Here we are at the Fall Equinox, entering the third quarter of the year. It’s Harvest Home, also called Mabon. This is the second of the three harvest festivals. Lammas or Lughnasa is celebration of the first fruits. For me it’s the spirit of the fairgrounds: the prize livestock, giant vegetables, fair food, the tractor pull and the demolition derby, the gaudiness of the midway. Harvest Home is more like Thanksgiving: the grain is in, the canning is under way… It’s time to take a breather and give thanks for abundance.
Samhain is a paradoxical holiday. On the one hand, it’s the meat harvest. All three harvest festivals acknowledge death. Lughnasa began as funeral games in honor of Lugh’s foster mother, who died clearing a huge field so the people could plant their grain. Harvest Home rejoices in the death and the future resurrection of John Barleycorn. Samhain is the blood harvest, when the excess livestock is slaughtered and preserved for the winter. It’s also the feast of the ancestors. And because it’s the Celtic New Year, it’s the season of costumes, misadventure, and misrule.
So, Lammas lies at the crossroads of the wide world where the rube meets the carny and everyone struts their biggest, sweetest, flakiest, neat-handed best. And Samhain parts the veil between the worlds where the living meet the honored ancestors and the human interacts with Gods and the Fae. And in between we have the equinox, where day and night are temporarily balanced. Summer hangs by a hair’s breadth. Winter is poised to fall upon us.
For me, Harvest Home carries a deeper meaning. It’s about storing up “seed” for the future, about leaving a legacy for the next generation. I joined the Central Illinois Chapter of the Interfaith Alliance this summer: “The Central Illinois Chapter of the Interfaith Alliance’s mission is to promote the positive role of religion as a healing and constructive force in public life. Through our shared religious values, we seek to build a revitalized mainstream religious movement based upon active civic participation.” I invited myself onto the program committee, and I’m having fun planning the monthly meetings for the coming year. I will be at the CICTIA’s Stop the Hate Vigil this week. And I have two commitments for the green expo at the Metro Centre this weekend. I will do one shift for the Global Warming Solutions Group and one for Global Village: six hours for a just and sustainable future…
And who knows, maybe I’ll balance my 401K–just to tidy up my private storehouse.
Filed under: Wheel of the Year and