I know we are over two weeks away, but I simply cannot be more ready for fall this year.
Summer is an incredibly busy time for me. Because I live in Florida, weekends are filled with sunshine, friends, and cookouts. We enjoy long lazy days on the river and warm sultry nights with hours of cocktails and conversation.
Fall beckons with its promise of cooler temperatures, encroaching darkness, sweater weather, and nostalgia. Fall reminds me of the October day years ago when my husband and I met and fell in love. It also brings back the memories of the local fair, raking leaves with my dad, bonfires, oysters, and pumpkin spice everything.
I also look forward to the approach of Halloween. Halloween (Samhain) makes no apologies for its Pagan history, and it is the only Pagan holiday that has remained true to its roots. Easter (Ostara) and Christmas (Yule) were long ago taken over by Christianity and rebranded in a way that appealed to their followers.
When the weather is crisp and the leaves begin to change color, I love to sit outside below a tree and reflect on the year. Each spring and summer leaves me changed, and always stronger.
In honor of the approach of fall, I invite you to try out the following four routines and rituals to prepare yourself for this time of retreat and reflection. This begins with the celebration of Mabon on September 22nd.
Mabon is a Wiccan holiday that marks the middle of the harvest. It is a time of equal day and equal night. Reminiscent of Thanksgiving, it is time to reap what you have sown, giving thanks for the harvest and the bounty the Earth provides. Since many of us do not grow our own food, it is also a good time to finish up old projects and plans and “plant the seeds” for new endeavors or changes in our lifestyle.
Mabon is traditionally celebrated by Wiccans by incorporating the symbols and colors of this harvest holiday into their day. Symbols of Mabon include cornucopias, ivy, pumpkins, pinecones, gourds, apples, dried seeds, and pomegranates. Colors associated with this holiday include orange, brown, gold, maroon, and red. Many of us already incorporate aspects of Mabon into our lives. If you have been shopping lately, you have no doubt seen an influx of decorations that incorporate the symbols and colors of this holiday. Even people with no pagan aspirations have symbols of Mabon throughout their homes and adorning their mantles this time of year.
If you would like to celebrate Mabon this year, which falls on Friday, September 22nd, consider the following five activities to help you benefit from this time of year.
1) Host a Fall Dinner
Gather your family and friends and prepare a meal using foods symbolic of the holiday, such as apples, pomegranates, potatoes, onions, carrots, and squash.
2) Prepare an Altar
Modern pagans or solitary practitioners build an altar complete with symbols and colors of the holiday. Incorporate items like pinecones, gourds, leaves, seeds, and candles that are orange or yellow. Traditionally, an orange or yellow candle is lit on the altar and a prayer may be offered to the Goddess Mother or Green Man.
Use this time to go for a long walk in nature and do some reflection. Think about the past year and the things that have happened that you would like to release. Make plans for the coming months for new projects and plans. Think about what you may wish to incorporate into your lifestyle and make a note of your thoughts in a journal. You may also wish to craft a vision board (though this would be a good activity to do on October 5th, the next full moon).
4) Do Arts and Crafts for your Home
Gather items associated with Mabon, ones that include harvest symbols such as corn, corn silk, pumpkins, gourds, leaves, wreaths, or acorns. Craft items for your home that incorporate these symbols to enjoy in your home over the fall season. If you aren’t crafty, purchase these items at a craft store like Michael’s and decorate your home in honor of the season.
Let me know what special things you do in honor of Mabon below. Happy fall, ya’ll!