With the autumnal equinox quickly approaching September 21st, I thought I’d take a second today to give you the lowdown on the upcoming Pagan Sabbat called Mabon that occurs on the very same day. It is the second of the three harvest festivals that make up the end of the Wheel of the Year. It occurs on the autumnal equinox which is one of two days yearly that the Sun has equal dominion over both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. It is named for Mabon, the son of the Welsh goddess Modron. This Sabbat is traditionally a celebration with family or friends gathered together around a very large feast. Sound familiar?
Mabon is the Pagan equivalent of our modern American holiday Thanksgiving. “Oh, but Peter, Thanksgiving is in November,” you say? Well it is a little known fact that Thanksgiving was first observed on October 3rd and moved later on to the floating November holiday that we now know. It was Abraham Lincoln oddly enough that issued the Thanksgiving Proclamation in the midst of the Civil War that in 1863 changed the October observance to the last Thursday in November. It was moved several times after ending up with the holiday that we see today on the fourth Thursday of November. The original date was only 12 days later than Mabon and made more sense agriculturally as the harvest is generally over by Thanksgiving. No doubt it was inspired by Mabon as are many harvest festivals regardless of its change on the calendar.
Mabon and Thanksgiving share several core themes. The biggie is their aspect of showing thanks for the bountiful return of the fall harvest. In both we show a thankfulness to the Earth and celebrate the agricultural abundance that it gives us. Both holidays also share the preparation for the coming Winter. The main element of any celebration of either the American holiday or the Pagan Sabbat is a glorious feast which is shared with family or friends. Please note that Turkey is not required to celebrate Mabon.
Host or Attend a Mabon Celebration
How to Create Your Mabon Altar
Going into Mabon, many choose to decorate their altars with the fruits of the harvest season. It’s as typical to use gourds and squash varieties around the home as it is to place a Pumpkin outside your door at Halloween. I like to place edibles on our altar and snack from them from time to time. Use nuts and seeds, anything that represents this harvest time that also won’t go bad after being placed there for a few weeks. Get a hold of a cornucopia or some apple baskets to use on your altar. Decorate it with a sickle or a scythe.
It’s All About Balance, Baby!
It’s the equinox after all. Mabon symbolizes the balance that exists between light and dark. It is the midway point between the heat of the Summer months that have passed and the dead of Winter that lies ahead. Use this equinox to bring balance to your own life. By taking part in Mabon, you can celebrate the Sabbat and gain a renewed sense of harmony in your life. I personally love Mabon and its vernal equinox counterpart Ostara because of their correlation with the Sun’s position in the sky and the balance of forces that they bring with them. During both, I like to pray to the universe to provide me an even path in my days ahead. Try it yourself.
I wish you a happy Mabon and I hope for a fruitful harvest season for you all. Let me know what you’re doing this year to celebrate. Leave a comment if you have something to say about it or just want to ask a question.