Modern celebrations of Mabon typically tend to begin on the morning of September 21 and can often run through the late evening of September 29 with each individual witch (and/or pagan) deciding for him or herself on the best, or even simply the most convenient day, to host their gatherings and celebrate!
What is Mabon?
Often referred to as the “Pagan Thanksgiving”, the celebration of Mabon serves to mark the arrival of the Autumn Equinox, a time of the year when both day and night are equal in length thus making Mabon a symbolic time of balance, equality and harmony.
In ancient traditions, Mabon was the celebration of the second harvest (Lughnasadh or Lammas being the first, and Samhain, of course, being the third) when farmers would gather their heartier foods such as gourds, pumpkins, root vegetables, and apples to prepare a humble feast in honour of their gods and goddesses and to show their gratitude for the bounty of their harvest!
These days, modern Mabon celebrations are a time to give thanks for the abundance of the Earth! It is a time of reflection on the Wheel of the Year and on all of the blessings and trials that have come to pass thus far. Mabon is the perfect time to recognize your own successes and to allow yourself to let go of the things in your life that have not served you or perhaps manifested over the last twelve months and anything that no longer serves your own best interest or spiritual growth. Mabon is the time meant for releasing our burdens and honouring our blessings as we look to move forward into the darker more restful time of year.
How to Set Magickal Intentions for Mabon:
As I have mentioned above, Mabon is a celebration of harmony and balance when we can gather together and give thanks for all of our bounty and prepare ourselves for the coming or both the physical and spiritual winter. As such, Mabon is the perfect time of the year to set any magickal intentions that involve a decrease or reduction of certain things in life such as the ending of a bad relationship, the releasing of bad or unhealthy habits or addictions as well as the banishment of all self-destructive behaviours and beliefs.
As the Autumn Equinox, Mabon represents a time of year when both night and day are again of equal length and are in perfect equilibrium – both dark and light, masculine and feminine, inner and outer energies – all are in perfect balance. However, during Mabon, we find ourselves yet again on the cusp of transition as the great Wheel of the Year now slowly begins to turn once more and from this moment onward, darkness will begin to consume the light – the Sun’s power is fading and from this point onward, until the light of dawn on Ostara (Spring), our nights will continue to grow longer and our days both shorter and colder.
It is with this knowledge that we honour Mabon not only as a bountiful celebration but also as a time of rest after the hard labour of harvest (whether physical or spiritual). In terms of our life’s journey, Mabon is the moment of reaping what you have sown, of reflecting on each of the hopes or aspirations that you may have set for yourself during Imbolc or Ostara and to examine how, if at all, they may have manifested themselves throughout the year. It is the time to complete projects, to clear out the old and to let go of that which is no longer wanted or needed as we prepare ourselves for the darkness’s descent so that the winter can offer our spirits a time of restful contemplation and inner peace.
Some Symbols & Powerful Correspondences for Mabon:
The magickal correspondences and symbols of Mabon are in no way limited to only the contents of these lists. Mabon and Autumn magicks are as bountiful as the very harvests that they celebrate and as always I highly recommend you explore! Do your own research and find what truly works best for you and your own unique celebrations!
Symbols: Cornucopia (The Harvest Horn of Plenty), Pinecones, Seeds, Apples, Fallen Leaves, Bare or Dried Oak Tree Branches, Sickles & Scythes, Acorns, Bundles or Loose Grain/Wheat, Berries, Gourds/Pumpkins, Corn/Corn Husks, and Vines.
Colours: Various Hues of Orange, Red, Yellow, Brown, Copper, Gold, Black, Dark Green, Indigo, and Maroon.
Foods: Corn, Beans, Squash, Apples, Pears, Gooseberries, Nuts, Dried Fruits, Berries, Roasted Goose/Fowl, Mutton/Lamb, Pumpkins, Warm Cider, Root Vegetables (Carrots, Potatoes, Onions, etc.), Pomegranates, Hops, Honeyed Mead, Ale, and Wine
Herbs & Spices: Yarrow, Rosemary, Sage, Mugwort, Rosehips, Cinnamon, Anise, Nutmeg, Rue, Marigold, Chamomile, Saffron, Black Pepper, Cloves, Oak Moss, Apple Blossom, Frankincense, Myrrh, Pine, Sweetgrass, Sage Wood Aloe, Patchouly, and Jasmine.
Crystals & Stones: Amber, Citrine, Cat’s Eye, Aventurine, Sapphire, Jasper, Clear Quartz, Yellow Topaz, Diamond, Smokey Quartz, and other stones ruled by the Sun to help draw the Sun’s warm energies to you as we transition into Winter.
Flowers: Sunflowers, Thistles, Marigolds, Apple Blossoms, and Red Poppies.
Animals & Wildlife: Dogs, Wolves, Stags, Foxes, Squirrels, Owls, Blackbirds, Eagles, Hawks, Ravens, Salmon, Oxen, Goats, Gnomes, Sphinx, Minotaurs, Sprites, and Woodland Nymphs.
