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

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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

Astrology and Tarot, Personal Quips

How a pomegranate lead to personal growth

Monday morning’s new moon and solar eclipse in Sagittarius had me wide awake in the early hours, thinking about the past year. The lesson that came to mind was a lightbulb moment sparked a pomegranate that arrived by surprise in my produce subscription box (Misfit Market – here’s a coupon).

Pomegranates are powerful little fruits! They are packed with antioxidants and rich with symbolism. Pomegranates represent fertility, the womb (ovaries), abundance, and new possibilities. In the tarot deck. The High Priestess has pomegranates on her tapestry, and the Empress has them on her dress, to capture their creative, reflective, feminine energies. Some say that the “forbidden fruit” in the Garden of Eden was actually a pomegranate (learn how it became the apple). 

As a kid, my first encounter with a pomegranate was in a holiday fruit basked that arrived at our house. My stepfather cracked it open and we picked out the seeds with our fingers, juice squirting as they burst, our fingers turning pink. It made quite the mess. I got the message from my parents that they were too messy and kind of a pain in the butt to eat! As an adult, I love pomegranate juice (especially in mimosas) and I buy prepackaged pomegranate arils. But never the whole fruit, too much work.

Anyway, here I am with an uninvited pomegranate in my possession, and with the power of the internet now in my hand, I found a great hack video on how to eat pomegranates really easily. You scour the four corners and crack it open into a bowl of water. As you work out the seeds with your fingertips, the water helps prevent them from bursting, and they sink to the bottom. The pulp floats to the top, you drain it off, and done! So easy, so much better than prepackaged, and I will never hesitate to buy fresh pomegranates again!

For so long I stayed away from this amazing fruit or I bought processed versions because I thought they were hard to eat. What other self limiting beliefs have I carried into adulthood that are completely wrong?

Things that “I’m bad at,” or things that, “always happen to me.” What I think I am or I think I’m not. Subconscious limits that I set on the boundless opportunities that life has to offer, based on outdated knowledge, tools and experiences. This year, I have only started to scratch the surface of my ego. It started with a pilgrimage to India and ended in the pandemic. I received the gift of some serious down time, and invested that back into learning and creating new things.

The Winter Solstice comes on Sunday, and Yule season is here. Ancient pagans believe that the sun was reborn on this day, the shortest day of the year. As the sun is reborn, it is also a chance for us to start with a blank slate. The practice we foster in the darkness of these months will move us to the light in sync with the sun. 

If you want to practice manifestation, raise your vibe, and work with the magic of the season, join me for an online Winter Solstice Celebration. Carter from Success in the Stars Astrology is going to tell us all about the great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, the “Christmas Star” that you might be hearing about. She will share insights into the energies at play in now and in the future. Check it out.

You can also give some else the gift of tarot – book a group reading or ask about gift certificates! Learn more.

Astrology and Tarot, Holidays

How to celebrate Lammas and the Sturgeon Moon

The themes of the Sabbat and the full moon are really speaking to me this year. This weekend marks the beginning of the harvest season, and my garden is just about ready to burst forth with all sorts of veggies. I haven’t picked anything but herbs and lettuce yet, and now it’s time! My first tomato is turning red. My peppers re just big enough to pick. My turnips grew so fast, dewy purple bulbs are pushing up from the soil. The first green beans are as pretty plump. I’m planning a Sabbat dinner with some of these home grown goodies. For some top notch vegan recipes, sign up for the Arrow tarot newsletter here! I include seasonal recipes that I’m really digging.

Lammas and Lughnassadh Sabbat- August 1st

Lughnassadh is an ancient Gaelic festival to celebrate the beginning of harvest season. It falls on August 1st, and its a time to feast to break bread,and to grateful for the abundance of the earth. Some Pagan and Wiccan traditions celebrate Lammas, a very similar adaptation of the festival that falls on the same day. Sabbats fall at the half way point between solstices. It’s the height of summer, the heart of the season. celebrations honor the Son God, during his most sacred month. August is considered an auspicious month for handfasting and weddings.

The harvest is depicted as the Grain Mother.Like the vegetables in the garden that are ripe with seeds and abundance, the fullness of the mother holds at her very heart, the seed of all future harvests. The mother is pregnant not only with her daughter within her, but also her daughter’s ovaries, which contain all of the seed for all future generations. As the harvest is gathered, there is food to keep the community alive through winter.

The Full Sturgeon Moon – August 3rd

The names of moons were created by different Native American tribes, and are deeply tied to nature and the cycles of the year. The full moon in August (this Monday, the 3rd) is called the Sturgeon Moon because it was the time of year that it was easiest to catch these big, fresh water dwelling fish. They were abundant, a key resource for survival in the summer. Now, Sturgeons are extremely rare to find due to over fishing and habitat pollution. Some tribes call the August moon the green corn moon, the fruit moon, or the barley moon.

Ways to Celebrate

This weekend and into Monday, you can celebrate the spirit of the season in many different ways. You can find or make yourself a corn dolly, or a grain mother doll. They are made out of stalks of wheat, oats, barley, corn husks, whatever is available. Here’s a video on how to mak corn dollies. The doll is usually kept until Imbolc festivities. Made during Lammas, the corn dolly are believed to hold the spirit of the corn, and were burned or buried at Imbolc, to symbolize the retern of the corn spirit to the earth, thus ensuring fertility for the year ahead.

