Honoring the darkness
Today is the Autumnal equinox (or Mabon as it’s sometimes known) and with it comes what most in the pagan community think of as the dark end of the year.
(And don’t you just love the word Autumnal? It’s so much more lyrical and poetic than “Fall”, don’t you think? Especially in our part of the world where the leaves don’t actually change colors and fall off the trees until—if at all—November).
But I digress. In ancient days the approach of the dark half of the year struck dread into the hearts of our ancestors—the sun was dying, in their view, after all. With the advent of modern society, “the death of the sun” doesn’t bother us quite so much. In fact, we do tend to look forward to the lower temperatures and the change from shorts to sweaters; which seems a time of rejoice for the knitters who can start planning that autumn wardrobe (at least in some parts of the world *points designers to that 90 degrees on the temperature gauge*–come on winter!) ahem…
But there is another phenomena tied to the “dark half of the year”.
Let’s face it, this year has been an incredibly, erm, shall we say aggravating one? Just step onto Facebook or Twitter for five minutes and you can’t help but be thwacked in the face with indignation and strife. I’m looking forward to autumn, not just for the idea of getting the freakin’ election behind us, but hoping that with the change in seasons, moods will change too.
They do tend to, around this time of year, to an inward focus. I think some of us in the pagan community are more sensitive to it. I hear many witches refer to it and to being able to sense the wild hunt in full swing. Even those in the tarot community speak of changing to “darker” decks this time of year (I’ve found myself using one with a bit of a heavier vibe the last few weeks: The Fenestra tarot). Some of us find we’re inundated with stuff that ain’t too sunshiny and rainbows and for those I send hugs. You’ll get through this, you always do.
So with the darkness folding itself out for us starting today, how does one weather it? Simple. Honor the darkness. It comes, and thankfully here in the modern world, we’ve come to realize (with apologies to my friends in colder climes) it goes just as quickly.
How does one honor it? That’s a personal choice. Of course you can pull out the harvest decorations, the pumpkins and cornstalks (personally, I usually keep those for a little later in the autumn). Sometimes, you’ll hear people refer to this being the time of the harvest, so try to harvest the good life’s given you this year, and like any good farmer, throw the gunk on the dung heap.
Also, giving yourself a break isn’t a bad idea. Stop. Breathe, and repeat. Shut off the Internet if necessary, get a cup of spiced tea, pick a good book, (of course, I have a *cough* thought on some titles for you ;)), and hunker down. Hey, if you like you can even put on some fall like music. (Vivaldi has a symphony for that! And Loreena McKennit’s Mummer’s Dance and All Hallow’s Eve is always good). If you like, you can bake some apples, or apple pie. Or if you want to pamper yourself, pick an autumnal color of nail polish and paint your fingers and toes! 🙂 But whatever you do, don’t lose your cool over stupid shit. Let the aggravation go. Take a breather, be nice to each other.
That’s what I intend to do. Breathe, let it go, repeat.
May your autumn harvest be full of happiness, warm sweaters, (or light jackets if it suits), and magic!