured predominantly in this Sabbat. Do taste tests of different kinds of apples to see what your favorite is, make an apple doll, visit an apple orchid and, if possible, pick your own apples.
-Try your hand at making some apple-centered recipes, such as Apple Sauce and Apple Pie – both of which are popular at Mabon.
-Hang apples on a tree near your home. Watch the birds and other small animals that will enjoy your gift.
-Make cookies for Mabon and cut them into shapes that represent Mabon. This can include apples, pumpkins, various animals and even suns, moons and stars.
-Create candle holders out of fruits and vegetables. Place the item so it stands safely on a flat surface to find a spot on the top where you can dig a neat hole for your candle. Secure the candle with a little dripped wax. Rinse apple holes with lemon juice to slow the browning process.
-Scarecrows are an excellent craft to make at Mabon.
-Make a protection charm of hazelnuts strung on red thread.
-Look for colored leaves. Collect fallen leaves and make a centerpiece or bouquet for your home. Save the leaves to burn in your Yule fire.
-Collect milkweed pods to decorate at Yuletide and attract the faeries.
-Select the best of each vegetable, herb, fruit, nut, and other food you have harvested or purchased and give it back to Mother Earth with prayers of thanksgiving. Hang dried ears of corn around your home in appreciation of the harvest season. Do meditations and chanting as you store away food for the winter. Do a thanksgiving circle, offering thanks as you face each direction – for accomplishments in career and hobbies (Fire); for relationships (Water); for home, finances, and physical health (Earth); for gifts of knowledge (Air); and for spiritual insights and messages (Centre).
-Popular activities include making wine, gathering dried herbs, plants, seeds and seed pods, walking in the woods, scattering offerings in harvested fields and offering libations to trees.
-Adorn burial sites with leaves, acorns, and pine cones to honor those who have passed over.
-Mabon is an excellent time to honor our animal companions. Try to incorporate them into your ritual. Invite the spirits of animal companions that have passed on as well as any others that might have special meanings (such as totem animals). Try to bring in your own pets into the circle, if possible. Consider animals in your neighborhood, your state, your continent, and the rest of the world. Think about animals that are extinct and those endangered. Make animal cookies and talk with your children about ways they can help preserve species.
Also acceptable are these Lughnasadh activities:
-Spend time in your garden. If you don't have a spot of your own land to plant and harvest, investigate the possibility of starting a community garden or visit one of the many farms which allow you to harvest your own vegetables.
-Make a corn dolly using stalks of wheat or corn husks.
-Start a compost heap. If your plot of land is small you can even start one in a large plastic garbage can. Poke some holes in the bottom to allow gasses to escape, fill about half full with grass clippings, vegetable parings and other biodegradable materials, moisten well and allow to sit. Turn the contents periodically to allow air to circulate and moisten occasionally. When the materials begin to decompose you can add a handful of earthworms to speed up the process. You can also add vegetable parings from time to time. It will take several months, but you should be able to use your compost in your garden next spring.
Also acceptable are these Samhain activities:
-Read traditional fairytales.
-Paint or carve a face on a pumpkin. Share the story of Wicked Jack. Save the pumpkin seeds to roast and plant.
-Consult your favorite oracle about the future.
-Remember departed friends and family - Go through your photo album sharing anecdotes about the people in the photos. If you don't know your family history, try to contact older members of your family and ask them to write or record reminiscences about departed family members.
-Go for a walk in the woods or another favorite outdoor location. Collect seed pods, feathers, fallen leaves, etc. to construct an altar. Add pictures of departed friends and pets to your altar.
-If your children are of an age to understand, share your feelings about life and death with them. The subject will probably come up naturally as you are collecting the materials for your altar. Your children will feel better knowing what you believe.
Please add/share any and all info/rituals/traditions you have on this holiday!!
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Last edited by roving_gypsy; August 2nd, 2009 at 01:30 PM.
Day and night are once again equal on the autumnal equinox, but this time this heralds the coming of the darkness, the longer nights and the winter season.
In the natural world, animals are preparing for hibernation through the long winter. In Pagan tradition in keeping with the rhythm of the world, this is a time for reflection on past lessons and cycles as well as what has been achieved in the spring and summer. Harvest festivals are held by some Pagan communities.
Apparently the veil between our world and the fairie realm is at its thinnest at the autumn equinox, so it is a good time to ask fairies for help or try to make contact with the elementals.
I know one way to invite in fairies is supposed to be to hang sprigs of thyme in your window. As my thyme plant is now doing really well I'm thinking of taking some cuttings, getting some ribbon to pretty up a few bundles, and hang them in my living room window.
Some tips for working with the fae at this time of year:
1. Tidy up - spring clean, or should I say "autumn clean"!!! Then invite the fairies into your home, they're more likely to take up the invitation.
2. Do something positive for the environment before asking the fairies for help. They are guardians of the earth and will feel more inclined to help you. Recycling, picking up litter, tending a garden, feeding wild birds, save some energy or water - whatever you can do to make a small contribution to the welfare of the planet. It's a good time of year for collecting rainwater to reuse!!
3. Be generous and honourable towards others. Perhaps consciously do a "good deed" or make somebody smile before approaching the fairies for help.
4. If you want to seek out the fairies, apparently a spot where oak, ash and hawthorn trees grow close by one another is known as a "fairy triad". You can also look out for natural places surrounded in mist, and seek out fairies at bridges, crossroads and on steps.
5. If you need guidance rather than help with a specific situation, close communion with trees can draw the wise tree guardian fairies to you. Leaning against a tree, "tree hugging", doing bark rubbings with your LOs, or taking a walk in a place with lots of trees, will be rejuvenating, as well as allowing yourself to open to their wisdom.