Fall Equinox, 2021!
Fall equinox takes place today, Sept. 22, 2021 at 12:21pm pst. Not coincidentally, the Sun moves into Libra, sign of the balancing scales.
The Equinoxes are when the Earth is at the point in its' wobble on the axis that we have equal day and night, dark and light. In the Northern hemisphere we are at the Fall equinox, while the Southern hemisphere is experiencing the Spring equinox.
Many cultures around the world have celebrations and rituals for this liminal point in the year and yesterday I celebrated the northern European "Mabon" with a couple of herb friends, Kalpana and Kim, in a medicine making ritual. This meetup is part of the South End Herbal Meetups. Stay tuned for October's meetup Oct. 16th!
Today, we stand balanced at the light and dark of the day; tomorrow the dark slowly eats away at the light until the Winter Solstice, when Sol Invictus again brings light, warmth and growth. It's a natural time to go within and contemplate the inner landscape, let go of whatever is left from past years that no longer supports us and yet.... the season we are in always holds the seeds of the coming season, just as the plants have released their seed for next year even as they pull back their growth and the leaves turn brown. If you look closely at the trees, they already contain the buds of next year's leaves, they don't wait till spring to begin again. This moment is a doorway to create next year's intentions which will begin to set down roots over the winter before breaking ground in the coming year.
The Pagan name for the Fall equinox is Mabon, which is a more recently named holiday for an ancient Celtic celebration that is being revived.1. (If someone knows of an older tradition in it's original form, please enlighten me!) Like the Greek Persephone who was abducted by Hades and held underground, causing winter because of the grief of her mother Ceres, the goddess of grains, the Celtic Sun god Mabon was abducted as a baby and held only to be returned in the spring.2.
This is an excellent time to ponder the duality concepts of life: life and death, masculine and feminine parts of ourselves, active and receptive, darkness and light, and so on.
On the temporary altar we made yesterday we placed black and white crystal eggs representing the seeds of the past we were releasing (black egg) and the seeds of the future we are creating (white egg). As we are at a harvest point, we had fruit; plums, apples, a traditional symbol of Fall, as this is when they are ripe, and freshly harvested herb tea. We lit some Sweetgrass for incense to sweetly carry our prayers. The beeswax candle is held by a ceramic Rose candleholder that was made by my grandmother; beginning the season of honoring the ancestors and our loved ones that have passed, that will culminate at Samhain.
The change of seasons is a great time for medicine making! Don't these ladies look like they're up to some mischief?!? With the change in the weather, we decided to make two remedies to help the body adapt: Fire Cider and Elderberry syrup.
Fire Cider was originally introduced by Rosemary Gladstar and has been a popular warming herbal for many decades. It's spicy, tasty and contains lots of anti-microbials and vitamin C. Some people tried to trademark it a couple of years back, but the people fought it. It took 5 years, but it remains a trademark free remedy. If you want to read more about that follow the link in the footnotes below. 3. I have a free Fire Cider recipe in the Resources section of this website. dianaverse.org/resources
Kalpana adds carrots when making Fire Cider, so we're trying it. Always try new things with your recipes!
It was interesting setting up little tables outside because Covid, but we had a beautiful early Fall day with lots of sunshine blessing our medicine merriment.
Next we made Elderberry syrup with berries collected up in the Cascade mountains. As much as possible I like the experience of gathering my own herbs and connecting to the land and plants. I also like to thank the ancestors of the people who tended the land before me.
Kalpana stirring the elderberries, with hand-picked Hawthorne berries she added as well as my usual recipe additions of Cloves, Cinnamon, Ginger and Black Pepper. Really any of the carminative herbs are tasty and good digestion helps the immune system.
Finally, we topped off our efforts by adding flower essences, Burdock to the Fire Cider and Elderflower essence to the Elderberry. To add more oomph, you could also place crystals around your jars. Some good ones for these concoctions might be Tiger's Eye or Yellow Calcite.
Hope you got some Fall Equinox ideas from this post! If you try out the recipe let me know how it went.