Dagaz -- What a great rune to cast just after the autumnal equinox, the second harvest sabbat! Representing the close of a full day's work, this metaphor for celebrating the culmination of a cycle and regrouping to begin another is very appropriate.
What, specifically about the second harvest observation is significant to closing a cycle? After all, it isn't the initial harvest, Lammas, bearer of the first fruits of our labor. It's not Samhain, the final harvest sabbat, where we take stock of the year. It's not the beginning of the cycle, or the end. It isn't the reward or loss. In fact, what makes this sabbat special is somewhere between. At this equinox, the sun and Earth directly align with the equator, the closest we ever get to perfect balance between night and day, light and darkness. Therein speaks the metaphor.
Mabon (a relatively new name for the sabbat) was, and for many still is, the true Thanksgiving. It is the point at which we realize whether our hard work is going to pay off -- if we sowed enough, if we put enough hours in, and consequently, if we will reap enough to get us through winter. At this time, we honor where we truly stand with regard to our progress, our expenditures, and what's left to be completed.
On this sabbat, Dagaz is about reflection, not on the beginning or end, but the process between. The span of a day is the harvest cycle compressed. While we can finally rest at sun down and reflect on the day, the sun will rise again. Another day is coming. Comfort and reflection are short-lived. They are the building blocks of the work still to come, in which the somber truth of the equinox lies: the hard part about Mabon is we have just as much work to accomplish in a day, with less sunlight to do it, and possibly less enthusiasm and hope.
I sometimes call Dagaz the "so what?" Rune, because that's its simplest, yet most profound teaching. Certainly a huge task has been completed, and celebrations are in order. So what? Don't get too emotionally involved in things. Keep the ego in check, and do our best, because in the end, there is no end. Only a chance to do it all, better.
Originally published at Intentional Insights.
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