The Wheel of the Year continues to turn as we move from summer to autumn. First harvest to second. A time of cooler days, colourful leaves and pumpkin spice everything. The next sabbat is the Fall Equinox, known as Mabon. A festival celebrating bountiful harvests, natural balance and equality, and giving thanks. Today we are exploring the origins of Mabon, rituals and traditions, blessings, symbolism, and more.
The Magic of Mabon
The Equinox Celebration of Abundance
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What is Mabon?
Mabon is a Pagan harvest celebration and one of the eight Wiccan sabbats. As a seasonal festival it marks the autumn equinox (the beginning of fall), and is also the second harvest festival.
This time of year is a time of balance, marked by cooler temperatures and vibrant colours that invite us to spend time connecting with nature and her natural cycles. For me, it is in invitation to spend as much time outside as possible. Being wrapped in the loving embrace of the trees and forests before the cold, darker months of winter arrive.
As a celebration of both harvest and the new season, the focus is on balance, abundance, thanksgiving and food! Fruits, vegetables, grains and more are all being gathered as the growing season starts to slow. So we celebrate with feasts, give thanks for the year’s bounty, reflect on the balance in our lives.
When is Mabon?
Mabon, being a celestial event, is determined by the precise balance of the Earth’s tilt. At this moment there is a unique equilibrium between day and night. As well as between the sun and the moon. This celestial occurrence marks the transition into a period where days gradually shorten, nights lengthen, and temperatures start to cool. We are entering the darker half of the year.
In the Northern Hemisphere, Mabon typically takes place between September 22nd and 23rd. In the Southern Hemisphere, Mabon falls around March 20th to 21st. While the one hemisphere is celebrating Mabon, the other hemisphere is celebrating Ostara (Spring Equinox). This celestial alignment signifies the beginning of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere and the start of spring in the Southern Hemisphere. Both marked by the shifting balance of light and dark.
In 2023, Mabon will take place on September 23.
The pronunciation of Mabon varies slightly based on where you live, but in general it is pronounced: May-bon. However in some places, people will pronounce it Ma-bon or Mae-boon.
The sabbat names often come with long history, but the use of Mabon to celebrate the fall equinox is actually a more recent term that first appeared around the 1970s.
The name Mabon is derived from Welsh mythology and folklore. It is linked to the figure of Mabon ap Modron, a Welsh God found in the medieval Welsh tales collectively known as the Mabinogion. In these stories, Mabon ap Modron is a heroic figure associated with youth, rebirth, and the eternal cycle of seasons.
Mabon ap Modron translates to “son of Modron.” Modron is the Mother Goddess in Welsh mythology. She is often revered as a guardian of the natural world and the changing seasons.
The use of the name “Mabon” for the autumn equinox celebration by modern Pagans and Wiccans is a relatively recent development. It’s part of the broader effort to draw upon ancient mythologies and folklore to infuse modern celebrations with a sense of connection to the past and the natural world.
Celebration and Foods
Traditionally Mabon celebrations focus around two main themes: feasting/harvest and giving thanks. My favourite way to celebrate is to gather with loved ones and enjoy a hearty warm stew made from locally grown ingredients with freshly baked bread. Is there anything better than freshly baked bread???. Then we give thanks for all of the blessings and abundance in our lives. This is followed by a bonfire or walk in nature.
A popular recipe at this time of year is Pumpkin Spice. Although it may feel like a modern invention, pumpkin spice has been around in some variation or another for centuries. When it comes to the magic, pumpkin spice is created using a blend of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and sometimes other items. These spices can increase our physical and mental energy, provide us with a shot of courage, banish negativity, and provide protection. So indulge in your pumpkin spice treats and tap into the magic of the season.
Change, Reflect, Meditate, Plan
The rituals you chose to perform for Mabon are a very personal choice. For many people this is a wonderful time to reflect and meditate. Then consider what you are ready to let go of to make room for new opportunities. As we enter the dark season, it is also a powerful time to turn inward and consider what changes you wish to make in your life so you can prosper in the spring. Many plants seed in the fall so they can flourish in the spring. Now is the time to sow your own seeds of growth.
As a business owner, this is also a time of big changes. We are approaching Q4 and the final wrap up of the year. Mabon is a time to explore the changes that have occurred over the last year in business and plan ahead for what is needed as we close out the year. The wheel continues to turn, and with it we must move through the cycles, changing and adapting.
