Sabbat Mabon Autunm Equinox celebration

MABON: The Autumn Equinox Celebration – How to Make Some Marvelous Mabon Memories!

Another notable point in the Witch’s year is upon us. It is always a wonderful time to honor the sabbats, especially when Mabon comes around. It’s a lovely time to celebrate with specific craft activities. Mabon is celebrated by Witches and many other pagan traditions. No celebrated Mabon is the same. Even the exact time of Mabon differs across the varying degrees of paganism. By honoring and celebration this Sabbat we reaffirm our connection to nature and therefore enable ourselves to go with the flow. It’s time to enjoy the change of seasons and the shift in energies. It’s a time in the year where we can harness this change in energies and use it well within our witchcraft and practices.

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When do You Celebrate Mabon?

This can vary depending on your paganism beliefs. Some observe the Sabbat on the full moon closest to the Autumn Equinox. Others feast and do their rituals as close as possible to the actual moment of the Autumn Equinox. Other people might celebrate 3 days before and 3 days after the Autumn Equinox. The traditional date is September 20-21.

The History of Mabon

Mabon is the 2nd harvest festival of 3 (1st, Lughnassadh, 2nd Mabon, 3rd Samhain) and is celebrated at the end of all the harvesting work from the season and in preparation to survive the winter (a celebration of sacrifice and survival). Maban is a Sabbat to give thanks for our food and appreciation for the sacrifices necessary to survive. Many Wiccans consider Mabon as a Pagan Thanksgiving. Pagans who acknowledge the dying god myths consider Mabon more as a Pagan Easter.

NOTE: The Eleusinian Mysteries celebrated for a week close to the Autum equinox.

An equinox happens twice a year (Spring & Autumn/Fall) which means the Northern and Southern hemispheres experience equal light. It is not just a 1 day event, it can occur of the course of 2 to 3 days depending on your location. For those who live closer to the equator the changes are less dramatic than those who live much further away from the equator. Because of this, it can make the celebration of Mabon some what unpredictable. This is why Mabon is celebrated within a range of days as opposed to just on the traditional set dates of September 20 or 21.

All though modern times are very different to times past we are not much different from our ancestors. We still depend on the earth as much as they did. Our advancements in tech still hasn’t changed our core dependence on agriculture, we still use the same earth, water and air.

It was Aidan Kelly who named Mabon, our pagan Autumn equinox, Mabon. Before this Sabbat was called Mabon, Witches, Wiccans and Pagans would just refer to it as Autumnal Equinox or Fall. Aidan Kelly came to calling this festival Mabon, through looking into the Celtic tale of Mabon ap Modron. He wanted to keep some consistency in line with the Celtic naming of the other Sabbats. In this he saw a spiritual link and drew spiritual inspiration for the Sabbat from the Eleusinian Mysteries.

The Story of Mabon

An infant child was stolen away from his Mother and imprisoned. The mythic hero, Culhwch, seeks to release Mabon in order for Mabon to help Culhwch hunt down a wild boar to win the hand of Olwen in marriage. This boar was previously a King. This myth is indicative of the separation of the youthful god from his mother (the great goddess) resulting in desolation of the land which is only restored once the youthful god is once again with his mother. Therefore, you can see why Aidan Kelly took Mabon as a great representation of the Autumnal equinox.

NOTE: Aidan Kelly suggested that there are parallels to the Persephone myth which takes on a very similar story.

Yes, Celtic heroic myths are very popular amongst the Wiccan celebrations in particular, we remember that that all the Sabbats have definite spiritual themes but you as a practitioner (whatever that maybe) are not required to take on these myths and tales in order to rightfully celebrate the occasion. It is just to point out that many different cultures have myths that all share the same themes.

What is the Sabbat, Mabon, all about?

There are different themes of Mabon that can be identified. It is the 2nd Harvest of 3, it is about gratitude, grief, relief, death, routine organizing, and preparation for winter. The Mabon celebration gives thanks for the harvest and for the scarifies made by others to ensure we have food.

The Mabon feast is reflected in having a home feast. It is the act of decorating, crafting and cooking at home which puts us in touch with the rhythms of what is happening all around us in our own environment. Mabon is about appreciating the abundance and beauty we have before it fades and the winter seasons begin.

How can you celebrate Mabon?

Sometime we can get get a bit stuck in coming up with ways to celebrate Mabon. Below there are some ideas to shake your celebration up a little. You can choose which one suit you and your home the most and incorporate them into this years Mabon.

Ideas to celebrate Mabon this year:

Mabon occurs at a busy time in the year for most of us (children are back at school, the end of the year is coming, summer has just finished etc) so there tends to be much for us to do. Remember, Mabon is both celebratory and solemn time so choose what fits you the best, you can share a meal, or you can dine alone in peace and prayer.

