Mabon September 22-23
The Witches’ Thanksgiving
Do you feel it?
It’s in the air,
the essence of the Goddess is changing everywhere.
Be filled with vitality
as the summer sun sinks gradually.
The mother’s task is nearly complete,
as the Crone rises to her feet.
From Oak to Holly the wheel makes another turn,
to satisfy our desires,
for which we most yearn.
Mabon is the time of year when most of us feel the Wheel of the Year turn. Autumn is here. For me, I begin to feel the change sometime in August after we celebrate Lammas.
Mabon kicks off the Autumn season with cooler weather, colorful falling leaves, and cornucopias overflowing with the bountiful harvests. This is also the time of the year when we see our hard work paying off.
Mabon is an ancient tradition steeped in a rich history. Typically when we discuss Mabon, we focus on the historic accuracy or inaccuracies of this holiday. Today, I have decided to take a different approach.
Since we are living here and now, and not 1,000++ years or so ago, I think it is better for us to take a look at Mabon in a more modern way. How do we celebrate now? What seems most significant to many modern Witches and Wiccans?
For me, I like to keep Mabon simple. It, like other Sabbats, follows the natural course of the changing earth and the seasons. So naturally, Mabon is a harvest festival as we are smack in the middle of the harvest season. Mabon is the second of three harvest festivals to be exact. My garden is bursting with fresh vegetables. I find it hard to keep up in most cases. I am busy canning, drying, preserving, and creating in the kitchen. This tradition is most significant for me during Mabon.
Local farmer’s markets, CSA’s, and community gardens are also overflowing with fruits, vegetables. Mabon is about the earth giving up her summer bounty to you and me… for use to share. Mabon is about prosperity. This is something to be thankful for as we sustain ourselves with what nature provides. Think of all the things that can be made and enjoyed. There are jams, bread, salsas, cheese, jellies, dried fruits, cakes, Ale, Mead, and… OH YEAH… WINE! We cannot forget the wine.
Wine is very significant to Mabon. Wine and Mabon go together like well… jam and toast. One of my favorite ways to celebrate Mabon is with a fruit, cheese, & bread platter and a large glass of Blackberry Sangria. If that doesn’t make you excited… well… I don’t know what to tell you. I just made a batch of my Blackberry Sangria and I am very excited to serve it up.
Aside from food and cooking this festival is also about reaping what we sow, literally and figuratively. Typically we think of harvest festival in the sense of what I described above. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, and the like being brought in from local farms and gardens. We visit pumpkin patches, corn mazes, etc. for entertainment and tradition. But there is more.
This festival is also about the figurative harvest of our own labor. It is traditionally thought that the month of September is the month of destiny. All the hard work you have put into what you started in the Spring is coming to fruition. Maybe only a little and maybe a lot. It depends on how hard you have worked and the amount of time you have dedicated.
If you look back on the year you will realize that you have achieved so much. Perhaps it is in the area of personal growth, relationships, business, family… If you have dedicated yourself to something this past year, and you have worked toward your goals, you will see that you have made progress.
The next tradition related to Mabon is giving thanks. Mabon is called the Witches Thanksgiving because this is when we traditionally show our gratitude for the harvests we reap. We give thanks for the meals we can share, the prosperity we gain, good health, family… and more. It is a time for libations, offerings, and ritual displays of gratitude. Many choose to host a feast with coven mates, family, and friends to offer thanks to the Gods and Earth for the bounty received. Many Mabon traditions look a lot like secular Thanksgiving traditions most American families observe in November.
|Mabon Correspondences and Associations
||Mabon, Dionysus, Bacchus, Demeter, Harvest Deities including Mother and Crone Goddesses
||Green, Orange, Black, Brown, Red, Gold, & Yellow
||I recommend looking at your local food guide to see what is in the season for your area this time of year. Since Mabon is about local harvest what is available to you locally is important. Although some foods will always have a steady presence like snap beans, apples, peaches, plums, pears, mushrooms, nuts, cheese, beets, squash, wheat, corn, oats & berries.
||The triple GoddessTriple Moon
The Scared Spiral
Giving Thanks (The Witches’ Thanksgiving)
The Sickle, as a harvesting tool for harvesting wheat
The circle or ring– usually displayed a decorated wreath symbolizing the wheel of the year.
The realization of one’s destiny/hard work
Mabon is a time to be happy, feel healthy, and be grateful for the blessings we have in our lives. I like to keep my Mabon celebrations simple. One way I do this is to enjoy meals outside in our yard. I also conduct libations as a show of my own gratitude toward all I have received. We don’t have a large yard and it is in the middle of suburbia, so I do what I can to make our meals and ritual time private and beautiful.
Years ago, I read about a tradition of erecting a temporary structure that would serve as a place to eat autumn meals outside. I loved the idea and made it our own tradition. I use branches from our Maple tree and set out a small table where we sit and eat. When the weather begins to get colder I find myself out there in the mornings sipping coffee.
On Mabon, I usually prepare a simple meal of fresh foods (like the cheese platter I mentioned before with a baked item or soup) and create a lovely tablescape using leaves and candles. I keep it simple for many reasons. When you keep things simple and fresh you leave time to appreciate the event and the company you keep.
In decorating I use the things you normally think of as being appropriate for this time of the year. Pumpkins, gourds, pine cones, acorns, corn husks, fall leaves, twigs… and so on. These simple, easy to find items are perfect for your tablescape and general decorating. As for food, keep it fresh. By slicing up some fresh vegetables, fruit, cheese, and bread you can make a simple and lovely arrangement.
Mabon is a time to really celebrate life, bounty, and the earth. It is time to think about all we have gained over the past year and our lifetime. It is time to dance with one another, enjoy fresh seasonal foods, and be happy in each other’s presence.
It is my hope that you will have a fabulous Mabon shared with those you love. I also hope you will share with us your Mabon experiences. Take photos of your own celebration and share them on our Facebook Fan Page! Just upload your photos and share a little about what you did, what you ate, and who joined you during this merry occasion! When you upload please only use photos that comply with the Facebook community guidelines. They are a bit sticky about that.
Many Bright Blessings,