The Autumn Equinox or Mabon falls on the 23rd September this year. At this time of year the harvest is gathered and complete, and preparations are well under way for Winter.
Traditionally at Harvest Festival we give thanks and recognition for all the fruits of our labours. The Goddess is Harvest Queen, resplendent in each ripe blackberry, and filling barns and larders with her treasure. Because our supermarket shelves are always full with produce in modern times, it is easy to forget the crucial importance of the harvest.
Preserving of all types is highlighted – although Autumn is a time of bounty, this abundance has to see us through the winter. So forage for blackberries and elderberries and fill your larder with jars of homemade pickles and jam.
The Equinox is also a time of balance, but in the Autumn the dark is gaining. This is therefore a period for clearing and getting rid of anything past it’s sell by date, to make space for contemplation and going within. Plan how to spend the quiet winter evenings…..it is an ideal time to savour the peace, and maybe make room in your life to dream, or learn about any subject…..especially yourself.
The festival of Lammas falls on the 1st August, and marks the peak of Summer and the first grain harvest. The first harvest should now be gathered in, although this year, the prolonged heatwave is causing issues for farmers, bringing our awareness to just how dependant we are on the weather and nature to produce our food. This is the food which will sustain us through the cold dark days of winter and provide seed to be planted in spring for next years harvest. We are also starting to see the first fruits of the harvest…..the fruits of our labours. Some trees such as Rowan are yielding bright red berries. Brambles also show ripening fruit, as do apple and pear trees. In this day and age, when food is mass produced and imported from all around the world, it is easy to lose touch with the natural cycle of things.
Lammas is a time for feasting and play. As the Sun’s energy begins to wane it is appropriate to give thanks for the active growth period which has given rise to such bounty. It is once again time to turn our focus of attention inwards in order to assimilate and understand on a deeper level what we have manifested. Are we starting to see the desires we held at the start of the year beginning to unfold?
This festival is also a traditional time to hold horse fairs and horse racing in honour of Rhiannon – Horse Goddess of the Underworld.
Following are some activities associated with the festival of Lammas which you may like to participate in…..
•Gather with friends, light a fire or barbecue and celebrate, staying up until dawn
•Bake bread, biscuits or cakes to honour the grain harvest
•Appreciate our abundance of food and remember all those in the world who are suffering through lack of food.
•Try and see your life in a positive light and count your blessings
•Ask everyone to bring something for a basket of abundance and then donate it to a local homeless shelter or food bank