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Mabon - The Autumnal Equinox and Second Harvest

Posted on August 28, 2015 at 11:25 AM

The Autumnal Equinox, called Mabon by many traditions, is celebrated on or near September 23rd. This is the second harvest festival and is often considered “The Pagan’s Thanksgiving”. Equinoxes are also times of balance. The day and night are equal. These are times when things can “even out” or regain an equilibrium.


Imagine, if you can, how the Ancestors lived. They marked time by the seasons.They didn’t rely on a calendar, but rather on the changes in nature to guide them. There was the time to prepare, the time to plant, the time to tend and the time to harvest. Each part of the process was important, as it ensured that the crops would be abundant enough to see them through a harsh winter. If any step along the way broke down, it could mean disaster for the community. Therefore, it was important to them to give thanks to their deities. At Lughnassadh, the first Harvest on August 1st, the grain god Lugh was given thanks. At Mabon, a feast was held to give thanks to all of the gods and to the community for their help during the growing season. The third and final harvest, Samhain which is October 31st, is a more solemn feast in which the Ancestors are honoured and given thanks for their assistance through the year.


Mabon gets its popular name from a Welsh tale. Briefly, the tale tells of Mabon, which means “great son”, a youth who is much beloved by this mother Modron, “great mother”. Much like the tale of Demeter and Persephone, Mabon was stolen away away to the underworld where he resided until the light half of the year. At that point, he is found by King Arthur and rescued. This is an old tale, but the term “Mabon” was only applied to this holiday in modern times. Since the similarities to the tale of Demeter and Persephone are so strong, it is understandable why the correlation was made. To our Ancestors, however, it was tied to the wheel of the year.


There are many fun ways to celebrate this time of the year. First off, you could hold a feast featuring local and seasonal foods. If you have a garden, invite friends and family over to share some of your plenty. It is also a good time to tin or preserve foods for storage. Donate food to local food banks or soup kitchens. Hold a gratitude ritual and give thanks for everything, and everyone, in your life. Make crafts using corn husks and sheaths. Corn dollies are popular. Take a sheath and form it until it resembles a human figure. You can paint it or add yarn and fabric for clothing if you would like. Make an apple candle holder by hollowing out an apple and inserting a votive or tea light inside. A fun craft for the kids is making face masks using paper plates and pasting leaves, twigs and other natural items onto it.


This is a good time of year to consider what you have accomplished thus far. Be thankful for each seed which bore fruit. Consider what is needed for the months ahead and plan. Find the areas of your life which need balance. When within the harmony of the seasons as our Ancestors did we find that everything flows and has its time. Plant, reap, sow and plan. Happy Mabon!

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