Apples are often associated with Mabon as the trees are hanging heavy with this luscious fruit. To perform an Apple Ritual, slice an apple horizontally to reveal the hidden pentagram or star inside. Hold the apple in your cupped hands, then focus on each point of the star independently. For each point, think of one thing you are grateful for or a blessing in your life. After you have done all 5 points, use your finger to trace the star, repeating each blessing, and feel the positive energy filling you. When you are finished, eat the apple slowly. Savouring each bite and feeling it feeding your mind, body and spirit. Take the remaining core and bury it outside as you give thanks for all the blessings in your life.
Since this is the second harvest sabbat, many rituals centre around the harvest. Consider drying fresh herbs (Sage, Rosemary and Thyme are Powerful allies of the season), then use them to make your own incense, herbal sachets, wreaths, teas, or crafts.
As I mentioned above, my favourite ritual is to make a harvest soup and bread, pouring all my love into the process. Then have a feast where we share our thanks and gratitude.
As the days become shorter and nights longer, candles become our guiding lights. Begin this new season by performing candle magic. Carve your intensions for the new season (whether you want to draw things to you, or release to make space for new opportunities), then dress and burn the candle. You can learn more about Candle Magic here. For Mabon, I use candles that are natural beeswax and love to incorporate candles that are shaped as pumpkins.
Another ritual I perform for every sabbat is to make an altar.
When preparing an altar to celebrate Mabon you will want to embrace everything this season offers. I love to include things like colourful leaves, Rowan berries, pine cones, pumpkin stems, wild forged mushrooms, grains, plus crystals and candles. Candles become increasingly prominent in my altar and practices starting on Mabon. With the days getting shorter and the nights longer, burning candles provides a flame that offers warmth and light. It also provides a strong focal point.
Another aspect I like to incorporate is to use Tarot or Oracle cards. Sometimes I will pull one card to place on my altar, other times I do a tarot spread to help provide me with guidance through the changes of the season.
This sabbat is associated with many different symbols including:
- Pumpkins and Squash
- Grapes and Wine
- Oak Leaves
- Horn of Plenty (Cornucopia)
- Scales (items representing balance)
- Sun and Moon
- Besom (Broom)
- Sickles, Scythes and Traditional Harvest Tools
Crystals are a very personal choice when deciding which ones to use for your rituals and sabbats. To help you get started here are my top picks for Mabon.
Citrine is associated with abundance and prosperity. Use it during Mabon to attract wealth and positive energy for the coming season.
Carnelian is a stone of motivation and courage, something we often need a little boost of when setting intensions for personal growth and transformation as the seasons change.
Clear quartz is a versatile crystal that can amplify the energy of other stones. It’s excellent for enhancing the intentions you set during rituals.
Yellow or Orange Calcite are associated with the sun and harvest. You can also use sunstone.
Moonstone is linked to the cycles of the moon, making it a suitable crystal for Mabon rituals that focus on balance and transition. For a powerful balance during Mabon I like to use both Moonstone and Sunstone to balance each other.
Amethyst is known for its calming and spiritual properties, making it a powerful crystal to use during your meditation and reflections during this transitional time of year.
Different types of jasper, such as Red Jasper, can be used to connect with the earth’s energies and the cycles of nature. They are grounding stones that can help you feel more rooted in the season.
Peridot is often associated with the harvest and abundance. It can be used to attract prosperity and wealth during Mabon.
Labradorite is known for its mystical and transformative properties, can help you tap into your inner wisdom and intuition during this reflective time. I have a labradorite owl that I love to include in my altar. It carries such a powerful energy with it.
The colours of Mabon are exactly what you would expect: golds, browns, yellows, oranges, reds. Those fiery and vibrant colours of fall that surround us.
This is a blessing I like to use for Mabon. It helps me focus my energy and prepare for the intense changes that can come with this season.
On this day of cosmic balance, I honour and celebrate Mabon. The wheel of the year turns, and for just a moment, day and night stand equal, in perfect balance.
Just as the leaves change color, we are invited to embrace change and move through it boldly and beautifully. Like the trees releasing their leaves, may I have the strength to release what no longer serves me, making space for new growth.
Through these seasonal changes, I seek balance in my daily life, harmony in my heart, and the wisdom to navigate the ever-turning wheel of time. As the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer, may I never stop striving for inner peace and inner light. For it is this inner light that will always guide me through the darkest days.
Blessed be the changing seasons, and blessed is the beauty of transformation. I open my arms, my heart and my spirit, welcoming change. As I stand at this crossroads, I embrace the lessons of Mabon, knowing that with each ending comes a new beginning.
Mabon is a reminder that even in the midst of change, there is beauty in balance, and in the dance of light and shadow. And by embracing gratitude, we discover the enduring magic of Mabon.