Late Harvest Lesson at Mabon
A Late Harvest Lesson’ at Mabon, the Autumnal Equinox
'In my end is my beginning.' T.S. Eliot
I’ve been struggling this year, maybe even more than last. In part, the return to ‘normalcy’, if we can even call it that, has pushed me out of the ‘creative’—cortisol driven—survival mode and into ‘the crash’. The year of 'Lockdown' I was hyper-creative: I painted, a baked, I crafted, I wrote songs. I alchemized all the suffering into 'gold'. This year, my body is spent, I’m exhausted, depressed; my joints hurt, my body aches; I cry almost every day; my sleep is peppered with anxiety riddled nightmares, I hate the ‘fatty’ in the mirror who hasn’t had a hair cut since April (even though the salons have been open for months and months). And I’m among the privileged and fortunate who had/have a job I love, plenty to eat and a huge support system. Yet, here I am—as I told a new naturopathic doctor I am seeing on Tuesday—‘a hot fucking mess’.
This weekend, as we head into the season of Mabon in the Celtic traditions at the Autumn Equinox, I conclude a year long journey with Goddess along with eight other amazing women, led by the very wise, loving, fierce healer Yukiko Amaya of My Goddess Path. Mabon marks the second harvest and the 'end of the year'. From this point, in the Northern Hemisphere, the days begin to shorten and the earth begins her retreat into darkness and rest. We celebrate our Mother Earth, her bounty, and the balance of life and death, light and dark, ends and beginnings. In the harvesting and 'death' of our gardens--the lushness of summer giving way to the oranges and browns of Autumn, and then the barren starkness of winter--we gather the seeds of the next harvest. T.S. Eliot writes in Four Quartets, my very favorite of his works after which our cottage, Little Gidding, is named, 'In my end is my beginning.' Mabon is a time for reveling in all that we have manifested in the past year, not only in our literal gardens but in the garden of our lives. It's also a time to decide what seeds we'd like to carry into the new year. In the end, in the death of our garden, holds the seeds for new beginnings......
After our Mabon Goddess Gathering, I was exhausted (I mean, to be honest, I was exhausted going into it) and was planning on taking a nap before dinner, but I headed out to my grossly neglected garden (exhaustion and gardening aren’t a great mix) to chat with Goddess for a spell and to show her some love. What was meant as a five minute meditation, ended up as a three hour weeding/harvesting frenzy. I pulled and pruned and gathered till moonrise, flopping on my belly in the dewy grass, listening to the owls call in the nearby trees, as the Harvest Moon rose fat and rosy over the fields.
The thing is…..all of these beauties grew without MY nurturing, they kept on keeping on throughout my neglect. What cracked me up is that the gourd vine had grown from a couple rotten gourds that had wintered on a bench outside. I had intentions of harvesting the seeds to plant, but they turned to mush so I thew them in the spring garden soil as 'compost'. But they grew......and grew and grew. And every week I said to myself, I'll deal with this tomorrow (or when the weather was cooler, or not rainy, or I had more energy), but that day never came.. And now they hung all over the garden, into the lilac and hydrangea, over the tomato and basil, strewn like little yellow and green party lights. It made me giggle with delight.
What's more, I never planted pumpkins (a weird hybrid of last years plantings?), I never staked the tomatoes, and I haven’t watered since august 15. And yet, I gathered a beautiful and bountiful late harvest!
I’m a chronic goal setter and get shit doner type, but I’ve been practicing surrender and the art of just asking the universe/Goddess for what I need (with lots of gratitude). And last night’s harvest was a beautiful reminder that abundance is at our finger tips without pushing a boulder up a hill. Mother Earth has our backs, if we just allow her to do her thing.
I encourage you to take a moment, find some soft grass, kick of your shoes, and let some Earth Magic fill you up. Breathe. Listen. Feel. Thank yourself for all your hard work, and send some love to our Great Mother. Happy Mabon.