Mabon (pronounced MAY-bun, MAY-bone, MAH-boon or MAH-bawn) or the Autumn Equinox is one of the Lesser Wiccan Sabbats and is usually celebrated around September 23rd, though it can occur as early as the 20th, depending on the timing of the actual Astrological event (check the calendar). The Autumn Equinox, like the Spring Equinox divides day and night equally. However during Autumn, (as opposed to Spring, when the opposite occurs) we begin to see the waning of the Sun more obviously now as the days continue to grow shorter until the Wheel of the Year spins around again to Yule. (Images to the left and below are by Anthony Meadows and from Llewellyn's 1998 and 1999 Witches' Calendars. Click on either image to go directly to Llewellyn's Web Site.)
The various other names for this Sabbat include the Autumn (or Autumnal) Equinox, the Fall Equinox, the Second Harvest Festival, Festival of Dionysus, Wine Harvest, Cornucopia, Feast of Avalon, Equinozio di Autunno (Strega), and Alban Elfed (Caledonii, or Druidic - which celebrates the Lord of the Mysteries). The Teutonic name for this period is Winter Finding, which spans from the Equinox itself until Winter Night, on October 15. Winter Night is the Norse New Year.
The symbolism of this Sabbat is that of the Second Harvest, the Mysteries, Equality and Balance - when day and night are equal. Symbols to represent the Mabon Sabbat are such things as grapes, wine, vines, garland, gourds, pine cones, acorns, wheat, dried leaves, burial cairns, rattles, Indian corn, Sun wheels, and horns of plenty. Altar decorations might include autumn leaves, acorns, pine cones, a pomegranate to symbolize Persephone's descent into the Underworld, and a small statue or figure to represent the Triple Goddess in Her Mother aspect.
Deities associated with Mabon include all Wine Deities - particularly Dionysus and Bacchus, and Aging Deities. Emphasis might also be placed on the Goddess in Her aspect of the Mother (Demeter is a good example), Persephone (Queen of the Underworld and daughter of Demeter), and Thor (Lord of Thunder in Norse mythology). Some other Autumn Equinox Goddesses include Modron, Morgan, Snake Woman, Epona, Pamona, and the Muses. Some appropriate Gods besides those already mentioned are Mabon, Thoth, Hermes, and Hotei.
At this point in the Wheel of the Year, two appropriate mythological legends are that of Mabon and Modron, and the story of Demeter, Persephone and Hades. The Sabbat is named for Mabon, the Welsh God who symbolized the male fertilizing principle in the Welsh myths. Some mythologists equate him as the male counterpart for Persephone.
The universal story of Mabon and his mother, Modron has been passed down to us from the ancient proto-Celtic oral tradition. Mabon ap Modron, meaning "Great Son of the Great Mother", is the Young Son, Divine Youth, or Son of Light. Just as the September equinox marks a significant time of change, so, too, does the birth of Mabon. Modron, his mother, is the Great Goddess, Guardian of the Otherworld, Protector, and Healer. She is Earth itself.
From the moment of the Autumn Equinox, the Sun's strength diminishes, until the moment of the Winter Solstice in December, when the Sun grows stronger and the days once again become longer than the nights. Mabon also disappears, taken at birth when only three nights old (some legends say he was stolen from Modron at the age of three years). Modron cries in sweet sorrow... and although his whereabouts are veiled in mystery, Mabon is eventually freed with the wisdom and memory of the most ancient of living animals - the Blackbird, the Stag, the Owl, the Eagle, and the Salmon (other legends state that King Arthur himself was Mabon's rescuer). All along, Mabon has been quite a happy captive, dwelling in Modron's magickal Otherworld - Modron's womb. It is a nurturing and enchanted place, but also one filled with challenges. Only in so powerful a place of renewable strength can Mabon be reborn as his mother's champion, as the Son of Light. Mabon's light has been drawn into the Earth, gathering strength and wisdom enough to become a new seed.
According to one Greek myth, Autumn begins when Persephone returns to the Underworld to live with her husband, Hades. This is the tale...
Demeter's daughter, known as Kore at this time, was out picking flowers in a meadow when the Earth opened, and the god Hades dragged the girl into the Underworld Kingdom to be his wife. Kore's name changed to Persephone when she became the wife of Hades. For nine days Demeter looked everywhere for Kore, to no avail. In despair, she finally consulted the Sun god Helios, who told her that her brother Zeus had given the girl to Hades. Furious to hear the news, Demeter left Olympus and wandered the Earth disguised as an old woman. She finally settled in her temple at Eleusis. She cursed the Earth so it yielded no crops. Zeus became frantic and sent her a message as to why she had done this. She responded by stating to Zeus that there would be no renewing vegetation on Earth until her daughter, Kore, was returned to her.
Zeus sent Hermes into the Underworld for the girl. Hades, not wanting to give up his wife permanently, enticed Persephone to eat pomegranate seeds before she returned to her mother. Upon learning of this trick, Demeter again despaired, until Zeus declared that Persephone-Kore would live with her husband during half of the year, and return to live with her mother during the other half. In gratitude, Demeter lifted her curse on the Earth, thus creating Spring at the time of her great joy of her daughter's return; and Fall at her time of great sorrow when her daughter returned to the Underworld to live with her husband, Hades.
