Mabon is celebrated on the Fall Equinox, on or about September 21st. This is a time of harvest and thanksgiving, but also a time of recognition that winter's cold and dark days are soon to come. Mabon is an excellent time for magick to heal the Earth as we give thanks for Her bounty.
Fall is a beautiful time of year in North Carolina, especially in the mountains. At every roadside stand and store, baskets of juicy apples and piles of ripe pumpkins and gourds abound; the leaves make an amazing palette of red, yellow, orange, and brown........the air is crisp and cool, often with the uniquely "cool weather" scent of woodsmoke. It's a beautiful, bountiful time, yet there is a sadness underlying the beauty, in the knowledge that life's cycle goes on, and all things must die then be reborn.
The APA's Witchlings Circle has a favorite ritual they use for both equinoxes...we call it our "equinox cake" rite. A round two layer cke is made, and then decorated for the correct equinox season. (In autumn; leaves, pumpkins, apples, cornucopias, scarecrows, wheat stalks, etc.) Then 24 (birthday cake size)candles are places around the edge of the cake in a circle. 12 of them dark blue, and 12 of them light yellow. These symbolize the 12 hours of night and 12 hours of daylight. The magical sacred balance is thusly celebrated. The kids usually sing 'Happy Eqinox to us' or one of their favorite Pagan songs or chants (before blowing out the candles.
Decorating for Mabon is easy, as many crafts stores carry "fall" items, such as wreaths to hang above your door, garlands of gourds, pumpkins, and leaves; cookie cutters in maple and oak leaf shapes; a variety of rubber stamps in fall designs........and of course, cornucopias! Some Crafty ideas would be to make pins, pendants, and decorated hats to wear throughout the season. Rubber stamps on Granitex(tm) clay look amazing, as do polymer clay cut-outs and wreaths using fall shaped cookie cutters. A centerpiece of gold and red candles, plus a cornucopia garlanded in bright oak leaves and acorns can be used right through the American holiday of Thanksgiving.
You can also make corn or grain dollies and scarecrows to represent the Earth/Harvest mmother Goddesses and Gods of the fields.
Don't leave out foods in your Mabon ritual! A sun-shaped loaf of dark wheat bread is appropriate; also all fall harvested items such as apples, corn, winter squash and pumpkins; nuts, seeds, and grains; berries; and all root vegetables.
Rituals to celebrate Mabon can have a dual focus, or choose just one aspect: feasting and thanksgiving for harvest, or recognition that the Year's Wheel is turning towards winter.
Thanksgiving activities include feasting and rituals to honor the Earth and Her bounty. One simple way that children can do is the welcoming of the Corn Mother. Decorate a bunch of Indian dried corn, and stand with it outside the door to your home. Have the children chant:
We welcome Thee!
Welcome Corn Mother
Hang the corn indoors, and keep til Imbolc.
Celebrate this harvest aspect before your feasting meal by blessing the loaf of bread. The head of the household should break off a piece while thanking the Earth for Her gifts; this first piece should go on a special dish for offering. As the host serves each dish, the first spoonful should go on this dish to offer the gods. Bless each dish to the guests' health as it is passed, and be sure to have a toast!
Another way to recognize the darker aspects of the day would be to hold a Falling Leaves ritual out doors. Take an offering of grains and vegetables out to a large tree, preferrably an oak that is beginning to color and lose its leaves. Speak about the Wheel as reflected in the life of the tree------in Spring the first new signs of life appear, moving into maturity at summer, then to ripe acorns in late summer, now to dying as acorns and leaves fall, and the tree will "die" and slumber under Winter's cold before beginning again in early Spring. At ritual's end, have the children gather a few favorite leaves to press between waxed paper with an iron(parents, supervise the ironing!); cut around leaves and hang in the child's window.
Goddess, pull your mantle of Autumn over and around us
We see you in the purple dusk and the early setting sun
We see you in the fall of leaves in the auburn, orange and red
We smell you in the ripening of the fruits of your harvest
We smell you in the smoke of the bonfires of your leaves
We hear you in the chatter of the gathering squirrels
We hear you in the rumble of the settling mountains
We taste your bounty in the gathering of the autumn crops
We taste you bounty in the essence of the grapes and fruits
We feel your presence in the earth and air around us
We feel your love in our hearts and our souls.
Goddess, stay with us, bless us and protect us
So Mote It Be
Goddess, we thank you for your blessings and gifts
For the bounties of spring and summer and fertility of our lives and lands
For the powers of creation, which challenge us and fill us with breathtaking awe
Goddess we thank you
For the earth with its sunrises and sunsets, ocean tides and mountain peaks
For the Humanity, our shared pasts and futures, our oneness despite all differences
Goddess we thank you
For our hopes and dreams, noble causes and understanding of views not shared
For all who have worked and fought for a fairer universe and a life of dignity and freedom
Goddess we thank you
For the opportunity to learn and grow, the knowledge to teach and make choices
For the wisdom to live by hope and not fear and by our deeds not our words
Goddess, we thank you
For all that we have overlooked and taken for granted in the our daily life
For being and letting us be blessed by that being
Goddess, mighty and powerful, tender and charitable, we most gratefully thank you now.
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