General Preparations for Autumnal Equinox Celebration
(Mabon, Late Summer Harvest Feast)
The Green Man, and the Powers of Summer, must give way, must be offered up in sacrifice, must willingly die, must be released at Mabon. Do some reading and research on The Green Man (Powers of Spring and Summer): Bibliography, Links, Quotes, Information, Lore, Myths, Role. We must give something to get something. Autumn brings up themes of aging, disease, dying, death, releasing, letting go, sunset, sinking into the depths of the watery realm of the Ancestors.
Thoroughly clean, dust, tidy up, refreshen, improve, and add appropriate seasonal decorations to your home altar. This should normally be clean and tidy, however an extra cleaning before the autumn equinox celebration is a way to express your reverence, create a visible reminder of your thoughts and devotional practices, and to offer hospitality to the nature spirits, ancestors, and Shining Ones. If you don’t have a home altar, read some books and webpages about setting one up in your home or garden, and then establish one this holiday season.
Working and meditating in the garden is an important facet of my spiritual path. I need to regularly reconnect with the earth and the autumn season outdoors. I live in Red Bluff, California, USDA Zone 9, Northern Hemisphere. My late September gardening chores might be quite different from yours, depending upon where you live. Tend your garden daily. Water your garden each day. Weed your vegetable garden. Harvest squash, tomatoes, peppers and other vegetables from your garden each day. Review your own lists of chores for August and September, and act accordingly.
Read about Mabon, Alban Elfed, the Autumnal Equinox Celebration, and late-summer harvest celebrations around the world. Add notes and links to books, magazines, and webpages on the subject. Visit your local public library or college library to obtain access to books, media and magazines on the subject. Study about ancient Indo-European religions. I research and update my Months webpages on both September and October.
Read solitary or group rites for Mabon available in books and webpages. Create your own ritual for Mabon. Practice the ritual. Conduct the ritual at a convenient time for you, or your family and/or friends, as close to the day of the autumnal equinox as possible. Attend a public Mabon ritual of a local NeoPagan group.
Make a Apple Bell Wand, the Apple Branch, using a branch from an apple tree and bells and coins tied to the branchlets. This apple branch wand is used to cheer up and praise the Fairies and other Nature Spirits. Keep the branch in the dark wrapped in a cloth when not in use. Bells, colored cloth, and meaningful trinkets are tied to the apple wand. Words are carved into the apple branch using rare alphabets, e.g., ogham or runic. Bring the Apple Branch out at sunset or dawn on the autumnal equinox, or at other times, and shake the branch so as to honor, encourage, or request favors of the Fairies. Read about this in: The Mysteries of Druidry: Celtic Mysticism, Theory and Practice, by Brendan Cathbad Myers, pp. 109-111. Some cut willow wands.
Harvest and preserve some fruit, vegeatables, seeds, or herbs. Preserve by drying, canning, or storing in jars. Gather acorns, nuts, seeds, pinecones, and other autumn seeds.
Add some appropriate Mabon, Alban Elfed, Autumnal Equinox, or September songs, chants, prayers, reflections, invocations, or poems to your Neo-Pagan Craft Journal, Book of Shadows, blog, website, or Ritual Handbook. Write in your personal journal. Most spiritual seekers keep a notebook, journal or log as part of their experimental, creative, magical and experiential work.
Stay at home. Improve your home, backyard, or garden. Eliminate long driving trips. Do you really need to “Go” anywhere? Do you really need to fly by airplane to another country? Explore your backyard, neighborhood, local community, nearby city, county wide area, regional area within 100 miles. Visit a local “sacred site.” For us, for example, this could be Mt. Shasta, the headwaters spring of the Sacramento River in Mt. Shasta City, the Sacramento River at Woodson Bridge Park, a long walk in the forest below nearby Mt. Lassen, sitting on the shore of Whiskeytown Lake, sitting in my backyard in the moonlight, or visiting a beautiful church or college or park that is nearby. Watch a DVD on a spiritual subject, sacred place, or inspirational topic. Learn more about your local environment.
Ask yourself these questions in the month of September:
What is your personal harvest from self-improvement resolutions planted last spring?
In what specific and creative ways can you honor the productivity of Mother Earth?
What is something new that you produced in the last six months?
How can you best celebrate your productive efforts during the year?
How have others helped you to be more creative?
How can you best celebrate the autumnal equinox holiday?