September 20-23 (Northern Hemisphere)
March 19-22 (Southern Hemisphere)
Mabon is the second of the three Celtic harvest festivals. It is also the second equinox, meaning that the dates will vary by year depending on the alignment of the Earth and its rotation. At this time of the year, the days and nights are equal in length, and, moving forward, we will start our descent into the dark half of the year. We don’t know for sure where the name Mabon came from, and its first use was in the 1970s by Aidan Kelly, an American academic and poet who has been influential to the neo-Pagan movement. He states that he was looking to different myths from Germanic or Gaelic literature and could not find anything that rang true to this Sabbat, so he settled on Mabon, from the story Mabon ap Modron, which translates to “Son of the Mother”. Regardless of the name given, many Wiccans choose to call this Sabbat the Autumnal Equinox rather than Mabon.
At Mabon, God is the Ancient One, the Wise Man who is preparing for his death at Samhain to be reborn at Yule. The Goddess also grows older and is making preparations for God’s passing at Samhain, withdrawing into herself and storing her strength to give birth to the new God at Yule.
Things are teetering on balance at this time of year, with day and night being balanced, as well as life and death. After Mabon, that balance shifts and the darkness takes hold, allowing for the symbolic death of the Earth that allows for life to be reborn again after Yule. Since this is a time of balance where we recognize that aging is a part of the life cycle, it is a common time to honor the elders in our lives and those less fortunate than us. As is common with most Wiccan Sabbats, a feast is held with the produce of the season and reflection takes place among those in attendance.
Mabon Correspondences and Associations
- Balance and Harmony
- Aging and the Life Cycle
- Apples, Grains, and Corn
- The colors yellow, gold, orange, and brown
Mabon Celebration Ideas
- Feasting! Use fresh fruits and vegetables of the season to create some of your favorite dishes. Decorate the table with the colors of Mabon, or any that you associate with the fall season. As you enjoy your feast, take the time to honor your living elders, for their life cycle is nearing its end. Know that, though aging and death are part of our life here in the physical world, so is rebirth.
- Acts of gratitude and thanks are great for the season of Mabon. Gather some non-perishable foods and take them to a local homeless shelter or food bank, sharing the wealth and thanks of the Sabbat with those who are less fortunate than you.
- Have a Mabon ritual!