Mabon is considered a time of the Mysteries and marks the end of the second of three Pagan Harvest Festivals, when the majority of crops have been gathered. It is considered a time of balance, a time of darkness overtaking light, a time of celebration of the Second Harvest. It is a time to honor the Aging Deities and the Spirit World. The principle key action of Mabon is giving thanks. Pagan activities may include the making of wine and the adorning of graves. A traditional practice is to walk wild places and forests, gathering seed pods and dried plants. Some of these can be used to decorate the home or altar, others saved for future herbal magick. It is considered taboo to pass burial sites and not honor the dead.
The Autumn Equinox is a wonderful time to stop and relax and be happy. While we may not have toiled the fields from sunrise to sunset every day since Lammas - as our ancestors did - most of us do work hard at what we do. At this time of year, we should stop and survey the harvest each of us has brought in over the season. For us, like our ancestors, this becomes a time of giving thanks for the success of what we have worked at.
Spellwork for protection, wealth and prosperity, security and spells to bring a feeling of self-confidence are appropriate for Mabon. Since this is a time for balance - you might include spells that will bring into balance and harmony the energies either in a room, home, or situation. Ritual actions might include the praising or honoring of fruit as proof of the love of the Goddess and God, and a ritual sprinkling of Autumn leaves.
Depending on when the leaves turn in your area, beautiful multi-colored leaves can be dipped in paraffin, to be used for decoration. Quickly dip the leaves in melted paraffin, and put them on wax paper. When the leaves are dry, you can put them in a huge decorative jar with a sigil of protection carved lightly on some or all of the leaves.
Appropriate colors for this Sabbat are red, orange, deep gold, brown, russet, maroon and violet. Candle colors might be orange, dark red, yellow, indigo, or brown. Altar cloths can also be made of material with Fall designs. Stones to use during Mabon are amethyst and yellow topaz, carnelian, lapis lazuli, sapphire, and yellow agate. River and stream stones gathered over the Summer can be empowered for various purposes. Animals associated with the Autumn Equinox are dogs, wolves and birds of prey. Mythical creatures include gnomes, minotaurs, sphinx, cyclopes, andamans and gulons. Plants associated with Mabon are vines, ivy, hazel, cedar, hops and tobacco. Traditional herbs of the Mabon sabbat include acorns, asters, benzoin, ferns, honeysuckle, marigold, milkweed, mums, myrrh, oak leaves, passionflower, pine, roses, sage, Solomon's seal, and thistles. Incense for the Mabon Sabbat Ritual might include any or all of the following: frankincense, aloes wood, jasmine, cinnamon, musk, cloves, benzoin, myrrh, and sage
The foods of Mabon consist of the gleanings of the Second Harvest, so grains, fruit and vegetables predominate, especially corn. Corn bread and cider are traditional fare, as are beans and baked squash. Others foods include wine, grapes, breads, pomegranates, roots (carrots, onions, potatoes, etc.), nuts and apples.
May the Lord and Lady bless you all with lots of prosperity, and a plentiful Second Harvest!
Next I will list several recipes appropriate for the Mabon turn in the Wheel of the Year. I have gathered these from various places, noted on each...
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup finely chopped citron
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons anise seeds
2-1/3 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan. Add honey, citron, sugar, and anise seeds. Stir until the sugar completely dissolves and then remove from heat.
Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices, and fold into the hot honey mixture. Turn the batter into a well-greased 9 X 5 X 3-inch loaf pan and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for one hour. Turn out on a wire rack to cool. (This recipe yields one loaf of bread.)
Covenstead Bread improves if allowed to stand for a day, and it is an ideal bread to serve during Lammas and Autumn Equinox Sabbats as well as at all coven meetings.
(This "Covenstead Bread" recipe is from "The Wicca Spellbook: A Witch's Collection of Wiccan Spells, Potions and Recipes" by Gerina Dunwich, p. 169, a Citadel Press Book, Carol Publishing Group, 1994)
Salem Witch Pudding
4 eggs, separated
1-1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup half-and-half
5 tablespoons rum
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
In an electric mixer or large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. In a different bowl, beat the egg yolks until thick and lemon-colored. Combine the yolks with the remaining eight ingredients; mix together well; and then fold in the egg whites.
Pour the pumpkin mixture into a buttered 1-quart souffle dish. Place it in a pan of hot water and bake in a 350-degree preheated oven for about 45 minutes. (This recipe yields 6 servings.)
(This "Salem Witch Pudding" recipe is from "The Wicca Spellbook: A Witch's Collection of Wiccan Spells, Potions and Recipes" by Gerina Dunwich, p. 173, a Citadel Press Book, Carol Publishing Group, 1994)
Texas-Style Pecan Pie
This recipe makes two pies.
2 deep-dish unbaked pie shells
6 beaten eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted (The real thing is best. If you use margarine, add 1/8 teaspoon salt to the recipe.)
