Astrology and Tarot, Holidays

Modern magic in the Autumn Equinox: how to celebrate Mabon

Mabon & the Autumn Equinox

Mabon is a Sabbat that celebrates the autumn equinox, which falls around September 21st each year. The name Mabon is a modern terminology set in the 1970s by Aiden Kelly, and influential figure in the Neopagan religion of Wicca. Before that, festivals during this time of year were usually referred to as the Autumnal Equinox. Although there is no proven connection between Mabon and the Autumnal Equinox, Kelly believed that the Celts celebrated at this time. 

In Stonehenge, astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle determined a series of holes called Aubrey Holes that lined up with specific eclipses, allowing light to show through at exactly the moment of the equinox. 

Kelly chose the name Mabon from the celtic tale of Mabon, an infant child stolen away from his mother and imprisoned. The mythic hero Culwch must seek out Mabon to help him hunt down a wild boar that was previously a king in order to win the hand of Olwen in marriage. The myth is indicative of the separation of the youthful gof from his mother, the great goddess, and the resulting deloation of the land, which can only be restored once he is restored. 

The festival of the Eleusinian Mysteries was a sacred harvest held in Greece, once every four years in Eleusis and lasted nine or ten dats. It started at the full moon and included a procession hailing Demeter, the mother of Persephone. Like Mabon, Persephone was also stolen from her mother and imprisoned.

Connecting with the Season

Imagine the way ancestors would have lived during this time of year. Mostly farmers, they are likely working on the second harvest of the year, squash, pumpkin, root vegetables. They are well fed, they are enjoying the fruits of their labor, and preparing for the winter ahead. They are giving thanks and showing gratitude for food, for animals, and for surviving another year. It’s a time to make decisions about what to consume, what to store, and what to leave to decay in the fields.

No two Mabon feasts would look the same, but they usually included a shared meal, acknowledgement of sacrifices made during the year for survival, and offerings for protection through the Winter.

Even as modern people, we breathe the same air that our ancestors held in their lungs. We touch the same earth and water that they touched. 

The Autumn Equinox falls when the sun rises in Libra, the sign that represents level-headed balance and careful judgement. An appropriate frame of mind when preparing for a harsher season. Mabon is both celebratory and somber. It is a busy time of year, and people are tired. With themes of gratitude, death, grief, and looming winter, it is time to acknowledge mixed feelings and seek inner balance. 

How can you celebrate the Autumn Equinox?

Harvest what you have grown in the last year and take an honest look at what you need to let go. You don’t have to cut any chords right away, make it a gentle separation from now until Samhain or Yule.

Here are some light hearted ways to celebrate Mabon in the modern world.

  • Plant bulbs for the Spring
  • Organize your planner for the rest of the year, buy one for next year
  • Improve your negotiation skills with a class or a ted talk {find one, link it}
  • Can, jam, freeze, pickle, or dry goodies from your garden or a local farm
  • Go for a long walk or hike
  • Watch the sunset or the sunrise
  • Have a full harvest moon ritual
  • Go apple picking
  • Have a bonfire
  • Go out dancing or take a dance class
  • Make corn dollies or wreaths
  • Go horseback riding
  • Have a “goodbye garden” parade – great for kids
  • Have a tarot reading

If you like learning about seasonal magic, sign up for my newsletter! Follow me on InsightTimer where I give regular, free talks about mindfulness and seasonal magic.

Mabon Tarot Spread

  1. As the nights get colder, what will the frost wilt and wither?
  2. What energetic cords need to be pruned during the Fall so that I can blossom in Spring?
  3. With darker nights approaching, how can I rake in my energy to hold light for myself and others during Winter?
  4. What dreams have ripened and need to be celebrated with a grateful heart?

Autumn Blessing

At Autumn Equinox, I name this place

A sacred time and sacred space.

Within it I now give my thanks,

With protection granted by Goddess grace!

The north grants ground to walk upon.

The east grants winds that gyrate.

The south grants fire so we live on.

The west grants fluids to sate us.

~Llewellyn’s Sabbat Essentials for Mabon

Events

3 Ways that dancing can boost your brain power

When we think of dance class more as a rite of passage for young girls than as movement therapy for any gender and any age. But, there are many benefits to engaging your body and your mind with some music and movement. Here are three ways that dancing can boost your brain!

1. Dancing strengthens neuroplasticity

Long term dance practice improves the brain’s ability to form new neural connections to change and adapt. Learning new steps, coordinating with music, moving hands and feet, repeating steps on the right and the left, all of this boosts the connectivity between both cerebral hemispheres.

Learning new choreography from week to week, and engaging in a social activity, keeps your neuropathways constantly changing and forging new connections. Proteins are produced within brain cells that spur the growth of new neurons and new cell connections, actually making the mind more supple.

2. Dancing boosts memory

Dancing works with spatial memory, a cognitive process that enables you to remember different locations as well as spatial relations between objects. It requires you to remember steps, combinations, and rhythms. Several studies have shown that dancing is linked to a reduced risk of dementia. In a study by researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, they found that dancing is associated with 76% reduced risk of dementia among the participants.

