Pagan Holidays – About Mabon, The Autumn Equinox

Witchfest is one of our favourite festivals. We also attend the brilliant free Lammas Festival in Eastbourne, Pagan Pride in Nottingham, Pagan Pride in Southampton and the Artemis Gathering.

Estimates vary, but it looks like anything between 200,000 and a million people around the world celebrate Paganism. It's such a big part of our lives that we thought it'd be fun to look at the Pagan holiday of Mabon, the autumn equinox, celebrated by Pagans on or around 21st September each year, also called Harvest Home and the Feast of the Ingathering.

About Mabon

An equinox happens when the planet's equator passes through the middle of the sun's disk, falling around 20th March and 23rd September each year and the time when the day and night are almost the same length.

There are eight sabbats in the Pagan wheel of the year, each corresponding with a different seasonal event. There's the winter solstice, spring equinox, summer solstice and autumn equinox, all marking the lengthening or shortening of daylight. Plus Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh and Samhain. While it would be nice to believe the word Mabon is an ancient name for the autumn equinox celebration, it is actually very modern, probably created by the author Aidan Kelley who used it in his book, Crafting the Art of Magic, assigning fresh new names to the sabbats, inspired by ancient Celtic folklore.   

Mabon marks the time the harvest is winding down and the fields are almost bare, with most of the crops already in storage for the winter. Being a mid-harvest festival it honours the changing seasons, a time to give thanks for the things we have, a time of plenty, of gratitude, a time to share your abundance with those who are less fortunate. It's celebrated in numerous different ways, depending on the personal spiritual path of the person marking it. But the 'second harvest' is usually a focus, as is the delicate balance between light and dark, that curious time when there's an equal amount of day and night.

Some popular ways to celebrate Mabon

  • Make a Mabon Altar decorated with symbols of the late harvest season, or a food altar to celebrate the magical bounty of our farms and gardens
  • Honour the Dark Mother, a ritual that welcomes in the dark side of the Goddess, which isn't always a comfortable experience but is acknowledged by the wise
  • Carry out the Mabon Apple Harvest Rite, thanking the Gods for their bounty and blessing the magic of the earth before the cold winds of winter start to blow
  • Hold a Hearth and Home Protection Ritual, to make a beautiful barrier of harmony and security around the place you live
  • Have a Gratitude Ritual to express your thanks

No Pagan celebration is complete without wonderful food and drink. Mabon celebrations include dishes designed to honour the earth and harvest, things like grains, bread, wine and autumn vegetables. It's also the perfect time to clean your home from top to bottom in preparation for winter, and bless every room as you go. This is when you look back at the last year, examine your life so far, and plan for a bright future. A time when the Old Sun God returns to the embrace of the Goddess, and a time to pray for peace.

The next Pagan celebration for 2017? It's Samhain

Samhain comes next, coinciding with Halloween and a holiday that pays tribute to the dead, the time when the 'veil' between this world and the next is at its thinnest. Whatever you're doing to celebrate Samhain at the end of October, we hope you have an amazing time.  







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