Home : Holidays : Autumn Equinox
 Autumn Equinox  (September 21)
Autumn Equinox, around September 21, is the time of the descent of the Goddess into the Underworld. With her departure, we see the decline of nature and the coming of winter. This is a classic, ancient mythos, seen the Sumerian myth of Inanna and in the ancient Greek and Roman legends of Demeter and Persephone. 

In September, we also bid farewell to the Harvest Lord who was slain at Lammas. He is the Green Man, seen as the cycle of nature in the plant kingdom. He is harvested and his seeds are planted into the Earth so that life may continue and be more abundant. 

Mabon ("Great Son") is a Welsh god. He was a great hunter with a swift horse and a wonderful hound. He may have been a mythologized actual leader. He was stolen from his mother, Modron (Great Mother),when he was three nights old, but was eventually rescued by King Arthur (other legends say he was rescued by the Blackbird, the Stag, the Owl, the Eagle, and the Salmon). All along, however, Mabon has been dwelling, a happy captive, in Modron's magickal Otherworld -- Madron's womb. Only in this way can he be reborn. Mabon's light has been drawn into the Earth, gathering strength and wisdom enough to become a new seed. In this sense, Mabon is the masculine counterpart of Persephone -- the male fertilizing principle seasonally withdrawn. Modron corresponds with Demeter. 

From the moment of the September Equinox, the Sun's strength diminishes, until the moment of Winter Solstice in December, when the Sun grows stronger and the days once again become longer  than the nights. 

Symbols celebrating the season include various types of gourd and melons. Stalk can be tied together symbolizing the Harvest Lord and then 
set in a circle of gourds. A besom can be constructed to symbolize the polarity of male and female. The Harvest Lord is often symbolized by a straw man, whose sacrificial body is burned and its ashes scattered upon the earth. The Harvest Queen, or Kern Baby, is made from the last sheaf of the harvest and bundled by the reapers who proclaim, "We have the Kern!" The sheaf is dressed in a white frock decorated  with colorful ribbons depicting spring, and then hung upon a pole (a phallic fertility symbol).  In Scotland, the last sheaf of harvest is called the Maiden, and must be cut by the youngest  female in attendance. 

Magickal Herbs
Rue, yarrow, rosemary, marigold, sage, walnut leaves and husks, mistletoe, saffron, chamomile, almond leaves, passionflower, frankincense,  rose hips, bittersweet, sunflower, wheat, oak leaves, dried apple or apple seeds. 

Holiday Fare
Mabon is the Witch's Thanksgiving, a time to appreciate and give thanks to the Goddess for her bounty and to share in the joys of the harvest. Fall fruits, squash, gourds, pumpkins grains, nut breads, vegetables. 

A magickal Mabon beverage: hot apple cider. Apple rules the heart, cider alone is a self-love potion. By spicing it with cinnamon, ruled 
by Jupiter and the Sun, we are in essence, ingesting the sunlight. 

Sample menu #1: Mabon Wine Moon Cider, Roast Chicken Rubbed with Sage, Basil, and Thyme, Acorn Squash made with Sweet Butter, Cinnamon and Honey, and Apple Bread. 

Sample menu #2: Wine from the god and beans and squashes from the goddess. A hearty multi-bean soup with smoked meats (optional), including such as cut-up mild sausage like mild Italian or Polish. 

Mabon Wine Moon Cider

* Make grapevine wreaths using dried bitter- 
  sweet herb for protection. Use ribbons of 
  gold and yellow to bring in the energy of the 
  Sun, and decorate with sprigs of dried yarrow 
  or cinnamon sticks. 

* Collect milkweed pods to decorate at Yuletide 
  and attract the faeries. 

* Make a witch's broom. Tie dried corn husks or 
  herbs (broom, cedar, fennel, lavender, 
  peppermint, rosemary) around a strong, 
  relatively straight branch of your choice. 

* Make magic Apple Dolls: Apples are sacred 
  symbols of the witch. Our holy land, Avalon, 
  means Apple-land or Island of Apples. Slice 
  an apple through the midsection and its seeds 
  reveal the sacred shape of the pentacle. 
  You will need two large apples, one for Mabon 
  and one for Modron, 2 pencils and 2 dowels 
  about 12 inches long, a paring knife, a glass 
  or bowl of water to wash your fingers, a plate, 
  and a towel to wipe your hands. Peel and core 
  the apples. Carve a face in the apples. Place 
  apples on a dowel and stand them in a jar 
  to dry (start now). Then charge in a magick 
  circle. After 2 or 3 weeks, they should look 
  like shrunken heads. Make them into dolls. Use 
  wheat, dried herbs or doll's hair for hair. 
  Dress them in tiny robes and bring them into 
  the circle, asking god/dess to charge them with 
  their light. 

  Hang these Mabon and Madron heads on a Witch's 
  cord or a Mabon wreath. 

(From "Celebrate the Earth" by Laurie Cabot, Green Witchcraft by Ann Moura, Llewellyn's Witches' Calendar 1998, and The Witches' God by Janet and Stewart Farrar.)

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