Ten Ways to Celebrate Mabon

Ten Ways to Celebrate Mabon

By , About.com Guide

Mabon is the time of the autumn equinox, and the harvest is winding down. The fields are nearly bare, because the crops have been stored for the coming winter. Mabon is a time 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. It is also a time of balance and reflection, following the theme of equal hours light and dark. Here are some ways you and your family can celebrate this day of bounty and abundance.

1. 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. Because this is, for many people, a time of high energy, there is sometimes a feeling of restlessness in the air, a sense that something is just a bit “off”. If you’re feeling a bit spiritually lopsided, with this simple meditation you can restore a little balance into your life. You can also try a ritual to bring balance and harmony to your home.

2. Hold a Food Drive

Many Pagans and Wiccans count Mabon as a time of thanks and blessings — and because of that, it seems like a good time to give to those less fortunate than ourselves. If you find yourself blessed with abundance at Mabon, why not give to those who aren’t? Invite friends over for a feast, but ask each of them to bring a canned food, dry goods, or other non-perishable items? Donate the collected bounty to a local food bank or homeless shelter.

3. Pick Some Apples

Apples are the perfect symbol of the Mabon season. Long connected to wisdom and magic, there are so many wonderful things you can do with an apple. Find an orchard near you, and spend a day with your family. As you pick the apples, give thanks to Pomona, goddess of fruit trees. Be sure to only pick what you’re going to use — if you can, gather plenty to take home and preserve for the coming winter months. Take your apples home and use them in rituals, for divination, and for delicious recipes that your family can enjoy all season long.

4. Count Your Blessings

Mabon is a time of giving thanks, but sometimes we take our fortune for granted. Sit down and make a gratitude list. Write down things that you are thankful for. An attitude of gratefulness helps bring more abundance our way — what are things you’re glad you have in your life? Maybe it’s the small things, like “I’m glad I have my cat Peaches” or “I’m glad my car is running.” Maybe it’s something bigger, like “I’m thankful I have a warm home and food to eat” or “I’m thankful people love me even when I’m cranky.” Keep your list some place you can see it, and add to it when the mood strikes you.

5. 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 triune 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.

6. 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 in the 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. 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!

7. Tell Timeless Stories

In many cultures, fall was a time of celebration and gathering. It was the season in which friends and relatives would come from far and near to get together before the cold winter kept them apart for months at a time. Part of this custom was storytelling. Learn the harvest tales of your ancestors or of the people indigenous to the area in which you live. A common theme in these stories is the cycle of death and rebirth, as seen in the planting season. Learn about the stories of Osiris, Mithras, Dionysius, Odin and other deities who have died and then restored to life.

8. Raise Some Energy

It’s not uncommon for Pagans and Wiccans to make remarks regarding the “energy” of an experience or event. If you’re having friends or family over to celebrate Mabon with you, you can raise group energy by working together. A great way to do this is with a drum or music circle. Invite everyone to bring drums, rattles, bells, or other instruments. Those who don’t have an instrument can clap their hands. Begin in a slow, regular rhythm, gradually increasing the tempo until it reaches a rapid pace. End the drumming at a pre-arranged signal, and you’ll be able to feel that energy wash over the group in waves. Another way of raising group energy is chanting, or with dance. With enough people, you can hold a Spiral Dance.

 

9. Celebrate Hearth & Home

As autumn rolls in, we know we’ll be spending more time indoors in just a few months. Take some time to do a fall version of spring cleaning. Physically clean your home from top to bottom, and then do a ritual smudging. Use sage or sweetgrass, or asperge with consecrated water as you go through your home and bless each room. Decorate your home with symbols of the harvest season, and set up a family Mabon altar. Put sickles, scythes and bales of hay around the yard. Collect colorful autumn leaves, gourds and fallen twigs and place them in decorative baskets in your house. If you have any repairs that need to be done, do them now so you don’t have to worry about them over the winter. Throw out or give away anything that’s no longer of use.

10. Welcome the Gods of the Vine

Grapes are everywhere, so it’s no surprise that the Mabon season is a popular time to celebrate winemaking, and deities connected to the growth of the vine. Whether you see him as Bacchus, Dionysus, the Green Man, or some other vegetative god, the god of the vine is a key archetype in harvest celebrations. Take a tour of a local winery and see what it is they do this time of year. Better yet, try your hand at making your own wine! If you’re not into wine, that’s okay — you can still enjoy the bounty of grapes, and use their leaves and vines for recipes and craft projects. However you celebrate these deities of vine and vegetation, you may want to leave a small offering of thanks as you reap the benefits of the grape harvest

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Mabon History: The Second Harvest

Mabon History: The Second Harvest

By , About.com Guide

The Science of the Equinox:

Two days a year, the Northern and Southern hemispheres receive the same amount of sunlight. Not only that, each receives the same amount of light as they do dark — this is because the earth is tilted at a right angle to the sun, and the sun is directly over the equator. In Latin, the word equinox translates to “equal night.” The autumn equinox takes place on or near September 21, and its spring counterpart falls around March 21. If you’re in the Northern hemisphere, the days will begin getting shorter after the autumn equinox and the nights will grow longer — in the Southern hemisphere, the reverse is true.

