“Some bless the Cart; some kiss the sheaves; Some prank them up with Oaken leaves.”
(Excerpt, “The Hock-Cart” by Robert Herrick (1591-1674). A hock-cart was the last wagon, usually decorated, brought in from the harvest.)
Today marks the autumnal equinox, when the sun crosses the equator on its southward journey, and day and night are of equal duration. Nature is in balance — temporarily. From now on, the hours of darkness increase, and the warm days are followed by the longer chill of clear autumn nights.
This special time has been celebrated by the Celts since 3,000 BCE; the word Mabon (‘divine youth’) is a modern invention. Mabon occurs after the second harvest and is a time to rest and remember the warm embrace of the sun, celebrate the reaping of crops, and prepare for winter. We give thanks for any bounty we may have and the circumstances that have led us to this point near the closing of the year. It’s a time to take stock of our strengths and weaknesses, to cull whatever is no longer spiritually or physically useful or needed, perhaps start a new venture, and to share what we have with others.
Mabon symbols include ears of corn, wheat sheaves, a loaf of bread, the grape and apple, a chalice of wine and the cornucopia, a Mediterranean symbol of plenty adopted by the Celts.
Ways to celebrate Mabon for the next few days: Take a walk in the woods or park and (lawfully) gather acorns, grasses, pine cones and colorful fallen leaves, taking a moment to give thanks to the field or trees which offered them. Harvest apples at a local pick-your-own orchard, or visit a pumpkin patch for gourds. Use them to decorate your home or altar. Make a corn dolly or a symbolic besom or broom. In the evening, light a beeswax candle and perform your autumn ritual, perhaps by repeating an invocation like this:
Mabon brings the scent of autumn
Golden glow and sun’s soft kiss.
Magick swirls and eddies onward
Season’s end demands all this.
The fruits are heavy on the trees
Yellow, gold, and orange leaves
Nature’s show of alchemy
Ever clear to you and me.
(Mabon Invocation excerpt, Solitary Witch: the Ultimate Book of Shadows for the New Generation by Silver RavenWolf, 2003)
Happy Autumn and Blessed Be!