Tomorrow is the Autumn Equinox, also known as Mabon. This time last year, I started my journey of dedicated spiritual practice. Although my spirituality was something I had wrestled with many times throughout my teenage years and early twenties, there was something about this time around that made me feel I had finally struck gold. I had never previously celebrated more than a handful of the eight spokes of the wheel in a row, because my doubt would set in and my interest would wane.
This year, for the first time, I am coming around to celebrate the Autumn Equinox for the second time in two years, having celebrated each Sabbat in between.
Although I could feel that difference at the time – I could feel the greater weight and significance to the new path I was eking out for myself – I don’t think I was convinced that I would still be as steady on my path a year on. These are unsteady, uncertain years, those years where I start to grow into my future self, where anything is still possible for my future.
But here I am, feeling more certain than ever of myself and who I’m becoming. So this Sabbat is particularly significant to me, and probably will always be.
Harvest and Release
As the Autumn Equinox marks the second harvest festival on the wheel of the year, like Lughnasadh it represents a time of retrospection, appraisal, and gratitude. But although Lughnasadh was primarily about gratitude for me this year – a time of abundance and joy – the Autumn Equinox very definitely marks the turning point into the dark part of the year, and as such it also signals a time of release and introspection.
At Samhain, I will fully submit to the dark of winter, fully releasing everything that needs to be released this year as I turn twenty-five. The Autumn Equinox, for me, begins the work of this descent into the dark. I start to assess and let go of what is no longer working.
My spiritual and artistic creativity often flourishes during the late autumn and winter months, and I look forward to this as ever this year. But in order to start fresh and really commit myself to new projects, I must release everything that is holding me back. I will be doing some shadow work soon, probably starting with the Equinox on Sunday, so I will be beginning preparatory work for that, too.
As for Anni on her youtube channel Mirth and Reverence, the release that happens for me at this time is not to be taken lightly. My ritual will mark a real commitment to change, and the coming weeks will see me journalling and thinking a lot about what I’ve learned over the past year about my core being, and what I’m holding onto that is not serving it. This can take the form of pretty much anything – from physical material objects to psychological tendencies or limiting patterns.
All of this processing and releasing is working towards the central aim of this Sabbat: balance. The night and day are now perfectly balance – there are still warm, sunny days when I can sit in the garden for hours, but there are also days when the cold slaps me in the face as I leave the apartment for work in the morning.
So it is a good time to find the balance between action and introspection; between my spiritual practice and my social life; between my day job and my (very different) career aspirations. The dark half of the year will be very different, particularly when the clocks change in October, and I need to be balanced and serene and ready for the shadow work I will be undertaking.
Health and Harmony
This year, I also feel a strong need to try for better social harmony. I am working hard on eliminating my irritability, particularly towards other people, be they family, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, or strangers on the street.
I have been allowing myself to cultivate less-than-healthy habits for too long. These run the gamut from stress to lack of exercise. In the past few weeks I have been making a real effort to eat more healthy food, and have taken up jogging. I am cutting back on meat – which I used to eat most days primarily out of laziness or lack of imagination – and am pretty much doubling my intake of vegetables.
So from my mental habits to my physical habits, I am working on fine tuning the balance and achieving harmony. Although some of the mental habits of irritability and stress have been deeply ingrained, I really feel that they are to some extent a choice I make – and therefore something I can choose not to do. It won’t be easy, particularly as a lot of it is learned behaviour from my parents, but I’m determined.