This weekend marks the Northern Hemisphere Autumnal Equinox additionally it marks the Second Harvest also known as Mabon. It is the celebration of balance and abundance. It also brings my favorite time of year – Autumn. As summer slowly gives way to autumn, there’s a sense of anticipation in the air. The days become shorter, the leaves begin to change colors, and the temperature drops. All this marking the arrival of the Autumnal Equinox and Mabon.
The garden is letting go of its fruits. The tomatoes are getting smaller and almost gone from my garden. I do have an abundance of bell peppers and jalapenos of many colors. Last week I made a deconstructed Stuffed Pepper Soup, a Bell Pepper Pasta Sauce and Taco Stuffed Peppers. Sunday, I’ll be making a Three Pepper Salad and still need to come up with a couple more bell pepper dishes to finish off the garden. The jalapenos will be harvested, diced, frozen on cookie sheets, and then put into containers in the freezer for use throughout the winter. I will have all this finished by Saturday, the Autumn Equinox, also known as Mabon.
The term “Second Harvest” often refers to Mabon. Its roots can be traced back to Celtic and Druidic traditions where it was celebrated as a harvest festival. The name “Mabon” is believed to be derived from the Welsh mythological figure Mabon ap Modron, a god of youth and freedom. Mabon is a time for reflection, gratitude, and the celebration of harvest and abundance. Mabon is a time to give thanks for the bountiful harvest that sustains us through the winter. It’s a time to appreciate the fruits of our labor and the abundance of the earth.
In 2023 Mabon falls on Saturday, September 23, which is the date of the Autumnal Equinox. During this time, day and night are of equal length, symbolizing balance and harmony. It’s the time when the earth begins its transition into the colder months. As the leaves change color and fall from the trees, Mabon serves as a reminder of the cyclical nature of life and the inevitability of change. It encourages personal transformation and growth. The Autumnal Equinox reminds us of the delicate balance between light and dark, masculine and feminine, and all the dualities that exist in our lives. It encourages us to find harmony and equilibrium.
Mabon is a time for giving thanks for the bountiful harvest and celebrating the abundance of the Earth’s offerings as autumn sets in. It emphasizes themes of balance, gratitude, and the recognition of the cyclical nature of life and the seasons.
I typically begin to feel the energy of the Autumnal Equinox two or three days before and continue to feel it two to three days after – so this coming weekend is going to be a family celebration. My daughter is leaving the city and coming to the Northland for some much needed retreat and family time.
Like many harvest festivals, Mabon is a time for feasting. People come together to share meals made from the season’s produce. We are having a Moroccan Stew with Sweet Potatoes. Cinnamon, cumin, apricots, sweet potatoes, and preserved lemons mimic the colors of fall, and just like the Autumnal Equinox itself, is balance. We will have a Cumin Yogurt to dollop on top, but it will also make a great dip for veggies or pita chips. I’ll also make a Cumin Rice to eat along with the Moroccan stew. To bring a lovely Autumnal Equinox aroma to the kitchen, I’ll make a Cinnamon and Clove Tea. The cinnamon and cloves have some added health benefits too – they are said to keep away colds.
We will be at the cabin so taking a leisurely walk in the woods will be fun. We will collect leaves, and pine cones to add to our Autumnal Equinox Altar. This altar will serve as a focal point for meditation and reflection.
Later in the evening, as the sun is setting, we will build our campfire. We will roast marshmallows and make S’mores, talk about whatever comes up, most likely we will solve all the problems of the world (LOL). The fire offers us time for reflection – reflection of the past year, reflection for the future, reflection of our relationships and how we want them to flow into the next year.
The Autumnal Equinox is a time for balance and reflection. As you engage in your weekend activities and savor the foods with your friends and family, take a moment to appreciate the changing seasons and the simple joys that come with them. Whether you are embracing the crisp air, the vibrant foliage, or the delicious flavors of fall, this Autumnal Equinox celebration is a wonderful opportunity to create lasting memories with your loved ones.
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