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Mabon - Autumn Equinox
Mabon is the Pagan name for the harvest festival held on the Autumn Equinox, which marks the beginning of Libra season. Venus dons her Autumnal cloak with the leaves of the trees flashing their undergarments of colours: coppers, burnished oranges, violets, and russets, while the Sun sinks below the horizon earlier each day and, on a clear evening creates displays of ruby, carnelian, azure, and taupe. We are reminded that even though Mother Nature is preparing for her time below ground, she still has pizzazz and will make her exit into the dark half of the year a dramatic one.
With light and dark in equilibrium, we can see through the astrological framework how Libra, the sign of the scales, connects to the natural world. This is the second harvest. If you recall, we discussed the first grain harvest at Lamas, starting at 15°Leo, which completes in the sign of Virgo when the grain is sorted from the chaff.
In Venus’ active air sign, we are harvesting the sweet treats, the fruit, and vegetables that, if we prepared our soil adequately back in Taurus, are now providing a cornucopia of delights. So many of the items we harvest this time of year are fruits of Venus: apples, pears, plums, damsons, nuts, and berries. From these, we create cider, Perry, wine, chutney, and jams to store away for the lean season.
Any seeds that fall to the ground now are taken into the womb of Mother Earth so she can protect the seed of her consort, ready to germinate next spring. We can collect seed heads from annual flowers, ready them to store over winter, place them in paper bags, and keep them somewhere dry. Then, next spring, sow them back into the ground for another year's display.
Beekeepers will share the honey with the hive, taking some but leaving enough to supply the colony with sustenance for the winter months. They will jar up the honey and the comb for a sweet treat, form wax into candles to create light in the darkness, and even bottle the propolis for a good health tonic. This time of year, traditionally, would have been very busy on an agricultural farm; to tarry would be to lose precious food, so to be more bee-like in work ethic was important for the whole community.
As a symbol for the sign of Libra, the scales are often discussed as the scales of justice, as Venus’ strength here is communication through discernment, tact, and fairness. But going back to the history of the harvest, scales also bring to mind those used to weigh commodities and the tithes people paid to their landlords or the church. Ten percent was considered a fair price, the word tithe meaning tenth of 100.
Autumn Equinox Chart // 23rd September, London, UK 7.50 AM BST
Our chart in London for the equinox aptly gives us 10° Libra on the Ascendant, which puts Venus in Leo in the 11th whole sign house. Her mutual reception with the Sun that is now in Fall helps to bolster the Sun's energy for a little while longer.
Venus is separating from the sextile to Mars in Libra, who is exiled in Venus’ sign, and Venus also has passed the square to Jupiter in her Earth sign, Taurus. With Venus making no other applying aspects, she gives her whole attention to what Mars is up to in her air sign. Is she able to prevent Mars from making diplomatic faux pas? Possibly by dragging him along with that separating sextile aspect until she finally leaves Leo on the 9th of October to enter her Fall in Virgo. Mars is then left to his own devices in Libra in those last few degrees, in his own terms, perking up his mischievous ways. Placed in the 1st house of the chart, it could be our own rashness that gets us into a bit of a tiff with others. If there are any problems with miscommunication or angry outbursts, those two and a half days between the 10th and 12th of October will be the days to watch out for.
Once Mars enters Scorpio on the 12th of October, taking the energy into the 2nd house of resources and portable property, there is no stopping him, other than the Trine to soggy Saturn in the 6th in Pisces at 0°. Hopefully, the two malefics will have something constructive to say about how the work and labour exchange for payment proceeds. Mars in Scorpio is a very different beast to the Mars in Aries. I often think about a nimble ninja, quiet, hiding in the dark, but quick and deadly. With that helpful connection to Saturn in retrograde motion, this could bring about some actions from the past that have been a sticking point. With two malefic planets working in harmony, what mischief can stir up? Will Mars demand more payment than they are fairly due? The labour strikes in the public sector here in the UK have been demanding a fair reward for their labour, causing strife and disruption all year. It would be helpful to finally put this to bed and move forward. So, as Mars quickly moves on from the aspect from Saturn through their own sign and reaches the opposition with Jupiter in the 8th house on 28th October, could this finally bring many of these disputes to a head?
Grandmother Moon in the 4th at the base of the chart in her exile in Capricorn is such a fitting symbolism for the season. As she descends into the Earth to rest and protect the seed of her beloved while it germinates, to then birth him at the Solstice, we are reminded that from death comes birth in a continuous cycle, when at the bottom of a wheel that is in motion, the only option is to move upwards.
Mabon is a time to reflect and weigh up our work and choices that we began to seed at the beginning of the year. How well did our plans germinate? Did they bear fruit? If so, now is the time to reap the rewards. I believe that the Moon in this chart shows us that should things not have gone to plan, we have the dark part of the year to come. Rather than face that time with fear and dread, maybe it is a time to think and reflect on what we can plant out next year when the wheel turns back to the opposite point of 0°Aries where we begin again.