By Isabella @TheWandCarver
My favourite time of the year is almost here – the **Autumnal Equinox. Clearly, I have always been an “old soul” for when other children were dreaming of April, May, and summer months, I was awaiting the golden reds, yellows, purples, and browns of Autumn. I don’t know why it’s always been such an important time of the year for me from even when I were a wee bairn. Is it the crisp, cool freshness of the air? The colours? The harvesting of delights brought forth from Mother Earth’s ample womb? To be fair, I haven’t been part of a harvest since I spent time at my Nan’s as a child and teenager. Still, I imagine that feeling still lingers on and makes me want to be there again. It was a place I felt safe and loved; a place where getting up at sparrow’s fart was a joy rather than a punishment. No, I was never made to rise early for punishment – unless you want to count going to school as punishment… as some do 😊
But let’s consider that not everybody is privy to a joyful second harvest on a farm. Most of us these days live flats/apartments/terrace houses/urban/suburban lives. If you’re lucky, you might have an allotment or a small patch in your back garden to grow some herbs and veg, but I have a feeling most reading this won’t be going out to bale hay or dig out potatoes or the like. So, how do we celebrate? More importantly, how do we bring Mabon into our children’s lives, so they understand the importance of the Sabbat? Lots of ways!
Firstly, Mabon or the Autumnal Equinox or Second Harvest is not only about bringing in the last of crops, but it is a time of beginning to wind down and relax. It is also a time of reflection on the last year. There is now a balance [for many] of light and dark hours apart from the UK where the sun falls out of the sky by 4 pm – I jest, a little – thereby creating a balance in the world. I believe this is another reason I so love Autumn…I’ve never been a bright sunshine kind of girl. Maybe I was a vampire in a previous life, who knows. But I do find the dark comforting and cosy. However, as I had meant to say, this time of year is a time for thankfulness for all we have created and received. A perfect segue to our five projects for Mabon:
- Make a “Blessings Jar” or box. You may make it plain or fancy, only do wash the spag bol sauce out of it well first. I used to – and need to renew this for myself – keep jars for every year’s blessings. This is also a perfect way to teach your children the value of being grateful. When I felt down and as though things weren’t going my way, I would often open my very full blessings jar and begin reading the slips of paper I had filled it with. In no time I would feel so much better because it proved me so wrong about things not going my way. I think children can learn from this.
- Honour the early darkness. Most people hate the shorter days and longer nights because they are sunshine people and that’s alright! We need sunshine people as well! Still, this is a time to give thanks for the darkness to give us time for the extra rest we very much need after a hard year of work. It is the time of the Crone and she is to be revered. Learn to embrace the darkness as a prelude to the light. Teach your children that without darkness it is impossible to appreciate the light. Teach them about the Crone aspect of the Goddess and help them to see how important she is. If their grandmother[s] is still alive, be sure to help them to respect her and if she is not, it would never hurt to visit an old person’s home and make a new friend. It will teach your children not to fear becoming old and to always give respect to those whom are.
- This is a time for food drives in many countries. Find out where you can donate or hold one of your own! Too many people are left to fend alone for Christmas and other seasonal celebrations wherever you live. Along with your children, set aside a small budget, even if it will only buy one tin of beans each week to purchase some non-perishable foods to donate. You will teach your children how to think of others and to give with their hearts.
- Help the homeless. You may not feel comfortable walking up to a homeless person on the street to gift them with a new sleeping bag, but it won’t do anybody any harm to sign on to neighbouring homeless shelters – especially for the upcoming cold months when they are most understaffed. There you can give of your time which can be freely given. Listen to their stories. Help the elderly ones to shave or get cleaned up. I’m not saying you must exchange numbers but do give of yourself and something wonderful will happen within you, I promise. You will forget your ego. You will have more compassion for others. And whilst you can’t bring your children there to help due to age constrictions, you will bring your “new self” home to them and they will see a more positive difference in you, which in turn, will help them.
- Help your family. Spend real time together for meals, movie night, going to a park, whatever you enjoy, but do so without smartphones and tablets! Have conversations without texting, watch a film without checking Facebook or Twitter, in fact, just turn off your phones whilst watching a film together or having a family meal. If you already do these things, plan a project together to help others. The point is, re-connect with your family and friends without doing so on a device. And you just might find it is more enjoyable and personal to look into the eyes of the person you are speaking with.
Creating an altar is one of our favourite ways to celebrate Mabon. Create an altar setting using nuts, dried flowers, fruit [apples!], and corn dollies. It is such a versatile Sabbat to work from, so you can have a lot of fun with your talents and creative side… and of course, the children can either help or create an altar of their own. As fun as it can be to come up with ideas, it is also a time to teach them reverence for the Sabbat.
I hope some of these ideas are helpful to you for your Mabon celebrations and activities. The main thing is, enjoy the seasons as they come… some hold more favouritism for us than others but to accept and love each one is the same as accepting and loving our Earth and our planetary system as they work hand in hand to create these lovely changes. Don’t forget to use recycled and and natural items as often as possible and do re-purpose or recycle all when you are finished. If you have enjoyed my blog, please give it a like and share via the social media buttons below and as always, I welcome comments! Have a blessed Mabon x
** Autumn Equinox is 23 September and Mabon begins on 21 September