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September 03, 2021
The September Sabbat box is dedicated to Mabon. Celebrated on or about the Autumn Equinox, September 21, a time for the balance of light and dark, and turning to the dark. Many pagans see Mabon, the second harvest celebration (after the first harvest Lammas) and equinox as a time to express gratitude and honor a moment of balance.
Colors of the Season
Traditional colors of the season are gold, orange, red, bronze, and rust. The colors of changing leaves and harvested fruits.
Plants of the Season
Grapes, rose hips, elderberries, blackberries, hawthorn berries, leaves, pinecones, corn, pomegranate, squash, root vegetables, rosemary, sage, mugwort, and yarrow, sunflowers, thistles, marigolds.
The apple is the symbol of the second harvest, representing life, immortality, healing, renewal, and wholeness. It is associated with beauty, long life, and restored youth. Cut an apple width way and it reveals a pentagram containing seeds.
Traditions and Symbols
The Cornucopia, or Horn of Plenty, is a traditional symbol for Mabon, representing the wealth of harvest and the balance of both male (phallic) and female (hollow and receptive).
Harvest tools (scythe, baskets), pinecones, seeds, fall leaves.
You may decide to add items that represent your own harvest both figuratively and literally.
Deities associated with Mabon are Green Man, Demeter, Persephone, Morgan, Pomona, Inanna.
Animals associated are owl, stag, blackbird, salmon.
Suggestions of ways to celebrate:
Celebrate with a feast for friends and family using your own and locally grown fruits and vegetables.
Go for a walk to collect leaves, seeds, cones and fall blooming wildflowers.
Complete unfinished projects and clear your home of unwanted stuff to prepare for the indoor winter months.
Fall is a wonderful time to plant trees, seeds, and shrubs. Plant bulbs with an aspiration or idea for Spring that you will remember when they begin to sprout after their winter underground.
A suggested simple ritual with the items in your box:
Mabon Ritual of Gratitude
Start by creating an altar. As you are setting up your altar anoint the items and yourself with the Mabon oil. Think about the ways you create balance within yourself and in the physical world.
When you are ready anoint and light your candles giving thanks to the Earth, Goddesses, Gods, and Ancestors who stand behind you in all that you do and all that you are. Thank them sincerely like you would a friend that has given you help. Ask for nothing in return. You can leave an offering on your altar to show that you are aware of the assistance that you are receiving.
Light your incense, breathe deeply and focus on the burning candles. What are you grateful for? You might want to have paper and pen to write down what comes to mind. During challenging times gratitude magic can bring powerful change. Health, partner, family members, the friend that checks in on you every week, signing up for an online class, making it through the day, gratitude comes in many forms. The practice is centering, calming and a reminder of what is important. Spend as much time as it takes and speak aloud what you appreciate about each. You can place your writing on your altar or burn and release. You may decide to write a note of thanks to the people in your life who make your life better. When you are ready to end set the intention to hold these feelings of gratefulness and that you will be able to feel them again whenever you need.
Do not forget to blow out your candle and incense.Have a Blessed Mabon!
Divination for September – A One-card Draw and Interpretation~by Star
Deck: Tarot Familiars by Lisa Parker, published by Fournier.
Card: Ace of Wands
This month holds the possibility of new beginnings and opportunities. As the shift into Autumn weaves its way into the fabric and magic of daily life, there may be a sense of adventure in the air. It may also be an excellent time to reclaim some of our own power, space, and time that had been aside for other purposes.
Conversely, as the light grows less there may be somewhat of a melancholy feeling, difficulty getting motivated, and the cancellation of plans. The ability to tap into the energies of the season can help us to find the balance and take unexpected turns in stride.
Scents-ibility for September: Aromatherapy by Star
September generally heralds in an abatement of the heat of summer, and there is often a noticeable shift in the scent of season. Here in the Appalachian mountains, as the days become shorter, there is an energy of harvest and the wind can carry the smell of late-blooming wild asters, goldenrod, and sometimes even a little Joe Pye Weed.
The Autumnal Equinox, celebrated by many Witches and Pagans as Mabon, falls this year on 22nd of September. It’s perfect time to find balance within the home, at work, and within ourselves.
Rather than profiling a specific essential oil, I thought I would offer some basics on how to construct a balanced blend and an example of a blend that is appropriate for the season.
A good blend usually has three basic components: a top note, a middle note, and a bottom or bass note.
Top notes are often light, floral or fruity, are usually the first part of a scent to register and can dissipate almost as quickly as they are detected. In a balanced blend, the top note can make the difference between enticing us to breathe deeper or causing us to pull back.
Next is the middle note. Middle notes provide the basic melody or steady aspect of a blend and will be recognizable for the duration of the scent being experienced.
And last but not least, is the bass or bottom note. The bass note of a blend is the anchor, like a long, low-pealing chime that resonates after the top and even middle notes have begun to fade.
Keep in mind that all individual essential oils possess these elements, too. If you don’t believe me, try this exercise in organoleptic testing. Take a single essential oil and place just a drop on a strip of plain paper. Inhale the scent and record what you smell. Wait five minutes and smell it again. Record those impressions. Try it an hour later and record what you smell. With most oils you observe a difference from beginning to end that will vary from oil to oil. If you go back 24 hours later, you will observe what is known as the “dry-out note.”
While each of these elements is important, the bass note is perhaps the most critical when it comes to creating a blend because it is by design expected to linger. Some oils, depending on which other oils they are paired with, can be either middle or bass notes.
I will confess that one of my most favorite of scents and absolute bass note favorite is vetiver, Vetiveria zizanoides.
It is earthy and evokes for me the way the cooling soil feels and smells as the sun sets but still holds a bit of the warmth. It is an intense scent, and is also a natural fixative, stabilizing, holding, and even extending a blend.
