Mabon is one of my favourite festivals of the year. With the dramatic change in our natural landscape, there also comes a little chaos. As we transition from Summer to Autumn there are new opportunities and lots of possibilities. It can be a little unsettling, that's for sure, but using the balancing energy of the equinox we can find inner harmony to help us deal with the transformation this time of year brings.
The equinox takes place between the 21st and 23rd of September each year, the second Harvest festival, and celebrates the last fruits of the year. The day and night are equal, and depending on which ancient tale you read, the Horned God is preparing to leave his physical body on Samhain to begin his adventure into the Underworld, the womb of the Mother awaiting rebirth. While the Lady is beginning to mourn her loss. The beautiful colours of the Autumn are reflected on our altars and in our celebrations as we gather leaves, nuts, berries, and fruits, and vegetables of the season, giving them as an offering of thanksgiving for being blessed with enough to see us through the Winter months.
With our modern lifestyles, it's very difficult to appreciate just how important this festival was. Our ancestors would be reliant upon the land to see them through the harder, cold months. The biggest challenge so many of us have at the moment is forgetting our mask on the supermarket run and having to stand in a queue for the cornucopia of supplies that are now available to us. There are still those that will struggle at this time of year, as they do, sadly, throughout the year. Those who are homeless, or living on extremely low incomes with families to support, and in these present times, those who've found themselves having to live off reduced incomes due to the pandemic. Our rituals should, therefore, also focus on sending out blessings to those that may need support beyond our four walls. Gathering food for food-banks, offering what resources we can to vulnerable communities, and donating to famine and flood charities, are all things we can do to give thanks for our abundance by sharing with the wider world.
Mabon is an opportunity for us to truly consider our blessings. A time of reflection and contemplation, and we can do this out in nature, or in front of our altar, in the kitchen, and with our families. A gathering to eat a feast of what we have available is a wonderful tradition at Mabon, and if you're able to do this within the restrictions on social numbers at present, then you can do so with even more thanks in your heart. If you are apart from some of your family at this time, why not have a Zoom or Skype meal together! There are so many ways we can come together, even if it is not possible on a physical level.
A Mabon Altar So, what can we include on our Mabon altar? Colour! Bring some of nature inside with you. Colourful leaves, nuts, and berries. Apples are of great significance, and they would sometimes be left on graves as a token of honour. You could even go to a pick your own orchard and gather the fruit yourself. Use an orange or red cloth to cover your altar before placing your tools and offerings upon it. I like to use a blue candle for the Autumn rain and a green one for Mother Earth during my meditation, and they can be anointed in oils and herbs/leaves of your choosing. Perhaps some sandalwood or geranium oil, and oak leaves or dried apple seeds. And, of course, I love to have crystals included too. I'll bet you never knew that. :) Choose crystals that draw upon the Sun energy, to make it last you through the cold. Crystals such as citrine, sunstone, topaz, amber, and clear quartz, all draw on the power of the sun. Make a mandala with them, and include your other harvest offerings too.
Burning fragrant incense such as myrrh and frankincense mixed with a little sage, clove, and oak moss bring nature into the home.
Make the setting of your altar a part of the celebration. Concentrating on all that you are blessed with as you create your sacred space, is all part of the thanksgiving.
What else can I do? When you're doing your next big shop, while putting the food away, mindfully focus on how you are storing food away for the winter.
Decorate your dinner table with the fruits of the harvest too. It doesn't just have to be on your altar. Why not bake your own bread! A festival is always a good excuse to fill the house with the smell of freshly baked bread, and you can enjoy it as part of your festival feast.
If you've been apple picking, or even if that's just mindfully picking the finest apples from the greengrocer, make an apple pie. Another good foodie addition for your feast.
Create an autumn garland using leaves, dried fruits, and corn husks.
Craft a corn dolly!
There are so many ways to celebrate Mabon. It may be known as a lesser-Sabbat, but it doesn't have to be celebrated any less. And as we're in the midst of a waxing moon, it's a wonderful time to set intentions for the full moon to bring to fruition.
I'd love to hear what you get up to. Send us your pics or comment, and you never know, you may feature in our newsletter or on our Facebook page too. Mabon blessings to you and your beautiful family. Kx