Your Guide to Mabon
Mabon, (pronounced MAY-bun, MAY-bone, MAH-boon, or MAH-bawn) is the Autumn Equinox. The Autumn Equinox divides the day and night equally, and we all take a moment to pay our respects to the impending dark. We also give thanks to the waning sunlight, as we store our harvest of this year’s crops. The Druids call this celebration, Mea’n Fo’mhair, and honor the The Green Man, the God of the Forest, by offering libations to trees. Offerings of ciders, wines, herbs and fertilizer are appropriate at this time. Wiccans celebrate the aging Goddess as she passes from Mother to Crone, and her consort the God as he prepares for death and re-birth.
The fields are nearly empty because the crops have been plucked and stored for the coming winter. Mabon is the mid-harvest festival, and it is when we take a few moments to honor the changing seasons, and celebrate the second harvest. On or around September 21, for many Pagan and Wiccan traditions it is a time of giving thanks for the things we have, whether it is abundant crops or other blessings.
It’s a time of plenty, of gratitude, and of sharing our abundance with those less fortunate.
Various other names for this Lesser Wiccan Sabbat are The Second Harvest Festival, Wine Harvest, Feast of Avalon, Equinozio di Autunno (Strega), Alben Elfed (Caledonii), or Cornucopia. The Teutonic name, Winter Finding, spans a period of time from the Sabbat to Oct. 15th, Winter’s Night, which is the Norse New Year.
This is the time to look back not just on the past year, but also your life, and to plan for the future. In the rhythm of the year, Mabon is a time of rest and celebration, after the hard work of gathering the crops. Warm autumn days are followed by chill nights, as the Old Sun God returns to the embrace of the Goddess.
The holiday is named after the Welsh God, Mabon, son of Earth Mother goddess Modron.
Some pagans mark the holiday by enjoying rich feasts with seasonal foods like apples, pomegranates and root vegetables. Many also observe rituals honoring the goddess’ transition from mother to crone.
Lovekraft offered six ways to celebrate that can be done in small or large groups or individually:
1. Create an altar. This can be on a dining room table, hearth, or dresser with apples, leaves, pinecones, corn, pomegranate, squash, and root vegetables. Add gardening tools (scythe, baskets, hand trowel) and objects that are the colors of gold, orange, red, bronze, and rust. Light an orange or yellow candle and give thanks for the blessings of abundance you have in your life. (Always remember fire safety when working with candles and never leave a candle burning unattended!)
2. Ask for blessings. When lighting your candle, you can call to the Goddess in her Mother aspect and/or ask the Green Man to bless your harvest.
3. Do apple magic. Apples are often harvested in the fall. Cut an apple horizontally to reveal the hidden, five-pointed star (a pentagram) inside. Look for pentagonal forms around you (ex. five fingers and five toes, five petals of certain flowers, starfish, etc.)
4. Listen to music. Music is a wonderful way to get into the mood of Mabon! Songs by Lisa Thiel, the Reclaiming Tradition, and S.J. Tucker are especially evocative.
5. Meditate on balance. This is especially helpful if you are a family caregiver, but also if you have a high-stress job, pressure-filled commute, or have a lot of personal drama. Reflect on how you handle pressure, how you manage your and other people’s emotions, and how easily your peace of mind can be disrupted. Think about ways you can reduce stress and bring more balance to your days. Consider going to bed earlier and waking up earlier to get a jump on the day, practicing non-violent communication, eating more healthily, and eliminating unhealthy relationships.
6. Pray for peace. In a world out of balance, praying for peace and stability — including a stable climate — can be especially potent during Mabon!