Global Traditions:

The idea of a harvest festival is nothing new. In fact, people have celebrated it for millennia, all around the world. In ancient Greece, Oschophoria was a festival held in the fall to celebrate the harvesting of grapes for wine. In the 1700’s, the Bavarians came up with Oktoberfest, which actually begins in the last week of September, and it was a time of great feasting and merriment, still in existence today. China’s Mid-Autumn festival is celebrated on the night of the Harvest Moon, and is a festival of honoring family unity.

Giving Thanks:

Although the traditional American holiday of Thanksgiving falls in November, many cultures see the second harvest time of the fall equinox as a time of giving thanks. After all, it’s when you figure out how well your crops did, how fat your animals have gotten, and whether or not your family will be able to eat during the coming winter. However, by the end of November, there’s not a whole lot left to harvest. Originally, the American Thanksgiving holiday was celebrated on October 3, which makes a lot more sense agriculturally.

Thanksgiving was originally celebrated on October 3. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln issued his “Thanksgiving Proclamation”, which changed the date to the last Thursday in November. In 1939, Franklin Delano Roosevelt adjusted it yet again, making it the second-to-last Thursday, in the hopes of boosting post-Depression holiday sales. Unfortunately, all this did was confuse people. Two years later, Congress finalized it, saying that the fourth Thursday of November would be Thanksgiving, each year.

Symbols of the Season:

The harvest is a time of thanks, and also a time of balance — after all, there are equal hours of daylight and darkness. 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.

Some symbols of Mabon include:

  • Mid-autumn vegetables, like squashes and gourds
  • Apples and anything made from them, such as cider or pies
  • Seeds, nuts and seed pods
  • Baskets, symbolizing the gathering of crops
  • Sickles and scythes
  • Grapes, vines, wine

You can use any of these to decorate your home or your altar at Mabon.

Feasting and Friends:

Early agricultural societies understood the importance of hospitality — it was crucial to develop a relationship with your neighbors, because they might be the ones to help you when your family ran out of food. Many people, particularly in rural villages, celebrated the harvest with great deals of feasting, drinking, and eating. After all, the grain had been made into bread, beer and wine had been made, and the cattle were brought down from the summer pastures for the coming winter. Celebrate Mabon yourself with a feast — and the bigger, the better!

Magic and Mythology:

Nearly all of the myths and legends popular at this time of the year focus on the themes of life, death, and rebirth. Not much of a surprise, when you consider that this is the time at which the earth begins to die before winter sets in!

Demeter and Her Daughter

Perhaps the best known of all the harvest mythologies is the story of Demeter and Persephone. Demeter was a goddess of grain and of the harvest in ancient Greece. Her daughter, Persephone, caught the eye of Hades, god of the underworld. When Hades abducted Persephone and took her back to the underworld, Demeter’s grief caused the crops on earth to die and go dormant. By the time she finally recovered her daughter, Persephone had eaten six pomegranate seeds, and so was doomed to spend six months of the year in the underworld. These six months are the time when the earth dies, beginning at the time of the autumn equinox.

Inanna Takes on the Underworld

The Sumerian goddess Inanna is the incarnation of fertility and abundance. Inanna descended into the underworld where her sister, Ereshkigal, ruled. Erishkigal decreed that Inanna could only enter her world in the traditional ways — stripping herself of her clothing and earthly posessions. By the time Inanna got there, Erishkigal had unleashed a series of plagues upon her sister, killing Inanna. While Inanna was visiting the underworld, the earth ceased to grow and produce. A vizier restored Inanna to life, and sent her back to earth. As she journeyed home, the earth was restored to its former glory.

Modern Celebrations

For contemporary Druids, this is the celebration of Alban Elfed, which is a time of balance between the light and the dark. Many Asatru groups honor the fall equinox as Winter Nights, a festival sacred to Freyr.

For most Wiccans and NeoPagans, this is a time of community and kinship. It’s not uncommon to find a Pagan Pride Day celebration tied in with Mabon. Often, PPD organizers include a food drive as part of the festivities, to celebrate the bounty of the harvest and to share with the less fortunate.

If you choose to celebrate Mabon, give thanks for the things you have, and take time to reflect on the balance within your own life, honoring both the darkness and the light. Invite your friends and family over for a feast, and count the blessings that you have among kin and community.

I Want To Be 6 Again…..

I Want To Be 6 Again…..

 

To Whom It May Concern:

I hereby officially tender my resignation as an adult. I have decided I would like to accept the responsibilities of a 6 year old again. I want to go to McDonald’s and think that it’s a four star restaurant. I want to sail sticks across a fresh mud puddle and make ripples with rocks. I want to think M&Ms are better than money, because you can eat them. I want to play kickball during recess and paint with watercolors in art. I want to lie under a big Oak tree and run a lemonade stand with my friends on a hot summers’ day.

