Mabon (Lesser Sabbat)
Mabon is a Wiccan harvest festival, held around the time of the Autumn Equinox when day and night are of equal length.
It marks the beginning of the waning half of the year. From this point on darkness will take over from the light; the nights will become longer and days become shorter. It is also known as the dark half of the year. Mabon is a time to reflect on what you have accomplished so far, and to give thanks for the earth and everything you have grown and harvested, both physically and spiritually.
In the Northern Hemisphere, Mabon falls on Saturday 21 September 2019.
In the Southern Hemisphere, the equinoxes and solstices are at opposite times of the year so Mabon is celebrated on Saturday 21st March 2019.
Mabon was not an ancient holiday, contrary to popular belief. Most ancient Pagans did not mark the equinoxes at all. It was not even one of the original Wiccan Sabbats—when British Traditional Witchcraft was started by Gerald Gardner, they originally only celebrated what are now known as the 'major Sabbats'. As they called them: February Eve (which became Imbolc), May Eve (which became Beltane), August Eve (which became Lughnasadh) and November Eve (which became Samhain).
It was later that Gardner's coven suggested they begin including the equinoxes and solstices into their holiday celebrations, and they deemed them ‘the minor Sabbats’. The holiday’s most common name—Mabon—was not even coined until the 1970s. Mabon is named after the son of Modred of Welsh mythology. Wiccans most commonly refer to the holiday as Mabon or Autumn Equinox, Feast of the Ingathering and Harvest Home.
But the spirit of the season—the harvest festival—is indeed an ancient and world-wide concept. Of course, the harvest season differs in timing from region to region, but celebrating the earth’s bounty and the fruits of one’s labor has long been a part of just about every culture. It is essentially the Wiccan Thanksgiving celebration. Another comparable holiday besides Thanksgiving is Alban Elfed, a modern Druidic celebration of the equinox.
Things To Do
Great Feast of Thanksgiving.
Celebrate with a feast for friends and family using as much fruit & veg, locally grown, as you can.
If you have a garden, even if it’s just a small container herb and flower garden, it’s a time to enjoy the fruits of your labors. Harvest some of your crops and prepare a lovely dinner to enjoy them. If not, take a morning to visit a local farmers market to partake of some choice gems of the season, then come home and cook with them. Perhaps pick up some cases of tomatoes or apples, go home and can them or make jelly. Go out for walks in the beautiful autumn air, collect leaves and flowers in those rich autumn colors.
It’s a good time to reflect, so look back on your journals or your Book of Shadows to consider the seeds you’ve “sown” in the past. What has come to fruition, and what has failed to blossom? Re-think your needs, your goals and approaches to things, and re-assess your efforts.
This is a time to recognize aging as part of the life cycle, so keep in mind those who are growing old and honor them this season. Visit grandparents, or perhaps you have aging neighbors and friends who wouldn’t mind some company. You might even plan a visit to an assisted living facility for the elderly and find people who are desperately in need of visitors.
Another fun activity is telling stories—some great choices are the stories of Mabon, of Demeter and Persephone, or of Inanna.
Go for a walk and collect as much of nature's wild abundance as you can, while respecting the need to leave enough for everyone else including the nature spirits. You will find wild damsons, sloes, rosehips, elderberries, blackberries, hawthorn berries and more. Remember the fruit is the carrier of the precious seed.
Clear Out and Complete.
We think of Spring as the time to clear out but now is the perfect time to complete unfinished projects and clear your home of unwanted stuff. Prepare to hibernate!
This is an excellent time to plant tree seeds and shrubs. They have all of winter in the darkness to establish and germinate. Plant bulbs which will hide in the earth until early Spring beckons. Make each one a hope, idea or aspiration for Spring and wait until their little green noses show above ground - to remind you!