Raising our children in an earth-based spirituality is one of the things my husband and I can wholeheartedly agree upon. We agree with almost all the other stuff, like discipline and bedtime and all that stuff except religion. I take the children to Mass here and there, but my husband is decidedly anti- organized religion. Having an earth-based spirituality together helps ground us in what we share spiritually and what we truly both believe in important for our children to learn ethically, morally and spiritually. We are part of something larger--a system of life and death. We like to teach the children to experience the world as something to be respected and alive with change. We teach compassion and nurturing love. The earth is our mother. She will take care of us. We will take care of her. You know, just like the song says.
Mabon is my favorite celebration, I think. I love autumn and celebrating the cooler weather. The coming of winter is something I particularly love. I am definitely a child of the winter. There is a lot to do to honor this change of season. We wake excited. All of us. First thing Beezus said this morning was "It is FALL!" She thought all the leaves were going to fall overnight, which kind of cracked me up. I keep forgetting that she doesn't remember being three totally. Only little snippets of memory.
Anyway, our rituals on this day are really ones shared by the kids and I. Sam traditionally works all day, so he comes home to a clean house, smelling of stew and baked apples, and all kinds of beauty and deliciousness. First thing we do throughout the day is clean. Clean, clean, clean. We call it Fall Cleaning. And we clean so we can cleanse. Sage smudge to cleanse our spirits and our house.
We usually spend the afternoon gathering things for our evening feast. Mabon celebrates the harvest, as well as the autumn and change. And it celebrates the balance of darkness and light. I make a big batch of lentil stew, and some corn, and some pumpkin. Apples are a big part of our day. But first, we gather. We gather wildflowers to make an arrangement. I beg my husband not to weed our lawn from about August on. Not that we are good at weeding any time of the year, but I love goldenrod and the other crazy wildflowers from this area. My husband and I get into screaming matches about weeds. In my opinion, weeds are a term of abuse. It is simply a matter of perspective. Last weekend, I was horrified and angry that my husband pulled out all the goldenrod in our backyard despite me specifically asking him not to. Angry, I tell you.
It rained today. Almost all day, so we decided to tramp about in our rainboots with a basket (my childhood Easter basket, actually) and some scissors, and go a-gathering anyway.We found a lot, including two matted down goldenrods, which look just fine in the pitcher.
We also bought some Indian corn on our way home and two little pumpkins for our centerpiece.
We start with a wooden plate my husband made many moons ago, and besides the flowers, we gather leaves, acorns, things that remind us that autumn in coming.
We then line it with grape leaves. I shared about my huge grape vine in the back. We have been thinking about making a grape vine wreath this year, even though we have one my stepfather made us. It is the vine that keeps on giving.
Then we put three candles in the center. For autumn we put the brown ones, at Yule we will exchange them with red ones, and at Ostara, we will put white ones there. We don't light candles at our dinner table in the summer, because it is still light.
Then the kids and I add leaves, and acorns around the edges.
I added sunflowers my mother bought me from the Farmer's Market last week to our wildflower bouquet. We put the bouquet on the sideboard most days, but on Mabon, we leave both on one end of the table, since we always eat at the other end.
With the husk from the Indian corn we used in the center piece, we make a little Harvest Goddess figure. It is so easy. You simply tie a piece of yarn or string or twine as a head, then pull two husks out of each side for arms, and tie them up, and then tie a little lower for a skirt. We added it to Lucy's altar as a part of the autumn remembrance.
We tied the other two ears of Indian corn together for our interior door decoration.
When Sam got home, we ate our feast--lentil stew, arepas made out of corn, and rice. We always start our meal talking about how the day is in perfect balance of light and dark and we are moving to the time when the air gets colder and the days shorter. Then we say how grateful we are for our food and family and sharing this time. Then we chow down.
For dessert, I baked some apples stuffed with walnuts, raisins, cinnamon and brown sugar.
After dinner we light the first fire of the season. It was a small one, because it is actually humid here. We throw in bay leaf and salt as symbols of protection for our home and family, and we do a little sage smudge and pass the talking stick. All in all, it is just a beautiful day. Blessed Mabon, my loves.