A Pagan Primer - 28
Autumn Equinox - Mabon

Shortly, we'll be coming up on the Autumn Equinox. For the past six months, the Sun
has ruled the day - the daylight hours have been longer than the hours of darkness.
At the Summer Solstice, the Sun was at the fullness of its power. It, for a moment,
stood still in our sky. That was three months ago. Since that time, the days have
been growing shorter, and they will continue to do so until the Winter Solstice.

On this day, daylight and night-time are once again, in perfect balance. Neither night
nor day rule. The Sun and moon share the power.

This is the midst of the harvest season. This is the time when farmers are seeing the
fruits of their labor, or the ravages of a difficult growing season.

It's interesting to see how in our modern society, while we might like to think that a
bad season will have little more effect on us than making food a bit more expensive,
the consequences are truly much more dramatic than we might be aware of.

Our lives, like the seasons, like the atmosphere, are all in balance with the earth, and
the Earth is in balance with the Sun and the moon. Complex systems, such as our planet
or our bodies, to maintain themselves, will find some sort of equilibrium. In our body,
this is called homeostasis.

With a complex system, any change will result in some action in that system to
compensate for the change. If we dramatically change our diets, we'll gain or
lose weight, or our endocrine systems will produce more or less enzymes to
compensate for the different foods.

When we're pumping chemicals into our atmosphere, the Earth needs to compensate.
When we introduce new species of plants or animals into an area, that area
will change, at times for the worse. We're discovering this with boats and
eelgrass and Africanized bees.

Balance is important, and we're the beneficiaries or victims of the changes we make to
that system. When we make a change, we need to live with the consequences
of those changes and to discover what the new balance will be.

So, coming back to the equinox ... the balance of night and day, it's interesting to
note that this day comes right on the Virgo-Libra cusp. We enter the sign of the
balanced scales just after the day when night and day are in balance.

This is an interesting coincidence ... if it's actually a coincidence. Libra and the Solstices
aren't really connected. Libra is a pattern that appeared in the sky ... there is no influence
by any of those stars on the position of our orbit of our Sun.

I suppose that it's possible that ancient astronomers, ages ago, noticed the balance of the
season and that may have had some influence, but there is no physical connection or
common causative  element between the sign and the season.

This day is called, by many Neo-Pagans, Mabon. Mabon is a Welsh God, the son of
Modron, and was born on the Equinox. Aidan Kelley, in 1968, founded, with college
classmates, the "Reformed Order of the Golden Dawn". Kelly named the autumn equinox
Mabon, and the name stuck.

Some disagree with the name Mabon, thinking that Kore or Persephone might better
represent the season, but perhaps that's the beauty of paganism ... we don't have
dogmatic rules that apply to everyone, and new or more rigorous thinking will let us
change that which we may not agree with.

If you're looking for a way to celebrate the Equinox, again, you're in luck. While the Equinox
actually takes place at about 3:40 pm, anytime that's available, and contains appropriate
symbolism for you is a good time. Some like midnight, some Noon, some sunrise, and
others sunset. The point is to find something that's symbolic for you.

So, you've decided on your time, and you can decide what sort of ritual activity you might
be looking for. I like to make my rituals somewhat representative of the particular season.
Natural elements at this time of year can include such things as the 'helicopter seeds' that
come in pairs from Maple trees, you might want to make a mobile or use some other
symbols of balance.

You might want to have symbols of both light and and dark on your altar. Perhaps a
candle, and a black crystal ball, or obsidian.
You might wish to spend time in meditation or
divination, using a black mirror and a candle, trying to bring in the elements of the season.

You might look for an incense or a scent that helps you balance yourself, you might look
for foods that do the same. You might spend some time in a pool or a pond, relaxing on
your back. If you're comfortable in water, fill your lungs with air, lie on your back and let
the water support you. Experience in the water that sense of balance where you and the
water of the earth are in perfect equilibrium.

I like to look ahead a bit when I'm considering a ritual. It helps not to scramble at the last
minute looking for supplies or places to do things. Especially when the goal is balance, being
frazzled coming into it can sort of throw things off.

Take some time on this day and decide what it is that is out of balance, where you need
more. What is it that absorbs your time and energy? Is it in proper proportion in your life?
Are things truly balanced? What can you do to put things in proper perspective? Are there
things that might need to be rearranged or changed?

This might not have been a particularly important day in ancient times, coming in the
middle, rather than heralding the beginning or the end of the harvest, but it is a day
when we can emphasize and nurture our balance.

 

2008 Deirdre A. Hebert