Mabon, also known as Autumn Equinox or Second Harvest, is celebrated each September 20-23 at the halfway point between the Lughnasadh and Samhain. While the flowers and blooms of Summer are fading and the nights are growing cooler, we celebrate this sabbat when the lightness of day and darkness of the night are equal, in total harmony with their duality.
This day of divine balance comes when the jubilant energy of Summer begins to quiet and cool into Autumn. We tend our gardens for our second, and potentially final, harvest of the year and tuck in our plant allies as the first frost approaches. The daylight recedes into the glow of the Moon as we will experience nights longer than our days for the next 6 months.
Today’s balance of light and dark is not to be taken without notice. This balance of yin and yang, masculine and feminine, light and dark brings us all to a place where we can find our own center and move from this place with clear minds and hearts. As we begin our transition into quieter times we are asked to do so with awareness of the shift. We must care for ourselves and remained attuned to our own energy as we navigate a quieter, more subtle Universal energy. We are appreciative of the season past and ready to experience the coming season. This moment brings an opportunity to take internal inventory and recalibrate our energy as we will have to make wise usage of our stored assets from our harvests.
All of our rituals are unique, personal, and deeply sacred. I’ve put together ritual components to guide you in celebrating Mabon. Work with the elements that resonate with you and honor your connection to this sacred time. Whether your ritual be private or public, I wish you comfort, clarity, and celebration. The following ritual components are intended as a mix-and-match menu so you can engage in the practices that you most connect with and enjoy.
- Colors: Yellow, Orange, Red, Brown
- Flowers: Chamomile, Chrysanthemum, Sunflower, Aster
- Herbs: Rosehips, Rosemary, Nutmeg, Fern, Hops, Cinnamon
- Crystals: Tiger’s Eye, Citrine, Amber, Red Jasper, Hematite, Aventurine
- Trees: Apple, Pine, Cedar, Juniper, Oak
- Foods: Apples, Cider, Mead, Grains, Corn, Root Vegetables
In a space that will not be disturbed but is visible and accessible, begin to construct your Mabon altar. Clear the surface of all items and use a natural cleaner to ensure a fresh surface. Drape a colorful cloth, piece of fabric, or decorative paper to designate your altar space. Assemble your altar space utilizing acorns, pine cones, fallen leaves, apples, imagery or figures representing harvesting, wreaths or garlands of flowers, and Goddess/God/deity figures. As you place each item, hold it for a moment and connect with the energy it brings to your sacred space. Intuitively place your items on your altar and move them as necessary to accommodate for additional pieces.
This altar space can be used to meditate with, engage in energy work, read tarot, journal, or simply sit quietly and reflect. Speak to your altar and let all the components know what they mean to you and why they are important. Express gratitude freely.
Your altar is an ideal space to burn incense or candles and to charge and protect your energy work tools. Tarot or oracle cards make great additions and can also contribute to the energy at hand.
Those with deeper meditation and energy work practices may find this is a particularly potent space to receive messages, connect with sacred energy, and hear one’s intuition speak. As with all sacred spaces, do guard this area with bright white protective light and ask for divine barriers from anything that may interfere with your work. Open and close your sessions in recognition of this sacred space and use a mantra, prayer, or incantation to welcome energy, call in the 4 elements, and express gratitude.
mabon & TAROT
If including tarot into your ritual feels appropriate, Temperance may be a good fit. Temperance is a card of balance, duality, and reconciliation of extremes. Being able to identify extremes and areas of rigidity is only the first step in achieving balance; we must also work to reconcile opposing ideas, actions, and energies into something new that is productive, positive, and moves us forward. Balance takes great patience as we diligently identify, work towards, and maintain a level of moderation in all aspects of our lives. Given Mabon’s connection to the Equinox and the divine balance of light and dark, Temperance reinforces the importance of finding middle ground, avoiding extremes, and the growth and change that happens when we allow ourselves to dabble, taste, and experiment in new ares finding the right place where we thrive.
mabon CANDLES & INCENSE
Candles and incense are wonderful additions to any space, altar, or ritual. The flame of a candle or smoke from incense can be a wonderful focal point for meditation while also adding to the visual aesthetic and aroma of the space.
For your Mabon altar candle, begin with a yellow, orange, or red candle. Chime candles can be gently rubbed with oil and rolled in dried herbs and flowers to dress them. Use a stand to burn them and be aware of any dressing that may catch fire during the burn. 7-day glass candles can have a very small amount of herbs and flowers added to the top prior to burning. Keep the wick trimmed as the candle burns and be aware of dressing that may catch fire, which could lead to glass breakage.
For your Mabon incense blend choose herbs, flowers, and resins that are pleasing and seasonal. Combine your blend with a mortar and pestle, reciting a mantra, prayer, or incantation. Using a charcoal disk on a heat-safe surface, add small amount of your blend. Know that more incense creates more smoke; best to start small and slow.
Some herbal allies for your candles and incense that correspond with Mabon include: Chamomile, Myrrh, Rosehips, Yarrow, Rosemary, and Sage . Let your intuition guide you as you choose your blend; there is no wrong combination when your intention is pure.
If you prefer incense cones, our Hand-Rolled Incense • Mabon are ideal for all your Mabon rituals.
NOTE: Always burn candles and incense responsibly using heat-safe surfaces in well ventilated areas. Never leave burning items alone for any amount of time. Be aware of pets and children that may be nearby.
