Known as the pagan Thanksgiving, Mabon marks the Autumn Equinox, when day and night are equal, making it a time of balance, equality, and harmony. In ancient times Mabon was a celebration of the second harvest (Lughnasadh was the first) when farmers gathered hearty foods like gourds, pumpkins, grapes, and apples.
Modern Mabon celebrations are a time to give thanks for the abundance of Mother Earth – both literally and spiritually. It’s also a good time to reflect on the Wheel of the Year, recognizing your successes and letting go of the things that did not serve you during the past twelve months.
History Of Mabon
Modern Pagans began celebrating Mabon as the last of the eight Sabbats in the 1970s, but its roots as a harvest festival go back to ancient times.
Named after the ancient Welsh hero named Mabon ap Modron, which means Son of Mother, Mabon is the second of three harvest festivals that take place in the Wheel of the Year (Lughnasadh is the first and Samhain is the third). Similar to Apollo, the figure of Mabon was depicted as a handsome youth with a lyre. As a baby, Mabon was said to have been held hostage as a baby in the underworld, similar to the story of Persephone and Demeter.
Indeed, the Greek goddess Demeter is much more closely associated with the Autumn harvest, as it was her grief at losing her daughter that turned the earth from lush abundance to barren cold.
Setting Intentions At Mabon
As the Wheel of the year comes to an end, Mabon is a good time to set intentions that involve decrease and reduction such as ending bad relationships, unhealthy habits, or self-destructive beliefs.
How to Celebrate Mabon
One of the easiest (and most fun IMO) ways to celebrate Mabon is decorating your home for autumn. I like to bring in both fresh and dried flowers and gourds to place throughout my kitchen and other living spaces. I’m lucky to have a forest nearby to collect acorns and pinecones from. If you don’t have access to your own greenery, a visit to the local farmer’s market or even a short walk in the woods can provide plenty of Mabon decorations for your home.
For many families, Mabon falls right at the start of the school year and it can be hard to plan a big celebration, especially if it falls during the mid-week. If that’s the case with your family, know that there is nothing wrong with celebrating Mabon with a family meal at the end of a busy day. You can dress up a simple meal with a bouquet of fresh flowers or some candles. Take turns saying what you are grateful for and what you hope to accomplish in the coming year.
If you opt to celebrate Mabon by yourself, try finding a quiet space outside to meditate and journal before treating yourself to a nice meal. Mabon is a great time to release the baggage of the past year and set some new personal goals.
More Easy Ways To Celebrate Mabon
Host a bonfire for friends and family
Decorate your porch or entryway with traditional autumn greenery
Write down all your blessings from the past year in a journal
Go apple picking
Have a picnic
Clean your house and get rid of stagnant or negative energy
Host a potluck Mabon dinner with your favorite people
Any pagan or witch knows that making yourself an altar is Magick 101. You can make your altar on your kitchen table, windowsill, dresser, fireplace—wherever you have space.
For Mabon, try adding harvest fruits and vegetables to your altar (like apples, leaves, pine cones, corn, pomegranate, squash, and root vegetables—go ahead, add a pumpkin if you must). Color-wise, you’re looking for gold, orange, red, bronze, and rust. And for scents, you’re seeking sage, cinnamon, orange, and apple. Crystals in dark colors, particularly in shades of green or brown, will add a good vibration. Make it look welcoming, pretty, and festive.
Light an orange or yellow candle on your altar and give thanks for the security, happiness, and advantages you have in your life right now. You can do this on September 23 for Mabon or every night from the Full Moon on September 20 until the New Moon on October 6.
Like spring, Mabon is a great time to clean up at home. After all, you’re probably going to be spending more time here over fall and winter. Finish any lingering projects and clear out emotional and physical clutter so that your home feels calm, relaxing, and peaceful.