September 20, 2011

Mabon ~ Autumn Equinox

As the summer comes to a close, brilliant hues of red, orange, brown, and gold bring a fiery encore performance. Rich aromas of changing leaves and rain showers tantalize our senses, and with this bountiful second harvest comes an inner urge to batten down the hatches, cleanse, and prepare for the coming months of cold and darkness. Migrating birds begin their journeys, squirrels fill their nests with stores of nuts and seeds, and humans work quickly to gather their harvests while relishing in the beauty and celebrations of the season.

Between the 21st and 23rd of September, as the God of Light is defeated by the God of Darkness and the Mother retreats in preparation for a new cycle of life to begin, the celebration of Mabon - also known as Harvest Home or Autumnal Equinox - begins.  Mabon is centered around the theme of balance, harvest, and reaping rewards for our actions and deeds - good or bane - throughout the months prior. Magic involving security, protection, and prosperity is often conducted on this occasion of equal day and night.

Supply Resources and Notes for Mabon:

Ideally, celebrations would begin on Mabon Eve, occurring within the fields being harvested rather than in wooded areas. Between Lughnasadh and Samhain, harvesting activities keep us busied, while games, feasting, and festivities are interlaced as often as time permits. Customarily, a portion of the bounty is left unharvested as thanks to the Earth Mother.

Social activities may include various outdoor games, attending the county fair, hay rides, barn dances, parties for canning and preserving, or a harvest parade. Traditionally, folks may have gathered to attend to the needs of a neighbor's broken fences or leaking roof, taking turns swapping labor from farm to farm.

For ritual, a rustic basket of fallen leaves may be gathered prior to the ritual (to be sprinkled within the circle later). Nuts, fruits, pine cones, and berries may decorate the westward-facing altar. A white or light blue altar cloth makes a pretty backdrop for the golden candles and bright colors of fall. The Goddess figure may be crudely crafted from ripened wheat, with the "ears" forming a crown. Chrysanthemums (sacred to the Goddess) may encircle her figure as well. Apples may be cut in half crosswise, revealing the "star" and used during ritual. Participants may choose to wear work clothing or white dresses.

Herbs and Flowers:

Chrysanthemums (Marigolds), Yarrow, Rue, Chamomile, Sunflower, Oak leaves, Rosemary, Saffron, Hollyhock, Rose, and Wheat.


Cinnamon, Clove, Oak Moss, Frankincense, Myrrh, Pine, Apple blossom, Sweetgrass, Jasmine, Sandalwood, Benzoin, Rosemary, and Sage.

Food and Drink:

Wine, Apple juice, Apple cider, Beer (Hops), Walnuts, Corn, Berries, Bread, Apples, Carrots, Squash, Potatoes, Meat, Fish or Poultry. Recipes may include such things as Vegetable Barley Soup with Beef, Whole Wheat Honey Bread, Apple Butter, Roast Beef or Goose, Pecan Pie, Potatoes with Garlic and Herbs, and Cornbread.

Other Mabon Activities for Children and Families:

Make an Apple Doll Head. It will be perfectly shriveled and ready by the time Samhain arrives! Fully illustrated instructions are given.

How to Make a Corn Husk Doll. SacredSpiral gives step-by-step instructions and photos to help you create realistic-looking Corn Husk Dolls.

Make a Grapevine Wreath. This is a very easy project and wreaths can be easily decorated and re-decorated to match the occasion. You may choose to make small ones to surround candles, create centerpieces, and more.

Mabon Cooking: Recipes from the Kitchen. Recipes for everything from Apple Butter to Autumn Beef Stew and Stuffed Grape Leaves.

Share your own Mabon Rituals, Photos, Activities, Recipes, Graphics, Links, Verses, and more with our readers...either in the comments section below or by contacting me for inclusion into this original post for a link back to your own site or blog!
Inspired by her Native American roots and Bradbury lineage, Polly Taskey is a writer and grandmother in the northern USA.  She shares her wisdom and pagan interests through Pagan by Design and The Moonlit Grove.


Polly Taskey said...

Lady Olwen, thank you for sharing your upcoming festival invitation with our readers! Folks, this sounds like a GREAT time - located in Newmarket, Ontario - and I truly wish I could attend myself! If the above link is not completely highlighted, copy/paste it into your browser. Bright Blessings!

The Cauldron Keeper said...

Thanks for posting this. i'd forgotten about apple dolls. My kids will love them.

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