Happy Mabon, friends! For those of you just joining us, Mabon is the celebration of the Autumn Equinox which happens around September 21st in the Northern Hemisphere, and around March 21st south of the equator. It’s a beautiful day. After several days of badly needed rain, the sun is finally out and the sky is a clear blue. The smoke from the wildfires washed away for now, but I’m stuck inside nursing an autumn cold. At least the view from the window is nice!
I use Mabon as a time to offer thanks. At many Pagan rituals I attend, there is a specific portion focused on manifestation: What do you want to bring into your life? Unfortunately, doing that at every single ritual buys into the consumer mentality currently wrecking the planet. Does it always have to be about what the Earth can do for us? Is there ever at time when we can just say “Thank you”?
At Mabon, I do not ask the Earth, the Gods, or the Spirits for anything. I only say thank you. At the other Sabbats, you’ll probably find me asking for elements of my personal master plan. But at Mabon, it’s only gratitude.
At the same time, expressing gratitude scares me. I was raised that bragging was rude and that I should never do it. In Witchcraft, Never Boast-Never Brag is a core Witch codes. Moreover, I’m cautious about jinxing things. If I say I’m thankful for something, will it attract the Gods of Misfortune? Will it attract Haters’ Evil Eyes? Honestly, haters-gonna-hate whether you offer gratitude or not. I’ve finally accepted that crappy things happen not because Gods of Misfortune are out to get me. Life happens in cycles. Being thankful for blessings will not chase them away. Challenging and Blessed times exchange places just as high and low tides take turns on the shore.
Today, I made a list. I am not bragging about it or taking these things for granted. I am raising them up as things I appreciate.
I am thankful for:
I might have a wicked autumn cold at the moment, but I am VERY thankful that I am a generally healthy person. I have few food allergies. I am strong. My mental health isn’t always great, but I’ve been working with wonderful people for whom I am so thankful. Things inside my head are getting much better.
Today on FB, I saw that my cousin celebrated his tenth wedding anniversary. I spent part of that reception crying in the bathroom due to a family member joking that “Courtney gets a lot of first dates…but not a lot of second dates.” I was in a confusing relationship space and having just turned 26, I wondered if I would ever meet anyone. Only two years later, I would meet my husband. Love is weird and meeting someone is as much about luck as it is being self-actualized. We are both strange pieces of the universal jigsaw puzzle, fitting with few people, but we fit with one another. If I listed all of the things I love about him, it would embarrass him, but I’m sure he won’t mind me saying how thankful I am that he does the laundry AND is cleaning the gutters as we speak. He even told me I didn’t have to go to Buti yoga tonight because I’m sick.
Sure, they wake me up at 4 a.m. EVERY GODDAMNED MORNING because those cans of wet food don’t open themselves, but look at how stupid-cute these two are! While I still miss my Lily and always will, I am thankful that Bear came into our lives. He’s cuddly and funny. He’s even nice to Matilda most of the time. Lilith was hardly ever nice to Matilda, so I’m sure even Tildy appreciates Bear once in awhile, too.
This week, I got some disappointing news. My publisher turned down my latest proposal. They liked the manuscript, but are not including its type of content in their next round of books. I’m thankful that I’m far enough along in my writing career where this is a bummer, but it doesn’t ruin me. Four years ago, when I first had a book proposal rejected, I went to therapy and threw my glasses at the wall–because nothing helps your writing more than destroying what you need to see. This time, my reaction was far more balanced. I asked my husband for a hug and opened a bag of chocolate chips. I have two books out and a third one written. Thirteen years ago, I couldn’t even finish a short story because I was so paralyzed with perfectionism. Fifteen years ago, I wasn’t even writing. Who knows where I could be fifteen years from now? I am thankful for where I’ve come from. I am thankful for what I’ve done.
For the new friends we’ve made in town at trivia night (this week, our team “Rocket Man Baby” took second place…losing to our other friends by only one point!). For the old friends I’ve reconnected with since I’ve moved back. For the NYC friends who put me up on their couches when I come into town for work. For the friendships I’ve let go because that was what was better for all of us–they served their purpose. For the friendships I simply drifted away from because of life and love and distances–I hope we drift back together. For the friends I have yet to meet–I can’t wait!
As it turns out, my family is funny. As in humorous. People say that I’m funny, but I’m probably the least-funny person in the sprawling brood from which I spring. Did you know that Republicans can be funny? It’s rare, but it’s not an urban legend. It’s true. Myself and my immediate family are these tiny blue dots in a sea of red, but almost everyone is actually pretty damn hilarious. We just don’t talk politics. It’s better for everyone.
I also have the cutest niece and nephew in the world. It’s true. They’re certified and honored universally as The Cutest Children Whoever Lived. Sometimes, they think I’m funny.
Deer. And beer. And antique furniture.
All things that I’ve got aplenty of now that I live here in McMinnville, OR.
What about you? What are you thankful for?