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Mabon – Celebrating the bounty and reaping the harvest
In the Northern Hemisphere, the Autumn Equinox occurs when the sun crosses the equator on it’s journey southward, and our day and night are of equal length. Up until the time of Mabon, the hours of daylight have been longer than the hours of night. From now on, it’s the reverse. On this day, though, nature, light and dark are all in balance.
Mabon is a time which celebrates our being right on this point of balance
A time for reflection
On the Wheel of the Year, Mabon is traditionally the time of rest and celebration after the hard work of gathering in the crops. Warm autumn days give way to the cooler nights, as the Sun God fades away. The passing of the Sun God is inevitable and it makes us remember that all things must come to an end. So as the Sun God journeys into the lands of winter we need to celebrate our successes, remember any harder life lessons and give thanks to what and who has helped us. We, too, are part of this eternal balance of life
Mabon is the ‘The Harvest’
This is also our time to reap what we have sown. This happens literally, by our physical harvesting of the bounty of the land, to eat and to store. We also harvest metaphorically, by giving thanks for all the good things that have happened in our lives so far. This is a time to look back not just on your past year, but on your whole life, and to plan for the future. Mabon is the perfect time to finish up projects and plans and then plant the seeds for new enterprises and changes.
A Mabon Ritual of Letting Go
Gather up some leaves that have fallen from the trees. I particularly like to work with Oak Leaves at this time of year. Give thanks to the trees for the gift of these leaves. Take the leaves and place them where they can dry out.
On the morning of Mabon, take out your leaves and as you hold them consider any issues in your life that you wish to discard or heal.
As you think of each thing, select a single leaf to represent it. You can work further in this way by mentally attaching a symbol to the leaf or physically making a mark on it that represents the issue to you. As you hold each leaf, consider the circumstances around each issue, what led to it, what you could have done differently or how your own behaviour may have contributed to it…
Now hold each dried leaf in turn, take slow deep breaths and focus on what you can do better to help you avoid these regrets in the future. Hold your leaf up to the God and The Goddess and ask that this particular problem be taken from you and healed – for the good of all and with harm to none.
Crush each leaf in your hand as you make this invocation.
Gather the leaves and cast them away. You can cast them into the water – the sea or a river, as moving water is best for this. You can burn them away in an Autumn Equinox fire or bonfire or you can cast them to the winds, to blow away forever…..
Cleansing your space
Depending on your individual path, there are many different and practical ways to celebrate Mabon too. As autumn arrives we know that soon we’re likely to be spend more time indoors so we can complete an Autumn version of the Spring Equinox cleansing of our homes
Use water steeped in oils to clean your home from top to bottom. There are many stores that sell special blends of oils and incense dedicated to each point on the Wheel of The Year. I like to use my own blend of cinnamon and bergamot oil and add this to the water, along with natural sea salt. You can also sweeten all your linens by adding some of this mixture to your laundry rinse or sprinkled in the linen cupboard. After all the surfaces and floors etc have been cleansed, smudge your home. Use sage or sweetgrass smudge sticks a as you go through your home to clear old energy away and bless each room.
Decorate your home with symbols of the harvest season, Autumn leaves, gourds and fallen twigs look really beautiful placed in decorative baskets or containers around the house.
On a practical level- do some maintenance and repairs! If anything needs to be done, do it now so you don’t have to worry over the coming Winter. Throw out or give away any items that are no longer of use in your life…
Eating and drinking of the Mabon harvest bounty
Mabon is also such a wonderful time to gather together and enjoy sharing the good foods of this season with your friends and family to celebrate the Harvest. Even if you choose the solitary path of celebration, you can and should enjoy the delicious food of this time of year by preparing a lovely meal for yourself or by displaying colourful food and flora on a Mabon altar.
Items to include on your Mabon food altar or at your celebration feast will differ depending on where you live, and when you’re celebrating. Typically, though, the Autumn Equinox here in the Northern Hemisphere is generally good for any of the following foods:
Fruits- like apples, grapes and berries. Nuts- such as hazelnuts and pecans. Grains like corn, maize, and wheat. Vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, carrots. Pulses and squashes – especially butternut squash and pumpkins.
Before you enjoy the delicious Mabon feast you’ve prepared, here’s a prayer you should say as you bless the food on your table. You can light your Mabon candles as you do this – yellow, orange or red to honour the dying of The Sun, black to welcome the darker nights, green to honour the bounty and prosperity of the harvest and brown to honour The Earth.
A Mabon Prayer
Harvest is here
The light dims and the land sleeps once more
We gather to honour the bounty of The Earth
On our table and in our hearts and lives
For this we give eternal thanks to the God and the Goddess
Have a wonderful and bountiful Mabon and wishing you Autumn Equinox blessings!