In North America the first day of Autumn was on Sunday, 23 September. That was the Autumn Equinox, when the hours of daylight and night are equal. Now the nights are growing longer, and the days shorter.
This natural holiday is also called Mabon. Mabon was a Celtic god, so ancient that only one story about him remains. He was stolen from his mother when only three days old, and imprisoned until King Arthur’s knights rescued him. At the request of the knights, he then led them on a hunt for the HUGE boar known as Tyrch Trwth (who figured in a linked story about a knight loving the daughter of a giant). According to the book, Circle Round (authored by Starhawk, Diane Baker, and Anne Hill), this natural holiday is called Mabon because Mabon was hidden away from the light (like the growing darkness of Autumn). I find myself wondering if it might have more to do with the traditonal hunting and slaughter of animals at this time of year, when the nights begin to cool and the meat can be hung to cure.
I like to change various house decorations at the start of each new season. So the night before I exchanged the Summer decorations and textiles (featuring suns, sunflowers, and pastels) for Autumn ones (featuring harvest fruits, grains, and Autumn colors). The default incenses for the next three months will be rosemary, sage, basil, cinnamon, clove, apple, and frankincense. I also have apple and pumpkin scented votives.
On my altar, I’ve placed pieces of amber, citrine, copper, and a gold ring. If I had them, I’d also add pieces of yellow topaz, peridot, bronze, and cat’s-eye. I’ve also decorated it with cards from a tarot deck: Justice (for balance, harmony, and the ability to make adjustments), Judgement (to be aware of cause and effect, and for the harvest), Sun (to remember it’s warmth as the days grow shorter), and Three of Cups (for celebration at harvest).
Many of those ideas above come from Christine Jette’s book, Tarot For All Seasons. She also explains a fine tarot spread called Balance of Power, wherein you look at your strengths and weaknesses, are reminded about giving thanks, and examine issues about personal balance (which include finances and health). While most of my cards were positive, issues were pointed out that I need to work on — the spread was very helpful. The Ace of Rods (from the Hanson-Roberts Tarot) was one of the cards present in the spread. I chose it to symbolize my affirmation for the next six weeks, which is: I have the power and creativity to get things done, while keeping my life in balance. Am hoping I can live up to it. 🙂
Do you celebrate Autumn? What special things do you do for the season?