The Autumn Equinox 2021 – Mabon
The Autumnal equinox, astronomically this is the moment in the year when the Sun is exactly above the equator and day and night are of equal length. Here in the Northern Hemisphere the autumnal equinox falls around September 22 or 23, as the Sun crosses the celestial equator going south. In the Southern Hemisphere the autumn equinox occurs on March 20 or 21, when the Sun moves north across the celestial equator. According to the astronomical definition of the seasons, the autumnal equinox also marks the beginning of Autumn, which lasts until the Winter Solstice (December 21 or 22 in the Northern Hemisphere, June 20 or 21 in the Southern Hemisphere).
In the Pagan calendar, we call it Mabon, and many of us refer to it as “the season of the witch” because it marks the start of our favourite season!
Artwork by Janie Olsen
This is the second of the three harvest festivals, known as the fruit and vegetable harvest. If you remember, last month was the first harvest, Lammas, or Lughnasadh (Loo-nas-ah) on the 1st of August, the grain harvest, and we have Samhain (Sow-een) to look forward to on 31st October, the harvest of nuts, berries, and meat!
The word Mabon comes from the God of Welsh mythology, Mabon. He is the Child of Light and the son of the Earth Mother Goddess, Modron. However, there is little evidence that Mabon was celebrated in Celtic countries and the term Mabon was given to the festival as recently as the 1970’s. All part of our reconstructed Paganism. This does not make it wrong, as all things evolve, and as we know, where we place our intention and energy we create new ways of being – but it is important to understand and acknowledge the root of things.
The Goddess Harvest Mother has gifted us with her bounty, and The God has sacrificed himself to the Earth with the cutting of the last of the grain, but we can rejoice, as we know he will return! For now, it is time to enjoy the fruits of our labour! … to rest, to come together in community and share the gifts of the earth, our harvests, with our friends and families, to show gratitude and appreciation for all we have in our lives, all we have achieved.
The Autumn Equinox, Mabon, is a time of balance – another time to pause, and to look back on how far we have come this year, on what we have achieved, before the Suns power wanes, the nights draw in, the days get colder, and we begin to focus our attention inwards once more. The darker days of Autumn signal a time to start on our inner work, to weigh up the things we need to let go of, and to start the process again of re-evaluating ourselves, our lives, our needs. This is the gift of the Wheel of the Year, understanding that time is not linear, that we are continuing on our spiral, of growth, of knowing that nothing stays the same, that we continually have new opportunities to sow seeds, start plans, reap and harvest and release the things we no longer need – the organic repeated softening of self-awareness and spiritual growth. We can become comfortable in the cycle of Life, Death and Rebirth.
Decorating Your Mabon Altar – The Symbols of Mabon
This time of year is filled with abundance and beauty, so there is no shortage of things to bring into the home to show appreciation and to decorate with! Beautiful leaves, pinecones, apples, nuts and fruit. The cornucopia, or horn of plenty, is a symbol of fertility and abundance, and represents the perfect balance of male and female together. This is a time to really bring nature into your home!
Apples have long been associated with witches and magic, and are one of the many fruits that are coming into abundance this time of year. If you cut an apple around the middle you will see the 5 pointed star that we pagans and witches honour as the pentagram, or pentacle if within a circle, (the circle of the apple!) that represent the Elements of Nature that make up the world around us, Air, Fire, Water, Earth and Spirit.
You can also create an outside altar, by way of honouring the spirits and elementals that live on your land and have helped in bringing the harvest and bounty to fruition. A small area where you can place a small candle lantern, a crystal maybe, a stone where you can lay an offering, a token of your appreciation, as that is the focus of this time, gratitude and appreciation.
Image courtesy of The Goddess & The Green Man
Things To Do At Mabon
Get out in Nature!!!
There is no substitute for this!! The fresh air, connecting with the elements, feeling the wind in your hair all contribute to feelings of wellbeing. Go for a walk with friends, wrap up and take a picnic! Collect leaves and pinecones, forage the abundant hedgerows for apples, blackberries, elderberries, sloes, rosehips and hawthorn berries, and if you’re really lucky you might get some nuts that the squirrels have left!
As always, forage mindfully – never over harvest. Never forage from near busy roads, or the edges of fields unless you know that they haven’t been sprayed with pesticides.
Reflect, Take Stock and Prepare
Now the time begins for inner journey work, take time to reflect on the year, on what you have achieved, what has been good, and what has been not so good. Prepare for the coming of winter. Now is a great time to clear out the cupboards, get rid of things you no longer need, gift to charity or friends the excess or abundance of things you may have. Start to clear and empty the freezer in readiness for the things you will be making and preserving over the coming weeks.
Bake and Make
A way of honouring the energy of this abundance is to get creative in the kitchen! There are no end of recipes out there that are apple and fruit based, from simple juicing to baking – and they can be so healthy and form part of keeping yourself and your family well!
I love getting my kitchen witch on, and there are so many herbal tinctures and infused oils, jams, liqueurs and preserves to make. I always make things with elderberries, and apples! This year I’ve made elderberry vinegar – which is not only delicious, and very similar to balsamic vinegar, it’s also filled with the healing, immune boosting power packed health benefits of not only the elderberry, but apples, in the form of organic raw apple cider vinegar (make sure you buy it with “the mother”). Plus its super easy!
You can also see my elderberry syrup recipe here on my Elder Blog.
