Mabon or the Autumn Equinox is a time of balance. Just like Ostara/Spring Equinox, night and day are equal and after this day the days will grow shorter. Darkness will take over and it will be a time to look within. Letting go of anything that no longer serves us, readying ourselves to grow new ideas, projects and letting the new enter our lives after the winter is over.
It is the second harvest, gathering the crops we have grown throughout the summer, preparing for the winter. A time to give thanks for the abundance we have received and the blessings, which is why it is also known as the witches thanksgiving.
The name Mabon was given to the sabbat by Aiden Kelly in the 70’s. He also named the Spring Equinox, Ostara and Summer Solstice, Litha as he wanted a more Celtic name for them all to go with the other sabbats Celtic names. Since then it has been known as Mabon, but before this it was only known as the Autumn Equinox to modern pagans. He renamed the Autumn Equinox after the Welsh God Mabon as his myths were similar to Persephone (Greek Goddess) who is honored at this time of year. Persephone descends into the underworld for the next half of the year and so the season turns.
Mabon (Mabon ap Modron meaning the divine son of the divine mother) was stolen from his Mother Modron (Great Mother) and was eventually rescued by the Blackbird, the Stag, the Owl, the Eagle, and the Salmon or by King Arthur in other legends told. However he had actually been dwelling in the magical underworld of Modron’s womb as in this way he can be reborn. He dwells, gathering strength and wisdom to become a new seed to be reborn again.
Some do not understand why Mabon is associated with this holiday as his story doesn’t happen at this time of year and he isn’t known for having a connection with the Equinox. He also was locked up for years before he was rescued. There also isn’t any record of celebrating him or how they did celebrate this time of year in Wales in the pre Christian era, but there are references of traditions and the Welsh still today celebrate the harvest. However some feel he does have a connection in relation to Persephone and how his stories connect in relation to hers and feel this is a time of year to honor him.
Whatever you wish to call this day, whether it be Mabon, Autumn Equinox or the Witches Thanksgiving, it is still a natural cycle and the turning of the wheel. To welcome the cooler temperatures, to go within, to give thanks for our harvests and to celebrate and to come together as community.
Modron (Celtic) is a Goddess of the underworld, death and Earth. She is the Great Mother who bore Mabon. She is a triple Goddess, and as such is a Dark Goddess at this time of year.
Persephone (Greek) is a Goddess of the Spring but also of the underworld. Every Autumn she descends into the underworld and returning in the Spring.
Inanna (Sumerian) is a Goddess associated with the underworld as she goes deep within to visit her sister, but on the way faces her fears and in doing so gains healing and wisdom.
Cernunnos (Celtic) is the Horned God. The God of the Hunt as he is associated very much with the stag (especially in the rut) and the God of fertility and vegetation. Wild and free, the Lord of the forest.
Herne (Celtic) is another Horned God. A God of the wild hunt, hunter and protector of the forest. Associated with the Stag, wild and free.
Odin (Norse) is the king of the Gods. He is the all father and also known as Woden (German). He is a shape shifter, bringer of wisdom and knowledge and is associated with the wild hunt as he leads fallen warriors across the skies riding a 8 legged horse with a pack of wolves and ravens.
Pumpkins, pomegranates, vines, dried seeds, autumn leaves and gourds.
Mabon Colors and Flowers
Brown, orange, yellow, gold, red, green, chrysanthemums, poppies, sunflowers, orchids, rose and sedum.
Sit and close your eyes. Take three deep breaths, relaxing yourself.
You are standing in a circle of trees in the forest. Looking around you notice there is a path way leading from the circle of trees into> the forest. You walk towards it and start to follow it deep into the forest. As you are walking, you notice that its starting to get quite dark. You also notice that the leaves are starting to change color and fall to the ground as Autumn is now here. Suddenly you hear a rustle in the near by bushes. You look towards where the sound came from and see an animal. The animal approaches you and says ‘Follow me’. What animal is it? You follow the animal and as you do you notice your surroundings. The forest is becoming thicker and darker. They have led you to another clearing, but this time there is a big rocky area with a cave. Autumn leaves cover the rocks so it looks very much camouflaged. Your animal guide says ‘Enter the cave. You are safe, I will wait here for you.’
