ea’n Fo’mhair known as the autumn equinox, Albun Eluid, Harvest Home and more recently as Mabon, falls somewhere between September 21st-23rd. The equinox finds us again with the longitude of the Sun is 0° and 180° and directly above the equator creating a day equal in both light and dark. Once the sun crests the days from here until spring shall grow shorter.
While the first harvest focused on the gathering of grains and grasses, this second harvest is busy with the gathering of ripening fruits, nuts and vegetables. Between Lughnasadh and through the season of Mabon grapes, plums, apples and blackberries are dried in our dehydrator or made into pies, sauces, cordials, shrubs, cider and ritual/table wines. Melons are finally getting ripe, peas have reached the end, green beans are eaten fresh and canned, cucumbers and small zucchini into pickles, tomatoes are dried or canned into a variety of dishes, beets, onions, garlic, early squash, carrots, artichokes-the list goes on. The race is on to gather walnuts and hazelnuts before the crows, chipmunks and squirrels. Rose hips that were starting to turn at Lughnasadh are now fully ripe with gorgeous vibrant red colors and ready to be harvested and added fresh to honey or dried for later spell working. Final herbs are harvested and gathered in bunches to hang dry for later cooking, medicine or spellcrafts.
The energy is a bit frenzied as we all watch for the perfect moment our foods reach their peak and then hurry to process making sure there is no waste.
Our Mea’n Fo’mhair altars reflect the hard-won abundance we have sown and harvested. Gorgeous red, orange and yellow leaves lay the foundation for colorful indian corn, bright red and green apples, nuts, purple wine grapes, textured gourds and luscious orange pumpkins. Red and orange candles flank our Lord and Lady while grape vines ring the harvest sickle and bouquets of sunflowers, seedpods, bittersweet, beautyberry, zinnia, dahlia, chrysanthemum, pot marigold and nicotiana adorn our sacred space.
Our pantries are filled with hanging herbs while jars of pickles, dried fruit, honeyed rosehips, dilly green beans, carrots, jeweled fruit jams, Dads famous pepper jelly, Grandma HeBert’s mustard pickles, elderberry cordial, raspberry shrub, blackberry and apple wines, as well as lemon verbena, conserve all vie for space on the crowded shelves. Our dehydrator is working overtime to preserve the last berries and herbs too delicate to hang.
The turning tides also find us with open hearts of thanksgiving for the abundance we are harvesting and processing. We call on the god and goddess of Mabon that we may share with them our abundance through libations poured and vegetables harvested, while also calling forth the blessings of plenty during winter scarceness. The frenzied days turn to twilight skies and lengthening shadows signal an important shift as we ride the double helix of what we have manifested and what is to come. We will feed our bodies with fruitful and nutritious sustenance while our souls are nourished with the vibrant colors of yellow, orange, purple and red turning foliage.
The waning sun bows its head and we traverse the liminal thread of the double spiral of fate-seeking that still deep place we have long yearned for and travel towards in the coming season of Samhain. With the volumes of work to get the harvest in during the time of the shortening days, it can be a challenge to maintain our internal/external balance. Mabon is as beautiful, rich and decadent as the colors we are surrounded by and we find ourselves being filled with wonder and gratitude for the gifts of the lady and lord that will sustain us in the dark days ahead.
How do you nourish yourself or maintain your balance in the Mabon Season?