Inner Circle Sanctuary, in addition to being a school of Wicca, is a religious institution which celebrates all the eight Sabbats, and honors ancient but living Deities of nature, fertility, and benevolence. In this piece we will discuss some of our practices, and those of other groups, particularly for the Autumn Equinox.
We consider Sabbats to be times of communion with the Gods, and harmonization with Nature, at the turning points of the “Wheel of the Years.” Our late High Priest, Lord Mordred, always said “Sabbats are the Gods’ time,” and so we never do spell work or initiations on Sabbat days. We do however, make offerings of food and drink, and ask boons of the Gods, in the form of a wish written on parchment, wrapped around a candle, and burnt in our sacred center fire.
As our theme for the Autumn Equinox is “Thanksgiving” we write what we are thankful for on our parchment, and wrap it around a silver candle. Silver candles are used as “Thank You Candles” in our Tradition. For what are you thankful this year?
You are thankful for something, yes? If nothing else, you are still alive. Chances are, if you are reading an article about Wicca, you are doing relatively well. Feeling fortunate, and giving thanks, are well known qualities of successful people. So burn a silver candle! Safely, of course. Or maybe you’re one of those people who believe you got here on your own, with no help from anyone, not luck or good fortune. You can burn a silver candle too; just make it a Penis shaped candle to reflect your personality…
We also play the “Candle Game” at Autumn Equinox, as described in “A Witches Bible Compleat” by Janet and Stewart Farrar. It is a very entertaining game for a group of adults to play- as long as you have a good sense of humor, and enjoy a lot of kissing, and being (lightly) scourged!
If you don’t, by the way, we are definitely not the coven for you…
While we use the proper term for the time, Autumn Equinox, we also refer to the Sabbat as Mabon. A well known pagan author, Aidan Kelly, began referring to the Sabbat as Mabon around 1970, according to Wikipedia. We love the modernity of Wicca and Neo-Paganism! Especially when they are culled from ancient roots, as the name Mabon is.
Mabon, a character from Welsh mythology, was son of Modron, whose name probably means “Great Mother.” Her name is one of the names we add to the Introduction to the Charge of the Goddess for this Sabbat.
Here in Southern Nevada, the Fire of Summer is hopefully cooled by the Water of Autumn by the time we head outdoors to perform our Sabbat. Our Sabbats are grand events, and the set up can be quite taxing, especially when the temperature is in the triple digits.
Although Sol enters the sign of Libra around this time, an Air sign, we relate Fall to the element of Water, as it is the Dusk of the year.
As we are a Nature based religion, we relate most to the Harvest aspects of this time of year, Mabon being the middle of three Harvest Sabbats; the first being Lughnassadh, and the last, Samhain. Other groups and traditions mark this Solar tide in their own way, with their own focus.
Note that Inner Circle Sanctuary rarely uses the terms “Greater” and “Lesser” when referring to Sabbats. We consider each spoke of the Wheel of the Years to be equal, and necessary, as they indicate varying levels or aspects of fertility.
The eight divisions of the year can all be considered marked by the Sun, as the Equinoxes and Solstices are real, objective events that easily divide the year, and the Cross Quarter Days, the more Terrestrial Sabbats, are approximately midway between the Solar Sabbats. It is this relationship of Sol to Terra that gives us obvious occasions to celebrate Nature!
Why are Equinoxes so powerful to those of us who believe such things? I liken it to a two cylinder engine, preferably a V-Twin. At the Solstices, one cylinder is diminished- Day overtaking Night at the Summer Solstice, and Night absorbing Day at the Winter Solstice. At the Equinoxes, both cylinders are firing equally- that’s a lot of magical torque!
Let’s examine how some other magical groups observe the Equinox.
The Ordo Aurum Solis (Order of the Gold of the Sun) performs Affirmation Rituals in its Houses of Initiates. These rituals theugically reinforce (affirm) cohesion within the Houses, their attachment to the Order, and to the Egregore of the Order as a whole.
The Sacred Order of Sophisians, a Napoleonic Era rite of Egyptian Free Masonry, holds a simple celebration for the Autumn Equinox, probably as a foreshadow of celebrating the Resurrection of the God Osiris at the Spring Equinox. The Sacred Order of Sophisians is open to women as well as men, which makes it of particular interest to Pagans, Polytheists, and lovers of Ancient Egypt.
The Golden Dawn observes this potent time with grand ceremonies as found in “The Golden Dawn” by Israel Regardie, and “The Equinox and Solstice Ceremonies of the Golden Dawn” by Pat and Chris Zalewski. The latter book contains a version of the ritual for use by a lone practitioner, so anyone can tap in to the magick of the Equinox. These Equinox ceremonies (Autumn and Spring) include installation of Lodge Officers, and the use of a new password.
Aleister Crowley published a very usable, stripped down version of the Golden Dawn Equinox ceremony in his 1936 work 'The Equinox of the Gods.'
Tarostar, a famous author of many great books of Magick and Witchcraft (several of which are used in ICS curricula), refers to Equinoxes
and Solstices as “the Times,” and their celebrations as Celestial Sabbats in his book “The Sacred Pentagraph.” There are introspective questions asked and meditated on during the Autumn Equinox ritual, and annual dues are collected.
How will you celebrate Mabon? Whether you are a Solitary Practitioner, or part of a group or coven, observing this powerful time of the year with joy and reverence will join you to a large community of magical people, and harmonize you with Nature, and energize your Spirit. May Frith and good seasons go with you!
by Lord Tanys
for our Autumn Equinox 2017 newsletter
Inner Circle Sanctuary
Inner Circle Sanctuary is a school for traditional style Wicca and holds eight sabbat festivals every year.