What does autumn mean to you? You know, aside from the chance to change up your décor?
Does it represent the beginning of the long, cold descent into winter? Or are you brimming with joyful abundance?
Do you experience a sense of profound loss at the end of summer? Or are you giddy with excitement at the prospect of cosy nights in, candlelight, falling leaves and… of course, Halloween?
Perhaps like me, this time of year sees you bouncing between the two extremes and you’re really not sure how you feel about it.
There’s a reason for that!
Today is Mabon, the second of the year’s equinoxes and the start of autumn. And autumn is associated with the Element of Water – that which governs our feelings.
Well no wonder we’re feeling a bit emotional!
As with its spring counterpart, the Autumn Equinox is a day of balance between light and dark. After today (in the Northern Hemisphere anyway), the strong summer sun will start to weaken as it travels lower in the sky and the days will gradually grow shorter and we enter the dark half of the year.
Autumn’s balance is possibly most keenly felt in the changing of the leaves, bringing both decay and breathtaking beauty as the green of spring and summer gives way to stunning displays of red, yellow, orange and gold.
You can understand why our Stateside cousins prefer Fall as an alternative name for the season.
Mabon is a time of great abundance and a chance to give thanks for nature’s yield (remember those Harvest Festivals from school?) Root veg such as beets, carrots and parsnips are ripe for the harvest now, as are fruit like apples, blackberries and autumn’s ubiquitous pumpkin.
Yep! Just like tomatoes, pumpkins have seeds and are therefore classed as a fruit.
But we don’t have to be farmers to reap what we’ve sown. Mabon is a great time to look back at what we’ve achieved, to give thanks for our successes, and acknowledge the projects and tasks we’ve completed.
So, things haven’t quite turned out as you planned? Does it ever? But like spring, now is the time to take stock and start afresh. To clear the decks, get rid of what didn’t work and take forward the seeds of success into your next chapter.
A simple Mabon ritual
A great way to celebrate your own harvest is to mark your achievements, be they great or small. Did you help a friend during a time of need? Land that contract?, or maybe you completed a long-standing DIY project (yay for the Bedroom and Dining Room!)
Kate West suggests collecting a seed or nut for each achievement and creating a string with them. Sunflower seeds would be brilliant for this (now THAT takes me back!) Paint each seed in a colour that reminds you of the good things of your year and place the string in a prominent place where you can remind yourself of the positive aspects of your life.
Perhaps you could incorporate it into your seasonal décor? I don’t have a string, but how curious that central to this year’s autumn mantel is a beautiful red velvet pumpkin that I picked up while we were in Utah last month.
It’s almost like I’ve saved the seeds of my achievements in its glorious and luxurious form, a lasting symbol of how thankful I am that we were able to afford our US trip, in spite of a difficult start to the year that threatened to kibosh all our plans.
If that doesn’t float your boat, how about starting a daily gratitude ritual? A dear friend suggested this to me recently, citing how a daily gratitude diary is really helping her. Meanwhile, another of my closest friends regularly gives thanks for all the blessings in her life.
Expressing gratitude isn’t something I’m very good at, as I tend to be a glass half empty kind of person, but I stumbled across a poignant verse just yesterday, which said: “brooding over something will make it hatch”. In other words, that thing on which we focus is often the thing that comes to fruition.
So, if your thoughts are constantly mired in the negative, then negativity will consume you. If, however, you’re focusing on being thankful, it will help you become a calmer and more positive person.
Got to be worth a shot, right? So, Beloved and I have made a pact to eat dinner at the table every night and discuss the good points of our day.
Those are the seeds we’re taking forward. How about you? How will you be celebrating the turning of the wheel from summer to autumn? Drop a comment below to let me know.
May all your pumpkins be plump.
A hui hou,
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