Mabon is a time of balance, equality and harmony; otherwise known as Autumn Equinox, it is the equilibrium of day and night. Twice a year, the centre of the sun is directly above the equator and creating equal length. The Autumn equinox or Mabon is one of the eight Wiccan sabbats celebrated during the year.
Mabon is the middle of three harvest festivals, beginning with Lammas (1st Aug) and ending on Samhain (Oct 31st). Autumn Equinox, or rather, the first day of Autumn will fall on Saturday, 23 Sept 2023 at 7:50 am in the UK. Mabon rituals have often taken place on the 21st onwards.
Focused around appeasing the gods and secure safety, shelter and food during the coming winter months; in reference to the Welsh god, and son of the earth mother, Modron.
In Greek mythology it is Demeter who is associated with the autumn harvest; having lost her daughter her grief turns the earth to the a barren and infertile land. Other literature relates to Hades who abducted Persephone and eventually ending with the earth falling into darkness! The roots of this festival are in ancient times, producing many versions throughout civilaiastons, such as Bavaria in 1700s (now known as Oktoberfest) and the original American Thanksgiving.
Mabon celebrates all that is plentiful = the fruits, vegetables and harvest. It gives thanks to the sun god, where we trust he will return again as he is now dying. The coming weeks bring hard work but also rest after the growing season, a change to reap what we have sown, and a chance to persevere their foods.
A time where new seeds are also planted. These can be the seeds of wishes and ideas, which will be planned now, lie dormant and wait to come into fruition at the coming spring equinox.
Autumn sees the leaves of the trees fall, they let go of what no longer is needed, Without letting go we can not bring in the new. It is time to complete projects, to clear out and let go that which is no longer wanted or needed so that we can make space to reflect and live in peace during the Winter.
Like Ostara or the Spring Equinox, it is light against dark, the masculine and feminine, or the inner and outer worlds. From this point on darkness begins to defeat the light. The suns power grows weaker and energy returns from where it began. As the nights become longer and the days colder, the trees being to prepare for a period of dormancy, the vital life-force moves to the roots and the leaves change from green to yellow before falling; shedding what no longer serves them.
Our behaviours should reflect nature and during the coming weeks it is a time to pause the action and let go - rather than living in the phase of growth and fertility. It is an ideal time to work internally on ourselves, rather than having to face the world with our external personality.
Autumn is associated with the emotion of grief. Loss can affect many people, with some dreading the coming Winter. It's natural for humans to hold on and grieve for loss but it is important to embrace change. Summer is beautiful with long nights, fertile lands and social ayres, while autumn brings different timbres within nature’s orchestra; it has a purpose and we are given a chance of reflective down time over the coming months and time to heal our losses or cut dead wood.
Ways to Celebrate Mabon
I like to celebrate Mabon by decorating the home in yellow, oranges, reds and browns; sunflowers are lovely for bringing the last remaining sun energy indoors. It is a great time to go walking and do some soul searching amongst the fallen leaves and you can add any finds, such as acorns and pretty leaves, to decorate your altar and home.
I harvest the final herbs in my garden and dry them so I have medicinal teas for the colder months, such as yarrow, hawthorn berries, elderberries. I dry sage, rosemary, mugwort for spell work.
Why not have an ‘Autumn clean’! It is a great time for cleaning cupboards and getting rid of outdated foods. Create space by giving items that you no longer need away, so they can be useful to someone else. Get rid of outdated bills and letters, remove old memories that are holding you back. A clean and tidy home makes for a clear mind and heart!
After a good clean why not have a lovely cleansing salt bath? Think back to this time last year and ask yourself 'how far have come since then?’ What goals did you complete? What doesn’t work in your life? What do you want to continue? What seeds have you planted into your life and in those of others? What contribution did you give to the world? Recognise your successes and acknowledge the things or situations that did not serve you during the past twelve months.
It is also nice to follow by journalling a few points. What about the things you missed out on last year? How you will you include them this coming year? Sit and reflect with some lovely musics and become inspired for next year, knowing you have created space and after a period of Winter healing. You will be ready to rise strongly, just like the shoot of a dormant seed. It is also a useful time to set some intentions to reduce unhealthy habits, self destructive beliefs or relationships.
If you feel you are lacking inspiration or can’t face a sort out then you could meditate with some crystals. I love amber, topaz, citrine, tiger’s eye, aventurine, jasper, as they are a mix of nature’s colours at this time of year. Sit quietly with them, what do they have to teach you? What ideas come to you?
