Mabon: Balancing the Wheel at Autumn Equinox
Mabon, or Autumn Equinox, is one of the solar festivals on the Wiccan Wheel of the Year. In the Wicca calendar, this festival falls near September 21 in the Northern Hemisphere, and March 21 in the Southern Hemisphere.
Equinox means "equal night." On this Wiccan Sabbat, day and night are equal forces, and now Darkness is beginning to gain the ascendancy.
As with all spiritual matters, we must ask: "What does this mean, symbolically?" Putting aside old superstition and association of "dark" with "evil," what does Autumn Equinox tell us?
The Equinoxes demonstrate balance, the breathing of life through contraction as well as expansion. Indeed, Mabon falls on the astrological date of the sun entering Libra -- the Scales of Balance.
Here on Earth, the Light and the Darkness dance together, co-creators. We -- celebrants of the Earth and all that is Divine -- can mirror this dance of balance in our own lives. Wiccan rituals that honour Mabon recognize this dance.
This is what the Energy Field Barometer column talks about this month. The search for balance in challenging times is a feature of 2008, it seems.
At this festival, it is a perfect time to examine how balance is playing out in your life.
This is a good time to fine-tune and aim for balance. After all, balance is a dynamic dance, not a static state you can achieve and hold.
How do we achieve balance, or equanimity in times of stress? A vital question, as we gear up to 2012!
We can follow the example of the Earth . . .
Autumn Equinox shows Wiccans that the Wheel of the Year rides its cosmic journey easily.
The Earth doesn't resist the changing of the seasons! She welcomes all the phases of life, for they all bear their gifts and flaunt their special beauty.
And if we can let go of our resistance, the Wheel of the Year -- that is, the cycle of life -- will carry us effortlessly forward. We will travel from Light to Dark to Light again; from Joy to Pain and back to Joy . . . .
Our resistance doesn't change this eternal flow of life. It only bogs us down in the Suffering place.
At Mabon, the Earth demonstrates the beauty of Surrender. And Wiccan ritual celebrates it.
Surrender is a dirty word, in a domination culture. It reeks of passivity, of victimhood, of failure. We don't like to contemplate surrender. We like to force victory!
Consequently, we in the West have scant concept of the POWER inherent in surrender. It makes the most potent magick seem like a child's game in comparison.
At any rate, we can't control it. We can't stop the seasons from turning. We can't stop the flow and ebb that happens in every aspect of life.
The Earth at the Autumn Equinox shows us how to let go of the phase of growth and life. It's natural for humans to try to hold on, but limitation and death are beautiful players in this cosmic orchestra.
This may seem counterintuitive. But imagine a world where no one and nothing dies. Overcrowding is one thing, but what would we eat--living food? What solace awaits those suffering from injury or chronic pain? It would not create such a lovely world.
Both ebb and flow are necessary in this world, and indeed each fuels the other. Rest gives us energy to grow; growth creates a desire for rest.
So the balance is growth and death, expansion and contraction, life and death. And at the Wiccan Sabbat of Mabon, we are called to align ourselves with this flow, and experience great peace and joy in the journey.
This is a time of thanksgiving, as has been adapted even in mainstream society.
Thanksgiving is the residual of Pagan harvest festivals. And the essence has hardly changed. Although originally it may not have included football, it certainly does bring us an opportunity to give thanks for all the gifts that the harvest has brought us.
Of course, harvest comes in many forms. The food that nourishes us is one form of harvest. And how much else do we have to be thankful for? Friends, family, health, hope, the beauty of the earth, the companionship of special animals... the list could well go on for pages.
The Wiccan chant Hoof and Horn celebrates this balance, reminding us of the vital interplay between expansion and contraction.
(It also serves as a prayer for the spirits of those who die to feed us.)
Hoof and horn, hoof and horn:
All who die shall be reborn.
Corn and grain, corn and grain:
All that falls will rise again.
This is a perfect song for Mabon rites, when the majority of the harvests are in, and the animals' spirits are freed to the otherworld and their meat prepared to see us through the winter.
As we participate in this cycle of life and death personally, we accept that in our turn, we too shall be set free and our bodies remain to feed new life.
. . . a thought that carries us, contemplating mortality and fate, to the next Wiccan holy day -- Samhain.
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