Dancing increases muscle memory, the ability to do something without being able to explain how to do it. Think of riding a bike. The processes that are important for learning and memory of new skills occur mainly in the brain, not in the muscles. The motor cortex, responsible for controlling movement, develops strong connections between neurons that serve as the representation for motions, and these connections make memory better and easier to access.

3. Dancing makes you happy

In general, physical activities from running to ballet, release endorphins, brain chemicals that increase feelings of euphoria and increase our pain tolerance. However, research at the University of London indicates that dance boosts your mood more than exercise alone. You can burn 300-800 calories per hour dancing, and dancing to music provides a rhythm and satisfactory patterning. Listening to music that we like is an enjoyable experience; moving to it is even better.

Dancing is a way to bond with others. When one dancer’s movement and music expresses joy or sadness, others experience that as well, boosting our emotional regulation and feelings of empathy. Dance is a form of expression and can help process feelings. People who dance together or watch a dance performance feel connected with a group.

Dancing has always been an important part of my physical and mental health. Since I can remember, going to the dance studio was a way to destress. It’s one of the few places where you can drop your baggage at the door and drop into your body, completely focused on the music and the movement.

Legendary psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi investigates the “optimal experience,” proving that what makes an experience genuinely satisfying is a state of consciousness called flow. Flow is a state of happiness we experience when we are in complete engagement in a creative or playful activity. Dance is my flow! And the friends I have made at the studio have been friends for life.

If you are in the Rhode Island area, and you want to dance with me, sign up for my upcoming workshop that kicks off in September at Distinctive Dance, Etc. North. Here are the details!

Sources

https://www.news-medical.net/health/Is-Dancing-Good-for-the-Brain.aspx

https://www.popsci.com/what-is-muscle-memory/

https://www.news-medical.net/news/20170308/Can-dancing-improve-your-mental-health.aspx

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-08-reverse-aging-brain.html?fbclid=IwAR195zhSrYvZgXrWIzGkpkuhXKDLaytvKzGnTIYNfij9jM5kntFZwOaVtRE

Events

Virtual Ostara Class: the Magic of the Spring Equinox

Ostara is a celebration of the Spring Equinox, when the sun hits zenith, the point on the celestial sphere directly over the equator. It is the official start of Spring! From now on, the days will grown longer (if you’re in the northern hemisphere, that is).

A spoken word poem for Ostara:

This is a time to focus on the world that is blossoming outside of ourselves. During this virtual gathering, you will learn about some Gods and Goddesses associated with Springtime, rebirth, and renewal. We’ll share ancient folklore and stories.

  • Estore
  • Dionysus & Persephone
  • Rati
  • Osiris
  • Cernunnos

We will discuss modern ways to practice seasonal magic, and set new intentions for Spring. Your host, Jamie, will share traditional Ostara rituals, recipes, and spells. You will be guided on a special meditation, and bathed in reiki energy. Connect with a supportive group of like-minded people who are finding magic in the modern world.

Astrology Updates

Carter from Success in the Stars Astrology will share all of the latest astrology updates for the season. Where we came from, energies of the present, and where we are headed, according to the power of the celestial bodies.

Carter is incredibly knowledgeable, she holds a Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree from Emory University with certificates in Women in Theology and Ministry and Clinical Pastoral Counseling. She received the Zen Buddhist Jukai ordination from Roshi Joan Halifax at Upaya Zen Center in 2011 and is a 2nd Degree Reiki practitioner.

All attendees receive 50% off the Ostara Spell Kit on Esty!

Everything you need for your Ostara altar, step by step instructions for a ritual, and prompts for journaling, meditation, and sigil work. Attract rebirth, renewal, and manifesting abundance as we move into Spring!

The kit is not required for the class, just a delightful compliment. Available while supplies last! You will receive a 50% coupon code, and the zoom link for the class, when you register.

Events

Benefits of a Reiki and Halotherapy session

One of my absolute favorite offerings for my clients is a 45 minute reiki and halotherapy session at Saltitude in Lincoln, RI. Reiki can also be done long-distance, if you are not near Rhode Island. Learn more about distance reiki.

What is halotherapy?

Halotherapy comes from the Greek word “halos,” which means “salt.” Saltitude has an active salt room that filters dry aerosol micro-particles of salt into the air. Halotherapy is believed to improve respiratory issues such as asthma and allergies. It also has a positive effect on asthma, acne, COPD, sleep disorders and more. Learn more about halotherapy at Saltitude on their website.

What is reiki?

Reiki is often called, “energy healing.” It is a form of alternative medicine that originated in Japan. Reiki practitioners use hands-on healing to transfer universal energy through the palms of the practitioner, to the patient, in order to encourage emotional or physical healing. I am certified in the Usui Shiki Ryoho method, which addresses the whole person on the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels. Learn more about The Usui System of Reiki Healing.

What does reiki feel like?

After a reiki session in the salt cave, clients report feeling lighter, often saying that, “a weight has been lifted.” Some experience change in body temperature, tickling, butterflies, or pins and needles. Some report seeing visions or hearing messages. Sometimes it can be emotional, other times clients relax so deeply that they fall asleep. Just like every person is unique, so is every reiki experience.

salt cave reiki antigravity chair

What should I expect?