- Ripe elderberries
- Raw organic apple cider vinegar
- Sugar (brown, demerara or natural caster)
- Mixed spice
- Strip the elderberries off the stalks with a fork and place them in a glass jar, a mason jar or jam jar is perfect.
- Fill to the top with the apple cider vinegar
- Cover and leave to infuse for 5 days.
- Put the contents of the jar into a saucepan and cook on a low simmer for 10 mins
- Strain the berries, return the vinegar to the heat, add sugar (to taste, it depends on the volume of liquid used initially), and add a pinch or two of your favourite warming spices – I use mixed spice, but you could use star anise, cardamom, cinnamon etc.
- Warm gently for a few minutes until the sugar is dissolved
- Pour into a sterilised jar.
Delicious! And healthy.
I also bake lots and lots of apple cake! With plenty of warming spices in – so delicious, and perfect for sharing.
This year I had an abundance of damsons, and so I have made damson ketchup, damson brandy, crumble, and no doubt jam from the damsons that are infusing in the brandy!
I always harvest the rose hips from my wild hedgerow in my garden, and sloes and hawthorn berries.
Below are two of my pervious Mabon blogs, which for me I am interested to see how I have grown and changed – re reading them now is part of the reflection process that is so important for me to do at this time of year. Of marking the change, seeing what has come to harvest and fruition, and what I need to, or have let go of.
My Upcoming Offerings
Which brings me to what I’ve been up to and my offerings.
I have been very busy with my soul midwife work, supporting people in many different ways, and have been called to hold several End of Life Skills Workshops over the next few months, all of which are booked up now.
I am really excited to announce that my course is now not only insurable (with Balens) but also validated by the APTL.
The APTL is a professional organization that provides support and motivation to therapists from all walks of our paths.
These workshops are incredibly empowering and life affirming, and are suitable for everyone, from therapists, healthcare professionals, volunteers, to the individual caring for a sick friend or loved one, you do not need any experience to learn from what this course can show you. It works really well online as well as face to face, so please contact me if you would like to be included on the list for the next courses.
The Autumn Equinox / Mabon Online Meditation & Ritual Event
Join me on Sunday 19th September at 8pm via Zoom as we continue our journey around the wheel, and prepare to enter the dark half of the year. Investment is £9.
Here at Mabon, we are poised in balance – that liminal space between the breaths of Mother Earth. The Goddess has gifted us with an abundant harvest and now is the time to count our blessings, show our gratitude and appreciation for all we have. It’s a time to take stock of our year, to notice what we have achieved, to reap what we have sown, to see where we have made mistakes and to take responsibility for them, and to release those things that we no longer need, that no longer serve us.
We will take a journey into the womb of Mother Earth, to begin to prepare for our deep inner work and re-evaluation, and we will finish with a ritual to count our blessings together.
For this meditation and ritual as always, you will need a quiet space where you can be undisturbed for an hour or so, a candle, if you have joined with us on the other ceremonies then your eternal flame of peace that we ignited at Imbolc. A pen and paper to write down any thoughts that come, and your blessings and gratitudes. A blanket to snuggle in, mat to lie down on, some Autumn leaves, and anything from your altar, deities, crystals, autumn leaves, berries, nuts, fruits, offerings or anything you feel appropriate to have with you – or nothing…. This is your time, coming together in the sacred circle space like this gives us the opportunity to drop the masks we usually wear. This is a safe space, where you can interact with others, or not… you can just sit in silence, with no screen on, everything is welcomed.
I will be recording the meditation so that if you aren’t able to make the event you can purchase it and join in at a more convenient time for you. For those attending the live, the recording will be totally private, and your security of privacy is assured. At the end of the ritual after the recording has stopped there will be an opportunity to share and explore anything that has come up for you in our safe and nurturing virtual circle.
You can purchase tickets here through eventbrite (this is the first time I have tried this, so please bear with me! – crossing everything that the technology elementals are kind!). Click here to purchase tickets.
I do hope you can join me either in the live event, or for the recording.
I have been busier than ever with the holistic therapy training side of things, which is always amazing to be able to pass on the skills and knowledge to others who share my passion for this business. More and more people are expressing an interest in wanting to heal themselves using holistic natural ways, or wanting to learn how to heal others. You do not need to have any previous experience to sign up to many of my courses.
I have also been running lots of Reiki 1 and 2 courses, the world needs healers now more than ever!
Reiki is often the stepping stone for people into the world of holistic therapies, and is completely safe for everyone… it opens the doors to so many worlds!
Which brings me to the work that I am doing with my Spiritual Sister Simone, of Angelic Touch Holistic Therapies and Training. Together we have formed Angelic Aurora, we are End of Life Practitioners, Soul Midwives, and Ceremonial Space Holders.
As well as doing the holistic therapy day to day work like holistic and pamper events, corporate massage, and our Soul Midwife Work, we run Reiki 2 refresher events together, and have spent the Summer holding ceremonies and ritual. This is part of my work as an Elemental Celebrant, and as you can see by the photos on my gallery page, we absolutely love it!
Our work is so different every day, and I wouldn’t change it.
And so this brings me back to the theme of the season – gratitude, appreciation for every aspect of my life, every single person in it. I feel blessed to be where I am now, and excited to stand and look forward to the future. None of us know what awaits us, there are dark things happening all over the world, and it can be scary and overwhelming if we give these things energy… all we can do is live every day in the present moment, surrendering to what the Universe brings us, and count our blessings for those we love around us.
Big love and blessings of Mabon, the Autumn Equinox,