Known as the pagan Thanksgiving, Mabon marks the Autumn Equinox, when day and night are equal, making it a time of balance, equality and harmony. In ancient times Mabon was a celebration of the second harvest (Lughnasadh was the first) when farmers gathered hearty foods like gourds, pumpkins, grapes and apples.
Modern Mabon celebrations are a time to give thanks for the abundance of Mother Earth – both literally and spiritually. It’s also a good time to reflect on the Wheel of the Year, recognizing your successes and letting go of the things that did not serve you during the past twelve months.
History Of Mabon
Modern Pagans began celebrating Mabon as the last of the eight Sabbats in the 1970s, but its roots as a harvest festival go back to ancient times.
Named after the ancient Welsh hero named Mabon ap Modron, which means Son of Mother, Mabon is the second of three harvest festivals that take place in the Wheel of the Year (Lughnasadh is the first and Samhain is the third). Similar to Apollo, the figure of Mabon was depicted as a handsome youth with a lyre. As a baby Mabon was said to have been held hostage as a baby in the underworld, similar to the story of Persephone and Demeter.
Indeed, the Greek goddess Demeter is much more closely associated with the Autumn harvest, as…
Date: September 20th – 23rd, depending on the year
Other Names: Atumn Equinox, 2nd Harvest
Pronunciations: MAY-bun, MAY-bon, MAH-boon, MAH-bawn
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.
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.
At this festival it is appropriate to wear all of your finery and dine and celebrate in a lavish setting. It is the drawing to and of family as we prepare for the winding down of the year at Samhain. It is a time to finish old business as we ready for a period of rest, relaxation, and reflection.
Mabon is considered a time of the Mysteries. It is a time to honor Aging Deities and the Spirit World. Considered a time of balance, it is when we stop and relax and enjoy the fruits of our personal harvests, whether they be from toiling in our gardens, working at our jobs, raising our families, or just coping with the hussle-bussle of everyday life. May your Mabon be memorable, and your hearts and spirits be filled to overflowing!
Deities: Goddesses – Modron, Morgan, Epona, Persephone, Pamona and the Muses. Gods – Mabon, Thoth, Thor, Hermes, and The Green Man
Symbolism: Second Harvest, the Mysteries, Equality and Balance
Symbols: wine, gourds, pine cones, acorns, grains, corn, apples, pomegranates, vines such as ivy, dried seeds, and horns of plenty
Colors: Red, orange, russet, maroon, brown, and gold
Herbs: Acorn, benzoin, ferns, grains, honeysuckle, marigold, milkweed, myrrh, passionflower, rose, sage, solomon’s seal, tobacco, thistle, and vegetables
Traditional Foods: Breads, nuts, apples, pomegranates, and vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, and onions
Incense: Autumn Blend-benzoin, myrrh, and sage
Stones: Sapphire, lapis lazuli, and yellow agates
Imbolc is an important day of purification and initiation; on the Sun’s day, February 2, the energies are very airy. This Sabbat is a good day for coven work, with an emotionally detached masculine Moon and Sun on the Sun’s day.
Dress yourself and your altar in white, while serving white beverages or any dairy food to honor the calving season. Spread the top of a one-pound round Camembert or Bire cheese with raspberry preserves. Cut a circle of puff pastry large enough to cover the cheese, wrap it, tucking the ends of the pastry under. Use scraps to decorate the top with goddess symbols. Brush with beaten egg yolk. Bake at 425 degrees until golden, and serve hot and melting on crackers. During this ritual, bless and dedicate all candles you will need for other ritual work throughout the year. A good way to start the ceremony is to light candles in the darkened room with chanting to encourage the lengthening days.
©️ By K. D. Spitzer Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2002 Page 41
IMPORTANT NOTE for the Southern Hemisphere Imbolc falls on August 1st.
Lammas is the first of the harvest festivals and this year despite the fiery Sun, it has a strong, sensual feel of cardinal earth. Mars lends a masculine energy to the Sun this week to help with the organizing for this bread festival. Round cornbread as a solar disk is an apt and easy choice for the altar, but if you plan several days ahead, you can sprout a small amount (1/4 cup) of wheat or barely for kitchen witchery. Add this to your other grains to your own bread from scratch; or buy frozen bread dough, thaw, pat into a rectangle, and sprinkle the sprouted grains. Roll up your dough like a jelly roll and place in a greased bread pan into which you have sprinkled Irish oats. You can use a sharp knife to crave goddess symbols into the loaf before baking.