When you come in for a reiki session, you’ll want to wear something comfy and cozy. Bring white socks to wear inside of the salt cave.

Inside, you will settle into an antigravity chair, and you have the option to remove your mask. You will listen to a guided meditation to help you drop into your happy place. I will call reiki energy in, and seal the four corners of the room to create a safe space.

Then I will scan your aura and to get a sense for any blockages or problem areas. I will work with the energy of your chakras to help you feel deeply relaxed while I clear your energy using reiki, sage spray, crystals, etc. The guided meditation will bring you back to consciousness and we will discuss the experience together. I might make recommendations to improve the state of your energy moving forward. After your session, you should drink plenty of water and take more time to rest.

Pricing & Availability

To treat yourself to this service, email me or text/call 401-744-5644 and set up an appointment. Follow Arrow Tarot and Saltitude on Facebook for upcoming events! Learn more about my story here.

All appointments are 45 minutes long. COVID regulations require youto wear a mask in main areas. Your mask can be removed during halotherapy. Private groups from the same household or social pod can share a session.

  • Individual: $85 total
  • Couples: $150 total
  • Trio: $65 per person
  • 4-5 people: $55 per person

If you want to know more about having a virtual reiki session, contact me directly! I will work with Saltitude to reserve our appointment.

Jamie reiki session salt cave
Holidays

What is Imbolc? Goddesses, History, and How to Celebrate

Imbolc is an ancient Pagan holiday based on Celtic traditions; it marks the halfway point between winter solstice and the spring equinox in Neolithic Ireland and Scotland. This is the time of year when we start to emerge from the darkness of winter in preparation for the Spring. 

In today’s modern world, we are far removed from the hardships of Winter, compared to our ancestors who lived thousands of years ago. At this point in the year, people have been hunkered down inside for months, living off root vegetables, salted meat, and what little they could fish or hunt. Their sheep, who naturally tend to breed in Autumn, are ready to give birth right around Imbolc. The ewe’s milk flows for the first time all Winter, and fresh milk and cheese were the first signs that Spring is about to arrive. Imbolc was a time to celebrate the coming of brighter days, surviving the harsh Winter, and planning for the year’s sowing season.

Being mindful of the natural energies, the ebbs and flows of the year, can help us stay connected to the elements, the season and the earth. Ancient Pagans followed the Wheel of the Year, eight Sabbats consisting of four solstice festivals, and four fire festivals.

All about Brighid (Brigid)

On Imbolc, ancestors in Ireland and Scotland particularly, honored the Goddess Brighid. Brighid can take on any appearance she wants, young or old, human or snake. She is a Triple Celtic Goddess, the embodiment of the child, the maiden and the crone. She is the Goddess of the Eternal Flame, the trinity also represents three types of fire: hearth fire, forge fire, and the fire to create and transform. She is also known as the Goddess of the Sacred Well, protecting healing waters. Brighid was the patron of poets, healers, and magicians.   

Brighid (Brigid) Imbolc

Imbolc Correspondence for the Modern Witch

Foods associated with Imbolc are milk, butter, yogurt, and cheese (and nondairy alternatives will do just fine). This is the time to savor creamy soups, spring onions, leeks, potatoes, and Irish Soda Bread. Oils associated with Imbolc are spruce and fir, cinnamon, rosemary, patchouli, jasmine, and vanilla. Colors are white, light blue, and light pink. 

Imbolc is sometimes referred to as Candlemas, and a common practice is to make and bless candles. You can make corn dollies or Brighid’s Cross out of any kind of grass or hay you have available. 

Ceromancy, or candlewax divination, is a great way to connect with the magic of the season. Imagine a goal you are working towards, a seed you wish to plant. Really meditate on this goal, and develop a question with a yes or no answer. Use a paper plate and draw a line down the middle. Label on side yes, the other no. Light a small spell candle or tealight. Journal about your vision or meditate more (while supervising the candle). When it has burned all the way down, observe which side of the plate collected the most wax. That is your answer!

Imbolc Spell Kit

4 Ways to learn more about Imbolc

  1. Listen to my Imbolc playlist on Spotify, with seasonal songs and podcasts
  2. Check out my Imbolc board on Pinterest for more ideas
  3. Order an Imbolc Spell Kit from my Etsy Shop (pictured above)
  4. Join me for a magic workshop:

Learn more about Brighid, the Roman Goddess Juno, and the Egyptian Goddess Renenutet. Pull tarot cards, receive reiki, and relax during a guided meditation that will help you plant your own fire seed of intention. 

  • In Person workshop at Saltitude Sunday 1/31 1:00-3:00 pm (learn more)
  • Virtual workshop on Zoom Monday 2/1 5:30-7:00 pm (learn more)

Sources

Neal, Carl F. Imbolc: Rituals, Recipes & Lore for Brigid’s Day. Llewellyn, 2016. 

Moura, Ann. Grimoire for the Green Witch: a Complete Book of Shadows. Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd, 2018.