It is that time of the year again that despite the ever lingering daylight savings, a definite change can be felt as the earth’s wobbling rotation pulls away from the sun here in the Southern Hemisphere. The mornings are distinctively darker and the sun lingers longer below the horizon, and there is an ever slight chill in the air. Yes, the time of the Autumn Equinox draws near (21st of March to be exact for this year).
As such, it appears time again to point out an erroneous association that first appeared in the 1970s and which, despite numerous attempts to rectify over the years, still perpetuates itself within modern Paganism – that being the usage of the term “Mabon” as an alleged alternative name for the Autumn Equinox.
For over ten years, around the first full moon of the year, I have lead a special beach side rite that honours the Yorùbá Orisha or Goddess of the living ocean, Yemaya (also spelt Yemoja and Iemoja). This is year is no different, with the Yemaya Blessing of the Waters rite being held this evening at Grange Beach.
Originally from West Africa where her name means “Mother whose children are like fish”, Yemaya is the owner of the Ogun River and a lake named for her. As the African diaspora occurred, Yemaya traveled with her children to the Americas and Caribbean, where the Mother of Waters became known as Mother of Oceans.
New yeare forth looking out of Janus gate, Doth seeme to promise hope of new delight: And bidding th’old Adieu, his pass’d date Bids all old thoughts to die in dumpish spright And calling forth out of sad Winters night, Fresh love, that long hath slept in cheerlesse bower: Wils him awake, and soone about him dight His wanton wings and darts of deadly power.
To the ancient Romans, the dual faced God, Janus, was the God of beginnings and transitions, and as such, he was also perceived to be the God who ruled over gates and doors, doorways and passages, as well as also endings. With one face looking back into the past, and the other into the future, it is little wonder that as we approach New Year’s Eve, Janus can easily come to mind.
Night of Hekate of the Underworld is November 16. Celebrate her chthonic side and honor your own darkness with a solitary ritual sacrificing what longs to die within you to Hekate. We hold within us all the energy of the Underworld. There are parts of us that long to die and others that call to be retrieved. On Hekate’s Night, offer to her the parts of you that need to die, thus creating the space for your soul to return.
Transformative Death Walking
Death walking refers to forms of witchcraft that explore the Underworld side of magick, including communicating with spirits and spiritual death. As witches, we are forever walking on the other side of the veil, whether through mediumship or personal development work. Offering to Hekate an emotional sacrifice of that which longs to die within us is part of our Witches’ Journey. Keeping the past and our pain on life support while we attempt to transform ourselves inevitably yields poor results. What is it that longs to die within you? A past hurt? A dysfunctional way of thinking? Perhaps ideas or practices relating to your witchery?
Yemoja/Yemaya is considered to be the mother of all orishas found within the Yoruba religion of western Africa, having given birth to the 14 Yoruba gods and goddesses. Here she is also the patron deity of the Ogun River and is worshipped at various waterways including streams, creeks, and springs.
Her name is contraction of the Yoruba words Yeye (meaning “mother”); ọmọ (“child”), and ẹja (“fish”). Together her name is roughly translated as meaning “Mother whose children are like fish, which reflects the vastness of her motherhood, her fecundity, and her reign over all living things. Yemaya governs everything pertaining women; childbirth, conception, parenting, child safety, love, and healing. She also oversees deep secrets, ancient wisdom, the moon, sea shells, and the collective unconscious.