©️ By K. D. Spitzer Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2002 Page 93
Daylight hours are gradually lengthening, and the Earth is beginning to stir. Although she is still in the middle of her winter’s rest, our planet subtly begins to plan. It’s appropriate that this period is represented by Aquarius, an air sign, since all change begins first in the mind. Every new thought or idea is full of raw potential as the Earth is now,nailing for the touch of fire to ignite her new growth period. Uranus is the ruler of Aquarius, and the planet best known for its jurisdiction over the future. This electric energy only looks forward, never back. It is during Imbolc, in fact, as the Sun is passing through Aquarius, that many ideas are born. As we prepare for the upcoming Equinox, then, it’s important to be sure that we’re looking ahead, as Uranus does, with all the electric enthusiasm and genius of Aquarius. Honor the potential of the coming spring by uncovering your gift of prophecy. Whether you use a crystal ball, a dream journal, or another type of predictive tool, prepare for the Equinox in your heart, by understanding how much is possible now.
©️ By Kim Rogers-Gallagher Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2000 Page 95
At Lammas, the Sun is at the very peak of Leo, the sign this planet loves above all others. Our star’s warmth is at its most powerful now in the Northern Hemisphere, as it appears directly overhead. At this time, life too, ia at its peak—as are the crops. The ancients celebrated this festival by giving thanks for their first harvest, most especially the grain harvest, even as they accepted the beginning of the God’s descent into the underworld. The myth of the asteroid-Goddess Ceres (Demeter), giver of the grain, also relates to this season. It was now when she would bid her daughter Farwell, since Persephone was obligated to return to the Underworld to rejoin Hades (Pluto). So bereaved was Ceres to see her daughter leave her, she refused to all the Earth to produce grain until her return. At this time,nothing, modern practitioners should be remind of both astrological principles: the fullness of life the Sun brings, and the necessity for rest, as signified by the coming fall.
©️ By Kim Rogers-Gallagher Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2000 Page 95
Beltane honours Life. It represents the peak of Spring and the beginning of Summer. Earth energies are at their strongest and most active. All of life is bursting with potent fertility and at this point in the Wheel of the Year, the potential becomes conception. On May Eve the sexuality of life and the earth is at its peak. Abundant fertility, on all levels, is the central theme. The Maiden goddess has reached her fullness. She is the manifestation of growth and renewal, Flora, the Goddess of Spring, the May Queen, the May Bride. The Young Oak King, as Jack-In-The-Green, as the Green Man, falls in love with her and wins her hand. The union is consummated and the May Queen becomes pregnant. Together the May Queen and the May King are symbols of the Sacred Marriage (or Heiros Gamos), the union of Earth and Sky, and this union has merrily been re-enacted by humans throughout the centuries. For this is the night of the Greenwood Marriage. It is about sexuality and sensuality, passion, vitality and joy. And about conception. A brilliant moment in the Wheel of the Year to bring ideas, hopes and dreams into action. And have some fun…..
Traditions of Beltane
Beltane is a Fire Festival. The word ‘Beltane’ originates from the Celtic God ‘Bel’, meaning ‘the bright one’ and the Gaelic word ‘teine’ meaning fire. Together they make ‘Bright Fire’, or ‘Goodly Fire’ and traditionally bonfires were lit to honour the Sun and encourage the support of Bel and the Sun’s light to nurture the emerging future harvest and protect the community. Bel had to be won over through human effort. Traditionally all fires in the community were put out and a special fire was kindled for Beltane. “This was the Tein-eigen, the need fire. People jumped the fire to purify, cleanse and to bring fertility. Couples jumped the fire together to pledge themselves to each other. Cattle and other animals were driven through the smoke as a protection from disease and to bring fertility. At the end of the evening, the villagers would take some of the Teineigen to start their fires anew.” (From Sacred Celebrations by Glennie Kindred) Green Man – Beltane
I don’t know about all of you but even as a child I thought they had the predictions backwards. I mean wouldn’t it make more sense if the groundhog didn’t see his shadow that there would be 6 more weeks of winter? Anyway, no matter whether Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow or not according to the Sabbat dates on our Northern Hemisphere Wheel of The Year from Imbolc we go approximately 6 weeks and 4 to 5 days to when we celebrate Ostara. I wonder if it means 6 more weeks until fall starts in the Southern Hemisphere? Today is Lammas in the Southern Hemisphere and the end of the 6 weeks and 4 to 5 days would be on Mabon. Well enough of my ramblings on the actual Groundhog Day not the movie.
Here is what CBS News has to say about Groundhog day 2021
This year Mabon/Autumn Equinox is on September 22nd starting at 9:30 AM EDT in the northern hemisphere lasting 89 days, 20 hours, and 31 minutes.
This is the time to start preparing for the colder weather. The time to reap what you had sowed in the spring. The Fea Folk so active outside during the warm weather are stock piling what they need to get through the cold months. This is a time for them to start moving a little slower so if you are in your yard or hiking in the woods and hills in you see the grass or undergrowth move when there is no wind do not be startled or frighten it is only the Fea doing their gathering.
This is the time when the animal born in the spring starting eating more from the land-side or what they are fed to fatten up to survive the cold. They are no longer drink their mother’s milk and have grown quite a bit. This is the time the sheep are sheared, the grain is harvested, and we stock up on stables in our pantries. Here is a trivia question for you…Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable and why?