A Journal Of The Dark Arts
Celebrate the Autumnal Equinox with a 55-minute mixtape/soundscape by dessicant!
The Fall is finally upon us here in the Northern Hemisphere. The leaves are losing their emerald mantle, exchanging the ripe green of summer for a russet sweater of blazing gold and burned orange. The fields will soon be fallow, as we drag in the remnants of summer bounty. The air is tanged with the distant scent of wood smoke, the sweetly sour scent of over-ripe fruit. The leaves begin to crunch underfoot. The sunlight grows soft, serene, slanted, gold as honey and orange as tiger fur.
On this day, poised between seasons, we pause and give thanks, reflecting on the passing summer, the wheel of the year.
According to the Boston Public Library, Mabon is a pagan holiday, and one of the eight Wiccan sabbats celebrated during the year. Mabon celebrates the autumnal equinox. In the northern hemisphere, this September 23rd will be the autumnal equinox. However, the southern hemisphere already celebrated Mabon on March 20, when the Northern hemisphere celebrated Ostara. It also celebrates the mid-harvest festival (also known as the second harvest).
Many civilizations have celebrated a harvest festival around the equinox. In the 1700s, the Bavarians (part of present day Germany) began a festival that starts in the last week of September. They called this festival Oktoberfest. The festival had lots of feasting and celebrating. Oktoberfest is still celebrated in Bavaria today.
Many cultures see the second harvest (after the first harvest Lammas) and equinox as a time for giving thanks. This time of year is when farmers know how well their summer crops did, and how well fed their animals have become. This determines whether you and your family would have enough food for the winter. That is why people used to give thanks around this time, thanks for their crops, and animals, and food. The original American Thanksgiving was celebrated on October 3, which makes more sense with harvest times. By the end of November, there’s not that much left to harvest.
The name Mabon comes from the Welsh God, who was the son of the Earth Mother Goddess. However, there is evidence that the name was adopted in the 1970s, and the holiday was not originally a Celtic celebration.
To celebrate this holiday, pagans might pick apples. Apples are a common symbol of the second harvest. They may use the apples in an apple harvest ritual that thanks the gods for the bountiful harvest. Others might perform a ritual to restore balance and harmony to their lives, as this holiday celebrates a day with equal light and day. Another common ritual is to set up an altar with symbols of the season, such as apples, grapes, and other seasonal harvests. Any sabbat would not be complete without a feast for family and friends.
On this day, we pause and give thanks for the bounty we have received. We praise Saturn, Rhea, Mabon, feeling the heavy mantle of time upon our shoulders. On this harvest festival, we pray that this harvest season is just, that this year, at least, that what has been sewn so shall be reaped.
To commemorate the occasion, and the beginning of Fall/Autumn and the Spooky Season in earnest, we’re pleased to announce the beginning of a new mix series by dessicant. For this first autumn mix, Mabon, dessicant deftfully weaves together ritualistic Equinox recordings by Coil and Tribes of Neurot, an English translation of the Orphic Hymn to Saturn by Chicago’s Kimberly Steele, and autumnal field recordings from a Fall forest, of radioactive frogs from Chernobyl, and New Age meditation cassettes.
Happy Mabon, dear friends. I hope you are well wherever you may be. I hope, this year, you may reap what you have sewn, that you may enjoy the fruits of your labours, and that, as 2020 begins to draw to a close, that we move back towards health, towards love, towards justice.
This is the first in an ongoing series of Autumnal mixes by dessicant. Subscribe to our Mixcloud to make sure you never miss a mix!
It’s also the beginning of the Spooky Season in earnest. Fall is the busiest time of year here at Forestpunk, as the world grows dark, as the subtle and hidden comes into the forefront. We’re going to be going full-tilt, reviewing Autumnal records, both new and classic, horror and movie reviews, and some new surprises as Forestpunk begins to assume its Final Form.