You can decorate with colorful Indian corn, wheat, red and orange flowers, like sunflowers and marigolds. This is a good time to set protective spells around your home. Create and bury near the entry way to your home: a witch’s bottle full of broken, sharp, pointy things, and a bit of urine (I know crazy – but a powerful protection spell!).

Have yourself a nice dinner on the night of Lammas or the full moon. It is traditional to have cornbread and seasonal vegetables like peppers, tomatoes, cabbage, cucumbers. You can make a dessert out of blackberries which are growing ripe and wild this time of year. Or perhapes have some blackberry wine, mead or beer.

This is a traitionl song that would be chanted at Sabbat dinner:

The Earth Mother grants the grain;

The horned God goes to His domain.

By giving life into Her grain;

the God dies, then is born again.

For this month, I invite you to work with Red Jasper, which resonated with the root chakrah. Red Jasper has been used for protection for thousands of years. It is believed to create and help balance aggressive, dynamic energy. A good yoga pose to embody these elements of the season is warrior three (Virabhadrasana III). One leg is extended back, long while the other roots down straight in support. Here’s a video of how to strike this pose. It stretches, the chest, shoulder, neck, belly and groin, complementing your work with red jasper. It clears energy from the crown to the tail. While holding the pose, I invite you try on the affirmation, “My strength is my foundation; my mind is limitless.”

I hope that you are growing full with the season and enjoying the warmth and bounty of the year. I know it hasn’t been an easy one for many of us. If you want to explore your own abundance, and capture the power of your spiritual harvest, I am here to create space and provide insight with tarot and coaching.

Astrology and Tarot

Eight of Swords

Helplessness · Apathy · Inhibitions

In the Eight of Swords, a woman is tied up, blindfolded, and trapped in a prison of swords. She’s exposed the raw elements, and the comforts of home are far off in the distance. Water is puddling around her feet, representing the wallowing in her own emotions. The sky is cloudy and gray, like her present state of mind.

But if we take a closer look, it is clear that there is no sword behind her, and her ties are not bound tight. She could easily escape by changing her perspective and pulling the blindfold off of this gloomy situation.

This card represents self imposed boundaries that keep us down when we have the power to free ourselves all along. When this card comes up in a reading, the person is usually feeling like a victim, and often for very valid reasons. Bad things happen that are out of our control. It takes a deep emotional response, filled with nasty introspection and vulnerability, to pull yourself out of victim mentality and take back your power. But you can do it! You are selling yourself short.

You are able to create your own opportunities and attract good fortune with your energy. Don’t be like the Eight of Swords and trap yourself in with unhealthy boundaries and an unfailing sense of impostor syndrome. Tell that nagging voice inside your head, the one that tells you can’t do it, or you’re not good enough, or not smart enough – to shut the heck up! I find it helpful to name your inner shame voice and address it directly. I call mine Frannie because “f*** off Frannie rolls right off the tongue.

Be careful making big decisions if you draw the Eight of Swords. It can mean that your way of thinking is limited because there is a perspective that you have not yet uncovered.

The number eight is a powerful symbol of infinity. It’s related to the constant flow of energy and power. It’s shadow side is overindulging in vices. If you draw this card in reverse, give your self a drama queen check and also watch those bad habits. Are you being a little extra lately? You know your vices! Don’t let them get the best of you.

The Eight Fold Path

Eight is a significant number in the Buddhist religion. Devotees of Buddha follow him in his practice of the Eight Fold Path. These are the dimensions of life that Buddha mastered in order to reach enlightenment.

I associate all of the Eights in the tarot deck with these teachings. The best way to shake that victim hood mentality is to get right in your own inner self and find your flow.

Have you every felt like everything was just clicking right into place? Things were coming together in your life in ways that could not just be coincidence? That is because you were in a state of flow. There are all different ways to raise your vibration, improve your happiness and your energy. Buddha is the master and there is much to be learned from his teachings.

Guided Meditation

Use this ten minute guided meditation to journey into the scene of the Eight of Swords and untangle yourself from your own self limiting thoughts and patterns. Bring a blindfold with you for this practice!

Astrology and Tarot

Shine On, Summer Solstice

The word “solstice” is from the Latin word Sol for ‘Sun’ and Sistere ‘to stand still’. June 21st is not only a new moon (learn more about the Buck Moon), but it’s also the summer solstice, the mid point of the year. It’s the longest day of the year; the latest sunset before the days start getting shorter again.

For us in the Northern Hemisphere, our land is bathed in light and warmth. It’s a time of joy and celebration. Yet, within this climax of the season, there’s a whisper that the darkness will return once again. So live it up! Enjoy it now.

Litha

In neo-pagan related traditions, this day is called Litha. God, as the Oak King, is bathed in abundance, as he surrenders his reign to his twin brother, the Holly King. So, before we welcome the return to the dark time of the year, we celebrate. Traditionally, people stayed up all night on Midsummer’s Eve to hail the sunrise. Bonfires were light on hill tops and at sacred places to honor the fullness of the sun all night. Trees near wells and fountains, where people would gather, were decorated with colored cloth.

Herbs, flowers and honey are flowing in abundance during this time of year. Any sort of tonics, new recipes or natural remedies you want to make will be potent. Summer Solstice is a time to fully open your heart. Experiment with nature by gardening, cooking, exploring. You can make a dandelion flower crown (directions here on Pinterest). I just invested in a new mortar and pestle and I am excited to break it in!

Litha blessings to you and yours. May your heart shine as bright as the sun.