Like a hostel, vast!
A pretty bush, thick as a fist, of tiny hazelnuts
A green mass of branches,
~ from Dillon, Early Irish Literature
In one of my most cherished books of herbal lore the Autumn Equinox is referred to as Meán Fómhair. I was looking at the index of the book thinking that it would be under the term Mabon.
The reason for this is that my book is specific to Druidic herbal lore and the words Meán Fómhair come from the Druids. Meán Fómhair is one of the eight Celtic holidays in the season wheel, referred to as sabbats.
Whatever words we put to the day, whether Autumn Equinox, Mabon or Meán Fómhair it is a time to deeply breath in this sacred moment as we begin our preparations for the impending darkness of the seasonal year.
By traditional Celtic standards this second harvest festival actually began at sunset yesterday and will end at sunset in the morrow. This creates a three day window to acknowledge the bounty that is produced by the light and warmth of the sun.
Ancient symbols and rituals for this day include:
- The cornucopia, symbol of the wealth of the season and also symbolizes both the male (phallic) and female (receptive).
- Death of the Sun god as he retreats into his seasonal sleep.
- Equinimity of the day and night, which inturn refers to male and female.
- Color associations are: deep dark reds, yellow and brown.
The word Equinox comes from the latin meaning equal nights. Today the period of daylight is in equal balance to the darkness of the night. As the day and night come into balance, this symbol can also translate into the balance between the male and female aspects as well as the right and left hemispheres of the brain.
I’ve seen references where the Green Man is also honored on this day. The Green Man represents the spirit of the forest. We pay tribute to the Green Man by acknowledging the trees that dwell in our midst. Here in the Santa Monica Mountains I have been witnessing acorns on the ground from the bounty of the native oaks. Make offerings to our mighty tree friends who so graciously offer us their fruits, shade and wood for our survival. Honor them by becoming conscious of their presence. In our daily, electronic infused busy lives we often forget these mighty dwellers. Infuse them with your love first by stepping into the present moment and acknowledging their presence. We are in the Celtic lunar tree phase of the Vine at the moment, specifically grape. In times of old gifts such as wine and cider were presented to the spirit of the trees and forest as
This is a time to learn and repair those things will facilitate light during the upcoming period of dark as we move toward the fire festival of Samhain. Thanks to a phone call by Beth a few days where she shared her story of an owl telling her to “remember”, I too was stirred to remember.
My reminder came in several little events culminating while I wrote about the trees in this post.
Today and this next phase is a great time to journey within. As the ancient Greek inscription perscribes us to “Know Thyself”, γνῶθι σεαυτόν gnōthi seauton. The energies are ripe for taking that journey to the core of our essential nature.
To facilitate the journey to the territory of your own Sibyl consider these herbs and essential oils to accompany the journey. Some of these can be be infused or tinctured to then create your own special potion for the Autumn Equinox.
- Acorn or Oak, Quercus: Here in California the native Chumush people gathered acorns, leeched them and then ground them into flour. Acorn flour is readily available at specialty markets in the Los Angeles area and probably where Oaks are native. The energetic imprint of the acrorn is fertility in all her guises.
- Benzoin, Styrax benzoin or Styrax tonkinensis: Resin from a tree native to Asia. The resin can be easily purchased for tincturing and infusing. The bits can be put into a medicine pouch along with acorns and carried with you. Benzoin is also referred to as “Gum Benjamin” a classic resin utilized for preparing Incense. The resinoid or essential oil has a sweet, balsamic aroma with Vanilla. A few on my books reference the magical uses of Benzoin to be connected with purification and attraction. For aromatherapy purposes I suggest diffusing Benzoin in an aromatherapy burner or using in steam inhalations.
- Marigold, Calendula officinalis: Flower heads and petals can be used dried as well as infused and tinctured. Marigold as an essence for botanical perfume exists as a C02 extract. There are some that refer to Marigold as Tagetes: Tagetes bipinata, Tagetes glandulifera or Tagetes minuta, which are available as essential oils and absolutes. I have seen Marigold flowers connected with manifestation.
A few others to consider are:
- Myrrh, Commiphora myrrha
- Rose, Rosa
- Sage, Salvia offincinalis
I would also include apples and honey in the list above.
- Apple: A few years ago I was able to obtain some Apple Blossom Absolute to use in the creations of botanical, natural perfumes. I have not seen the material recently. There are plenty of raw materials in the perfumes palette the can assist in creating an impression of apple, those include many of the fruity essences, most especially Roman chamomile essential oil.
- Honey: Both honey and beeswax absolute are available to the natural perfumer. Some have tinctured honey to use in perfume, while others have tinctured comb, propolis and other materia from the hive. One also has beeswax as a component to solid perfume, slaves or lotion.
This list above are just a few suggestions on how YOU can make your own potion, most importantly follow your own intuition guides and mindfulness on what to use.
Natural perfumes from Roxana Illuminated Perfume that are appropriate for anointing oneself today and/or utilizing as your scent of the day:
- Q liquid and solid, devoted to the Coastal Live Oak
- Sierra liquid and solid, devoted to the Conifers, the solid has fruity elements and a prosperity accord which was created using magical principals.
- The perfume devoted to Peace liquid or solid
- Rosa liquid perfume
HAPPY Autumn Equinox, Mabon or Meán Fómhair to you.
Birthday Blessings to my father who turns 83 and my dear friend Susan.
“Blessings” by Greg Spalenka ©Greg Spalenka
Brain on parchment by Roxana Villa. Old engraving of a Brain which I have utilizing in photoshop. ©Roxana Villa
Q illumination by Greg Spalenka for Roxana Illuminated Perfume. ©Greg Spalenka & Roxana Villa
Photo of Know Yourself Inscription is from GreeceTaxi