Mabon marks the Second Harvest, the end of the grain harvest (which begun at Lughnasadh), and rests on the Autumn Equinox. The Equinox mirrors dwindling of life (and eventual progression to rebirth), as well as the struggle for balance; day and night are equal for a single day. The pagans of antiquity didn’t have the ability to determine astrological positions as we do today. The European peasantry, therefore, celebrated this Sabbat on September 25th; actually, the Celts marked their days from sundown to sundown, so the Mabon celebration actually started on the sundown of our September 24th. Today, with the help of our technology, we can calculate the exact day of the Equinox; the date when the sun enters the sign of Libra, the Balanced Scales, which appropriately fits the Equinox. September 25th is a medieval holiday which the Church Christianized under the label of “Michaelmas,” a feast in honor of the Archangel Michael. It is thought that the Roman Catholic Church at some point considered assigning the quarter dates to the four Archangels, since they had assigned the cross quarters to the four gospel-writers. Making the Vernel Equinox a holiday called “Gabrielmas” was taken into consideration in honor of the angel Gabriel’s announcement to Mary on Lady Day. This Sabbat can also be known as: the Second Harvest Festival, Feast of Avalon, Cornucopia, Wine Harvest, the Fall Equinox, Harvest Home, the Autumnal (or Autumn) Equinox, Festival of Dionysus, Alban Elfed (Caledonii, Druidic), Winter Finding (Teutonic), or Equinozio di Autunno (Strega). The full moon closest to the Autumn Equinox is called the Harvest Moon, and farmers would harvest their corps by this moonlight as part of the Second Harvest celebration.
Mabon is very much like Thanksgiving. Most of the crops have been reaped and abundance is more noticeable than ever! Mabon is the time when we reap the fruits of our labor and lessons, both crops and experiences. It is a time of joy, to celebrate that which is passing (for why should we mourn the beauty of the year or dwindling sunlight?), looking joyously at the experience the year has shared with us. And it is a time to gaze into the bright future. We are reminded once again of the cyclic universe; endings are merely new beginnings.
Since it is the time of dying sun, effort is also made to celebrate the dead with joyous remembrance. It is considered taboo to pass a burial site and not honor the dead. Natural energies are aligned towards protection, wealth, prosperity, security, and boosting self-confidence. Any spells or rituals centered around balance and harmony are appropriate.
History/Mythology — Celtic/Welsh
The tale of Mabon ap Modron, the Welsh God, (the “great son of the great mother”), also known as the Son of Light, the Young Son, or Divine Youth, is celebrated. The Equinox is also the birth of Mabon, from his mother Modron, the Guardian of the Outerworld, the Healer, the Protector, the Earth. Mabon was taken after he is a mere three nights old (some variations of the legend say he is taken after three years). Through the wisdom of the living animals — the Stag, Blackbird, Owl, Eagle and Salmon — Mabon is freed from his mysterious captivity. All the while Mabon had rested within his mother’s womb; a place of nurturing and challenge. With strength and lessons gained within the magickal Outerworld (Modron’s womb), Mabon is soon reborn as his mother’s Champion, the Son of Light, wielding the strength and wisdom acquired during his captivity.
Also, (from a variation in legend) the Equinox is the day of the year when the god of light, Lugh, is defeated by the god of darkness, Lugh’s twin and alter-ego, Tanist. The night conquers day. The tales state that the Equinox is the only day which Lugh is vulnerable and the possibility of his defeat exists. Lugh stands on the balance (Autumn Equinox-Libra) with one foot on the goat (Winter Solstice-Capricorn) and the other on the cauldron (Summer Solstice-Cancer). He is betrayed by Blodeuwedd, the Virgin (Virgo) and transformed into an Eagle (Scorpio).
