Now, to get real for a second, Mabon is a made up holiday. It's not a true, ancient Celtic fire festival. It is, however, an Equinox. And, since we're a nature-based belief system, it makes sense that we would take a moment to pause and honor divinity at this time of balance. There are some related holidays that may have some correlation with this time period, but for the most part, worship at the time of the Autumnal Equinox is a modern phenomenon.
However, that shouldn't stop you from having a good time and making an excellent evening of fellowship out of it! Below, you'll find my personal entry for Mabon. To me, it represents a nice fit between Lughnasadh and Samhain, the 2nd of the three harvest festivals. It is a time of thanksgiving for the blessings you've been given, the good things in your life, and balance - as both equinoxes are. In the vein of this being the 2nd of the three harvest festivals, it is the time to celebrate the fruits of the vine, as well as the Gods and Goddesses of those same fruits. (Lughnasadh is the feast of the grain and corn, while Samhain feasts on the final fruits and gourds.) So, grab a nice bottle of wine, some fruits, and your favorite feasting foods, as well as your friends and family, and put on a nice meal. Make sure to give thanks!
Love and Lyte,
Date: Autumnal Equinox (September 22 or 23)
Also Called: Witch’s Thanksgiving, Harvest Home, and Autumn Equinox
Related Holidays: Chung Ch’iu (China), Succoth (Judaism), and the Festival of Dionysus (Old Rome)
This holiday is a ritual of thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth and recognition of the need to share them to secure the blessings of the Goddess and God during the winter months. The Sabbat is named for Mabon, the Welsh God who symbolized the male fertilizing principle in the Welsh myths. Norse invaders brought it into prominence and placed it between Lughnasadh and Samhain.
In keeping with pagan feasting traditions, part of the meal should be offered as sacrifice. This can be done by putting some out for wild animals, or by giving time, money, or food to a shelter or social service organization.
It is customary to visit cemeteries to honor dead ancestors. There are a few reasons for this, but the common thread between them is to remember them, and appease them. This is so, should they visit the human world, they will be predisposed towards kindness and goodwill. A willow wand can be cut just prior to Mabon, and this can assist in powerful conjuring magics and divination.
The Goddess and God are thought to have equal power on this night, as well as the forces of good and evil. It is a time when the old Norse people believed one’s fate for the coming year was sealed. The Norse often spent the day and night before fasting and praying for forgiveness for transgressions. Divinations and vision quests were done to ascertain whether one’s life in the last year please the Gods.
Gather family and friends and have a harvest meal. Nuts, berries, apples, grapes, and all autumn crops are good harvest foods. Wine can be poured into the ground to honor the aging Goddess, and acts as a symbolic blood sacrifice to the God, so he may live until Samhain. Leave a spot at the dinner table, light a candle, or otherwise remember those family and friends who have passed on. Create a “Bowl of Plenty.” Have family and friends write what they’re thankful for, any blessings they’ve received, and, perhaps, a note to a departed loved one. Let everyone put these in the bowl of plenty, and bless the bowl. Later, put the bowl out with birdseed and any safe, edible foods to send the blessings and thankful, gracious energy out into the world.