Around the first of August we celebrated the first of our calendar’s three Harvest Festivals. Lammas, honoring the first loaf of bread baked from the first grain harvest, sees us still enjoying warm and sunny days – but the Wheel has turned, and it’s autumn now. The next Sabbat is Mabon, our main Harvest Festival, and what some call the Wiccan Thanksgiving.
The Autumn Equinox is the secular name for Mabon, and that’s when we observe this holy day. Most years, it’s right around the 21st of September; this year, it falls on Saturday the 22nd. Mabon is an astronomical Sabbat, that day and time (10:49 a.m.) when the length of the day and night are equal – at the Equator. Like the Solstices, Equinoxes occur because the Earth tilts on its axis as it orbits the Sun. Just as the Sun seems to “move south” as Winter approaches, so do birds and animals, following the light.
For Wiccans and other Pagans, Mabon is a time to work on balancing the elements of our lives – inner and outer, bright and dark, us and other — and to make sure that our resources will carry us through the coming season of chill weather and introspective personal work. For none of us survives our Winters alone, and we are all sustained by more than our own work.
A Way to Celebrate Mabon
Roll half a sheet of paper to make a cone. (If you have no glue or tape, fasten it by folding the overlapping part at the top.) That will be your cornucopia; once you see how it will look, you may want to decorate it.
Divide the other half of the sheet into several squares, and on each one write one of your own strengths, focusing on things you have learned in the last several months. These represent your harvest; put them loosely into your cornucopia. When you’ve cast your Mabon Circle, choose one or two and meditate on how it will sustain you through the Fall and Winter. If you are celebrating with other people, share some of your harvest with the person to your left in the Circle.
(Apple juice or cider, or grape juice, are appropriate substitutes for wine or ale at Mabon; even tomato juice is fine.)
A Mabon Toast
Harvest’s rolled ‘round again, and we’ve wielded scythe and stave.
Now we’re sorting chaff from grain, and plenty we will save.
We work together so that all will warm and dry be kept,
and never thirst or hunger once the threshing floor’s been swept.
So raise your mug and raise your cup, and raise your voices too,
And celebrate, as we drink and sup, the Wheel that’s turning true.
Hail the God in the field, and the God in the blade,
and the God in the work we’ve done
Hail the grain that’s cut and the bread that’s made,
and hail to the setting sun!