On days like this where the clouds lay heavy, touching the earth I find myself daydreaming, listening to swirls of memories. It can feel like a day out of time, a liminal time, and there’s magic here in the betwixt and between.
We’ve assigned this time many names: Mabon, Michaelmass, Alban Elfed, the witches thanksgiving, second harvest and as many have been lost and many still to be thought up. All over the world day and night are of almost equal length and here in the Northern hemisphere darkness will soon take over as the available daylight dwindles.
In Ireland Newgrange marks the Winter Solstice and not too far from there is the much older Knowth which marks the autumn equinox.
I love the liminal, the threshold times – they hold such magic: dawn, dusk, ritual, trance, doorways (where many gods were born) the cusp of the otherworld – and this time we live in now ‘The Great Turning’ (J. Macy). The earth has cycled around to the fall equinox having carried us through Beltane, the summer solstice and Lughnassagh. Her journey through the seasons is a pilgrimage as she circles around the sun similar to the journey our feet may have taken us on a Tura – the circular, spiraling prayer and meditation of the Celts on a pilgrimage to and around a scared site. On our journey through the year arriving at these sacred threshold times is a tura, our pilgrimage and when we arrive at these dates we become more attuned through our awareness to the energies they offer.
Fall, mabon whatever name you use I see it as a second harvest – a time to take stock of that harvest and assess if it’s going to get us through the winter.
Our natural inclination at this time of the year, with shorter days is to turn inwards. While summer was a flurry of outwardly busy activity now we tap into root energy. Take time out of time in this threshold time to take stock of your personal harvest. Plan, write, create ceremony, ritual – whatever you do to take stock of relationships, and work, and practice and connecting. Have a fall clean out – what do we need to rid ourselves of in order to grow? We can’t just shake those bad habits and thought patterns but we can acknowledge them and so slowly work to dismantle them.
Many of us have problems with the lack of sunlight but here in the mountains we’re lucky to have the explosion of fall colors. I like the darkness it’s a place to hide, to wrap it around me like a shawl. We can welcome this time in planning what we wish to become and plotting out the steps to get there. I surround myself with books and inspiration – with the wood stove burning, soup bubbling cocooned in the bus amongst the trees. If we don’t offer things to die, and wither like leaves how can we make compost – rich, compost in which we plant the seeds of new life. With all the fun of Samhain approaching don’t forget to take time on that special threshold time and review your thoughts from equinox.