Related Deities: Mabon, Modron, Persephone, Demeter
Related Herbs: Marigold, sunflowers, hibiscus, rose petals, myrrh
Related Stones: Amber, clear quartz, tiger-eye, citrine
This festival is named for the Welsh God, Mabon [ma'-bon], Whose name means “Great Sun.” The story goes that He was kidnapped from the Great Mother (Modron) when He was but three days old, and taken to the Underworld to pre-vent His light from shining on the land. He was much smarter than the Lord of the Underworld thought, though. During His stay within the Earth, He not only gathered His wits, but the personal strength and momentum necessary to become new seed. He knew His rescue was at hand, and when the time came, He’d need all the power he could muster to fertilize the barren Earth and green it once more. Looking at it from this angle, Mabon is, in many ways, the male counterpart of the Roman Goddess, Persephone, Who – snatched from the Earth by Hades (the Lord of the Underworld) – shares credit for the coming of the dark time of the year.
Celebrated at Fall Equinox,‘ Mabon marks the first day of autumn and the second harvest periods – both agricultural and personal. As with Lammas, it’s a time to celebrate the Earth’s bounty and thank Her for the blessings She brings us. For this reason, it is often called the “Witches’ Thanksgiving.” We tend to set lavish tables, plan huge meals, and gratefully partake of every delectable morsel avail-able.
But there’s more to it than that. Because of Mabon’s association with the Under-world, it’s also a great time to remember our ancestors, and those who have gone before us. To thank them for the blood that courses through our veins, for the traits that we share from their personal gene pools, and for the gifts they have given us that make us the fabulous specimens of individuality that we are.
Because of this, Mabon is a time of total thanksgiving – a time when we give thanks for all that we have, for all that we are, and for all that the future holds, not only for us personally, but for those yet unborn. It is a time to reflect on the joys of community, personal freedom, and the wonders of the human species as a whole, and a time to count our many blessings, and give thanks to everyone who’s made them happen.
Mabon Circle Notes
Use a deep orange or burgundy altar cloth, and brown, burgundy, or purple candles. Decorate with bunches of dried herbs, sunflowers, autumn leaves, potatoes, acorns, and Indian corn. Burn Mabon Incense (a mixture of hibiscus, myrrh, rose petals, and sage).
Cast Circle using the athame. After ritual, leave any edible decorations (herbs, sunflowers, acorns, corn, and so on) outdoors for the wildlife to enjoy.
Mabon Celebration ideas
• Potatoes are very symbolic at Mabon, for they grow and take shape under the ground. For this reason, many Crafters like to have a potato bake during this celebration. Just rake the leaves from your yard, and then use them for a bonfire to welcome the fall season. Wrap potatoes in foil, bake them in the fire, and thank the Earth for Her bounty by saying something like:
0 Goddess Mother of us all
We thank You as Your blessings fall
Upon us – each and every soul –
As the year wheel turns and rolls
For nourishing our bodies and
Our spirits with Your gifts from land
For Your abundance on the Earth
We give you thanks with love and mirth
* Honor family ancestors with a feast of oatmeal walnut cookies and apple juice.
Set a place for everyone present, and include place settings for the honorees. Go
through family albums or photographs, recall the life stories of the ancestors
pictured, and meditate upon the importance of their lives. Remember how each
family member gone before lives on in you. End by thanking the ancestors for
the roles they continue to play in your lives by saying something like:
For your lives, I give you thanks
You, who live now in the ranks
Of memories of times now past
Whose blood still flows within me fast
Whose personalities I share
Whose mannerisms here and there
Come out in me from time to time
Bringing reason to my rhyme
I thank you for the parts of me
You’ve put in place that I might be
I promise now that you shall thrive
With loving thoughts throughout my life
For all I am and all I’ll be
Is because you live in me
• Get up early on Mabon morning. Listen to the songbirds in the trees, and bid a fond farewell to those creatures who begin to burrow beneath the Earth for winter hibernation.
Using a needle, draw pieces of monofilament cord through several sunflowers. Hang the flowers in trees so the birds can eat the seeds. As you hang each flower, say something like:
Symbol of Sun, Who now departs
And leaves the world both cold and dark
Live on within these seeds of Light
And feed our feathered friends in flight
That they may thrive in winter’s chill
Until again with light you fill
The Earth and shine again anew
Replacing ice with morning dew
• Remember that thanksgiving isn’t just about saying thank you. It also involves giving something back for all you’ve received in life. Those being the case, volunteer at a hospital, or spend some time visiting the elderly. Even better, plan to spend a day working at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. It will not only lighten the hearts of those you touch, but bring you the blessings of reciprocation. Blessings are much more valuable than anything else we hold!
Since Mabon is the celebration of Fall Equinox – the first day of autumn – festival dates vary year to year.