Blessed Mabon to all of us in the Southern Hemisphere. The days are cooling down and the threat of fires is lessening. It has been a long hot summer and I for one am looking forward to the cooler days. Blessed Be!
Mabon or Autumn Equinox
Mabon falls at the Autumnal Equinox, when nights and days are of equal length, but light bends increasing towards darkness, and winter is on its way. It is a time of balance, and a time of looking forward to and preparation for the winter.
At this time food is prepared for storage, jams and pickles are made, and fruits are candied and preserved. Maple syrup is a traditional food for Mabon, as are all long-keeping plant foods, and honey, which is a natural preservative. Special foods to celebrate with include traditional Greek baklava (honey cake), and anything preserved or that involves fermentation. The colors of the season are brown and gold.
In Australia, Mabon falls close to the end of Daylight Savings time, and the change in the time that evening falls makes us very aware that winter is on its way, and that summer is well and truly over. It is at Mabon that the Cauldrons are first lit again, the last of the summer fruits are eaten in thanks, and summer ribbons and garlands are put away in preparation for the colder months.
Mabon is the second harvest, and the Goddess is mourning her fallen consort as he has been cast down, but the rebirth found in the seeds of harvest gives hope for the future, and the continuing circle of hope. Mabon is a time of gathering, of preparation. It is also a time to walk among the gum trees, smelling the resin and the eucalyptus oils in the air, and gathering oils, barks, plants and herbs to be dried for culinary, medicinal and magickal purposes.
At the Autumnal Equinox, altars are dressed with leaves and bark, the last of the flowers and the first of the winter fruits. Suitable offerings include autumnal vegetables and pickles, and preserved fruits and root crops. Mabon is a time to acknowledge the joys of living, as well as the suffering that is a part of life. It is a time for meditation and repose, and for spending time with close family and Coven members in silent appreciation of the relationships we share and that strengthen us.
In the Southern hemisphere, Mabon falls on the 21st and 22nd of March, and in the Northern hemisphere it falls on the 21st and 22nd of September. It is associated with the festivals of Winter Finding (Teutonic) and Alban Elfed (Scottish).
From akashawitchcraft.net (website no longer available)
OSTARA – NORTHERN HEMISPHERE
Blessed Ostara to all in the Northern Hemisphere, the snow is finally melting and you will begin to feel the warmth of the sun and the flowers will bloom. Enjoy the new season. Blessed Be!
Midway through Spring! We find ourselves at the Equinox and the festival of Ostara.
Spring Equinox: March 21
This is the time of equal day and equal night, the balance of light and dark, and so at this time we have the chance to invite balance into our lives.
Add this to the energy of Spring, and as we see in our gardens, we also have the opportunity for new growth, fresh starts and new beginnings. These themes are woven into the religious celebration of Easter, and the word ‘Easter’ has its roots in the name of this seasonal moment: Ostara.
The trees have come back to life, blossoms are blooming, the grass is growing, the sprouts are ‘taking off’, growth is everywhere! Beautiful smells, spriteliness and baby animals…
During Spring, everywhere in nature, we see and feel and hear the energy, the pulse, the sound of new growth.
And so we have the opportunity to consciously align with this energy
and ‘use’ it to fuel whatever new beginnings we are creating in our lives.
Your being, as part of the Earth, part of the cycle of the seasons, will be influenced by this energy whether you’re paying attention to it or not. If you pay some attention, you will feel it, and you can be in flow with it.
The equivalent time in our lives to Ostara is Menarche (first period) for girls and puberty for boys, new beginnings of the next level.
Spring Spiritual Practice
Think like the gardener, and align with the Earth energy of now, contemplate the growth that has taken hold in your life and around you…
What are you developing, is that what you want?
Do you need to get out the ‘fertiliser’ to help what’s growing to be stronger?
Do you need to do some ‘weeding’? What do you need to bring into your life to create balance?
At the Equinox, with the equal light and dark, we have the opportunity to give thanks for, and focus with gratitude (which will help it grow more) on that which is growing and developing in ourselves and our lives and also to let go of that which ‘no longer serves’ or what stands in the way of your growth and development, this could be ‘bad’ habits and restricting beliefs (the weeds!)…
In a moving meditation, feel yourself to be like a tree, as your blossoms are blooming and your leaves are starting to unfurl, move as the wind would move you, strong in your roots and able to shift lightly and easily from a grounded position, swaying from side to side and round and round… notice what wants to fall away as you do this, remnants of old, no longer needed. Make the sounds of spring that rise up from within you… so much will grow from now, headed toward full bloom at the Summer Solstice in three moons.
Suggested Ceremony for Ostara
Here’s a suggestion for a simple ceremony to honour the Spring Equinox with your family and friends. Paint an egg, perhaps simply, decoratively or perhaps with symbols to give particular meanings, to represent something new starting in your life, or something you would like to start. Make a ‘nest’, place it in the centre of your circle that you create together to do your ceremony.
Do what you do to make sacred space, call for protection, guidance and support and focus together. Go around the circle and have each person explain what their egg represents for them, what their dreams and intentions for new growth this season are and then place the egg in the nest. Once all the eggs are in the nest have everyone focus on them and send their loving supportive energy. This can be done by visualising pink light flowing from your heart area. Conclude your ceremony going around the circle again with each person making a wish for their community and one for the planet. This could also be as simple as a ‘nest’ on your dining table with you and your children around it doing the magic.
We celebrate Easter in the Southern Hemisphere at the same time as the Northern Hemisphere, simply because of generational habit of aligning with the religious festival as it occurs in the Northern Hemisphere, not seasonal appropriateness. The word Easter comes from the name of the ancient Anglo-Saxon spring Goddess Eostra or Eostara. And the Easter bunny and Easter eggs are all symbols of the fertility that is celebrated at the Spring Equinox. Eggs are a symbol of new life.
To honour and celebrate this time you could gather with some like-minded folk, or with your children and conduct a ceremony to give thanks for new ways, new opportunities and balance in your lives.