One of my favorite blends incorporates citrus, lavender, and vetiver. It is a great blend to use this time of year since it provides a deep grounding to help keep us focused but is also relaxing and uplifting.
Lemon as the top note provides a cheerful but purifying energy. The lavender can help us to find balance, good health, and self-love—a perfect oil for this time of equal light and dark. And vetiver provides a solid base of protection and prosperity. Overall a balanced and useful blend with a dry-out note that has just a bit of sweetness.
Essential oils can be combined in a variety of ways. Experiment with the scents you find appealing. What works and what doesn’t? Just remember that there are dozens of books about aromatherapy and blending available. And you can always ask your friendly neighborhood Witch aromatherapist for advice!
Blend to uplift and relax the mind, body and soul:6 drops of Lemon essential oil5 drops of Lavender essential oil3 drops of Vetiver essential oilTo apply topically:Blend with 1-2 oz of Sweet AlmondShake well before each useTo use as a spray:12 oz of distilled or filtered water½ oz of witch hazel or alcoholAdd witch hazel to spray bottle, then drops of oil, and finally water.Shake well before each use
To use in an oil burning diffuser:Fill the bowl of the burner ¾ full with water and then add 4-5 drops of the blend.
A note on safety and how to conduct a skin patch test
As with all essential oil blends, a skin patch test should be done before topically applying. Simply apply a small amount of the blend to the inside of the upper arm. If no irritation develops after 24 hours, then it is safe to use. If at any point during a skin patch test if irritation develops, the application area should be immediately treated with either a dairy-based product like milk or yogurt to halt the irritation. Then the testing area should be and thoroughly washed with mild soap and water and cleaned of the substance applied.
Please note that no matter how safe and natural you believe essential oils to be, they are not recommended to be applied straight or “neat” directly on the skin. There are a few exceptions for regular use, but even those should only be used that way under the advice of a certified or registered aromatherapist. Young children, the elderly, anyone with a comprised immune system, and those who are pregnant may require a formula that is much reduced in active ingredients. Essential oils of any variety should always be cautiously used around pets, and never used on cats or in any way that would allow them to ingest it—like breathing in vaporized spray or licking it off of their fur.
This cast was created for the second harvest at Mabon, the autumnal equinox. It features seasonal fruits and vegetables common to the southern Appalachian mountains.
North--I call the elementals of the North through the solid enduring beauty of winter squash. The bold vines leap across the earth, joyous in yellow blossoms--the joy of bees!--and then the fruits are borne beneath the leaves, solid, bold, enduring. Elemental power of the North, we call you forth!
East--I call the elementals of the East through the sharp and succulent kernels of mountain-grown corn. Three little seeds go into the hill, and the mature stalks reach beyond the head of a tall woman. And the silk! So soft, so abundant--we strip back the husk to reveal all the colors of the earth, sharp, soft, abundant. Elemental powers of the East, we call you forth!
South--I call the elementals of the South through the heavy, fiery juices of pumpkin. Who can know how large they will grown? The small green globes speed their way to maturity and the light from their carved faces bring joy to all on a dark night. The fires of the cook stove brown the crust and set the custard of pie. Heavy, fiery, light. Elemental powers of the South, we call you forth!
West--I call the elementals of the West in the varieties and crispness of apples. Tended orchards and backyard swings, the red, green and yellow apples fall with a thud, awaiting what comes. Bite them, bake them, plant the seeds! Most beloved of all fruits! And when pressed into service as cider, sweet or hard--delight! Red, crispness, delight. Elemental powers of the West, we call you forth!
Q: Is it true that your first Tarot deck must be gifted?
A: This myth has been widely debunked, but it continues to circulate.
So where did it originate?
At first, Tarocci decks (for the card game Tarot evolved from) were hand painted. So they had to be either commissioned or gifted, and you had to be wealthy to afford one. So it was a very cherished gift to receive.
Later, secret societies like Order of the Golden Dawn used Tarot as a teaching tool, so students had to have the same deck for consistency in teaching, and to evoke the vibe of that society - early “branding”, if you will.
Other traditions believe a gifted deck will have the vibration of love, and this will incur better karma.
Of course, until recently, the few available decks were fairly similar. So it was easier to choose a deck for someone else. Today, Tarot has evolved as an art form, and we have a smorgasbord of decks ranging from the traditional Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) to Golden Girls and Pokemon Tarot. Good luck choosing for someone else, especially a beginning reader!
In addition to being impractical, I find this tradition disempowering. If I had waited to for someone to gift me a deck, I might still be waiting. And as picky as I am about choosing decks, I seriously doubt another’s choice would appeal to me.
If you want to follow this tradition of gifting the first deck, ask for a gift certificate, or go with your gifter to pick it out.
Pamela Shook has been reading Tarot professionally for over 30 years. She reads at Asheville Raven & Crone on Sundays from 1-6, and serves an international clientele online through Etsy.
Sweet bardic toolsWhose life began in rooted treesThen formed by craft and loveTo bring forth musicMagicHealingTransformationNow you stand, waiting forA master’s touch,A student’s love,A listener’s hunger.May you be blessed byall those hands and hearts and soulsThat forge music from wood and steelPoetry from painCheer from contemplationGlory from the simplest and purestOf life’s pleasuresOf life’s griefsOf life as filtered through wood and steel.By fingers and bow and pickMay these instruments here be blessedAnd may they in turn bless all those who play themWho tend themWho carry themWho love them.May they bless their players with creativity and inspirationAnd deepest connection to audience, to bandmates, to EarthAnd to the Divine as the work of hand and heartOf soul and desire.Flow from these strings and into the world of the world.May all who play themAll who care for themBe blessed in all they do.
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