5 Activities for Mabon Festivities
Mabon is just a little less than a week away here in the Northern Hemisphere so it is the perfect time to begin preparing and celebrating this festival of equal light and dark. The world is making its subtle, and not-so subtle, shifts from summer to fall as pumpkin spice and spooky season begin.
What is Mabon?
Mabon, or the Autumn Equinox (also called Alban Elfed), is a modern Pagan and Wiccan holiday with some roots in ancient festivities and is celebrated on or near September 21st. The modern day celebration of the equinox views it as the second of the three harvest festivals and the marking of the balance between daylight and night turning to longer nights after this date. This day marks the official start of fall in the Northern Hemisphere.
Named for the Welsh deity (and Arthurian hero) Mabon ap Modron, this holiday is sometimes marked as a festival that depicts descents into the underworld. Stories of Mabon himself being stolen from his mother Modron and taken to the underworld are the focus during this time. Modron then descends to the underworld to retrieve him. Other stories of Demeter and Persephone’s abduction into the underworld or of Inanna’s descent there as well have become the focus of this festival. Modern Wiccans often focus on the death of the God at this time or the switchover between the Oak and Holly Kings.
The Autumn Equinox also tends to be seen as a festival of thanksgiving for witches and pagans who celebrate it. It is a time of feasting. Many people’s gardens are ready to be fully harvested around this time, so meals of squash and root veggies are popular. It is a time of a lot of abundance in rural areas and farming communities.
Mabon is definitely a time to mark the shifting from the summer into the fall. Fall seems to be the favorite season among many witches and pagans. It is a time to be grateful for what we have achieved throughout the year and sometimes even allowing us to reap what we have sown earlier in the year. It is also a time of reestablishing balance and boundaries.
Fruitfulness, prosperity, thankfulness and gratitude, giving, kinship, abundance, harmony, balance, letting go
Mabon, Green Man, Thoth, Thor, Wicker-Man, Bacchus, Dionysus
Demeter, Persephone, Morgan, Pomona, Inanna, the Muses, Epona
Owl, stag, blackbird, salmon, dog, wolf, goat, birds of prey
Symbols and Colors
Cornucopia, pinecones, seeds, acorns, fallen leaves, gourds
Deep reds, golden yellows, orange, browns, copper, gold, dark green
Food and Drink
Squash, Apples, Corn, Root Vegetables, Beans, Pumpkins, Pomegranates, Grapes, Dried Fruits
Wine, Apple Cider, Beer, Ale
Plants, Herbs, Incenses, Scents, etc.
Sunflowers, thistle, marigolds
Yarrow, rosemary, sage, mugwort, rosehips
Cinnamon, clove, apple, sage, myrrh, frankincense
Amber, citrine, cat’s eye, aventurine, sapphire, jasper, yellow agate, lapis lazuli
Magic and Spellwork
Hearth and home blessings, home protection, restoring harmony and balance in the home or with self, shadow work, releasing and letting go, prosperity
Writing gratitude lists, house cleaning, baking with apples, leaf rubbings, house blessings
Ways to Celebrate
Set Up Your Altar
For those that like to set up an altar, get some of your supplies together and decorate it for the season. Select an altar cloth in a color that screams fall to you or choose from the list above. Add crystals or fallen leaves. Place an apple on the altar and some dried gourds. Burn incense or use an oil diffuser in your favorite fall scents.
There is plenty of fall and harvest themed decor out in stores around this time so you can easily pick up silk flowers in autumn colors or a nice fall wreath for your door as well. Decorate to your heart’s content.
Go to the Apple Orchard
One of my favorite activities in the fall is to visit the apple orchard. In fact, when I first began to explore a pagan path, Mabon was the first holiday I ever celebrated and I did so by going to the orchard and picking some apples before heading to the park to just take in the transitioning seasonal energy.
Look up local apple orchards in your area and plan a visit. Most allow you to buy an empty bag in ½ peck or full peck sizes and you can go around and pick your own apples, tasting as you go. Or if you aren’t up for the game of dodging bugs or dealing with which apples are in season yet or not (my favorites usually aren’t ready until closer to Samhain), you can always just buy a bag that is already picked and ready to go.
Walk around while you are there and try the food the orchard provides in their concessions or general store. I love buying the locally harvested honey from the orchard as well as an apple cider (slushy if it is a warm day still or a hot one on a chilly day).
This is a particularly fun activity to do if you have kids.
Perform a Gratitude Ritual
If you are in the mood for performing a ritual this Mabon, try performing one for gratitude. If you're with a coven, you can all gather together and do this activity as well. Make a list of all the things you are grateful for this year. Read the list outloud and thank the universe for these blessings and the ones you didn’t remember. You can burn the list if you feel called to it, or keep it in your grimoire to revisit later.
You can always take this a bit of a step further by keeping a year long gratitude list or journal. I incorporate a monthly gratitude log in my bullet journal planner to be a consistent practice all year long. And if called to it, I will look over it on Mabon as a simple gratitude ritual.
Focus on Balance
As this holiday is about the balance of light and dark, you can take a moment to perform a simple meditation focusing on balancing your energies. Focus on reestablishing your personal boundaries to balance between work and personal life or focus on energetic boundaries to keep your energy more in-balance all year long. This is a good time to focus on grounding your energy as well.
Deep Clean Your Home
Consider taking time to deep clean your home. Like the Spring, the Fall is a good time to do some cleaning and maintenance around your home. Clear out old things. Dust thoroughly. Repaint if you need to. Wash the windows. Make a list and start knocking things off day by day.
Add in an energetic cleansing to this as well. Go through with your favorite cleansing herbs and smoke cleanse each room. Make or buy an energy clearing room spray. Add some magic to your cleaning supplies as you deep clean.
Gather a few protection crystals and cleanse them. Then place them in the four directions either inside or outside the home. Create a ward around your home for home protection all year long. You can make this a yearly or semi-annual practice and revisit your wards at the Spring Equinox.
Bless your home as well. Once it is physically cleaned, energetically cleansed, and magically protected, give it a little extra oomph with a house blessing. Burn a candle at the energetic heart of the home and say a blessing. Call in the deities or spirits you work with (or just the blessings of the universe) to give their blessing and protection. Ask the spirit of the house or individual house spirits (like brownies) to keep your home clean and in harmony. State your goals for a happy home. And finally leave an offering to the house spirits and any deities and spirits you called in.
There are always many ways to celebrate the Wheel of the Year holidays. Have fun with your celebration and make it your own. Celebrate with friends and family if you are called to, or celebrate solo.
Let us know on social media how you plan on celebrating this year!