Mabon Greetings my friends,
The Autumnal Equinox is Thursday, September 22nd, at 7:22 am PDT. Mabon is the second of three traditional harvest festivals (August 2nd and October 31st are the others). At the Equator, the Earth is in equal balance: day and night, light and dark, and we also move into the sign of Libra, the Scales.
At this time in ancient Greece and Rome the Grain Goddess Demeter was honored. Originally, she was part of a triad: the Maiden (Kore or Persephone), Mother (Demeter), and Crone (Hecate) in the Pantheon predating the Olympian myths. During the Bronze Age, developing agriculture, especially the domestication of grain, led to larger settlements and cities. Grain was so important that laws were established to protect its proper care. Since Demeter represented the abundance of Mother Earth and the Grain Goddess, she was credited as the giver of laws.
What I find truly fascinating is the spiritual practices that grew out of the wisdom derived from horticulture: the Eleusinian mysteries. They lasted for centuries until they were violently crushed in the 4th century CE. The initiations into these mysteries were so guarded that little is known of the exact rites but scholars have gleaned enough to establish that they centered around the story of Persephone and Demeter and included: Descent (representing loss), Search, and final Ascent experiences. During the night initiates imbibed a drink, called Kykeon, the contents of which has led to much speculation. Quite a few have suggested that the drink was made up of several sacred plants naturally occurring in Greece and Crete (where there were similar rites) that were most likely psychoactive, that is, altering ordinary perception. So popular and enduring were the Eleusinian mysteries that those who undertook the initiations (Emperors and commoners alike) were forever changed. Particularly, they lost their fear of death.
The celebration of the cycle of life as evidenced by plants: growth (birth) seeds falling and going underground (death) only to grow again in spring (rebirth) has been revered for at least 30,000 years; probably for as long as humans have gathered herbs and plants in familiar places during harvest seasons. Every indigenous group that has been studied had their version of Shamanism and they all had something that special members imbibed or chewed that created psychedelic states that taught them important truths. What was remarkable about the Eleusinian mysteries is that the rites were open to everyone.
Many of you know that there is resurgence of interest in Shamanic Practices, including ingesting Sacred Plants that offer experiences that enlighten. Many travel to Peru, Costa Rica or Brazil to participate in ceremonies, imbibing a Teacher Plant that, among other revelations, allows many to let go of their fear of death. The revival of such experiences has also promoted participants’ awareness that we are all part of the web of life and everything is sacred; an ancient and enduring truth.
What is unique about such ceremonies is that the individual has a direct experience, rather than being given knowledge from outside the self either from books or what ‘authorities’ of societies tell one to believe. That is what makes them so powerful! When we are given access to the tools for discovering our essential wisdom, we are able to experience our innate abilities and desires. We are released from external belief systems and can become more of who we are. In essence, it is a way to create our own identity and value, outside of societal norms. How precious that is, to value our selves and to discover universal and enduring truths, without filters.
For this autumnal harvest, explore what is unique about you and harvest it. Appreciate your essential self and rejoice.
Many Blessings of the Harvest, Linda