Two events occur rapidly with Lugh’s defeat. Tanist, having beaten Lugh, now takes over Lugh’s place both as King of our world and lover to the Goddess Tailltiu. Although Tanist now sits on Lugh’s throne, his official induction does not take place for another six weeks at Samhain, the beginning of Winter, when he becomes the Dark King, the Winter Lord, the Lord of Misrule. He mates with Tailltiu, who conceives, and will give birth nine months later (at the Summer Solstice) to her son, another incarnation of Tanist himself, the Dark Child.
Lugh’s sacrifice represents not only the sun’s dying power, but also the cycle of rebirth, his energy remaining within the corn we have since harvested. A incarnate (of Lugh) corn spirit was thought to specifically reside within the last stalk (or stock), which was traditionally dressed in fine clothes and decorations, or woven into a wicker man-shaped form. This symbolic decoration was then harvested and carried from the field to be burned with rejoicing for the spirits release and Lugh’s upcoming rebirth.
Herbs of Mabon
Acorn – Good luck, protection, wisdom, and personal power. A dried acorn is an excellent natural amulet for keeping a youthful appearance.
Benzoin – Purification, prosperity, soothing tension, dispelling anger, diminishing irritability, relieving stress & anxiety, and overcoming depression. Promotes generosity and concentration. Good to burn while using the Tarot or for success in intellectual matters. Smolder for purification. An incense of benzoin, cinnamon and basil is said to attract customers to your place of business.
Calendula – Protection, legal matters, and psychic/spiritual powers. Pick at noon for comfort and strength. Place garlands of calendula at doors to prevent evil from entering. Scatter under the bed for protection and to make dreams come true. Carry to help justice favor you in court. Touch the flowers with bare feet to better understand birds.
Cypress Cone – Associated with death and mourning; stimulates healing and helps overcome the pain of loss. Calmness and tranquility. Hang in the home for protection. Burn crushed cypress wood for aid in understanding grief and death or to aid in divination. Wear or carry at funerals to ease the mind and minimize grief. Useful at any time of crisis.
Ferns – Mental clarity, cleansing, purification, protection, and dispelling negativity. Keep in room where studying is done to help concentration. Burn a sprig of fern before an exam. Use in sachets and amulets for powerful auric protection.
Grains – Luck, prosperity, protection
Hazel – Fertility, protection.
Milkweed – Magickal uses include strength, perseverance, wisdom, aid in decision making. It is also thought to enrage snakes, causing them to fight against one another.
Mugwort – Strength, psychic powers, healing, astral projection, protection. Also, Carried to increase lust & fertility, prevent backache and cure disease & madness. Place around divination and scrying tools to increase their power or near the bed to enable astral travel. Use in sleep pillow or place in a sachet under your pillowcase to bring about prophetic dreams. Use an infusion of mugwort to clean crystal balls and magick mirrors.
Myrrh – Protection, exorcism, transformation, consecration. Spiritual opening, meditation, and healing. This herb has high psychic vibrations that will enhance any magickal working. Burn as a potent incense to bring peace and for consecration, and blessing of talismans, charms, and magickal tools. Increases the power of any incense of which it is a part. Usually burned with Frankincense.
Orris Root – Attraction, divination, promotes popularity, persuasiveness, and personal success. Aids communication and helps to open dialogs. Used to draw (or hold) love and romance. Add to the bath for personal protection. Used to bring love, romance, companionship and a loving mate. Called ‘Love Drawing Powder’ in voodoo/hoodoo. Add to sachets and sprinkle on sheets and around the house to draw or hold love. Place a pinch in the corners of the room to open a new love. Use in bath magick to attract the opposite sex.
Pine Cone – Healing, protection, exorcism, fertility, money, Promotes clean breaks, new beginnings, prosperity, success, strength, grounding, and growth; Also used for cleansing, purification, and repelling negativity. Great for house and business blessing.
Rose – Love, beauty, psychic powers, divination, healing, luck, protection,close friendships, domestic peace/happiness, and lasting relationships. Great for use in incense, potpourri or bath magick. Place around sprains and dark bruises to help them heal faster.
