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Autumn Equinox, Mabon | Thoughts on the Well dressing | Nourishment

The Madonna statue honouring the last rays of summer is decorated with Panicum elegans, rowan berries, amaranth, vines, sunflowers, yellow and orange dahlias, yellow calendula and acorns collected by our visitors.

The Well is dressed with the foliage of Thuja plicata, Malus, Pathenocissus quinquefolia and spirea; and flowers and fruit in gratitude for the harvest – dahlias (tubers), nasturtiums (edible flowers), amaranth (grain), apples, rose hips (fruit), as well as sedum in offering to their insect pollinators.

Autumn equinox is the 2nd of the 3 harvest festivals. As we gather in our crops, we traditionally give thanks for the bounty and all that has made it possible. It is for some a time of apples, a symbol of abundance and generosity, wealth and fecundity; and in Avalon, the Isle of Apples, of love, healing and wholeness. It is also a time of vines, a symbol of unity, interweaving and learning from each other with respect for our differences.

As day and night balance, we begin to think of preparations for winter. In his poem Autumnal Equinox, Olafur Johann Sigurdsson, the Icelandic poet, writes:

In cold weather little offers lee,
Every leaf withers, lets go and is gone.
Oh, had I only, like this tree
As summer passed, sunk my roots deeper down.

Many of us have felt the restriction this year, our usual summer growth and expansiveness curtailed. However, as I read this verse, I was reminded that if we have had one opportunity this year, it has been to deepen our roots, our foundation ~ with ourselves, our (chosen) families and our communities. We have done this through the care taken of one another, in every small and grand way; and in our consideration of what really matters to us, individually and collectively.

As I dressed the Well early this morning, I thought of an allegory told in childhood. You have likely heard it. It is a story told on many spiritual paths. It is the parable of the long spoons: Someone dies and is allowed to visit both heaven and hell. In each, there are long tables filled with a feast. The diners are given long handled spoons with which to eat the feast, the handles too long for anyone to feed themselves. In hell, where the residents try to feed only themselves, they moan with hunger. In heaven, where they feed each other, all are satiated.

As the harvest of crops feeds our bodies, it is the sharing of care and kindness that sustains our capacity to love. As we start to think of winter, at this time of equal day and night, we might also consider that this sustenance also requires the balance of nourishing others with that of ourselves.

Wherever you are, however you are celebrating Autumn Equinox this year and however you connect to the Well, may the love and blessing that surrounds it fill your heart in whatever way you need. Thank you for all you share in kindness and support for its work.

With blessings, gratitude & love,


Thank you to both Danu Forest and Glennie Kindred (amongst others) for their writings on this and other Wheel of the Year festivals.

16 thoughts on “Autumn Equinox, Mabon | Thoughts on the Well dressing | Nourishment

  1. Thank you so much for these beautiful photos, all this beauty, all this Love that comes to me. I hope That Life will allow me to go to Glastonbury one day soon. Thank you again. Love and Blessings from France

    1. Thank you for your kind comment, Pascale. We look forward to welcoming you at the Well when you are ready. Blessings, Penny.

  2. Now the rule of 6. Only 6 can meet in garden or house.. can we still visit the well

    1. Thank you for your question. Yes, groups of up to six can still visit the gardens. Larger groups have to split into groups of six or less, pay as separate groups and remain in those separate groups while in the garden. Hope you can visit soon. Best wishes, Gareth.

  3. The Chalice Well is always and will always, be a sanctuary of peace and calm and ever y time I visit I leave uplifted thank you

    1. Thank you, Richard. It is good to know that you experience the Well in this way. Blessings, Penny.

  4. Thank you , how beautiful the flower arrangements ,which transmits calming , caring energy .
    Love, Light and blessings

    1. Thank you, Ina. Love, light and blessings back to you, Penny.

  5. Thank you 🙂

    1. You’re welcome, John. Blessings to you, Penny.

  6. Thank you 💕

    1. You’re welcome, Wyn. Blessings to you, Penny.

  7. Thank you for the beautiful photos. While i cant be there in person my spirit can still be uplifted by their beauty.
    Many thanks and blessings

    1. Thank you, Vivienne. I’m glad you found the photos uplifting. Blessings, Penny.

  8. The beauty. Thankyou. I’m an old Companion and my spirit is at the Well today. I’m wondering if anyone might be interested in renewing Wellesley Tudor Pole’s Silent Minute during these Covid times- any thoughts? Bless all of you at the Well for the Well dressing, it means a great deal and just looking at it means I’m there in spirit. Thanks and love to you all, Clare xxx

    1. Thank you for your kind comments and sharing your thoughts and interest, Clare. The Silent Minute is indeed continuing to offer community, focus and comfort. At the Well, we continue to ring the bell at 12 and 3 p.m. to invite visitors to participate in a minute’s silence. The Big Ben Silent Minute took forward Wellesley Tudor Pole’s original idea. Their website address is (although it is undergoing reconstruction at present). Another organisation to take forward this idea is the Global Silent Minute and their website can be found at . Blessings, Penny.

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