A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
Autumnal Equinox (Mabon, Alban Elued, Alban Elfed). In the Northern Hemisphere, the Autumnal Equinox falls about 22 or 23 September, as the Sun crosses the celestial equator going south. In the Southern Hemisphere the Equinox occurs about March 20 or 21, when the Sun moves north across the celestial equator. The Equinox has inspired ancient myths, religious festivals and customs, as it represents the preservation of life and its basic necessities. Animals prepare for winter by storing food and creating hibernation spaces and farmers collect their remaining crops. Equinox celebrations might be: making a gratitude list; restoring balance in the home; decorating the home; making autumn arts and crafts; starting something new to prepare for an abundant inner and outer harvest; or eating autumn meals. Mabon was a God in Welsh mythology, the Child of Light and Son of the Earth Mother Goddess, Modron. Druids celebrate this day and night and Pagans honour old age and the approach of Winter, standing hand in hand as equals as the shadows lengthen and seeing the darker faces of the God and Goddess as humankind returns to the darkness whence it came. The Autumnal Equinox is a point of perfect balance on the Wheel of the Year, its counterpart being Ostara, the Spring Equinox. At each, night and day are of equal length and in perfect equilibrium, dark and light, masculine and feminine, inner and outer in balance. This Druid Alban Elued or Alban Elfed is on the cusp of transition, as from now the year begins to wane and from this moment darkness begins to defeat the light. The cycle of the natural world is moving towards completion, the Sun’s power is waning and the nights grow longer, the days shorter and cooler. The sap of trees returns to their roots deep in the earth, changing the green of summer to the fire of autumn, to the flaming reds, oranges and golds. This is the Second Harvest, the Fruit Harvest and the Great Feast of Thanksgiving when the Goddess is radiant as Harvest Queen and the God finally dies with His gift of pure love at the cutting of the last grain but He will return. As the grain harvest is safely gathered in from Lammas and reaches completion, there is an abundance of fruit and vegetables and the waning Sun is thanked for the wealth of harvest bestowed. Festivals require celebration and the giving of thanks at each turn of the Wheel brings both inner and outer gifts and insights, Mabon being a celebration and a time of rest after the labour of harvest. In terms of the life path, it is the moment of reaping what was sown, to look at the hopes and aspirations of Imbolc and Ostara and to reflect on how they have manifested. It is time to complete projects, to clear out and let go that which is no longer wanted or needed, to prepare for descent so that the winter can offer a time for reflection and peace. It is also a time to plant the seeds of new ideas and hopes that will lie dormant but nourished in the dark until the return of Spring. The symbols of Mabon are: the Cornucopia (Horn of Plenty), a wonderful symbol for the wealth of harvest and a beautifully balanced symbol that is both male and female; the Apple, a symbol of the Fruit Harvest that figures significantly in many sacred traditions for life and immortality, healing, renewal, regeneration and wholeness, associated with beauty, long life and restored youth, with the Ogham name Quert, the epitome of health and vitality and the source of life at the heart of the Ogham Grove containing a secret pentagram for Pagans, representing the elements of Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit, thus also the directions of East, South, West, North and Within; the Colours of Mabon from green to red, orange, yellow, brown and gold; and the Mabon Altar dressed in the very best produce found from field, forest and market, from garden and the wild, apples, pears, damsons, sloes, rose hips, elderberries, blackberries and hawthorn berries. If a Great Feast of Thanksgiving or sabbat is not possible, one can walk to collect nature’s wild abundance, always leaving enough for the wildlife and the nature spirits. Shuubun No Hi (秋分の日i) in Japan marks the Autumn Equinox. As for Shunbun no Hi (春分の日) at the Spring Equinox on 20 March 2021, harmony and balance are the themes, sutras are recited and the graves of relatives are visited. Shuubun no Hi became a public holiday in 1948 but in 1947 and earlier years it was the date of Shuki koreisai (秋季皇霊祭), a Shinto event, but represented as a non-religious holiday for the sake of separation of religion and state in Japan’s post-war Constitution. Image: pinterest.com.
Prayer In this circle, golden harvest light and dark are split in half and we bathe in both. The Sun makes our one half a diamond of ecstasy, the Night making our other half the black of Shiva’s meditation. It is here we write a prayer for Mother, make a sacrifice of our silver wishes and cast a spell. Blessed be
Dunawd Sant (St Dinooth, Dinothus, Dunod). Celtic Feast Day for Sixth-Century founder and first Abbot of Iscoed (Bangor, Flintshire), which Abbey flourished between 500 and 542. He was originally a North British chieftain but was driven into Wales by reverses of fortune. In conjunction with his three sons, Deiniol, Cynwyl and Gwarthan, and under the patronage of Cyngen, Prince of Powys, he founded the Monastery of Bangor on the Dee. Another Bangor Abbey was founded by the Welsh St Deiniol in 514 at Bangor on Bardsey Island off the tip of Caernarvonshire. Delegates from Iscoed attended St Augustine’s 603 meeting with the Celtic Christian Bishops and Doctors at what is now called Augustine’s Oak (Ac), on the present-day boundary between Somerset and Gloucestershire. After the British delegates’ refusal to agree to St Augustine’s proposals, he prophesied their destruction by the English. In 613, when the monks of Bangor were praying for the success of their countrymen in battle against the army of King Æthelfrith of Northumbria, twelve hundred of them were slain, being mistaken for combatants. The monastery itself was burnt about sixty years later and extensive ruins remained for several centuries. Image: thirdangelsmessage.com.
Naomh Columb Crag (St Colum of Enagh). Medieval Feast Day for the Sixth-Century disciple of St Columba (Colmcille) who was a wise spiritual father and priest with a church in Enagh, two miles north-east of Derry. After his death, he was venerated with a 22 September festival. In 1197, the church of Cluain-i Eanach was plundered by Normans who were establishing themselves on the north coast, having been in Ireland for the previous two decades, and went on a predatory excursion to the port of Derry. Image: youtube.com.