“Green leaves of summer turn red in the fall…”
Tuesday, September 22, 2009 is the Vernal Equinox, also known as Mabon, Harvest Home, Second Harvest, and Cornucopia. Tuesday is named for Tyr, the one-armed Norse god of single combat, victory, and heroic glory. We draw on Tyr-energy when we look within to find a source of strength and courage. Cerridwen, the Celtic water-oriented Goddess of Autumn, may also preside at this celebration. Cerridwen’s symbol is the cauldron, her fruit is the apple, and all nuts and seeds are sacred to her.
Dress yourself and decorate your altar and table using the colors red, orange, russet, maroon, brown, deep gold, and violet. Pine cones, acorns, gourds, grains, apples, scales, autumn leaves, and textured fabrics such as velvet and corduroy are some additional things that can enhance your decorating. Consider using a cauldron instead of a horn or plenty as your centerpiece: lay down a piece of velvet or corduroy in an appropriate color and lay a cauldron on its side with apples, nuts, and other harvestables spilling out.
Serve breads, nuts, apples, pomegranates, root veggies, all berries, nuts, cider, and fruit wine. Use garlic in your recipes, too.
Many of the rituals used at this celebration involve protection, prosperity, self-confidence, harmony, and balance. You may invoke Tyr to assist you by drawing his symbol, h, on a piece of red paper cut to resemble a leaf and then placing that emblem on your altar. Druids honored trees at this time of year by making offerings to them and you may, also. The drought is such that ceremonially pouring a gallon of water in the drip-line of favored trees would not only be appropriate to the season but also good for the life of the tree!
Equinoxes are times when daylight and darkness use the same number of hours in a day and are a good time to contemplate balance in our lives. One way to do this is to balance an egg on its larger end while contemplating its meaning. The shell represents Earth, the membrane represents Air, the yolk represents Fire, the white represents Water; these are the four elements from which come all things. Ouspensky believed that Four was the “perfect number”, hence, an egg represents perfection. If you choose to make this ritual part of your celebration, you will need one raw egg for each guest to balance and can lead to a general discussion of what “balance” means to each participant. As a group effort, it can be an interesting and enriching experience.
Reminder: I am scheduled to teach a BeginningTarot class on September 30, October October 7, and October 14 as an Informal Class at the University of Texas at Austin. For more information and/or to enroll, go to www.informalclasses.org.