The wheel is turning and today the scales are balanced. On this sabbat all things are in perfect harmony – day and night, light and dark are equals. In the natural world the air grows the little cooler, the leaves are beginning to lose their bright green sheen and all living things are starting to prepare for the coming winter. Today we will discuss this sabbat, it’s history and how you can celebrate it at home!
HISTORY AND LORE
Mabon is the Autumnal equinox, today the sun crosses the equator and we experience a day and night that are equal in length. This sabbat marks the middle of harvest. It is a time to reap the rewards of our hard work, rest and to give thanks. On this day we look back on the past year and plan for the year ahead.
In the story of the Wheel of the Year, on Mabon the Sun God begins to fade and the coming of his inevitable passing on Samhain should be mourned today. The God begins his journey into the darkness and into the Goddess’ loving arms, we are reminded that all things come to an end. The darkest parts of the year are on the horizon.
Mabon in many parts of the world is celebrated as a wine harvest or a family oriented autumnal festival. This because this is the time of year when grapes are ready for picking and we can begin the production of new wines! In ancient Greece this wine harvest was called Oschophoria and a special festival held in it’s honor. Libations of wine can be poured on the Earth as offering to the gods and goddesses, and spirits today.
In China they hold a Mid-Autumn festival which is celebrated on the night of the Harvest Moon, and is a festival of honoring family unity. So where does the name Mabon come from? The festival of Mabon is named after the God of Welsh mythology, Mabon. He is the “Child of Light” and the son of the Goddess, Modron.
As we can see many ties to ancient festivals do exist for this sabbat but there is little evidence that Mabon as we know it today was celebrated anywhere in the ancient world. However the second harvest aspect of Mabon does come from the Autumn Equinox celebrations of old. The second harvest was often of fruits, berries and winter vegetables that were available for harvest without any form of large scale cultivation. That makes this second harvest as the days grew colder extremely valuable.
RITUAL AND OBSERVATION
- Finish up old projects.
- Go apple or berry picking.
- Decorate your altar and home with symbols of the season.
- Make plans for new enterprises or a change in lifestyle.
- Make your own wine or cider!
- Go mushroom picking or forage for wild herbs.
- This is a good time for hearth magic and any magic related to home, family and friends.
- Enjoy a nature walk with friends and family, take in the changing of the seasons and notice the subtle differences.
- Make rattles out of empty gourds and sunflower seeds, rice or beans.
- Begin preparing your home for winter, take out winter clothes and linens, etc.
- Host your own autumnal celebration with foods and wines of the season!
SYMBOLS: Seasonal squash, baskets, wine and wine bottles, apples, harvest tools, acorns, seeds.
GODDESSES: Persephone, Modron, Morgan, Epona, Demeter, and all harvest Goddess’
GODS: Mabon, Dionysus, Thor, Hermes, and The Green Man.
INCENSE: Patchouli, Cedar, Apple, Sage, Clove, Cinnamon
CANDLES: Orange, brown, yellow, red
TOOLS: Baskets, cornucopia, harvest tools, wine bottles/cups
PLANTS: Apples, sage, tobacco, berries, grapes, honeysuckle, marigold, grains.
STONE: Yellow Topaz, Sapphire, Lapis Lazuli, Agate
ALTAR DECORATIONS: Baskets, squash, acorns, harvest tools, apples, wine, grapes, grains, seeds. Use whatever is in season where you live.
FOOD: Breads, pies, wine, apples, cider, beers, grapes, stew/soup, seasonal vegetables and roasted meats.