Mabon; the 3rd Pagan Harvest; Autumn Equinox; Falling Leaves, campfires and sweet apples from the tree.
Preparations to make all ready to hunker down for the Winter; tomatoes canned, green beans jarred; herbs hanging to dry.
The sun rises later and sets earlier. We can feel Hibernation time upon us.
We see images painted of Farmers rejoicing as their summer labors come to an end. It is time for all to Lay Fallow for a season with hopes that what was seeded, planted and now harvested will last for the Dark Times ahead.
But this morning I saw something most don't talk about, and that is the Sadness that this time brings. I am not referring to SADD or even how hard the upcoming holidays are for some people.
No, I am talking about the Sadness of Barrenness.
The obvious is to think of women who find out they are unable to carry a child within their Wombs. We call them Barren. Space meant for seed planting, growth and then harvest lies Barren due to no fault of the woman.
But Barren comes in unexpected places. It comes after an Idea has been Seeded, Watered, Fed and Harvested. You know, that time when even tho' there is great joy in the Idea taking form, there is this sense of Barrenness, we wonder what will now fill this space.
We know this when a loved one dies. The Emptiness that is so overwhelming that nothing will take the Barrenness away. We find ourselves looking back at the Spring and Summer of our Time with this person or animal and then realize that we now have to prepare for the Winter Darkness of Barrenness.
It is evident when our child leaves home and we walk by their bedroom and see how Barren it is. How do we rejoice in the Harvest of a child grown enough to leave the Field we call Home? How do we survive with just phone calls, texts and emails (often just from time to time); what do we do with that feeling of Emptiness when what we think we should be doing is Being glad the hard work is over and we can sit back and rest for awhile? How do we do Barrenness?
No, Harvest does not always bring happy, settled, comfortable times. Sometimes the Winter is harsher than we expected; the food supplies run out; the Wood for warmth stays too wet to burn from the heavier than expected Snow that sits and never melts.
We are cold, hungry, lost and worried that we will not see the next Spring, the next time to Plant, Care for, and Harvest. The Barrenness is too much to take and we get depressed and long for when the Sun Rises early and Sets late. But then we know, the work will again be long and hard.
The Journey is finding that Balance where During the Growing Season we find those times to Rest and Enjoy and During the Hibernation Season we find new ideas, new seeds, new planting strategies and new recipes for the overabundance of tomatoes that we now tire of.
Ahhh.....Autumn! It is a wonderful Season and the Sabbat of Mabon lets us rejoice in the Harvest! We make corn dolls, eat caramelized apples, set next to the bonfire gathering the warmth as we watch the yellow and red leaves fall from the trees around us.
And yes, for most there is this nagging deep down inside that we are sad that the Harvest is over. We are sad to see the Barren Fields so devoid of life out our own back door. All that work and now it is gone.
But you see, we are never ever totally Barren. We just Lay Fallow for a Season, be it a day, a month or longer. It is allowing our Selves to be comfortable in Grief as that is what prepares us for the Next Growing Season. We begin to get restless and open up those seed catalogs; we put in that new job or school application; we accept that offer from a friend to meet her for lunch; or we join the circle of women who are also grieving the Harvest!
We are Never Barren! We are made of Rich Soil that awaits the next Seed to be planted.
This is a natural cycle; just another Turning of the Wheel. And the way we choose to move with the Wheel will show us the next Awakening Time in our Lives. So sit and rest; enjoy the Harvest, but Listen and Watch for that Restlessness that Signals the Turning of the Wheel. And when you do....get out those Seeds and Plant like crazy! Another Planting and Harvesting Season is just around the corner!