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Mabon is named for Mabon, the Welsh God who symbolized male fertility. It is a day of balance between light and dark, and the second of the three harvests. In old Rome, the autumn equinox marked the Festival of Dionysus, the God of Wine, and is often referred to today as the Witch's Thanksgiving.

The Rituals and Symbols of Mabon

The Thanksgiving Feast
Mabon is celebrated with feasting, enjoying the fruits of the harvest, and with thanksgiving, offering thanks to the deities for the blessings bestowed. It is fitting that a part of the meal should be offered in sacrifice. You can do this by putting something out for the wild animals, who are preparing for the onset of winter, or by giving of your time, money, or food to a local charitable organization.

Reflections on Death
Mabon begins the season of autumn, when leaves die, and nature starts to wither, to begin the cycle of the Wheel of the Year again. The deities are aging, and the God will soon die, as the year does. Mabon is therefore a natural time to reflect upon death. It was customary in Ireland to visit burial mounds on Mabon, to honor one's dead ancestors.

At Mabon, berries, which began to ripen in summer,are ready now to be made into jams, jellies, and wines. Wines are often poured onto the ground to honor the Goddess as she moves into her Crone aspect. In Celtic traditions, blackberry wines were prominent, the berry being sacred to the Goddess Brigid.

Vines are used as decorations for altars, for making wreaths, and as head crowns. Undecorated grapevine wreaths are a symbol of the season, their emptiness representing a completed harvest.

The Horn of Plenty"
The Horn of Plenty is both a phallic symbol and a symbol of the womb filled with its autumn bounty. Horns Of Plenty often contain Indian Corn, another Mabon symbol. The Horn became adopted later as a symbol of Thanksgiving in North America.

A Recipe for Mabon

Apple Butter

  • 1 gallon chopped apples
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 6 cups sugar
  • 12 ounces bottled red sugar
  • 20 ounces of cinnamon candy

Bring the ingredients to a boil in a large stockpot, and let simmer for 30 minutes. Let it cool, and spoon it into jars.

The God prepares for his sacrificial death at Samhain, and the Goddess moves into her Crone aspect, while carrying the New God who will be born at Yule. After Mabon, dark will triumph over light, as the Wheel of the Year moves towards winter.