The Wheel Turns once more, another High Holiday, and another reason to celebrate life. We say goodbye to the vibrant golden days of summer, and hello to the bountiful blessings of autumn. With the turn of the wheel, brings a magical new Sabbat; Mabon or Autumn Equinox is the season of transformation and deep introspection. We welcome in the darker nights and longer days that draw us into a more reflective phase when we can look back on the year and acknowledge both what we have gained and what we have lost. Mabon is the mid-harvest festival, and it is when we take a few moments to honour the changing seasons and celebrate the second harvest. It is a time to honour our blessings, appreciate abundance, prosperity and all the wonderful things in our life.
The autumnal equinox is one of two dates in the year when day and night are of equal length. Celebrated on or around the 22nd September (or March 21, if you're in the Southern Hemisphere), bringing the perfect balance between light and dark. The equinox helps remind us that nature is only in balance two nights of the year, a beautiful reminder that we don’t need to be in balance all year round.
The Harvest is a celebration of duality, of light and dark, masculine and feminine, and of gain and loss. The Autumn Equinox is an energetic cusp of perfect balance, and as we cross over and move into shadow season, we notice that nature also retreats into a season of rest. Leaves begin to change colour, they shed and fall on the ground, trees become bare, the animals and the world around us go into hibernation, reminding us that we too are going through changes and that all our hard work for the year is done. It is now our turn to retreat and rest.
☼WHAT IS MABON?☼
The Harvest Festival is named after the God of Welsh mythology, Mabon. He is the Child of Light and the son of the Earth Mother Goddess, Modron. Mabon is Welsh for “Great Son”, which is a play on words, as Mabon is all about celebrating the turn away from the sun, the turning away from the light.
Mabon is the son of light, the son of Modron which means “The Great Son of The Great Mother”. Modron, The Great Mother, is the Celtic Mother Goddess - The Divine Mother. Goddess Modron teaches us that even with loss, life must go on. This celebration is about the loss of what really matters to us, of what is really important.
As the story goes, Mabon was taken from Modron when he was just 3 nights old, Modron mourned and wept for years and years and even though her sorrow was as great as the deepest ocean and as dark as the sky on a moonless night, Modron never gave up hope that one day her son would be returned to her. Teaching us that even in times of great grief and loss, to stay strong and still able to give thanks and enjoy life, in the face of losing something that matters to you.
In the story she loses her son, so we are celebrating what we have lost, and what is important to us. During this Harvest season, be mindful of what you may have lost, and stay grateful for all that you have. Give thanks for all the opportunities that have come into your life this year, no matter how small.
This Sabbat is about the balance between light and dark, with equal amounts of day and night. Creating a Mabon or Autumn Equinox themed altar is a great way to connect with the season and it spruces up your decor!
Colours Of The Season
When you think of autumn, what springs to mind? For me, its all about the leaves and how beautiful the trees look with all their different shades of reds, greens, oranges and browns. Autumnal colours are the perfect way to reflect this season and for your altar decorations. Cover your altar with cloths that symbolise the harvest season, or go a step further and put brightly coloured fallen leaves upon your altar. Use candles in deep, rich colours; orange, reds, golds, or other autumn shades are perfect this time of year.
Symbols of the Harvest
Mabon is the time of the second harvest, and the dying of the fields. Use corn, Indian corn, wine, gourds, pine cones, acorns, grains, grapes, apples, pine cones, pomegranates, vines such as ivy, dried seeds, dried leaves, dried flowers, sheaves of wheat and root vegetables on your altar. Add some tools of agriculture if you have them - scythes, sickles, and baskets to symbolise the gathering of crops. You might even want to honour your altar with a bowl of dirt.. symbolising the dying of the earth and the rebirth of something new.
A time of Balance
Remember, the equinoxes are the only two nights of the year when nature is in balance, the amount of light and darkness are equal. Decorate your altar to symbolise the aspect of the season. Try a small set of scales, a yin-yang symbol, a black and white candle, maybe a figure or photo of a God and Goddess, Masculine and Feminine. Honour your altar with something that represents balance to you.
Crystals and Gemstones
Crystals and gemstones are always a beautiful addition to your altar. During the Autumn Equinox, stones ruled by the Sun will help bring the Sun's energy to you. Clear quartz, Sunstone, Amber, Peridot, Diamond, Pyrite, Citrine, Yellow Topaz, Tiger Eye and Aventurine. I love having Smoky Quartz and Black Tourmaline for grounding and protection during the darker months.
Herbs, Spices and Flowers
Benzoin, Rue, Yarrow, Walnuts, Mistletoe, Saffron, Chamomile, Frankincense, Oak leaves, Ferns, Grains, Honeysuckle, Marigold, Milkweed, Myrrh, Sunflower, Pine cones, Rose hip, Sage, Cinnamon, Clove, Star anise, Ginger, Thistle and Wheat.
Pick some apples...
Apples are the perfect symbol of the Mabon season, long connected to wisdom and magick. At Mabon, the apple season is in full bloom, and in addition to being delicious and looking great on your altar, these beautiful fruits available in so many different autumnal colours are perfect for Mabon divination and magick.
A symbol of The Goddess Pomona, a Roman Goddess who was the keeper of orchards and fruit trees and a symbol of the Harvest. When picking or buying apples, always be mindful and thank the Goddess.
Apple trees are a representative of wisdom and guidance; for divination and meditation during your Mabon Harvest Ritual, you can can cut your apple in half and meditate on the five-pointed star that is hidden inside. As you focus on the Pentagram, thank the Gods and Goddesses for their bounty and blessings.
- Apples are associated with divination; find a way to associate divination into your rituals for Mabon.
- In Celtic myth, an apple branch bearing grown fruit, flowers, and unopened buds was seen as a magical key to the land of the Underworld.
- Apples can be used in your home for decoration during the autumn equinox season. Place baskets and bowls of them around your home, as well as on your altar
“People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” - Carl Jung.
Facing our shadow-self is never easy, but it is within our darkness we find our greatest light. Again this is all about balance, and honouring both. There are many positive aspects to embracing the dark side, and there is something very beautiful and brave in honouring your shadow self, and the darkness that you keep hidden from the world. After all, it was Demeter's love for her daughter Persephone that led her to wander the world, mourning for six months at a time, bringing us the death of the soil each autumn. In some paths, Mabon is the time of year that celebrates The Crone Aspect of The Triple Goddess. Celebrate a ritual that honours that aspect of the Goddess which we may not always find comforting or appealing, but which we must always be willing to acknowledge. Call upon the gods and goddesses of the dark night, and ask for their blessings this time of year.
Remember that the harvest is a season about reaping what you have sown. Take a moment to be reflective, think back to those seeds you planted in the spring, not just the physical seeds, but the spiritual and emotional ones. This is the season where they are bearing fruit; take advantage of all of your hard work, and collect the bounty you deserve. Most of all be grateful. Be grateful for all of your growth, be grateful for everything you have pulled in and especially grateful for all the things you had to let go.
Beautiful Mabon Blessings to you all xxx