is one of the eight solar holidays or sabbats of American Neopaganism.
It is celebrated on the autumn equinox, which in the northern
hemisphere is circa September 21 and in the southern hemisphere
is circa March 21.
Also called Harvest Home, this holiday is a ritual of thanksgiving
for the fruits of the Earth and a recognition of the need to
share them to secure the blessings of the Goddess and God during
the winter months.
Among the sabbats, it is the second of the three harvest festivals,
preceded by Lammas and followed by Samhain.
Mabon was not an authentic ancient festival either in name or
date. The autumn equinox was not celebrated in Celtic countries,
while all that is known about Anglo-Saxon customs of that time
was that September was known as haleg-monath or 'holy month'.
The name Mabon has only been applied to the neopagan festival
of the autumn equinox very recently; the term was invented by
Aidan Kelly in the 1970s as part of a religious studies project.
(The use of Litha for the Summer Solstice is also attributed
Previously, in Gardnerian Wicca the festival was simply known
as the 'Autumnal Equinox', and many neopagans still refer to
it as such, or use alternative titles such as the neo-Druidical
Aban Efed, a term invented by Iolo Morgannwg.
The name Mabon was chosen to impart a more authentic-sounding
"Celtic" feel to the event, since all the other festivals
either had names deriving from genuine tradition, or had had
names grafted on to them. The Spring Equinox had already been
misleadingly termed 'Ostara', and so only the Autumn Equinox
was left with a technical rather than an evocative title. Accordingly,
the name Mabon was given to it, having been drawn (seemingly
at random) from Welsh mythology.
The use of the name Mabon is much more prevalent in America
than Britain, where many neopagans are scornfully dismissive
of it as a blatantly inauthentic practice. The increasing number
of American Neopagan publications sold in Britain by such publishers
as Llewellyn has however resulted in some British neopagans
adopting the term.
The Druids call this celebration, Mea'n Fo'mhair, and honor
the The Green Man, the God of the Forest, by offering libations
to trees. Offerings of ciders, wines, herbs and fertilizer are
appropriate at this time. Wiccans celebrate the aging Goddess
as she passes from Mother to Crone, and her consort the God
as he prepares for death and re-birth.
Various other names for this Lesser Wiccan Sabbat are The Second
Harvest Festival, Wine Harvest, Feast of Avalon, Equinozio di
Autunno (Strega), Alben Elfed (Caledonii), or Cornucopia. The
Teutonic name, Winter Finding, spans a period of time from the
Sabbat to Oct. 15th, Winter's Night, which is the Norse New
At this festival it is appropriate to wear all of your finery
and dine and celebrate in a lavish setting. It is the drawing
to and of family as we prepare for the winding down of the year
at Samhain. It is a time to finish old business as we ready
for a period of rest, relaxation, and reflection.
Other names for this Lesser Wiccan Sabbat are The Second Harvest
Festival, Wine Harvest, Feast of Avalon, Equinozio di Autunno
(Strega), Alben Elfed (Caledonii), or Cornucopia. The Teutonic
name, Winter Finding, spans a period of time from the Sabbat
to Oct. 15th, Winter's Night, which is the Norse New Year.
Mabon is considered a time of the Mysteries. It is a time to
honor Aging Deities and the Spirit World. Considered a time
of balance, it is when we stop and relax and enjoy the fruits
of our personal harvests, whether they be from toiling in our
gardens, working at our jobs, raising our families, or just
coping with the hussle-bussle of everyday life.
There are those who believe the equinox solar affect produces
a reduction in the magnetic field of the Earth, providing easier
access to other dimensions beginning around 24 hours before,
and ending around 24 hours after the exact Equinox point.
Doorways or thresholds into the mysteries are more easily accessed
during equinoxes and when we consciously engage this timing
we are taking advantage of the opportunity to further activate
our own experience of these sacred timings and what they have
to offer us. This is a great time to be on the land, in a power
spot that calls to you, whether that is in a forest, near a
body of water, on a mountain, in a sacred site or in your back
yard. What is important is to create the time and space that
supports a direct experience of the mysteries that are ready
to reveal themselves to you.
Second Harvest, the Mysteries, Equality and Balance.
Symbols of Mabon:
wine, gourds, pine cones, acorns, grains, corn, apples, pomegranates,
vines such as ivy, dried seeds, and horns of plenty.
Herbs of Mabon:
Acorn, benzoin, ferns, grains, honeysuckle, marigold, milkweed,
myrrh, passion flower, rose, sage, solomon's seal, tobacco,
thistle, and vegetables.
Foods of Mabon:
Breads, nuts, apples, pomegranates, and vegetables such as potatoes,
carrots, and onions.
Incense of Mabon:
Autumn Blend-benzoin, myrrh, and sage.
Colors of Mabon:
Red, orange, russet, maroon, brown, and gold.
Stones of Mabon:
Sapphire, lapis lazuli, and yellow agates.
Activities of Mabon:
Making wine, gathering dried herbs, plants, seeds and seed pods,
walking in the woods, scattering offerings in harvested fields,
offering libations to trees, adorning burial sites with leaves,
acorns, and pine cones to honor those who have passed over.
Spellworkings of Mabon:
Protection, prosperity, security, and self-confidence. Also
those of harmony and balance.
Deities of Mabon:
Goddesses: Modron, Morgan, Epona, Persephone, Demeter, Pamona
and the Muses.
Gods: Thoth, Thor, Hermes, and The Green Man.