Why not take a walk and harvest some apples. Apples are a sacred symbol of this time. Apples symbolise immortality and regeneration as they contain the seed of new life within. The seeds sits within a pentagram representing all the elements of life, including Air, Water, Earth, Fire and Spirit - without which life would not be possible. You can make juice or turn them into lovely pies. There may be some truth in 'one apple a day keeps the doctor away’ as they are a source on soluble fibre which supports our colonic cauldron creating a healthy immune system, vital in the Winter months. You can even use apples to decorate the the home, as they are considered as a sign of protection.
Whilst foraging apples, it is also an abundant time for berries! Fruits such as Elderberries, hawthorn berries, damsons, sloes, rose hips. Why not open some lovely books by the fire at night and learn some new skills. There are many lovely things you can make with foraged goodies. Hawthorn berries are common at this time and make a lovely tea which supports the heart (obviously be sure you can identify them correctly and research if it is safe for you to drink personally). You could even make some wine! As a final point, only ever take what you will need; in the cold days the berries are valuable to the wildlife.
And why not save the seeds, as precious life is contained within This is also an excellent time to plant the seeds you find so they can germinate over the months; plant them with good intentions as a reminder the light will soon be coming back.
I love working with nature spirits and always leave a gift outside the home for them; it can be as simple as a flower or piece of fruit. It is also nice to light a candle in the West area of the garden for Angel Raphael, an angel involved in healing. Light your candle with intention and ask for your desires - what ares of your life need healing?
If foraging isn’t for you why not have a picnic in the final bows of the Autumn sun? The Druids call this celebration, Mea'n Fo’mhair; they honour the the Green man by offering gifts to trees. Why not leave a biologically friendly offering of some kind after your picnic? Vine trees are the sacred Tree during this time (September 2 - September 29). They are a symbol of happiness and associated with ambition. Why not sit by some vines and find out what wisdom they can offer you? Or simply find some woodland and sturdy oaks covered in Ivy. Being evergreen Ivy clings tightly; it is a symbol of endurance and strength. Take some time to consider what keeps you evergreen and thriving.; make a decision to work on those aspects during the darker nights.
Feed the ducks and swans with some healthy seeds! Autumn is a time of transition. The Swan symbolises lessons of growth and transformation. Remember, the ugly duckling transformed into a beautiful swan. Use the coming time of darkness to transform whether than be your health, business, relationships or anything else!
When you get home why not enjoy a lovely hearty dinner with root vegetables, such as squash, pumpkins or corn and beans. Get your friends round and enjoy a dinner together and enjoy some cider or wine around a lovely fire . Celebrate the changing of the seasons! Lighting a fire is symbolic of the fire contained within our hearts. Keep the potential light within you and those you love burning!
And, it is understandable if all of that seems too much. If you are looking for something simple, then why not enjoy a nice cleanse, do some self-care and light at candle (safely) by your bedside or comfortable place. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Give thanks for all your have received and how far you have come and if you like, send pink light to those you love.
Take time during this period to feel the impermanence of life. Accept that death and transition is part of the cycle. On the Autumn Equinox, we embrace the coming darkness and acknowledge all that it is necessary. Don’t dwell on loss but rather look forward to change. Think about the coming cosy candlelit evenings and the possibility of hearty stews in a warm kitchen. This time provides a great opportunity for insight, transformation and personal development.
And don’t forget your older neighbours. Autumn represents the Crone aspect of the feminine and the wisdom they bring. Why not honour them by listing to their stories? We should respect the elderly and keep them involved. We will all be old at some point. Keep doing kind gestures as many older people really feel as sense of loss at this time. Pass on the good! I help in homeless shelters over the Christmas period too, and now is a perfect time for helping to stock food banks or making food parcels for the Elderly with the abundance of harvest!
Some Witches might like to celebrate Mabon as Demeter, Hecate or Kali, Morgan, Persephone, Inanna to honour the dark mother. These Goddesses can be a useful way to heal from trauma or fear as they hold huge strength in the shadows but one must be willing to acknowledge the awareness that comes in honouring the Spirit world. Simply ask for protection and then call in your deity and ask them for help, being specific and making sure you add ‘in grace and ease’ to any request.
Finally, dance in the light and the dark! Let go of resistance. Trees don’t hoard their leaves until next year, they let go. By letting go they fertilise the soil they need for growth; they grow strong simply reaching for the sun. Resistance brings suffering. Remember to help those that may be resistant (passivity, playing the victim, this that hold on failure and blame) and help them to surrender by sharing the love at this time. If the world and everything in it would everlasting … well how would it work? We wouldn’t be able to sustain ourselves, what about those in pain? Mabon, is about finding peace and understanding it is the journey rather than the destination.
Wishing you a peaceful Mabon!