Mabon Tea from Nor’Eastern Herb Company
INGREDIENTS: Cinnamon, Dried Apple Slices, Dried Ginger
DIRECTIONS: Mix dry ingredients in equal parts or to taste to create an herbal blend. Add 1-3 TBS of the herbal blend to a tea filter or steeping insert. Pour boiling water over tea into a mug and cover for 5-7 minutes. Remove tea blend and press liquid from the herbs. Add a candied Ginger instead of dried or a scoop of local honey to add sweetness and mix to incorporate. Allow to cool. Finish with milk of choice to taste. Enjoy!
MORE WAYS TO HONOR mabon
- Set an Intention – As we shift into having shorter days, many of us will experience this as a difficult transition. Not having the daylight, time outdoors, and active foliage can have a significant impact on our emotional well being. As we just begin this time it is crucially important to acknowledge the upcoming change and prepare yourself. One way to do this is to set a personal intention or goal for the next 6 months. Having a specific task, project, or goal can help to keep us focused and aligned with our true selves. Begin a journal, create a vision board, or format a method of accountability to keep yourself on track. Bring in a trusted friend or partner to share your intention and have them ask questions. This can help you clarify for yourself what you are working towards and what it will take to get there. When the weather keeps you indoors and it seems like the Sun isn’t coming back, focus on you and your desires to make this a productive and fulfilling season.
- Deep Meditation – Having this day where the light and dark are in perfect balance allows us an opportunity to tap into our own duality and sense of balance. An excellent way to explore this part of ourselves is[;l. through meditation. Using your favorite method, carve out time for yourself and allow your mind to check in with your body. Ask and search for anything that may be out of balance or what may need to be realigned. Try to incorporate meditation into your daily or weekly self-care practices through out the next 6 months while we are experiencing darker days. Even if you begin to experience the effects of less daylight, your meditation practice may help to carry you through until longer days return.
- Apple Picking – Apple season is here and it brings wonderful way to engage with the natural world around us. Taking time to pick apples at a local farm or orchard is great for connecting with the process of apples starting as seeds, becoming trees, bearing fruit, and returning to seed again. Physically picking your own food and being where is it s grown is critical to connecting to, understanding, and appreciating where food comes from and the work it takes to bring produce and agriculture to life.
- Welcome the Darkness – The ideas of longer nights makes us all a little cranky but how much of this is us convincing ourselves it is a bad thing? This period of cooler weather and longer nights is the time for us to rest and restore. We’re able to be indoors a bit, sleep in a little later, and spend time in our home tending to our tasks and joys we miss when were are out on Summer adventures. Honor this period of slowing down as a way to thank your body for the fun it allowed you to have over the Summer and seek out ways to nourish and care for your physical being over the next 6 months.
- Create a Cornucopia – A Cornucopia or Horn-of-Plenty is a traditional symbol for Mabon an often associated with American Thanksgiving. The Cornucopia symbolizes the bounty of the harvest shared with friends and family freely. We also see duality in the Cornucopia itself in the masculine phallic stem and feminine reviving opening. If that doesn’t strike you as a great dinner topic, share with those around you the additional symbolism of the Cornucopia of abundance and wealth as it overflows with the fruits, vegetables, and grains of your summer labor. Construct your cornucopia from a gourd, basket, or any natural material and fill it with seasonal items to share with those you love. Display it as a centerpiece at a gather and allow everyone attending to share in the bounty of the season.
- Plant Bulbs – This is the time of year that gardeners plant bulbs. This is a wonderfully optimistic task that also has room for planting intentions. Getting out into the soil one last time for the season allows us to thank the Earth once again and sow our faith that another bountiful season will come again. When Spring does return and your bulbs begin to poke through the ground, you’ll be reminded of your own resiliency in the Autumn and Winter months and how we all have the potential to bloom again after inclement weather.
- Release Your Corn Doll – For those who made a corn doll during Lughnasadh, this is the time to release it. Our dolls were constructed to symbolize the first harvest of the season and pay homage to the corm spirit in hopes of a bountiful season. Now that the season for harvesting is coming to a close, it is time to thank and release our corn dolls. They have walked the fields with us, ensured an abundance of food and materials, and have worked energetically to protect us, our crops, and our livestrock. As a final honor to our doll and their energy, we release then through fore or soil. If your Mabon celebration involves a bon fire, take a moment to hold and thank your doll for it’s protection and prosperity. Gently lay it into the fire and release the energy so it may return again the following season. This same process can be done by burying or composting our dolls. Take a few sacred moments and release your doll back into the Earth so it’s energy can be replenished and return to your side once again.
- How can you find balance for this season?
- How can you connect with and honor your dark side?
- What have you harvested for this season?
- How will you care for yourself in the shorter days?
- What parts of you like need to come back to a neutral center point?
PAYING IT FORWARD
If advocacy is part of your personal rituals, I ask you to consider talking action along side KIND: Kids in Need of Defense on behalf of children throughout the Unites States who have been thrust into the immigration system. While we are celebrating the harvest season with those we love, not all children have that security and stability in their lives. We are responsible to share our abundance and tale meaningful action when others are in need. Visit their website to learn more about their work and make a donation.
(I do not have any affiliation with KIND: Kids in Need of Defense other than supporting their work and appreciating their advocacy.)
When you have completed your ritual, take a few moments to sit with the emotions, and images that came to you. Journal your experience or take notes that you can return to as Autumn officially arrives. As you move from your sacred space drink a large glass of water and wash your hands in cool water. Express your gratitude for these moments and know you have participated in an ancient and sacred tradition.
I wish for you all a very blessed Mabon. With love and light, Kristen