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Celebrating Mabon and a bit of history

Mabon is a harvest festival, the second of three, that encourages pagans to “reap what they sow,” both literally and figuratively. It is the time when night and day stand equal in duration; thus is it a time to express gratitude, complete projects and honor a moment of balance. Mabon has also been recognized as a Pagan Thanksgiving

Modern Mabon celebrations are a time to give thanks for the abundance of our 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.

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 believed to have been held hostage in the underworld, similar to the story of Persephone and Demeter. 

Of course, 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.
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.

Symbols: Cornucopia (horn of plenty), pinecones, seeds

Colors: Orange, red, yellow, brown, copper, dark yellow, dark green

Foods: Corn, beans, squash, apples, pumpkins, cider, root vegetables, pomegranate, wine  

Herbs: Yarrow, rosemary, sage, mugwort, rosehips,  

Stones: Amber, citrine, cat’s eye, aventurine, sapphire, jasper

Flowers: Sunflowers, thistle, marigolds

Deities: Mabon, Green Man, Demeter,
Persephone, Morgan, Pomona, Inanna

Animals: Owl, stag, blackbird, salmon

One of the easiest 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 my own cutting flowers and trees to collect walnuts 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 mediate 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. 

* 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 

Mabon House Tip: Who needs another busy holiday to stress over? A simple Mabon celebration you can do at bedtime is light a candle, close your eyes and breathe deeply for five minutes, giving thanks for all your blessings.

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