I love all the different names our holidays have, and how they are celebrated in different traditions. The Wild Hunt has a nice feature up this morning with a fantastic picture of the Long Man of Wilmington.
Supposedly the name Mabon is a recent thing, attributed to Aidan Kelly in the 70′s, and it’s reference to an obscure character in Arthurian legend has always struck me as odd. What I’ve really been digging is more traditionally English names for our holidays, rather then the Gaelic ones that are popular. Maybe it’s because I’ve been sitting with things Anglo-Saxon a good bit of late. At any rate, I’m really digging the concept of Harvest Home.
Lammas is such a happy festival. It’s when we’re happy we finally got some good vine-ripe tomatoes and we have cucumbers, okra, and bunches of other yummy veggies to nosh on. The real work of harvest hasn’t begun yet. By the autumnal equinox that chill in the air is warning us to get our lives in order and batten down for a long, cold winter. To paraphrase Gus diZerega, we are balanced on the edge and tipping over into darkness.
It’s a scary thought, really. The earth is cooling down. While the sun provided all the heat and light we needed all summer, we have to provide that for ourselves in the dark half of the year. While once that meant having enough fuel for the fire and candle and lamp oil, today it means being able to afford heating bills and power bills. It’s not just about physical well-being either. The lack of light affects our mood, it changes our perception and turns our thoughts inward.
Finding ourselves balanced on the autumnal equinox is recognizing that Hallows is coming, the earth is bracing for the cold of winter and that our lives are changing irrevocably. When spring returns we will no longer be the same person we were. We will have been tempered by another winter, have reflected through another Hallows, and found hope in another Yule. Every year of our lives is different from all the others. This summer will never come again. The Wheel keeps on turning.
I think this is why we reach out to one another on this holiday. Why it feels more like a thanksgiving, a time to have your loved ones close about you and a time to feast. We are embarking on a voyage through darkness, through the dark half of the year, and if anything staves off the fear, anxiety and uncertainty, it’s drawing close to loved ones and celebrating a full pantry. We are together, we are prepared for the barren season and we’re going to make it.
Whether it consists of love, of children, of professional success, of spiritual enlightenment or material comforts, may you merrily roar out your Harvest Home!