A late harvest is better than none

This evening I finally got round to changing the candles on my altar from Lammas to Mabon. Yes, I’m celebrating the Autumn Equinox four weeks late and ten days before Hallowe’en, mostly due to a lack of privacy and time, and when I did have the privacy and time, being ill. But I realised today at work while writing the date that Samhain was getting ever closer, and that if I wanted to do something spiritual for Mabon then I’d better hurry up.

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My ‘Mabon’ altar. Note the harvest-coloured candles and… that’s it really.

It has to be the simplest thing I’ve done all year to mark a festival – no circle, no music, and no other candles lit either – I just swapped the candles out and lit the new ones from my Imbolc candle. I recalled the Equinox, a time of balance between light and dark, and said a short prayer to help me find and keep balance in my life between things like work and home, friends and family, rest and labour. I also asked for help in balancing my finances, which I’ve had issues with recently. I then gave thanks for the harvest so far, which will help feed us through the winter and the darkening days ahead. In all, it took about two minutes from getting out the candle box to snuffing the candles.

Still, at least I’ve done something to mark the Sabbat that’s centred around my altar as well as something practical, as a couple of days after Autumn Equinox I went out and collected conkers.

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This year’s conker harvest, which I caught just after they’d started dropping.

I tend to think of the Equinox as the berry and nut harvest, coming after the grain and fruit and before the culling of livestock and the collection of the last of the growing things, so as I was walking around my local park looking for the beautiful red-brown of conkers in the grass I took note of the leaves that had already fallen, a sure sign that autumn is here and winter’s on the way. Plus I have a lovely load of conkers to put in every room of my flat to keep the spiders out – I don’t like them and they don’t like conkers.

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