Today is the Autumnal Equinox which signals the beginning of Fall in the northern hemisphere (our friends in the southern hemisphere are celebrating the Spring Equinox). On this day there will be an equal amount of light and darkness, and after this day the nights grow longer and we head towards Winter. In many modern Pagan traditions this is the second of three harvest festivals (the first being Lughnasadh, the third being Samhain).
The holiday is also known as “Harvest Home” or “Mabon” by Wiccans and Witches, “Mid-Harvest”, “Foghar”, and “Alban Elfed” by some Druidic and Celtic-oriented Pagan groups, and “Winter Finding” by modern-day Asatru. Most modern Pagans simply call it the Autumn Equinox. Here are some media quotes and excerpts from modern Pagans on the holiday.
“This week of the Autumnal Equinox, my thoughts, as usual, turn to those of balance. The sun has returned once more to the San Francisco Bay, vanquishing the fog to bring our usual days of heat before the winter rains begin. Everything basks in this golden gaze, including the homeless men and women sleeping on wooden benches under the potted roses yesterday as I swept the concrete free of cigarette butts and bits of paper napkin. Washing an industrial sized salad bowl, I asked myself what is it about balance that intrigues me. Being a child of autumn, who holds the scales, this question has been with me my whole life. Something deep inside my skin appreciates the equalization of night and day, and the way light changes on the leaves of trees this particular time of year. Seeking balance is my natural state. Yet, through years of study, spiritual practice, and deepening, I have come to understand that balance is not a static thing. It includes movement, to and fro. I have to recognize that my current viewpoint is not necessarily an underlying reality.” – T. Thorn Coyle, “Balancing Act(ion): Equinox”
“Throughout history, the first day of autumn has been considered a good time to take stock of the year’s successes and failures. For our hemisphere, Libra (the scales) — the only inanimate sign of the zodiac — is an occasion for balancing accounts. A myth in many cultures holds that some mystical force lets us stand eggs on their ends — but only for a few hours immediately before or after the exact time of the equinox.” – Richard Cohen, New York Times
“It is time to finish old business as we prepare, as the earth slows from the robust work of nature in the fields, and prepares itself for the quiet, sleeping winter months, and the spring to follow. It is when we stop and relax and enjoy the fruits of our personal harvests, whether they be from toiling in our gardens, working at our jobs, raising our families or just coping with the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It is a good time to prune your life of any non-essential activities, just as the apple trees shed their last ripe apples, gather your energies, as the trees draw back their sap into their trunks, and reflect on your season of growth and harvest. Some say this is best done over a fresh cup of coffee and a slice of apple pie!” – Terry Smith, Pineville, Louisiana.
“Mabon is traditionally a time of giving thanks for the bounty from the earth. The harvest ritual allows us to give thanks for coming together and celebrate our commonalities, as well as celebrate the blessings we have received throughout the year.” – Dru Ann Welch, Volusia Pagan Pride Day co-organizer.
“This is what I love about Mabon; more, perhaps, than any other Sabbat, it is a festival about which Pagans are actively making their own myths, in all their many forms. Mabon is an opportunity for us to look at our myths, and the stories we tell ourselves about our world, our past, and our potential futures. And since Mabon is so open to reinterpretation, it reminds us that if we don’t like those stories, or where they’re going, then maybe we can start telling the story differently, trying many versions, until we find the ones that we can live with and live in.” – Literata, The Slacktiverse
“As Ostara is balance tipping into growth, Mabon is balance tipping into decline. Those of us in the temperate zones are fortunate that our climate is roughly in keeping with the symbolism of the Wheel. Even here on the mild California coast hints of fall color are becoming visible even as the harvest is in full swing. Some of the best peaches I have tasted in a long time are finally emerging at the end of our unusually cool summer. But among the wild plants seed heads are formed or forming, preparing for the changes to come. But I do not really see much in the way of actual decline yet. The Sabbats of balance, Mabon and Ostara, do not usually get as much attention as the great cross quarter ones, or the equinoxes, but at the deepest level I think they teach one of the most profound Pagan insights: that the good life is lived in balance.” – Gus diZerega, The Meaning of Mabon
May you all enjoy the fruits of your harvest this season.