by Jeanine DeOya
The coolness blows through my open window. I can see the leaves turning yellow, rust and red. The oak leaves swirl to the ground like dancing poetry as the autumn rain showers the trees and the autumn wind blows. The fall flowering plants, such as mums, teases as they begin to open their blooms in a peak-a-boo fashion. This is my favorite time of year. It is the beginning of the thinning veil. During this time I get such wonderful sensations. My pores begin to open with goose bumps, and all my senses begin to tingle and become alive. There are many reasons why I love this time of year. For one reason it is a time of eye candy. There are colorful leaves, pumpkins and squash that mark this as the “Second Harvest”. People are decorating with scarecrows and haystacks, and beautiful orange reefs. I also love the smell of the fresh air coming off the east coast. The tropical storms bring in the renewal of air and wind that blows the last fragrances of autumn flowers, trees and blooming bushes. The harvested corn and yams and pumpkins make the most delicious foods of the year. But, the main reason for my passion of this period is because I have always been a child of the crone aspect, and the Dark goddesses. This is her time, and she dwells during this season—the season of Mabon.
This September 22nd marks the Wiccan holiday or holy-day called Mabon (pronounced May-bon), Second Harvest or the Autumnal Equinox. The Autumn Equinox is the first day of the autumn season and occurs when the sun passes the equator moving from the northern to the southern hemisphere. The North Pole begins to tilt away from the sun. Day and night becomes equal in hours. This is the sacred time when we, in the metaphysical world, seek balance and we make preparations for the coming of winter. The aspect of the god is fleeting into the netherworld of veils, while the aspect of the goddess lives on into an erudite matron.
There are two sides to the crone aspect that should be noted. One is that she is extremely ‘Wise’ noting that age and time brings wisdom, cunning, learning, patience and reverence. It also brings potency to the practitioner’s ‘craft’. The Witches/Pagans goal is eternal knowledge (to never stop learning). The second aspect of the crone is the celebration of endings. This entails aspects such as death, graduation, season change, time of dusk, and destruction. There can be no beginnings without the endings. Endings are the trumpets announcing the new. The Crone goddess is the empress who oversees the Twilight Empire. In symbolism the story of Demeter and Persephone are strongly connected to the time of the Autumn Equinox. We contemplate on Hades abduction of Persephone. In this Parable her abduction sets off a chain of events that eventually led to Demeter, mother of Pesephone, to cause the earth to slip into darkness beginning each fall, and into winter.
Another parable to think about for this time of year is with a story of three beautiful sisters – Osun, Yemeya and Oya. One day while sitting on their thrones they debated as to whom were the most powerful over the earth during a year. Osun, the youngest, said she was more powerful because she had spring, and if not for her nothing would grow from seed or infant. She said she had the power of newness. The elder sister, Oya sat back and placed a bit of ewe of in her pipe, and then she asked her sister Yemeya why she thought she was the most powerful during the year? Yemeya sat with a regal air of confidence and said, “I have summer, because I am the spirit of incubation and growth. All things thrive unto me. Osun grows the seeds but I give birth to them. I warm the waters for all my children.” At that Oya finished packing her pipe, lit it and took a good deep long draw from it. She then blew it out so hard the trees on the earth bent under the weight of her breathe. Their leaves then turned orange and brown, and then finally they froze up completely under heavy sheets of ice. Afterwards, Oya said, “You may have spring and summer but I have both fall and winter so my reign is half the year. Osun may grow the seeds but I cleanse the land for the seed to grow. Yemeya may give birth to the children but I break down the nutrients of that which is dead for her children to feed upon. With this all thing are balanced and the circle of life is complete”. The goddesses all agreed to that balance, and promised to respect each other for the individual gifts they each give.
Mabon is the time that we give thanks for the bounty of the earth, and we do this the way we Witches, Wiccans and Pagans do—through celebration, and symbolism. In celebration we often circle together, gather and or feast. In symbolism we decorate our altars, homes and gardens with articles in which symbolizes the coming fall like harvest corn, jack-o-lanterns, corn husk, dried squash and other reminders of fall like acorns and pine straw. This is also a period of meditation and magick. As I said before, the crone aspect of the triple goddess reigns now. This is the time of introspection. This is the time to do an assessment of what we have learned during the year and to evaluate where we go from here. It is a time to plan our goals. Like the Crone goddess it is not just about having knowledge, it is about what you do with it that brings about true wisdom and necessary change.
The vegetation on the earth dies little by little every day, and with it the Horned god. As he dies he disappears into the veils of the underworld. With each degree of descent through the veils the Pagan Lord gathers more knowledge. With him he takes his gift of Green Man so the earth browns with his exit. He leaves us on Samhain as Father Time only to be reborn again as the baby of a New Year.
So what can you do to immerse yourself into this season and become attuned?
- Walking in forests or parks or natural areas is always good during any season, but during Mabon it is especially tantalizing because of the bright colors bursting from the trees, the crackling of leaves under foot and the new breezes of fall air. Air is the element of intelligence because it eliminates the mental cobwebs and the stagnant thoughts that are unhealthy for growth and progress. Plus, being with nature means being with the Goddess, and getting in touch with Spirit.
- Gather fall items and place them on your altar. Nature gives us many nick-nacks to adorn our altar with like pine cones, acorns, bright leaves, and dried flowers and straw. You might also want to go to the store and buy pumpkins, apples and squash to decorate your home for the season.
- Meditation is also good. This is a good way to do you self-assessments and get in touch with the crone spirit.
- Divination is perfect during this time of year. The veil is beginning to open and the knowledge of the Universe is ripening with the harvest fruit. Bring out your runes, tarot and IChing now to get clearer readings.
- Finally celebrate the season with other Pagans. Even if you are solitary you can go online and find out what they are doing for the season, and even trade harvest Mabon recipes and spells.
But whatever you do please just enjoy. Blessed Be and have a Happy Mabon!