Mabon is the time of the autumn equinox, and the harvest is winding down. The fields are nearly bare, because the crops have been stored for the coming winter. Mabon is a time when we take a few moments to honor the changing seasons, and celebrate the second harvest. On or around September 21 (or June 21 in the Southern Hemisphere), for many people who follow Pagan and Wiccan traditions, it is a time of giving thanks for the things we have, whether it is abundant crops or other blessings. It is also a time of balance and reflection, following the theme of equal hours light and dark. Here are some ways you and your family can celebrate this day of bounty and abundance.01of 10
Mabon is a time of balance, when there are equal hours of darkness and light, and that can affect people in different ways. For some, it’s a season to honor the darker aspects of the goddess, calling upon that which is devoid of light. For others, it’s a time of thankfulness, of gratitude for the abundance we have at the season of harvest. Because this is, for many people, a time of high energy, there is sometimes a feeling of restlessness in the air, a sense that something is just a bit “off.” If you’re feeling a bit spiritually lopsided, with this simple meditation you can restore a little balance into your life. You can also try a ritual to bring balance and harmony to your home. 02of 10
Hold a Food Drive
Many Pagans and Wiccans count Mabon as a time of thanks and blessings and because of that, it seems like a good time to give to those less fortunate than ourselves. If you find yourself blessed with abundance at Mabon, why not give to those who aren’t? Invite friends over for a feast, but ask each of them to bring a canned food, dry goods, or other non-perishable items? Donate the collected bounty to a local food bank or homeless shelter. 03of 10
Apples are the perfect symbol of the Mabon season. Long connected to wisdom and magic, there are so many wonderful things you can do with an apple. Find an orchard near you, and spend a day with your family. As you pick the apples, give thanks to Pomona, goddess of fruit trees. Be sure to only pick what you’re going to use. If you can, gather plenty to take home and preserve for the coming winter months.04of 10
Mabon is a time of giving thanks, but sometimes we take our fortune for granted. Sit down and make a gratitude list. Write down things that you are thankful for. An attitude of gratefulness helps bring more abundance our way. What are things you’re glad you have in your life? Maybe it’s the small things, like “I’m happy that I have my cat Peaches” or “I’m glad my car is running.” Maybe it’s something bigger, like “I’m thankful I have a warm home and food to eat” or “I’m thankful people love me even when I’m cranky.” Keep your list some place you can see it, and add to it when the mood strikes you. 05of 10
Without darkness, there is no light. Without night, there can be no day. Despite a basic human need to overlook the dark, there are many positive aspects to embracing the dark side, if it’s just for a short time. After all, it was Demeter’s love for her daughter Persephone that led her to wander the world, mourning for six months at a time, bringing us the death of the soil each fall. In some paths, Mabon is the time of year that celebrates the Crone aspect of a triune goddess. Celebrate a ritual that honors that aspect of the Goddess which we may
The Green Man, Jack-in-the-Green, the Green Lady, and the Garden Goddess are some of the vegetative aspects of deity invoked for this holiday. At this time of year, trees, vegetables, and other plants are at their peak, festooned with green leaves and often with fruit or flowers. These deities represent the luxurious growth and abundance of plants.
If at all possible, celebrate outdoors when honoring the Green Ones. Dress and decorate in shades of rich green. Include leaves, flowers, and fruits whether real or pictured on fabric or altar tools. Crown the High Priest(ess) with a grapevine and extra fruits or leaves.
The Oak King and the Holly King
Many rituals recreate this seasonal myth. The Oak King rules the waxing half of the year from Yule to Midsummer; the Holly King rules the waning half of the year from Midsummer to Yule. At this time, they duel and the Holly King will defeat the Oak King.
This type of ritual theater is performed by two men who represent the Oak King and the Holly King. Traditionally the Oak King is a younger man with lighter hair, dressed in green with accents of white or gold, decked with oak leaves and acorns. The Holly King is an older man with dark hair, dressed in red with accents of black, decked with holly leaves and berries. They hold a mock duel — our coven once did this incorporating a flashy bit of stage magic and it was very memorable.
The Summer Solstice
At the summer solstice, the sun has reached its farthest position from the equator, its peak of power. This is the longest day, after which days will shorten as nights grow longer. This marks the peak of the growing season and lets people know that harvest is around the corner. Solar deities such as Amaterasu and Ra are often honored as part of this celebration, and many religions observe this holiday.
Celebrate solar energy by decorating with yellow, gold, orange, and red. Use images of the sun and hold the ritual at or near noon, outside to take advantage of the sunlight. An impressive trick is to start a small fire using a magnifying glass to focus the sun’s rays.
Litha is one of the fire festivals, when people traditionally build big bonfires. Sometimes offerings are thrown into the flames or people jump over the coals. In modern times, wiener roasts and s’mores are very popular. Given the bonfire and warm weather, Pagans often hold drum jams and
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