As Pagan parents, we can find explaining and deciphering this time of year to our children a great challenge within our paths of instruction to them. Death, Life, The Spirit Realm (or whatever you wish to address it as) meld together at the beginning of a crossroads leading up to the end of this Wheel’s turn at Samhain. Metaphorically, we can teach our children through the imagery of Harvest, the warmth of Summer ending, and the cold of Autumn beginning here at the Autumn Equinox – more commonly known to Pagans as Mabon or Alban Elfen.
So, how do we represent life & it’s celebration in a way that our children can learn yet comprehend in an exciting manner? Explaining life in regards to our children and the importance behind it always seems to take us in opposing extremes of direction – childbirth & pregnancy or the route of the difference between life & death. We can avoid these extremes and still get the beginning clicks going on and off in their magnificent spongy little brains by showcasing to them the Harvest in both a Spiritual & scientific light. With the Equinox upon us, this is easy to do as we find ourselves in throws of what we would compare to the American tradition of Thanksgiving!
For this Sabbat, we are gracing our tables with loved ones and those close to our spirits, giving our thanks to the fields and harvests of the year for their bountiful offerings through the reaping, and surrounding our Spirits with warmth & comfort. We give our utmost thanks at this time of year for these successes and beautiful vibrations which are simple to show to our children. Have them help you in setting your table for feast, welcoming your household or any guests you may be celebrating with. One of the features we use during this time is the cornucopia – let’s look at it’s history and representation so that we can use this story along with the setting to teach them a deeper meaning of it.
Photo courtesy of https://blog.chestersflowers.com/history-of-the-cornucopia/
The cornucopia came about through Zeus & the Greek mythology in a lore that shows us the original horn of plenty was that of a large goat Amalthea who fed Zeus as a small baby when he was being hidden from his father Chronos. One day as Zeus played with the goat roughly, he accidentally broke off one of her horns. Now, this goat was magickal and this horn began to do something magnificent – pouring full foods from it in quite an abundance. To honor this story, the Gods, and the ever-giving goat Amalthea, we hold a reverence and place at our table for the never-ending abundance that she gives to us through her horn.
Cornucopia’s can be bought most anywhere or can also be made by hand yet this task may be best left to an adult or shared with a child and an adult as it can be challenging depending on age. Share some of the raw foods for your feast with this Horn of Amalthea, keeping specifically to the traditional idea that fruits & vegetables are what are at harvest at this time of year. When going through this with your children, we can use the decorating of the table to show our thanks for life itself!
We also adorn our tables and Altars with the leaves falling, colors of representation, candles, and so much more showing our appreciation but mostly to bring a more intense and focused energy to our day and ritual. There are some crafts that also revolve around this during this day that we can have our children do which will begin a slight meditation into their minds without even knowing they are doing it. They will be talking about leaves, about decorating the table, and the story of the Cornucopia. Our children’s introduction to any Sabbat should be full of enough interaction with them to where they are talking about and learning about this day within their energy. We will go through some crafts later in this article.
Let’s take a look at some key points & phrasing examples that can help us help our children relate to this a bit easier.
Key points to note when introducing our children to Mabon/Autumn Equinox Ritual
- Food is LIFE. We are sustained by it, and when it is taken for us at Harvest we recognize that it has lived life, it has grown from a tiny seed into something beautiful, nourishing and delightfully fragrant.
- If you are baking bread, use this as an example of creating things from the harvests. This will help your child to understand how things coming together can create life and that we are able to take part in the life cycle of everything within our Earthen reach.
- As we set the table for feast with leaves from the Autumn use, this as an example of how we are giving thanks and showing our reverence. As adult Spiritualists, we know that when we set an Altar or table for any ritual, we are showing this reverence, asking for their continued guidance as we show our appreciation to the Universe/Gods (however you address Spirit) for what they have already walked with us through.
Phrases to use for easy introduction to our Children:
- Our plants are alive. They walk us through their life cycle from seed to harvest, then they help us to live ourselves by giving our bodies nutrients & energy.
- We offer to the Gods/Universe some of these as a thank you to them for helping us to grow them successfully and for our food.
