Mabon is the second harvest festival celebrated at the Autumn Equinox, round the 21st of September. In the Southern Hemisphere it is roughly the 21st March. Once again we see light and dark in balance, day and night are of equal length, before we begin the descent into the dark times of Winter. From this day onwards, we shall notice shorter days and the nights becoming longer. Harvest festival is held, giving thanks to the Goddess and God for giving us enough sustenance to feed us throughout winter. The American Thanksgiving is perhaps an echo of this. Other names for Mabon include:
Autumn Equinox, Harvest Home. Mea’n Fo’mhair (Druid). The Second Harvest Festival, Wine Harvest, Feast of Avalon, Alben Elfed (Caledonii), Cornucopia, Winter Finding (Teutonic).
Fruit is praised as proof of the Goddess and Gods love and of course, from fruit, comes wine and other alcohol. The Greek God Dionysus, son of Zeus, and the Roman God, Baccus, were the protectors of those who imbibed a little. They were also Gods who liked to party! The Druids, honour the Green Man, The God of the Forest, by offering libations to trees. Offerings of ciders, wines, herbs and fertilizer can all be used. Wiccans celebrate the ageing Goddess as she passes from Mother to Crone and her consort the God, as he prepares for death and re-birth.
I always find myself feeling a little sad and melancholy at this time of year. The leaves turn glorious gold as they fall, the wind begins to blow and the skies become greyer. I yearn for the bright green’s of spring and the promise of coming warmth. Alas, the wheel must turn and we must accept that death (the dying of the leaves on the trees and of the flowers) is inevitable for us all and is necessary for rebirth and regrowth. Squirrels and other animals begin to store their food as they prepare for hibernation. The illness Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD), is common at this time for many people. Our bodies are perhaps yearning for our primal need to hibernate too. Modern life has made us need longer hours in which to do our many chores. Physiologically, as we have less and less sunlight in the shorter days, our bodies do not produce as much Vitamin D as they do in the brighter summer months and it is often prescribed that people who do suffer with this debilitating depression, should spend as much time out in natural light as possible, as well as perhaps keeping bright lights around you (there are many available on the market), to restore and replenish your Vitamin D. *Remember to speak to your doctor before taking any kind of treatment.
Water is the element of this time of year and is possibly one of the more difficult elements to work with, as it represents emotions, death and rebirth. It may lead you along distressing paths, one’s that perhaps you need to work through in this life, in order for you to move forward towards your goals. It represents the power of dreaming, the intuition and all emotions. It is a time for banishing old habits, moving away from any negative influences in your life. This can be difficult for some of us to do at this time. You may feel drawn to the element of water. Spend some time near it, perhaps a lake, river or, if your lucky enough, the sea. Contemplate and try to feel her messages with the flowing of the water. Bathing can become a ritual, if you like, cast a circle around yourself, in the bathroom, light some candles, play some soothing music if you can safely do so. Put a few drops of your favourite essential oil into the water and some crystals if you have them. I use rose quartz and red jasper in mine. When you comfortably in the bath, try meditating. You may want to gaze at a candle flame. This is an ancient Yogic meditation called Tratak. Feel the water around you, the gentle feminine energy. Feel it cleansing and renewing you with life. Remember to take the circle down when your done.
It is appropriate for each person to wear all their finery and dine and celebrate in a lavish setting, perhaps you would like a cornucopia to decorate your table, with all of the harvests fruits spilling forth. It is the coming together of family, giving thanks to the Goddess and God for the bounty of the earth. It is the time to finish old business, get long awaited tasks out of the way. Fix up the home, to keep it weather tight, planting bulbs, ready for their birth at Imbolc. We ready for a period of rest, relaxation and reflection. A time of looking internally.
You may want to take a look at goals; the one’s you have accomplished over the past year; or perhaps you may wish to look at new goals for the coming New Year at Samhain. Re-stock your magickal cupboard full of the herbs, candles and anything else you may have harvested during the year. Cleaning the inside of the house, whether it is your physical house or your spiritual one, now is a great time to brush away the cobwebs, in brisk Autumn winds, smelling of the coming frosts.
As we celebrate the Earth Goddess’, we can also bring in the Moon Gods, such as Thoth, of ancient Egypt. He was known as the ultimate magician and lord of holy words. Thoth helps with learning magic, casting spells and divination. Other Moon Gods include Ealadha of Irish/Celtic and Mani of the Nordic pantheons.
We must not, of course forget about Mabon himself, the “Great Son” who is a Welsh God, who the Equinox is named after. It is a tale of him being stolen from his mother Modron or the Great Mother and being rescued by King Arthur. The God however, descends into the underworld to be reborn later. You can read more at this wonderful website http://www.mabinogion.info/
Mabon is considered to be a time of the mysteries and it is time to honour the ageing deities and the spirit world. It is considered a time of balance as this is when we stop and relax and enjoy the fruits of our personal harvests, whether from toiling in our gardens, working at our jobs, raising our families, or just coping with the stresses of everyday lives!
Mabon – The second harvest festival
Practices Fruit and seasonal vegetables are praised as proof of the Goddess and God’s love. Ritual sprinkling of leaves, around the Altar. You may wish to meditation on Autumn – have a look at http://www.debiwolfreeves.co.uk/archives/146 for a wonderful Autumn Fairy Meditation.
Colours Red, brown, orange and yellow.
Fruits of Harvest – Herbs etc. Hazel nuts, Corn, Acorns, Oak, Wheat stalks, Cypress (or Pine) cones. Dried leaves, vines, such as ivy or grape, dried seeds. Grapes, apples, pears, plums, blackberries. Seasonal vegetables include; carrots, potato’s, butter-nuts and other squashes.
Incense Myrrh, Sage and pine.
Decorations Acorns, pomegranates, pine cones, baskets of fallen leaves and corn or wheat sheaves. Horns of plenty. Think harvest home.
Foods Breads, corn, cornbread, beans, squash, apples, and roots, such as carrots, onions and potatoes and cider, mead or wine can be imbibed. Herb or fruit teas or juices can be substituted.
Altar items Sheaves of wheat, dried leaves. Candles in brown, orange, gold or red.
Other items or practices Collecting the last of the herbs, before the frost hits. Placing sigil’s of protection onto some leaves to use for protection around the home. River and stream stones that have been collected over the summer months can now be empowered. Celebrate outdoors if your able to, remember to Wassail – offerings of food and drink to the Earth.
Symbolism The proof of the Goddess and Gods love is seen in their child, the abundant harvest. Second harvest, of the Mysteries, equality and balance.
Stones or Crystals Sapphire, lapis lazuli and yellow agates. If you would like to work with the element of water, shells, coral, moonstone, carnelian and sea pebbles can all be used to meditate with.
Deities Goddesses Modron, Morgan, Epona, Persephone, Pamona and the Muses. Gods, Mabon, Thoth, Thor, Hermes and The Green Man.