Two sounds are unmistakable.
The hurrying rustle of crisp leaves blown along the street by a gust of wind. And the honking of a flock of migrating geese overhead. Both of these are harbingers of chill days ahead.
The Fall Equinox, also known as Mabon, or Harvest Home, fall on or around September 21, and draws an end to the harvest season. It’s the time to honor the changing seasons, and give thanks for what we have, whether it is abundant crops or other blessings.
At the Fall Equinox, the sun enters the astronomical sign of Libra. Libra’s sign is the scales, depicting a state of perfect balance.
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 high energy. There may be a feeling of restlessness in the air, a sense that something is just a bit “off”.
If you’re feeling a bit spiritually lopsided, activities that keep you close to the land, or those that help others, can bring you balance and harmony.
Here are some ways you and your family can gear your fall festivities toward traditional, or more earth-based celebrations:
Place some fruits, such as squash and apples in a wooden bowl on your altar. You’ll want to add a pomegranate, in honor of Persephone.
The full Moon closest to the Autumn Equinox (September 24 this year) is the traditional time of the ancient Greek Eleusian Mysteries, in with Persephone was abducted by Hades, lord of the Underworld, to reign as his queen for the next six months, until her return to the surface at the Spring Equinox.
Many pagans and Wiccans count Mabon as their Thanksgiving, the perfect time to give to those less fortunate than ourselves. Consider holding a canned food drive. Invite your friends over for a feast, but ask each of them to bring a canned food, dry goods, or baby supplies. Donate the collected bounty to a local food bank or homeless shelter.
Give your energy and time. For one hour this month, put your full energies into a task that doesn’t benefit you personally. Perhaps you can help prepare food for strangers at a food bank. Perhaps you can complete someone else’s dreaded tasks. Maybe you read to children in foster care, or donate your time to AIDS awareness. As you prepare to engage in the activity, and while carrying it out, note any resistance or internal commentary. Note again how you feel at the end of the activity. Do you notice any change?
Natural giving. Choose an hour when you will listen deeply to someone else without commenting about your own life or interests. Simply listen with full attention to the details of the speaker’s words. Repeat back in your own words the information you have heard to demonstrate to the speaker that you have heard what he or she had to say.
Honor someone older than you. In some paths, Mabon is the time of year that celebrates the Crone aspect of the goddess. We often tend to ignore the elderly people in our population. This month, spend time with an older acquaintance, and acknowledge the ways they’ve succeeded in aging gracefully.
Of colors red and gold.
A time to gather and reap
The fruit from the seeds we sowed.
We honor the spirit of all living things.
We give them our blessings for gifts we've received.
Bless the trees felled for shelter,
Bless the food which once breathed.
Remind us, Oh Spirit, lest we forget,
To take no life lightly,
We all have a debt.
In this eternal circling of life into death.
Each beginning has an ending.
Then it circles full round.
The Oak King dies,
Thus the Holly King is crowned.
Light and dark balanced on an ear of wheat.
As the last grain signals the harvest complete.
Spirit, bring your perfect love to our rite,
That we may always keep balance firmly in sight.