2 cups brown sugar, packed
1-3/4 cups corn syrup
2-1/4 teaspoons vanilla
2-1/2 cups chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Slowly and thoroughly mix together the eggs, butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla. Pour the mixture into the two pie shells. As this mixture will not "rise" like some pies, you can fill the shells higher than usual, but not so high that they boil over and leave a sticky, burned mess in your oven. Cover the pie with the pecans. Bake for about an hour.
(This "Texas-Style Pecan Pie" recipe is from "The Sabbats: A New Approach to Living the Old Ways" by Edain McCoy, Llewellyn Publications, 1994)
2 & 1/2 pounds fresh Blackberries
3 cups Sugar
2 cups Hot Water
Let the berries set out in a large bowl for about four weeks, stirring them occasionally. The berries will get a rank smell and may begin to mold.
With mortar and pestle, crush the berries into as smooth a pulp as possible. Stir in the sugar and then the water.
Pour the wine into casks to ferment for eight to ten months. The longer it is kept the better it will be. The wine will have to be aired every few days to allow building gases to escape. This wine has a gentle port-like flavor when finished.
(This 'Blackberry Wine' recipe is from "Witta: An Irish Pagan Tradition" by Edain McCoy, Llewellyn Publications, 1994)
2 parts Frankincense
1 part Sandalwood
1 part Cypress
1 part Juniper
1 part Pine
1/2 part Oakmoss (or a few drops Oakmoss bouquet)
1 pinch pulverized Oak leaf
Burn during Wiccan ceremonies on Mabon (the Autumnal Equinox, circa September 21st), or at that time to attune with the change of the seasons.
(This 'Mabon Incense' recipe is from "The Complete Book of Incense, Oils & Brews" by Scott Cunningham, Llewellyn Publications, 1989)
Autumn Equinox Ritual Potpourri
45 drops Honeysuckle Oil
1 cup Oak Moss
6 small Acorns
2 cups dried Oak Leaves
2 cups dried Honeysuckle
1 cup dried Passionflower
1 cup dried Rosebuds and Petals
1/2 cup dried Pine Needles
1 tablespoon Sage
Mix the honeysuckle oil with the oak moss and then add the remaining ingredients. Stir the potpourri well and store in a tightly covered ceramic or glass container.
(This 'Autumn Equinox Ritual Potpourri' recipe is from "The Wicca Spellbook: A Witch's Collection of Wiccan Spells, Potions and Recipes" by Gerina Dunwich, a Citadel Press Book, Carol Publishing Group, 1994)
And finally, here are a few nice devotional
incantations/poems with proper credit given to each author...
Enjoy and May Ye Blessed Be!
The Autumnal Equinox represents a turning point from Summer to Fall during which the themes of balance and equality are once again evident. The crops that have been ripening during the Summer now come to fruition. The Goddess as Mother generously offers us the fruits whose harvest She has overseen. Our energy is now directed inside so that we can reflect upon the harvest and integrate its components into our lives and personalities.
Lady Autumn, Queen of the Harvest,
I have seen You in the setting Sun
with Your long auburn tresses
blowing in the cool air that surrounds You.
Your crown of golden leaves is jeweled
with amber, amethyst, and rubies.
Your long, flowing purple robe stretches across the horizon.
In Your hands You hold the ripened fruits.
At Your feet the squirrels gather acorns.
Black crows perch on Your outstretched arms.
All around You the leaves are falling.
You sit upon Your throne and watch
the dying fires of the setting Sun
shine forth its final colors in the sky.
The purple and orange lingers
and glows like burning embers.
Then all colors fade into the twilight.
Lady Autumn, You are here at last.
We thank You for Your rewards.
We have worked hard for these gifts.
Lady Autumn, now grant us peace and rest.
The Time of Change is upon us again -
the Equinox comes, the Wheel turns...
The Goddess and the God prepare for
Their journey to the Otherworld,
as the Earth and all of Her children
prepare for the Time of Quiet and
Reflection that lies ahead...
May we use this Autumnal period to seek for the
strength and power within
to assist us on our own quests for
vision, feeling, and peace...
May we see and feel the presence of
the Goddess and the God within, though
without, the Earth begins Her slumber...
Keep us in Your light...
Invocation of Blue Corn Girl for Autumn
(If there is more than one person present for this invocation, others can whisper "listen, she is coming" or "Blue Corn Girl is coming" at various points in the chant, as indicated by parentheses.)
She is coming,
Blue Corn Girl is coming,
She is coming in the winds,
(Listen, she is coming)
She is coming in the sunlight,
(Blue Corn Girl is coming)
She is coming in the fallen leaves,
She is coming in the dying meadows.
She is coming,
Blue Corn Girl is coming,
(Blue Corn Girl is coming)
She is coming
To see the harvest
(Listen, she is coming)
Of the fruits of the soil
And the fruits of the soul
She is coming,
Blue Corn Girl is coming,
She is coming.
Blue Corn Girl is here.
Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000
These pages have been created and are maintained by StormWing
Portions of the Poetry section are reprinted from various issues of "Circle Network News"
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