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Celebrating Mabon, the Autumn Equinox

On 20 March here in the Southern Hemisphere we celebrated Mabon, or the Autumn Equinox.  Hosted by the Center, a beautiful venue in Noordhoek, we gathered to celebrate and offer our prayers.

Altar created by Luciana do Cabo, with gratitude

Like all sacred times, the Equinox is a perfect time to reflect on our inner spiritual work. Because we are a reflection of the universe surrounding us, what takes place outside must also occur within us. 

This time of year, as we move from summer to autumn, is the time of Harvest. The Earth, by this time of year, has given us everything. Fruits, grains, and vegetables. Now, tired and withered, she lies down to rest. At this time, we can give thanks for the abundance of the Earth, and all that she provides. Equally it is an opportunity to reflect on the abundance in each of our lives, and all the things we can be grateful for. It is an opportunity to turn within and to reflect on what gifts, strengths, experiences and skills we can harvest and take forwards with us into the darker months.  

What are you grateful for?  What life lessons have helped you learn and grow? What can you harvest internally that may be supportive in the coming months?  

The Equinox, both Autumn and Spring, is the only time when both the northern and southern hemispheres experience roughly equal amounts of daytime and night-time. These are the days when the sun is exactly above the equator making day and night equal in length.  Equinox is a Latin word that means ‘equal night; – It is the time of equal day and night.

Energetically, the Autumn Equinox is a time of balance and pause, a transitional moment between the bright half of the year and the dark half of the year.  This time brings the light and darkness to the front together, neither one preceding nor following the other. Spiritual guidance can be taken from this rhythm of nature. The Autumn Equinox is a perfect time to consider and invite balance into your life – shadow and light, inner and outer, masculine and feminine, the dance between ego and Soul.

Take a moment to slow down and listen inwardly. Is there something your body is asking you for? In which areas of life do you need to re-find balance?

To think of the Equinoxes and Solstices in terms of a life, the year is “born” on the winter solstice, matures at the spring equinox, and reaches the prime of life at the summer solstice. The autumnal equinox marks the descent into old age, and, finally, the moment of the winter solstice marks simultaneous death and rebirth, starting the cycle anew.                       

And so, from a spiritual growth perspective, Autumn is about endings, as reflected in our natural environment, with the trees losing their leaves and plants dying off. It’s all a very natural process. And so the Autumn is also a time to descend into one’s own darkness. Darkness, when ignored and exiled, grows and takes over. But when given the opportunity to be worked with and exposed, provides an opportunity for growth once the light returns. 

Autumn is a time to feel into the areas of your life that need to be let go of, consider what no longer serves you, gets in your way, and needs to wither.  Remember—we all have leaves, of a sort. For a time, they gather energy unto us, but at a certain point, they no longer serve us. They lose their chlorophyll, turn brown, wither, and must be released. As you watch those earthly leaves fall to the ground to nourish the next generation of nature, consider your own leaves.

What do you need to let go? Are you allowing for this release or are you hanging on to the dead?

I’m so grateful for the opportunity to celebrate these ceremonies of the ‘Wheel of the Year’, an annual cycle of seasonal festivals that were celebrated by our foremothers and fathers.  As we find ourselves in the midst of ecological chaos, one of the most potent ways for us to find ways to come back into balance with the earth is to reconnect to her seasons and cycles, honouring these, as we learn to tune in, celebrate and adapt to her natural cycles. Happy Equinox everyone.

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