Fair Harvest – Just Desserts

And so the Wheel turns and we approach Mabon, Autumn Equinox and the second of the harvest festivals in the year. It is the sacrifice of the animal, just as Lammas marks the harvest of the vegetative God, here we are confronted with the hard decisions that need to be made in terms of the herd…the old, the sick, the weak must be separated out and killed so that the community can eat, so that precious resources are not used to feed and maintain that which is not strong. It can be a ruthless sort of selection, one that is familiar for the Goddess. There is grief here too, for all that was sown and did not thrive. Seeds must be selected and saved, guarded carefully to ensure another year’s fruit. It is time now for reflection upon the harvest of our dreams and plans, winnowing of experience and savouring the blessings; mourning the losses.

Mabon is celebrated when the Sun moves to 0° Libra, like Spring Equinox, it is a balance point of the year. For the past month, Virgo has been transited and now we approach the changing time between very different energies: Virgo with it’s discerning, discriminating, critical and preparatory nature moving into Libra’s balance, accentuating harmony, appreciation of beauty, an emphasis on relating and the ‘other’.

‘Fair’ and ‘Just’ are words that are inherently Libran. Ruled by Venus, the Goddess of Beauty and of Love we can understand ‘fair’ in it’s context of balance, symmetry and harmony. Libra’s symbols are the Scales…the Scales of Justice, where every thing, act, and thought is weighed in relation to the ‘other’ and balance is demanded.

This moment between Virgo’s harvest and Libra’s balancing act is ruled by the element of water, a reflective element. It is also an element that is essentially always seeking its own balance. Water’s reflective quality offers us a mirror, to see our beauty and also to see ourselves as we are. This ‘still point’ offers us a bit of a reality-check, an opportunity to see what actions need to be taken to bring about balance and rectification, the active principles of Libra that will prepare us more fully for the descent into the dark part of the year.

The caution is that we don’t over-indulge in the newly realized wealth of the harvest, that we guard against collapsing ourselves into the warmth and moistness of the golden days of the season. These ‘Indian Summers’ can lull us into a kind of sleepy forgetfulness. Beauty, harmony and appreciation of the receptivity of the feminine can invite a certain indolence. Now we are bidden to move from the somewhat austere measures of Virgo to create a new-found sense of balance in our lives. There is so much beauty, such bounty, fair dues.

The Equinoxes and Solstices are magical moments that are out of time, a bridge between two seasons.

Peer into the water and take time to celebrate. Blessed Mabon!red-autumn-leaves-water

Mabon and Homecoming

Homecoming? It’s been over a year since my last post and that time has been rich, full, turbulent and scary and and… Now I find myself at home and at Mabon, the Fall Equinox. It feels the ideal time to catch up with me, take stock, sort and discern; review is an essential element of this particular celebration. We, in the northern hemisphere, are now on the tilt-edge of descent into the dark of the year.

Mabon is one of the quarter days or Sabbats. The Equinoxes and the Solstices mark the major turning points that the sun makes in the course of the year. Each of these celebrations has their own story, this is no different. Equinox is a time of equal day and equal night, a time of balance and stillness. It coincides and contrasts with the flurry of activity in Autumn; school begins, work takes on a new lease of life, gardens are full and require lots of effort after the Dog days of summer. This is planning time…how will we use the resources we have gathered from the past year? Just as Eostare (Spring Equinox) is a bustling time of year with the new juices of Spring rising in the land, we are now hard-pressed to stop, listen and breathe. And now, it is more important than ever to do JUST that. It is a pivot point, the breath between tides.

Ultimately, we are creative beings and endlessly inventive. It is essential that we discard, recycle and compost those ventures, relationships and ‘things’ that have either not developed or flourished in a nourishing way so that we have time,space and energy to promote and empower those that do.

During the past year and a half I have collapsed my life in Canada and moved back to the UK. It’s been a time full of uncertainty, second guessing and blind trust. In that process, and in accord with this time of year I found myself sorting, deciding what would make the journey with me, what needed to be left behind and also feeling a deep sense of gratitude for the many and varied gifts of my time on the west coast. Since crossing ‘the pond’ I have been immersed in the task of finding home for my family, grounding myself and beginning to make steps toward developing this next chapter in my life. As I turn to reflect on that I can see some of the successes and failures of that venture; the missed steps, the dead ends, the amazing and unlooked-for support and encouragement, generosity and welcome.

So here I am, home, and so very grateful for the deep sense of connection that I feel with this land. There is grief too; grief for the unrealized dreams and the loss of those dear to me. As I celebrate this harvest I am mindful of the concentration of power and of the essence that lies within the withered aspect, within the seed, that has come as a result of the harvest. The potent force is withdrawing now, and the light that is receding is being condensed within as the days grow shorter.

I never tire of the reminder to celebrate and feast. Look closely, take time to pause, drink in the bounty of the harvest and share it. Blessings on the Harvest!