Guest Author - Linda J. Paul
On November 22, while most people are celebrating Thanksgiving, I will be working an eight hour shift at my retail job. I don’t mind though, because I will have already celebrated Thanksgiving with my friends and family on Sept. 23.
We celebrate the Fall Equinox, which is also known as the Celtic Festival of Mabon. There is a very good chance that the Pilgrims and Native Americans also celebrated their first Thanksgiving on this day also. The Fall Equinox marks the second harvest of the year. For our ancient ancestors, this was the time when the harvest was the fullest.
When the harvest was abundant, there was a cause for celebration. The tribes and clans of old knew that their survival through the harsh winter months depended almost solely on the harvest. The Earth as well as the Great Spirit was honored for the gifts and bounty that was received.
So on Sept 23, there will be a gathering of the modern day clans at my home for a day of thanksgiving. There will be turkey and all the fixings, and delectable desserts as well as a melding of ideas, concepts and thoughts. Celtic music will be playing in the background, and a drummer of two may join in with the music.
After the meal, we will gather together in the stone circle in my front yard. The altars will be set in honor of the occasion with green and yellow candles, and fall leaves and flowers. There is always a feeling of anticipation in the air before we gather in the circle. People head for their cars to retrieve their capes, last minute items are brought out to the altar, and the children are rounded up.
When the time is right, a bell is rung to summon all to the circle. They arrive in capes and robes of many colors, some with magical tools in hand. It is our custom to set a guardian at the western quarter of the circle. He or she stands with staff in hand. As each person comes forward, he or she is asked the question, “How do you enter this circle?” Each replies in turn, “In perfect love and perfect trust.”
This is a reminder to all of us to leave our judgment, worries, fears and anger at the gate. When all have entered, the circle is cast. The High Priest or Priestess walks the parameter three times to set a boundary between our inner circle and the outside world. It becomes a sacred place.
Within our sacred circle, we give thanks to the Earth, to the Elements of Air, Fire, Water and Earth that make up our world, and to the Great Spirit who we see within the aspects of the God and the Goddess.
It is a time of blessing, healing, thanking and laughing. We bond once again as a community of loving, compassionate friends and family who believe that the true magic is within our hearts.
As the fire dies down, and the moon rises over the treetops, we gather once again around the table for a final piece of pie or cup of coffee. The children are dozing tangled up among the many cats in residence, and the conversation is peaceful and quiet. Hugs and kisses are given, and people drift off into the night.
As always, I know that I will stand alone under the Autumn Moon, and give blessings for good friends, a wonderful family and a home that abounds with love.
Happy Fall Equinox everyone!!