Thursday, September 22, 2005

Ante Diem X Kalendas October - Mabon

Modern Date : September 22nd

Ante Diem X Kalendas October
Tenth Day to the Kalends of October

This is one of the dies comitiales when committees of citizens could vote on political or criminal matters.

On this day, Gaius Octavius Caesar, with Quintus Pedius as colleague, entered upon the consulship in 43 BCE.

The rites of the Eleusinian Mysteries would continue with initiations taking place in an underground chamber full of passageways and sacred objects. These rites would continue till the end of the month.

Triptolemus, who had been cured of a childhood illness by Ceres, was taken around the world on a chariot and shown the wonders of nature. When he returned home to Eleusis he built a magnificent temple to Ceres and established the worship of the goddess. These rites, the Eleusinian Mysteries, surpassed all other Greek religious celebrations in their solemnity and splendor.

September is the 'magical' seventh month (after March).

Mabon, the Autumn Equinox
Mabon, falls on September 22 when the sun enters the sign of Libra, marking the second harvest of the Celtic Pagan year. It is the end of the grain harvest which begun at Lughnasadh. Because the pagans of antiquity could not determine exact astrological positions, the European peasantry usually began celebrating Mabon on the eve of September 24th. "Michaelmas" on September 25th, is both a feast in honor of the Archangel Michael and the Christianized form of Mabon. It has also been known as the Second Harvest Festival, Feast of Avalon, Cornucopia, Wine Harvest, Harvest Home, Festival of Dionysus, and Alban Elfed. The full moon closest to the Autumn Equinox is called the Harvest Moon, and farmers would harvest their corps by this moonlight as part of the Second Harvest celebration.

Like the modern American holiday of Thanksgiving, at Mabon most of the crops have been reaped and people are ready to celebrate their abundance. Any spells or rituals focusing on balance and harmony are appropriate during this period. Since it is the time of dwindling sunlight, in other words the death of the sun, effort is also made to honor the dead at this time, a practice which culminates with the final harvest Samhain on October 31st. One may not pass a burial site without giving honor to the dead.

Mabon ap Modron, "great son of the great mother,” is a Welsh God of the dying and rising sun, music, love, and fertility. He represents the change of seasons. He is also called the Son of Light, the Young Son, or Divine Youth. The Equinox is the birth of Mabon from his mother Modron, the Guardian of the Outerworld. She is the Healer, the Protector, and the Earth.

According to the Mabinogion, Mabon ap Modron was the best huntsman in the world, but he was stolen from his mother when he was three nights old (or three years). In the story of "Culhwch ac Olwen,” he was imprisoned at Caer Llowy, "City of Light" (thought to be Gloucester). He was needed to capture the boar Twrch Trwyth, who was in fact an evil man become a boar through magic. Yspaddaden Penkawr, father of Olwen, demanded the boar be caught before allowing Culhwch to marry his daughter. Before Mabon could be freed however, the Salmon of Llyn Llyw, the oldest animal in the world, was consulted. (The salmon often represent wisdom in Celtic stories.) Cei and Bedwyr, the prototypes of the later Arthurian Kay and Bedevere, rode the salmon to the prison, and on being set free; Cei carried Mabon on his back to King Arthur's court. From there, they hunted the boar. Mabon took the comb and shears behind its ear, and then drove it off a cliff into the sea around Cornwall.

Activities vary by region and tradition, as well as personal preference. Activities appropriate for this time of the year include wheat weaving such corn dollies or other god and goddess symbols. The corn dolly may be used both as a fertility amulet and as an altar centerpiece. Followers of the Celtic path, dress a corn stalk in cloths and burn it in celebration of the harvest and upcoming rebirth of the sun god. Some bake bread in the form of a God-figure or a Sun Wheel. Wandering through your garden, harvest what is ready to be gathered. Making a pilgrimage through your local woods can give you some beautiful natural additions to your altar as you collect leaves, acorns, berries, and other things symbolic of nature's gifts along your way. Seeds and grains may be set out for birds and other animals preparing for hibernation or migration. Mabon is also a time to honor your living elders, who have devoted so much time and energy to your growth and development.

Shobun No Hi
In the Japanese Buddhist Calendar, this day is Shobun No Hi, when believers meditate on hakanai, the impermanence of all things in the realm of material illusion. Japanese Buddhists view the equinoxes as bridges, times when the dead can cross the mythical waters between here and higan, the far shore. The whole week surrounding the equinox is a special time called Higan. On the day of the autumn equinox, the Japanese visit cemeteries, where they sprinkle water on the graves of their ancestors to cleanse them and leave behind food, flowers and burning incense sticks.

A Japanese proverb says: "No summer heat lingers beyond this equinox day."

The Shen
Taoist festival honoring the Shen, or divine principles, of Wind, West, and Autumn. Rituals held at this time celebrate the virtue of living in harmony with the rhythms of Earth and Sky.

Coyna Rayni
Coyna Rayni, the Incan festival of rain, devoted to the purgation by water of illness and evil.

In the ancient Mediterranean and Middle East, Mihrigan, the festival of the solar god Mithras, is held today. This holy day survives today as Mihr, the month of the Autumn Equinox in the Iranian calendar.


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