You enter the dark cave. At first you can not see anything, but then your eyes start to adjust and you see there is a figure inside with you. Normally you would be scared but you are not. You feel quite peaceful in this dark cave.The figure approaches you and says ‘Welcome dear child. I am Modron, the Great Mother. Come with me.’ You follow her to the back of the cave through a doorway and you enter another part of the cave which has a waterfall running down into it and a pool of water. Light beams down from the waterfall, lighting up the cave slightly. It looks magical and it takes your breath away with the beauty of it. Modron then says ‘I am the Great Mother. I bore Mabon, who has given his name to this season we have now entered. It is time to cleanse and clear away the old, like the trees letting go of their leaves to be at peace and go within for the coming autumn and winter months, readying for the new.’
She takes your arm and leads you to the pool of water. You enter the water with her and you notice how warm the water is. It feels so good. She leads you to the waterfall and says ‘Stand under the waterfall. Feel the water cleanse you. Feel the water clear away anything that no longer serves you. Give permission for the water and I to clear you of negativity and these things that no longer serve you.’ You enter the waterfall and feel the rushing water pounding down on your heard and over your shoulders. It is a wonderful sensation and gentle (not what you expected). You give the water and Modron permission to cleanse you. You say ‘ I give you permission to cleanse me. I let go of anything that no longer serves me.’ Modron then takes her staff and holds it up and says ‘Let the clearing begin’ and slams down her staff into the water. Light radiates from the Goddess, from her staff and from the waterfall above you. Shining down into your head, into your body and down into your feet. Flowing, cleansing you. Notice what you feel. After a while, the light starts to fade away and Modron asks you to step out of the waterfall. She says ‘We have cleansed and cleared you. Feel the difference in you. Sit for a while and just be. Be at peace.’ You sit in the water and the Goddess places her hands on your head. You feel her power, her love and strength. You feel so at peace and feel a difference in yourself. She then says ‘It is time for you to go. Take with you, the peace you feel. Remember when you feel down, clogged up, negative, you can always come back to me and be cleansed. I am the Great Mother and always with you.’ She takes some water in her hands. Her hands light up and she pours the water over your head and says ‘I bless you through the power of me, the power of the water and the power of the Great Spirit.’ Notice what you feel at this time. She takes your hand and pulls you to your feet. She says ‘Follow me’. You follow her out of the water, back to the entrance and into the dark part of the cave. She says ‘Farewell for now’ and disappears. Even though she’s gone, you say out loud ‘Thank you!’ and then make your way out of the cave.
Your animal guide is there waiting for you. You greet them and they then lead you back to the first clearing you started out in. You thank them for guiding you. They say ‘Anytime you need a guide call on me, visit me and I will be here.’ They also give you their name. They then turn around and leave you.
It is time to come back to the now. Take three deep breaths. Feel yourself coming back into the room and opening your eyes.
Write down your experience and anything that may have come up. What did you feel when you entered the water, the light beaming through you, when the Goddess placed her hands on you etc? What was your animal guide? What was their name?
Set up a small altar with candles, something to represent the horned God and Great Mother, flowers and incense.
Light the candles and ask the four directions to be present to protect you in a circle. Then call on the Goddess and God, either by just asking, chanting or drumming. Feel their energy and sit with it a little while. Then start the meditation above. Once this is finished, thank the Great Goddess for clearing you. Thank the element of water for their cleansing. Light an incense, candle, make an offering in thanks to them.
You could then do some drumming, chanting, singing bowl to honor the God and Goddess. Just go with the flow, building energy and honoring them. Thank them/Great Spirit for the abundance in your life. The blessings you have received throughout this year. Maybe write down the things you have achieved so far and what gifts you have received you have asked for. Then burn the paper with your thanks.
Add anything else you want to add in. When you are ready, close the circle by thanking the Goddess, God and directions. Go out and offer cake, bread, milk or another seasonal food to the outside which will help feed animals or go back into the earth as an offering of thanks. Remember it doesn’t have to be big. It is your intention that counts. You could even offer a piece of your hair, some herbs or salt as your offering.
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Wishing you a wonderful Mabon!