“Equal light & equal dark,
reflect on dreams manifested.
Now comes the time to get well rested.
Find peace in the dark,
knowing the light will leave its mark.”
- Mabon Blessing
Mabon is the celebration of the autumnal equinox, and the last of the eight sabbats on the Wheel of the Year. Known as the pagan Thanksgiving, it marks the first day of autumn, or the moment when the Sun is exactly above the equator. For the second time this year, day and night will be equal, in serene equilibrium. While we in the northern hemisphere celebrate Mabon, those living in the southern hemisphere celebrate Ostara.
Mabon, also called ‘the fruit harvest’, is the second of three harvest festivals - the first being Lammas and the third being Samhain - when pagans reflect on the past season and express gratitude for the blessings in their lives. This practice goes back to the ancients. By this time, farmers would know just how well the summer crops fared and how their animals thrived in the fields. This was the moment they determined if there would be enough food to sustain during the winter months.
As the Sun’s power begins to wane, the nights grow longer, and the days grow colder. We have planted and harvested and now we get to reap what we have sown. It is a time for balance and harmony, for giving thanks for the gifts of abundance from Mother Earth – for the harvest, the animals, and the food on our tables. We have survived and prospered. The grain harvest of Lammas has been safely gathered and now we can enjoy the fruit of Mabon.
Things you can do to celebrate Mabon:
Pick apples. The apple has deeper connotations in everything from folktales to the most sacred traditions. It is the symbol for immortality, wisdom, love, and temptation. What better representation could we have for the fruit harvest but the lovely apple?
Walk in nature (and bring a picnic basket).
Plant bulbs for the spring.
Fall cleaning (not just for spring). An excellent way to sweep out and clear your house of negative or stagnant energy. Purge unwanted items and donate to your local thrift store.
Complete unfinished projects.
Decorate inside and out using the colours of Mabon: rich browns, coppers, dark yellows, gold, green, orange and red. Use apples, pumpkins, and gourds; corn, pomegranates, and pinecones. Set out overflowing pots of sunflowers, thistle, and marigolds. And don’t forget the candles.
Build a cornucopia, the symbol for Thanksgiving.
Prepare a feast using seasonal foods such as apples, grapes, pears, pomegranates, root vegetables and other seasonal products. Include herbs such as mugwort, rosehips, rosemary, sage and yarrow.
Gather with loved ones to celebrate with seasonal fair, music, and laughter; No Mabon festival is complete without cider and wine!
Host a fire circle or bonfire for friends and family.
Take turns saying what you are grateful for and what you hope to accomplish in the coming year.
Take the time to celebrate this magical sabbat with any of the suggestions above. But then also find a quiet space outside to meditate or breathe quietly, and journal. Reflect on, and write down your blessings from the past year. Recognize your achievements and successes, but also allow that which no longer serves you to rise to the surface. Commit to the release of anything that is not in your highest good - work, relationships, unhealthy habits. Then set new intentions for the season ahead. The Autumn is a time for preparation so that winter can allow for rest, reflection, and inner peace.