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Take a moment for yourself this Imbolc, Mama. Imbolc is a cross-quarter festival, marking the midpoint between the Solstice and the Equinox.  It’s a threshold time.  A time between time.  And in this way Imbolc can remind us...
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I remember in my school days absolutely loving this time of year. Perhaps because it's just been my birthday and it feels firmly like my month. I feel at home here in September and wish it could last a bit longer.

It was, I'm pretty sure, also something to do with Harvest Festival. I bloody loved it. From the last-minute rifling through cupboards for a contribution to take in, the big bountiful display in the school hall, the harvesty songs we sang and the knowledge that all this stuff was going to people who needed it. To be shared out.

I had no idea of course that all of this had it's roots in Mabon, but if I had I'd have been a big fan.

Mabon and the Autumn Equinox fall at a time when perhaps we still have one foot in the Summer that has been whilst noticing daily the shifts in temperature, changes in the trees and hedgerows and the mounting urge to get re-acquainted with all our knitwear. As I embrace this seasonal shift, I'm looking forward to carving out a moment to myself this Mabon.

Join me?

Mabon

Mabon is the Celtic festival of the Autumn Equinox, when day and night are once again briefly in balance before we head into the darker part of the year.  Traditionally, a time when the changing season was honoured and the harvest celebrated.

Mabon altars would be adorned with produce from the harvest and, as with many of the Celtic festivals, a feast prepared.

How we celebrate

When my children were younger our nature table would have been filling up by the day, creating a natural (messy!) altar which sang out Mabon. These days I tend to find acorns in pockets or rattling around the washing machine more than anywhere else, but I still love to gather some late flowers and signs of Autumn for our mantle.

At school (a Steiner school) my boys are used to celebrating Michaelmas which usually falls a few days after the equinox with a similar theme to Mabon but with the exciting added element of slaying dragons. There's also usually some bulb-planting.

So our celebration is a mish-mash of all of these elements and comes down to how we're feeling at the time. This year we have a huge haul of damsons gifted by a neighbour so I forsee jam-making as our marking of the harvest. Crumble too, no doubt, as part of a Mabon meal over the weekend. And definitely bulb-planting because i'm gradually expanding the daffodil population of our garden each year.

As you'll know if you've read these posts or my insta ones before, I love making the Celtic festivals a reminder to take some time out for me. They hold such wonderful themes to draw upon for self reflection and nature connection. Ingredients that make taking a moment for myself feel really nourishing.

Take a look…

3 invitations

If the cycle of these festivals call to you, it can be a lovely thing to use them as regular reminders to pause and do something lovely with or for yourself.

I’ve drawn on the themes of Mabon to make three simple invitations for you.  See if there’s one that speaks to you…

Rest

A favourite seasonal book - Circle Round by Starhawk - reads:

“At Mabon, the Mother of the Harvest becomes the Old One, the wise grandmother who teaches us to rest after our labours”. 

I adore this.  What if we tapped into our own inner wise grandmother and listened to what she had to tell us about rest? I wonder what she'd share.

Try this:

Tune into your inner wise grandmother and celebrate Mabon with a pause to rest.  Decide what restful thing you could do this weekend or in the next few days and honour it.  Even if that means something else doesn’t get done, you need to say no to something or somebody or you need to call in support.

Making a commitment to rest and keeping a promise to ourselves is a way we can give thanks to this awesome body that houses us and for all that we are in the world.

Re-balance

At this time of balance between day and night, light and dark, it can be a good time to reflect upon your own sense of balance.  Nobody is in balance all of the time, it would be impossible to achieve. But sometimes we can become so used to being out of balance that we almost stop seeking it. So this time of the equinox can be helpful reminder to check in with yourself.

I'm offering some reflection questions here which you could either just ponder on or journal on...

Reflection / Journal prompts:

~ How am I feeling in myself just now?

~ Where am I needing to bring myself back into balance?

~ What would do that for me?

~ What would really nourish me?

Self-kindness

After Mabon, as we move into the darker months, many of us find we naturally go within ourselves, experiencing a time of more introspection.  Just like we might cosy up our home ready for the colder season, I love the idea of softening to ourselves around this time. So that when we go within we take with us our most gentle words.

I wonder if this year you’d benefit from taking more self-kindness in with you as you go?

Try this:

Experiment with self-kindness by spending a whole day talking to yourself with the level of kindness you reserve for a beloved person or pet.  Whenever you notice any judgy or critical thoughts or less-than-gentle inner self-talk, all you need to do is acknowledge it and guide yourself back to ‘what would the kindest part of my offer to myself here?’.

It may be harder than it sounds but don't be discouraged. You're experimenting and nothing has gone wrong. Just keep noticing and re-phrasing your internal messages so they're kind and compassionate. It's such a great practice to play with and I wonder how it makes you feel after a day of self-kindness? Could you maybe try it again the next day?

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Whenever I share these posts I always say – allow whatever you do with these invitations to feel easeful.

Kids and life don’t pay any attention to these festivals and you might not read this until days after the event.  They’re still available to you.

There are no expiry dates with this stuff.  No ticking clock or urgency.  The perfect time to take a moment for yourself and do something that feels nourishing is the very next window you can find, regardless of the date.

Go gently, make it easeful and bring all the self compassion.

I love to hear what you do with these invitations.  Feel free to let me know over on Insta how they panned out for you.

Mabon blessings, dear one x

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If rest, re-balancing and self-kindness are resonating with you right now, you might like to download my Self Care Journal for Mums. Subscribers to my free email community can download this for free. You're so welcome to sign up here if you'd like to.

© 2022 Lisa Mabberley
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