This kind of ritual is familiar to what many know as “Burning Man” celebrations. The gathering is modernity’s connection with humanity, past and present. In the United States “Burning Man” is a festival of performance art and creativity culminated by burning a symbolic giant human structure made of wood. Its ancient seasonal association, however, is not as prominent.
What is the equinox?
The autumnal equinox is when day and night are approximately equal in length. After Sunday, the hours of daylight will become shorter as the sun will rise later and nightfall sooner.
Our ancestors used the sky as both clock and calendar, as they observed the path of the sun across the sky. They built observatories to track the sun’s yearly progress. The Incas at Machu Picchu in Peru were able to precisely indicate the date of the two equinoxes and other significant celestial periods.
The earth is tilted on its axis by 23 ½ degrees, and the Northern and Southern Hemispheres trade places in receiving the sun’s light, indeed, its summer’s warmth. The Spring and Fall equinox signal when the tilt of the earth’s axis and orbit around the sun combine so that the axis is inclined neither away from, nor toward the sun.
Celebrate the autumnal equinox as the celestial signpost, as the Earth orbits around the sun.
Ways to celebrate the autumnal equinox called Mabon
Mabon is the ancient name for the autumn equinox when the harvest is almost over. The fields are nearly bare, because the crops have been stored for winter, or the vegetables and fruit preserved for winter use. It’s a spiritual time when we pause to honor the changing seasons, and celebrate the second harvest in spiritual reflection and celebration for the gifts of the Earth. The cornucopia is one of the most famous symbols of the season with fruit and vegetables spilling out of it signifying abundance.
Gratitude for this bounty can be the centerpiece of your celebration in a restorative self blessing and thankful meditation. Write a “gratitude list” with the attitude that gratefulness brings more abundance our way. What are you glad about in your life? Gladness comes in all sizes from being thankful for a good vegetable crop or having a home to live in, and the health and happiness of your family and friends.
Love and gratitude amid fire and loss
In California and in particular Lake County where I live, celebrations here are bitter sweet because of the fires in the last two months that have ravaged the area. Stories of survival and gratitude for getting out alive with very few belongings are being told in the media and Facebook. Still, many here are suffering loss of homes and all their possessions, but at the same time are grateful for those who bravely fought the fire and saved many lives and homes—even amid the horrible losses. Gatherings of friends and family for a festival dinner here have a special significance this year. As many people in California suffered in the numerous fires, the evacuation centers have been blessed with an abundance of donations of food, sheltering tents, clothing, water, food for domestic pets and farm animals, and much more. Sharing the bounty of the fall season with the less fortunate here by so many relief agencies, volunteers, and private individuals is the one saving grace in a fire season that has ravaged the drought-torn state.
Rituals are a testament of hope for the future
Make a family alter to celebrate the Earth’s abundant gifts of food, plants and flowers. If you have children, allow them to draw pictures and write their own sentiments. Handmade items are particularly cherished with pictures and scribed blessings and share a special significance for families and individuals no matter their circumstance. Mother Nature loves to know she is appreciated and will bless your future.
Celebrating the Autumnal Equinox is personal and reflects an individual spiritual path as one identifies with the gifts of the Earth. A peaceful connection and participation in nurturing the soil and all life not only ensures longevity, but also establishes a reverence for place and responsible stewardship of the land and each other.
is retired and lives in Clearlake, California. She has three grown
children and one grandson and a Bachelor’s degree in Health Services
Administration from St. Mary’s College in Moraga California. On the
home front Dava enjoys time with her family, reading, gardening, cooking
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