- We decorate the table with leaves and these colors of Autumn to bring the energy of Autumn to our feast.
Now, taking a look at how to adorn your Altar & Feast table for this Sabbat we see a need for representation at the forefront of this. Candles are very commonly used at this time of year with color and scent being heavily correlated in their use with browns, oranges, and reds showing at the forefront of our practices. My Altar usually consists of a pillar of each of these colors burning in unison with two white tapers for cleansing & pure intentions at either end of the table. With this being the time of harvest, the completion of the fertility cycle before we begin again, I like to use a pumpkin as my candle holder for these tapers – using the representation as a thanks for the fertility we have been blessed with and are taking part in its fruits at this time.
This pushes us to another point of explanation to our children: Fertility. Such a big word, with such an intense meaning to try and relate to these little souls. As we explain the life cycle, fertility can be described with our children through the gourds we are using at this time. These plants must be extremely fertile to blossom & fruit into the foods and adornments they will be used for. The daunting explanation we avoid as parents is that of pregnancy, but this and fertility are not always the one & the same. Take the time to explain how the plant must be fertile, and then fertilized by a male plant to make these beautiful fruits grow to their ripened state for us to take part in. While you do this, have your child (of appropriate age) help you to cut out the stem of a pumpkin to use as your taper candle holder for this ritual. Explain to them how this protective gourd that holds strong through the weather and animal interest will be holding a candle that represents cleansing energies, keeping our Sacred Space for this Sabbat clean of negative energy – just as it does the innards that we enjoy as pumpkin pies, cakes, or even the support for our carving during Samhain as we light the way for the Gods/Spirits to find us.
Going back to the candle color representation as we can also explain these to our young ones as they help us prepare for our feast and ritual! We utilize the colors of the candles themselves to infuse our Ritual with the energies that we wish to surround ourselves with and bring into our lives at this time. Let’s take a look at the meanings of the colors of this Sabbats candles:
- Brown: Structure & Stability
- Gold: Abundance, Wealth & Divinity
- Purple: Divinity, Wisdom & Bravery
- Red: Life, Health, Vigor & Love
- White: Cleansing, Purity & Health
- Orange: Confidence, Joy & Enthusiasm
As you add these to your Altar infuse these candles with these energies by asking them to bring these to your Ritual WITH your child. Have them repeat you, or ask in their own way for the candles to draw these energies into your Altar and table. Now that your Altar and Ritual table should be ready, let’s dive into the crafts you can begin after this to help your children better connect with the Autumn Equinox, beginning with leaf rubbings.
Generally, for most of us, trees are easily accessed. It does not matter what kind of leaf you use however it will need to be easy for you to set underneath a paper and rub with a crayon to get the desired details rubbed. You can use any color you wish, however I would suggest the crayons to match the colors you’re using for ritual. This will help your children to continue to keep the intentions set in their energies while they work on this craft for Autumn Equinox. Place the leaves under the paper wherever you would like their image to show up as you rub, unwrap the crayon from it’s paper, and on it’s side RUB! It will make beautiful leaf images show up just as you see in the picture below.
Picture courtesy of https://www.firstpalette.com/craft/leaf-rubbings.html
These ideas and workings are a good start for introducing your child/ren to honoring, celebrating the Autumn Equinox/Mabon! Enjoy this amazingly beautiful season, and may the most abundant blessings come to you and your family throughout this coming Winter.
About the Author:
Hallie has been a Practicing Pagan for 17 years and has taken these years of education and study to achieve her Certification in Herbalism at the Master Level as well as her Certification as a Meditation Instructor. Fully devoting her life to Spiritualism and living a fully Pagan lifestyle has become the drive in her life, which she achieves while striving to help others within the community turn back to Nature based living.
Celebrating being open for just over one year, Hallie is also the Owner and Founder of Saol Bandia – The Goddess Life, an up and coming Metaphysical and Spiritual Hub that supports knowledge and education of all paths while selling and promoting Pagan made goods and tools at ?www.saolbandia.com? or www.facebook.com/saolbandia. She has also recently begun teaching online courses on Spiritualism as well through her handmade courses at http://sbsstudies.thinkific.com? focused in Spellcasting and Tarot Divination at this time.
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