|Mabon (pronounced "MAY-bon") marks the Second Harvest of the Celtic/Pagan year. This Sabbat is held at the Fall Equinox which is generally on or about September 21st or 22nd.|
Mabon marks the Second Harvest; the end of the grain harvest (which began 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, consequently, celebrated this Sabbat on September 25th; the Celts marked their days from sundown to sundown, so the Mabon celebration actually began at sundown of September 24th. Today, with the help of modern technology, we 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 Vernal 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.
This is an appropriate title for the day on which darkness gains the upper hand over light until the following equinox, Ostara. Mabon is the point at which, conceptually at least, the Sun enters the sign of Libra, the Scales or Balance - the most appropriate sign for this day of perfect balance between darkness and light. Mabon is a time to consider which aspects of your life you wish to preserve and which you would prefer to discard. It marks a time of thankfulness, equality and balance when you should try to appreciate and enjoy the fruits of your labors. The dark half of the year brings a greater emphasis on reflection, rest and planning, and Mabon is the point at which these influences begin to be felt.
Mabon is very much like Thanksgiving. Most of the crops have been reaped and abundance is more noticeable than ever! Mabon is the time to reap the fruits of your 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 on balance and harmony are appropriate.
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, and the Earth. Mabon was taken after he is a mere three nights old (although some variations of the legend state that 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 (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/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.
Mabon is the solar festival that marks the transition from the light to the dark half of the year: day and night are of equal length. On this day, the sun rises due east and sets due west. The autumn quarter of the year runs from Lughnassadh to Samhain, so Mabon marks the mid-point of autumn. By Mabon, the land is showing clear signs of the journey towards winter - leaves are beginning to turn and birds are gathering for migration.
In Greek mythology, Autumn begins as Persephone returns to the Underworld to live with Hades, her husband. The myth says that Demeter's daughter, Kore, had taken a day to pick flowers in a meadow when the Earth opened up, and Hades pulled the girl into the Underworld to become his bride. Kore's name became Persephone when she married Hades. For nine straight days, Demeter searched for Kore, with no success. In misery and desperation, Demeter questioned Helios, the Sun God, who informed her that her brother, Zeus, had given the girl to Hades. Furious, Demeter left Olympus to roam the Earth disguised as an old woman, ending up settled in her temple at Eleusis. Soon after, she cursed the Earth so it would yield no crops. Zues sent her a frantic message inquiring as to why she had prevented growth on the planet. She replied that there would be no regeneration of vegetation on the Earth until her daughter, Kore, was safely returned.
Zeus immediately dispatched Hermes into the Underworld to retrieve the girl. Hades, not wanting to relinquish his bride permanently, convinced Persephone to eat some pomegranate seeds before she returned to her mother, Demeter. Demeter was yet again distraught when she learned of this trickery! Finally, Zeus declared that Kore-Persephone would live with her mother during one half of the year and return to her husband, Hades, during the other half. In thanks, Demeter lifted the curse on the Earth, creating Spring. Every year hence, during her time of greatest sorrow, Demeter renews the curse, as her daughter returns to Hades and the Underworld.
Day and night are equal and the God prepares to depart and begin the journey back to the strength and development within his mother's, the Goddess', womb. Both sad and joyful, the Goddess lovingly awaits her God's rebirth.
Festival of the Vine
Alban Elfed or Alban Elued (Light of the Water)
Saint Matthew's Day
· Foodstuffs: Grapes, Acorns, Wheat Bread, Goat, Indian Corn, Horn of Plenty, Cornbread, Corn, Root Crops (i.e., Onions, Carrots, Potatoes, etc.), Nuts, Dried Fruits, Apples, Beans, and Squash.