Mabon is a time to acknowledge your feelings. A time to identify your emotions, like, are the mixed? and, what are you feeling right now? It’s a time to find your inner balance so listen to yourself. Also listen to the Divine. This harvest time is a great time for expressing relief which can be exercised through dancing.

Be more spiritual. Mabon can be a day of expansive spirituality, with even the trivial of actions performed, with intent, becoming spiritual (for example, cleaning, sweeping, organizing etc.)

If you have been growing your own garden, harvest the last of your crops – sing, chant, pray while you do so. You can bring the fruits of the harvest from your garden (if you have one) into your home as the focal point either as the food to be prepared, decoration and/or for craft purposes. Now is also the time to preserve any goodies from your garden (you can pickle, dry, freeze).

Why not try your hand at making a corn dolly (an effigy of the vegetative spirit) out of wheat or create your own character out of fruits and vegetables and use it as the center piece on your table during your Mabon dinner or even place it on your altar.

Why not start thinking ahead and planting your bulbs ready to bloom in next years spring. Start a to do list to prepare yourself and your home for winter. Cleaning and sweep, organizing any clutter you come across. Now is a great time to work out any agreements that need to be made at home, in your community or at work.

Watch the sunrise and the sun set – why not chant or pray while doing so. The morning sunrise is the calmest time of day for most people, and this will help connect you with the light cycle of the season.

Make a wreath and hang it over your door.

Make a harvest basket, filled with local, seasonal items bought and/or baked yourself (you can keep this or give to someone in your community who is of need).

Sacrifice. if this speaks to you more and your is the focal theme of your celebration, set up pictures of heroes who have sacrificed for you personally or us as a collective on your altar. Write letters of thanks to those who have made sacrifices for you and give them to them or put them also on your altar. Make a sacrifice of your own, one that fits the context of your life and do a ritual.

Honor the harvest moon. You can create your own moon ritual (or use an existing one).

NOTE: In Scotland the Harvest moon is called the Badgers Yellow Moon because this is the time when small mammals collect their winter supplies. Also sometimes referred to as the Hunters Moon because this is a time to hunt wild game for over the winter period.

Sharing food is key to the celebration of the Mabon harvest festival. So why not prepare a wonderful meal for dinner and invite your nearest and dearest to enjoy on the spirit of sharing. Make the meal with seasonal foods to the area in which you live or what you have grown and harvest yourself. Great inclusions are nuts and apples, maybe you can bake a an apple and nut pie!

NOTE: The eve of September 14 is called Roodmas a.k.a. Night of the Nut, this is when children went to pick nuts.

We all know and love the fact that apples are associated for this time of year. You can add them into your spells, rituals, witchcraft and altar decoration. Wine and craft beers are sacred beverages in many pagan traditions and Mabon is a perfect time to celebrate the artistic know-how and skill that it takes to craft them.

NOTE: Set some wine or craft beer aside on your altar for an offering to the God and Goddess of the land.

Having a bonfire is certainly a must at this time. Why not gather up some discarded branches, twiggs an other garden ‘stuff’ that can be legally burnt, and build yourself a fire. Then meditate, sing or chant, starring deep into the dancing flames or even dance around the flames yourself if the moment takes your fancy! Have a toast to everyone’s health and prosperity.

TIP: Why not try some trance dancing, some of you might be familiar with the festival of the burning man, put on some music, in a safe place you are comfortable with and dance into and out of and altered state of consciousness.

What type of spell-work should I do for Mabon?

Spells around Mabon are about putting your world in order. You can call upon the energies to correct balance in your life. You can use this time to find things you have lost and promote harmony in your communities. This is also a time to harness the energy of the Autumn equinox to send troublemakers to a place where they can cause the least amount of trouble! If you happen to live in a troubled neighborhood, this Autumn equinox energy is the perfect time to clear out any bad while ushering in the good. A community harmony spell would be called for in this instance and spells to bring about community prosperity are also good. It is a time for wisdom spells too, you can influence yourself towards wisdom with a mojo bag (or two :p)

CONCLUSION:

No matter what hemisphere you live on you can create a Mabon celebration that is right for you! It’s up to you and your own experiences and beliefs. Theses are the most important, over any written book which often can seem to be ‘telling’ you how to celebrate. You should emphasis which ever theme best resonates with your spirit and home. You are the one to experience it. You don’t have to spend a lot of money either, nature is all around us and is accessible whether you live in the city, suburbs or countryside. Nature is free and giving. Now is the time to infuse yourself into natures cycle of the seasons. Embrace this 2nd harvest festival and the energies which surround it. Use this special Sabbat to fulfill your own needs, for thanksgiving and offerings to deities through invocations and magickal works of your choice. Use the knowledge you now have and the inspiration of Mabon to celebrate this Sabbat in a way that feels right to you. Blessed be.

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