Wednesday, 21 September 2011
Winding Down With the Witches' Mabon
As a practicing Wiccan, my thoughts are inevitably turning towards the next Sabbat in the Wheel of the Year. September 23rd 2011 is a date which even the scientists are able to mark, though perhaps not with the same interpretation as the witches. It is the Autumn Equinox (aka Mabon or Harvest Home). In witchcraft, this means a time of winding down.
The Historical Heritage of Witches in Bringing the Harvest Home
Outside the air is coming more chill and the leaves are changing colour on the trees. This is Britain, so the summer hasn't been particularly hot either, but not quite like this. Even on the most rain-drenched summer's day, it was difficult to imagine that there ever was a winter. It's not anymore. Pause for a moment in the wind and the hints of it are there. Just a few more turns of the wheel will have us in snow and ice.
There's a tendency to rush! If we don't pack that last day-trip in right now, then it wil be too cold! That is the modern equivalent of what used to drive this Sabbat. It is the Harvest Home. The last good crop of the year, before the ground starts to harden and there was nothing more to add to the stores. Only the hunt, in the deep midwinter.
Everyone's so busy at Autumn Equinox, squeezing the marrow out of the bone of life (to misquote 'Dead Poets' Society'). Then the Sabbat itself hits and it's time to take stock.
Witchcraft and Mabon: A Time of Reflection
Taking stock used to literally mean that. There are still a couple of months worth of gathering and hunting, before snow closed down the community. It would live or starve on the produce stored for the winter. These days of 24 hour supermarkets make that less of an issue.
Witches reflect in other ways. Mabon is when we look back across the past few months and see how all of those ideas, planted at Imbolc, came to bloom. Did they grow as we had planned? Where are we now, compared to at Spring Equinox? All of those things, that we promised ourselves that we'd do (or not do), did we honour them?
In all of the business (in both senses of the word) of the summer, it's hard to sit back and muse upon things. As the Autumn Equinox bites, now is our moment. It is 'me' time. It is chilling out time. It is our chance to meditate upon our own, very personal world, while not forgetting the broader picture.
How will you celebrate Mabon? What are your thoughts as you approach the day?