I want to return to a time when life was simple. When all you knew were colors, addition tables and simple nursery rhymes, but that didn’t bother you, because you didn’t know what you didn’t know and you didn’t care. When all you knew was to be happy because you didn’t know all the things that should make you worried and upset.

I want to think that the world is in my youth… I matured and I learned too much. I learned of nuclear weapons, war, prejudice, starvation and abused children. I learned of lies, unhappy marriages, suffering, illness, pain and death I learned of a world where men left their families to go and fight for our country, and returned only to end up living on the streets…begging for their next meal. I learned of a world where children knew how to kill … and did!!

What happened to the time when we thought that everyone would live forever, because we didn’t grasp the concept of death, when we thought the worst thing in the world was if someone took the jump rope from you or picked you last for kickball?

I want to be oblivious to the complexity of life and be overly excited by little things once again. I want to return to the days when reading was fun and music was clean. When television was used to report the news or for family entertainment and not to promote sex, violence and deceit. I remember being naive and thinking that everyone was happy because I was. I would walk on the beach and only think of the sand between my toes and the prettiest seashell I could find. I would spend my afternoons climbing trees and riding my bike. I didn’t worry about time, bills or where I was going to find the money to fix my car. I used to wonder what I was going to do or be when I grew up, not worry about what I’ll do i this doesn’t work out. I want to live simple again I don’t want my day to consist of computer crashes, mountains of paperwork, depressing news, how to survive more days in the month than there is money in the bank, doctor bills, gossip, illness and loss of loved ones. I want to believe in the power of smiles, hugs, a kind word, truth, justice, peace, dreams, the imagination, mankind and making angels in the snow.

I want to be 6 again.

 

Author Unknown

Laugh-A-Day for Sept. 18: You might be a redneck if…

You might be a redneck if…

You’ve ever barbecued Spam on the grill.

You own all the components of soap on a rope except the soap.

The best way to keep things cold is to leave’em in the shade.

You’ve ever raked leaves in your kitchen.

The neighbors started a petition over your Christmas lights.

Your brother-in-law is your uncle.

You entire family has ever sat around waiting for a call from the governor to spare a loved one.

You go to the family reunion to pick up women.

Your grandmother has ever been asked to leave a bingo game because of her language.

You can’t tell what color your car is because of the dirt.

Daily Feng Shui News for Sept. 18 – 'National Respect Day'

Are you feeling a bit like Rodney Dangerfield on ‘National Respect Day?’ If you feel like you don’t get the respect you deserve, then it’s time to intentionally activate the energies of your ‘Fame’ area. This location isn’t only about enhancing your reputation and being rewarded, it’s also about being widely respected. So the next time you want to earn some admiration, light a red candle in this fire element area and watch as any disrespect goes up in smoke.

By Ellen Whitehurst for Astrology.com

 

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Your Charm for September 18: The Crescent and Hand

Your Charm for Today

Today’s Meaning:   

Guests and visitors will come calling. Their visit brings happiness and joy. This aspect will reflect these emotions for weeks after the visit.

General Description:    

Crescents were worn by the ancients to safeguard them against witchcraft and danger. From the very early Eastern symbols, horseshoes came to be regarded by the Greeks and Romans as charms against sickness and the plague. In the middle ages horseshoes were used as amulets for witchcraft and even today are looked upon as lucky. When the representation of the hand of strength was worn with the crescent it signified hospitality and generosity. Hands of Might are painted on houses in Italy, Syria, Turkey and in the East to protect the buildings from misfortune and the inmates from death. The blue beads were worn to avert the evil eyes.

Your Animal Spirit for September 18: Antelope

Your Animal Spirit for Today
    September 18, 2013

Antelope

Antelope medicine is one of right action. If you were to visit Northern Plains today, you would see groups of antelope scattered about the fields and hills. However they are so quiet and unmoving that (from a distance) they resemble stones. But, get too close and they move like lightening. Antelope asks you: are you being still when you should be moving, or moving when stillness is required?

Your Ancient Symbol Card for Sept. 18: The Priestess

Your Ancient Symbol Card for Today

The Priestess

The Priestess is the Gatekeeper of the subconscious, the unknown. She travels in worlds which most of us only glimpse in our dreams. Her realm is that of unseen truths, untapped potentials, and hidden dangers. Purely Yin in nature, The Calling of The Priestess is to go beyond the obvious and visible to tap those powers which are veiled from normal vision. While she is passive by nature, she has the power to uncover unknown potential and is very aware of the infinite potential all humans harbor within them. She is also very patient. She can wait for events to blossom in their own time.

As a daily card, The Priestess suggest the answers you seek can only be found by looking beyond the obvious. This is a span in which you may do better by applying the power of your subconscious to your everyday actions. Your intuition should be very strong. Be patient, allow events to unfold and you will find propitious moments of opportunity