Sage – Wisdom, animal guides, wishes, immortality, Used for self purification and dealing with grief and loss. Carried to improve mental ability and bring wisdom. Used in healing sachets & incense. Promotes spiritual, mental, emotional & physical health and longevity. Removes negative energy. Place near a personal object of a person who is ailing when performing healing spells or rituals. Write a wish on a sage leaf and place it under your pillow for 3 nights — if you dream of your wish, it will come true; if not, bury the leaf in the ground so that no bad will come to you.
Solomon’s seal – Magickally used for protection and cleansing. Used in offertory incense. Used to bind magickal workings and keep sacred oaths & promises forever binding. Carry in an amulet or sachet for all-purpose protection. Use in protection magick to exorcise spirits and ward off negative influences and demons. Keep on altar to promote success in all rituals. Sprinkle an infusion of the root to drive away evil.
Tobacco – Banishing, purification, Promotes peace, confidence, and personal strength. Also used for banishing. Mix with salt and burn with a black candle to win a court case.
Stones of Mabon
Agates ~ These stones are used in spells and charms for bravery, gardening, healing, and courage. Wearing agates while gardening was thought to promote beautiful flowers and luxurious fruits and vegetables. There are several varieties of agates and all have different associations and elemental correspondences.
Banded agate ~ Fire. Eliminates stress. For protection.
Blue lace agate ~ Water. Peace. Calming influence.
Green or moss agate ~ Earth. Health. Gardening. Prosperity.
Red/blood agate ~ Fire. Serenity and peace.
Amethyst ~ Associated with the element of water. This stone corresponds to the gods Dionysus and Bacchus, probably due to the gorgeous shade of purple and the belief that it helped ward off drunkenness. Encourages peace and courage, and can help promote a restful nights sleep.
Carnelian ~ A variety of chalcedony, this red stone is associated with the element of fire and can help rid a person of negative thoughts and boost your bravery and courage.
Peridot ~ This soft-hued green stone is aligned with the element of earth and is used in magick to combat stress and anxiety. Worn in a ring, it encourages you to keep an upbeat outlook on life and is protective against manipulative magick. The peridot is the birthstone of people born in the month of August.
Sapphire ~ This is associated with the element of water and is a powerful stone. The sapphire is protective, can be used for defensive magick, and is a healing and centering stone. The sapphire can be worked into just about any type of positive magick successfully. If you happen to own a star sapphire, consider yourself very fortunate indeed. These are thought to be twice as powerful. The sapphire is the birthstone of people born in September.
Topaz ~ This lovely tawny stone is associated with the element of fire and is a healing stone. Topaz is thought to encourage weight loss and prevent injury, and may be worked into enchantments designed to relieve depression. This stone was thought to be doubly potent if set in gold. Topaz is the golden birthstone for the month of November.
Amber ~ Amber is excellent for eyes, and for glandular swellings of the throat and lungs. Promotes good luck and happiness, success. Amber balances endocrine and digestive network.
Clear Quartz ~ Considered by many to be the best all purpose crystal or stone. It is also particularly useful for meditation and when working to contact or align with one’s higher self.
Tiger-Eye ~ A stone of protection that is also very grounding. It enhances integrity, willpower, practicality and correct use of power. It is a stone that enhances good luck, and brings prosperity, often in the form of money. Tiger’s eye is also a very protective stone which is especially protective during travel. It can also help one see clearly without illusion. Tiger’s eye brings a special boost to the solar plexus chakra and to one’s personal power.
Citrine ~ Citrine is associated with prosperity, success in business dealings and abundance. It promotes optimism and encourages harmony in the home and work environments.
Mabon Balance Prayer
Equal hours of light and darkness
we celebrate the balance of Mabon,
and ask the gods to bless us.
For all that is bad, there is good.
For that which is despair, there is hope.
For the moments of pain, there are moments of love.
For all that falls, there is the chance to rise again.
May we find balance in our lives
as we find it in our hearts.