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Autumn equinox is the seventh Sabbat on the

Wheel of the Year. It is the autumn equinox, a

solar sabbat, when the hours of darkness and the

hours of light are exactly equal, as if the scales

are perfectly balanced, but the hours of darkness will now increase. Equinox literally means “equal night.” It is the middle of autumn. It is also known as second harvest. First harvest, the bread harvest is Lammas, July 30/Aug 1. Second harvest is the harvest of grapes and other fruit. Samhain is the third harvest, the last one before the hard freeze when all the crops must be in.

Autumn Equinox is also known as Mabon. The word “Mabon” is said to come from Queen Mab of the faery people, (Maeve of the Celts). Mabon, is also a Celtic God, Child of Light and son of the Earth Mother Goddess. This sabbat was also called, Alban Elfed (Wales), Second Harvest Festival, Wine Harvest, Feast of Avalon, Feast of the Ingathering and Harvest Home. The word “Mabon” in Welsh means “child.” Because a harvest supper, a dinner of thanksgiving and celebration, was part of this sabbat, along with the themes of thankfulness, this sabbat is known as the “Witches Thanksgiving.”

We pay our respects to the approaching dark

time of the year, and give thanks to the waning

sunlight. At this sabbat we are poised between

light and darkness, life and death. We mourn

what is passing, celebrate that which is bountiful and are reminded

that the Mother will hold the seed of Light in Her womb until the time of rebirth. This is a time for us to look at our own scales, the bounty of our own personal harvest weighted against our life’s experience. This is a time to take the gifts given from experience and make them a part of who and what we are. These experiences regenerate into wisdom. By doing so we honor these events, people and experiences that have so impacted our journey and our being and in honoring these we make them sacred. At this time the sun enters the constellation of Libra, the scales, and we celebrate all we have harvested, both physically and spiritually. In China this is Chung Ch’ui, the end of the rice harvest. In Judaism it is Succoth, the harvest holiday. This is one of the oldest harvest celebrations in Europe.

Themes are abundance, balance, and thanksgiving.

What’s on the Altar?

On the altar is a dish containing a single ear of wheat or other grain crop, covered by a cloth.

The altar and Circle are decorated with pinecones, grain, acorns, red poppies (symbol of the Corn Goddess Demeter) and other autumnal flowers, fruit and leaves.

Symbols: wine, gourds, pine cones, acorns, corn, apples, autumn leaves, wheat stalks, fall flowers, pomegranates and cornucopias.

Colors: dark green, gold, orange, brown, dark red, yellow.

Foods: apples, grains, root vegetables, nuts, squash or pomegranate.

Incense: rosemary, sandalwood, vervain, myrrh, sage, pine.

Jewels: topaz, amethyst, carnelian, sapphire.

Goddesses: Grain and corn mothers, three-fold goddesses, mother goddesses and goddesses of healing and balance.

Persephone (Greece) Gula (Babylon) Demeter (Greece) Amaterasu (Japan) Hecate (Greece) Ishtar (Sumer) Proserpine (Rome) Isis (Egypt) Ceres (Rome) Freya (Norway)

Mawy (Africa) Inanna and Ereshkigal (Sumer) Ata Bey (Caribbean)

Changing Woman (First Nation) Spider Woman (First Nation) The Morrigan (Ireland)

Corn Mothers (First Nation) The Three Fates (Greece) Tonantzin (Mexico)

The Norns (Scandinavia) Chicomecoatl (South America) Fortuna (Rome) Baubo (Greece)

Sarasvati (India) Parvati (India) Lakshmi (India) Yemaya (West Africa) Kwan Yin (China) Mary (Christian) Ma’at (Egyptian)

In our ritual, we will honor Ma’at, Egyptian goddess of balance and order. She is depicted as a woman with a feather in her hair but is also sometimes thought of as an abstract principle of what is right and fitting. In the Egyptian story, when you enter the underworld, your heart is placed on the scales and weighted against a feather. If your heart is lighter than the

feather, then you proceed to eternal life. We will speak the Negative Confession to

Ma’at, and as we say it, they will enter us, and it will be so.

Ma’at will lighten our hearts.

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