The cooling breezes and turning leaves signal that once again the wheel of the year has turned towards the Autumn Equinox, also known as Mabon. This Sabbat, considered the second harvest of the season, was traditionally the time when farmers and home gardeners made haste to prepare for the coming winter. The final seeds sown in the spring are now mature, ready. Golden grains are harvested and ground to flour. The hot summers have brought the fruits of the vine to perfect ripeness, overflowing our baskets with grapes and late berries ready to make into wine, juice, jams and jellies. Apples have ripened in many parts of the world along with pomegranates and early squashes. Harvested, they are stored in root cellars and basements, waiting to assuage the hunger of the cold winter nights.
Yet how many of us truly relate to the reality of this scenario? The majority of us are city dwellers who do not get any closer to the work of the harvest season than a trip to the local farmer’s market or harvest festival. Yes, we acknowledge the changing of the seasons with our rituals and circles, but the fear of the coming winters hold no sway. We are tucked snuggly in our city or suburban homes, larders full and pantries bursting. We watch the leaves fall while sipping a nice California wine, eating Wisconsin cheese and Washington apples. If the original intent of the season was the harvest and we no longer do so, what’s the point? Why celebrate this season at all if the meaning has been lost?
Harvests come in many forms. For many this season of Mabon has become one of spiritual harvests. Months ago, during the Sabbat of Ostara, the Spring Equinox, groves, circles and covens sowed the seeds of change, both in the physical and the spiritual realms. We planted our seeds with intention, giving birth to ideas and goals. How did you nurture those seedlings, how did you make them grow? What did you feed them during the summer? Were those intentions watered daily? Was liberal spiritual fertilizer applied? Did the warmth of your thoughts and meditations sprout those ideas or did you leave them unattended? Now at Mabon what does your harvest look like? Did it grow as you envisioned? How does that growth make you feel? Was it all that you expected? Is it ready to harvest? Should you have left it in the fields a while longer or perhaps have not planted it in the first place? Or like so many, did you forget what you had even planted to begin with?
Alas, while many of us will easily reap our harvests a great many in our communities can’t even recall what was sown in the Spring, let alone harvest the benefits. As busy as we all are in this day and age it is imperative to our spiritual harvests to keep records of that which we have planted. Life happens, memories fade. Trust me, I have been guilty of this as well. We complete our Ostara (or other Sabbat) rites, go on our merry ways, and forget. We get caught up in the magickal high of the circle and leave, unintentionally forgetting to take stock of the seeds we have just planted. We then neglect to add the necessary spiritual nutrients to our fields causing them to whither and die. How can we nurture our crops and preserve our harvests if we’ve forgotten their contents? How do we watch our gardens of intentions grow and mature and be secure in the knowledge that our fruits will ripen on the spiritual plane? We write it down. Immediately.
Let’s hand out the dreaded 3 x 5 cards and pens to all ritual participants so they will be able to recall what they have planted. Facilitators, add lines to the end of the scripted ritual for participant notes. Our seeds, our goals, will then be made doubly manifest when we take these notes home and “plant” them in our Grimoires, Books of Shadows, and journals. We will be able to refer back to those notes so as to monitor how our seedlings are growing. They can remind us of our intended crops so we may make the proper adjustments of light, water, and nourishment for optimum harvest. At Mabon, we then preserve those harvests as we put pen to paper, inking the final words with regards to the quality and quantity of our bounty. We can then enter into the autumn and winter satisfied with the work we have done, ready to rest, ready to plan again for the coming spring.
Preserving our harvests is important but remembering what we have sown in the first place is vital. By writing down, preserving our cycles of seed, seedling, plant and harvest, we remind ourselves of the beauty, the magick, of the changing seasons. As we continue to walk upon our individual paths, records of our traditions and practices, our sowings and our harvestings, are essential to our magickal and spiritual evolution. It is our sacred duty to preserve our knowledge, to preserve our seasonal and everyday harvests for ourselves and for the future generations of “farmers” to come.
May you be filled with the blessings of the season. Happy Harvests!