Between the global pandemic and social protests erupting across the world, this year has affected us all in ways we never expected. No one could have predicted we’d spend most of the year indoors, having to redefine our definition of community, and what matters most to us. Now the fall is almost here, reminding us that the planet, and life, goes on. We adapt. And as without, so within. The magic of Mabon, and the fall season in most magical traditions, is a time of deep spiritual communication, signaling the beginning of a season of transformation. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, the light of summer grows shorter, the nights grow longer, and the leaves on the trees begin to change colors, a physical manifestation of the change we too are going through. But change, even positive change, is rarely easy. In this blog, I’m sharing my thoughts about Mabon and the fall equinox – the sacred search for balance.
This year, Mabon, the pagan festival celebrating the autumnal equinox, falls on September 22, and, as always, it welcomes an internal focus, a deeper kind of reflection. Bombarded with new information every single day, Mabon prompts us to take a moment. It’s time to look back on the year and acknowledge both what we have grown as well as what we have released. The autumnal equinox is one of two dates in the year when day and night are of equal length. In Latin, equinox means “equal night,” and it’s an energetic cusp of perfect balance; as we cross over, we step into the shadowy half of the year. We remember that even nature spends the majority of its time seeking balance.
This time of year also syncs to the ever-seeking sign of balance, Libra. Libra is motivated by love, relationships, and beauty – key elements when we’re in search of balance. When we tap into the energy of Libra, that charming, cooperative energy, we help to bring ourselves and the world around us into greater equilibrium. It can be tempting to come down hard on ourselves and on others, but that only serves to perpetuate negative cycles and highlight our impatience. Instead, Mabon encourages us to remember that the things we have control over fall on a pretty short list – our attitudes being one of them. During times of uncertainty, it can be easy to panic, lose faith, or waste time trying to hold tight to the illusion of control. Instead, we can choose gratitude, for the good, the bad, and the ugly – for the process – and when we do, we open the door to expansion, peace, and balance.
3 Ways to Restore Balance
1) Practice Gratitude
Since the spring equinox, few things have “gone to plan.” Even still, expressing gratitude is powerful spiritual work. It’s not only about being grateful for getting what we want, it’s being grateful for exactly what we have. Even if it’s just the air in our lungs and the roof over our heads. The fall equinox is about harvest, and although you might not necessarily be plucking fruit off the trees, how about harvesting the fruits of your beautiful, one-of-a-kind soul? Your hope, your courage, and your light deserve to be recognized, as well as acts of kindness and the willingness to keep an open mind and heart. It’s equally important to offer thanks – for you are supported in all that you do, all the time. Harvest reminds us that we don’t grow alone. Now is also a beautiful time to stop, reflect, and bow in gratitude for all those who walk with us.
2) Acknowledge and Release
The harvest offers us another face – the face of loss, of crops that did not survive. These are seeds planted that did not yield, and they too give us something to learn. In learning that not all your seeds will grow, and not all crops survive, you develop the skill of sweet surrender to forces beyond your will and control. You learn to appreciate what you have, deeply and authentically, and in doing so you secure an even more powerful harvest for yourself in the year ahead. You’re a human being, gloriously messy and bursting with complexity and contradiction. You can’t get it right every time. And that’s not the goal anyway. Like nature, you’re not perpetually in balance, nor are you supposed to be. At Mabon, you’re reminded that nature itself is only in balance twice a year and that you can observe without harsh judgment and in the quest of a deeper and constantly evolving wisdom.
Recognize your efforts and reflect on the choices that led to those results. Is there anything you might want to do differently the next time? Instead of looking for what you “did wrong,” view it as an opportunity to learn more about yourself and the parts of your life that you seek to change.
3) Set Intentions
If this year has been difficult for you – as it has been for many – what intentions can you set today for flow, balance, and alignment as we head into the darker months of 2020? At this moment of total equanimity, you are invited to look within and ask yourself how YOU are balancing your life and the demands on you? Your life can be divine alchemy of light and shadow, of bliss and joy, balanced by times of challenge and struggle. If all of life, all of nature, is a grand mirror for you to gaze into and see places where you need to grow and develop, what is the equinox mirror showing you this year? Where are you out of balance? What needs to be surrendered, acknowledged, and released? Mabon helps us understand how our committed intentions and actions can help us truly change our lives.
Nature wants nothing more than for us to practice a continual cycle of planting, growing, surrendering, harvesting, and releasing. And remember, the late harvests still count, so you might not be done yet! In winemaking, which is what my family did for decades in Crete before the war came and their crops were destroyed, the sweetest wines come from the last grapes pulled off the vines. That late harvest wine is like thick honey syrup, and continued efforts will infuse the fruit of these later days with their blend of flavors and aromas. If you aren’t ready to bring in your crops just yet, go ahead – take a few more weeks. What you yield will likely be sweeter for the delay. At this point, you’ll be ready to step fully into shadow season and encounter the darker aspects of yourself with acceptance and a higher level of awareness. The dark is simply another part of the light, and not inherently bad or evil. And no matter what we’re going through, how we’re feeling, we’re not alone, but it’s up to us to pay attention to what part of the cycle we’re in and how we can honor it.
With the world thrown into disarray, the search for balance is more important than ever. When we’re disheartened, gratitude becomes even more important. Remember that any form of divination you practice will be even more powerful during Mabon. You can also try meditating on what balance means to you and your life. Everyone is in a unique place and no one else can tell you which way to go or what to do. From my heart to yours, happy Mabon.
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