Gods: Mabon, Modron(Welsh), The Greenman, The Sky Father, John Barleycorn, The Wicker-Man, The Corn Man, Thoth(Egyptian), Hermes/Mercury, Hotei (Japanese), Thor & Odin (Norse), Dionysus(Roman), Bacchus(Greek) and all wine or mead Deities!
Goddesses: Demeter/Ceres, Persephone, Bona Dea, Morgan (Welsh-Cornish), The Snake Woman(Aboriginal), Epona (Celtic-Gaulish), Pamona(Roman), the 9 Muses(Greek), Renenutet (Eqyptian), and many more harvest Deities!
Tarot Cards: Judgment and The World
How to Celebrate Mabon:
One of the easiest ways to celebrate and to get into the holiday spirit for Mabon is to start by decorating your home and/or surroundings for Autumn! I absolutely adore bringing indoors all sorts of fresh and dried seasonal flowers! Even gourds and pumpkins, pinecones and dried leaves can make for wonderful decorations on your countertops, bookshelves, mantle, or in other living spaces! I am personally lucky enough to live in an area where I have very easy access to Mother Nature and where I can responsibly source my own wood and flower cuttings (asking their permission first of course!) as well as various other nuts and edible berries including acorns, mushrooms, and silverberries or “autumn olives”.
Witchy Tip: Always always always be mindful whenever foraging for your own ingredients or decorations in nature! Certain seemingly harmless plants and berries may look very similar, if not almost identical, to their rather more deadly cousins and you definitely do not want to get the two mixed up! When in doubt, it’s best to leave them in nature where they belong! Of course, wild foraging can make for a fantastic, fun, and educational way to learn and even teach little ones about all of the natural and edible wonders that can be found locally around your very own home! Just please, make sure to check them carefully for your family’s (and animal companion’s) sake and of course, never forget to say thank you!
If you do not have ready access to the great outdoors as I do, try going to your local farmers market, or honestly even a small crafts store, and fill your home with all of the awesome autumn things that you find there! The skies the limit so get creative and have some fun with it then let the festive feasting festival begin! (say that five times fast!)
More Easy Ways to Celebrate Mabon!
Here are some more wonderful ways to celebrate this magickal time of year:
Host a Great Feast of Thanksgiving! Prepare a meal using as much fruit and yummy vegetables as you can making sure to use only ingredients that are in season and, whenever possible, locally grown. Then, invite all of your family and closest friends over for a night of feasting and giving thanks for each other and all of your blessings.
Want to celebrate Mabon by yourself? Try finding a quiet space outdoors to meditate or even journal, surrounded by nature and in the cool autumn air before heading back inside to treat yourself to a nice meal. Mabon is a great time to release the baggage of the past year and set some new personal goals – try beginning a new entry in your Grimoire or Book of Shadows or even starting fresh with a brand new journal to begin chronicling the year to come.
Writing not your thing? Try simply getting out of the house and going for a walk! Walks, whether brisk or slow, can be a fantastic way to clear the mind and uplift the spirit! For a bonus, as you walk along and explore, try collecting little pieces of nature’s beautifully wild abundance and using them to decourate your Autumn altar!
Clear Out and Complete! Mabon is the perfect time to clear out all of the cobwebs in both your home and your life so grab a broom and get to sweeping or meditate and reflect on what no longer serves you and should now be let go! This is also a great time to finally sit down and finish any projects that you have been putting off!
Plant Bulbs and Trees! The season of Mabon is an excellent time to plant tree saplings and shrubs. They will have all of winter in the cool darkness to establish and germinate. Plant bulbs which will hide beneath the earth and snow until early Spring beckons them to wake. Mindfully make each one a hope, idea or aspiration for the coming Spring then watch and wait until their little green noses poke through to remind you!
Host a large Bonfire! Bonfires have been used in celebrations throughout history and in countless traditions to burn the old and embrace the new! Fire is powerful and full of both destructive and creative energy! Naturally, you will want to first make sure that there are no current fire bans or droughts where you live and that you obey all safety regulations but once you get the all-clear, go wild! Build up a big bonfire and invite all of your friends and family to join in! Make a party of it complete with mulled wine, mead, and a feast! You can even ask each of your guests to write on a small parchment a wish or something that they want to release before having everyone cast them into the fire together!
Go Apple Picking! Visit your local orchard and support your local farmers by taking the little ones or even just going with a group of friends to pick all of the apples you’ll need for your Mabon celebrations and delicious Autumn recipes!
Go on a Picnic! Make it an intimate affair with just you and a loved one and bring lots of delicious apple cake and wine! Or make it a fun outing for the kids and pack things like roast turkey sandwiches, streusel muffins, and apple juice! Whatever you decide is fine! Make it yours! The important thing is to just get out and enjoy yourself – to be present in the moment and thankful for what you have!
Final Witchy Tip: The Holidays and Seasonal Celebrations are not meant to be something you stress over! No money or time for big parties, feasts or even taking walks this year? Is life feeling a bit too hectic to slow down? It’s okay! We’ve all been there! Here is a very simple way you can still celebrate and honour the spirit of Mabon: Before you go to bed at night, take just a few quiet moments to light a candle in the colour of your choice and close your eyes. Feel the warmth of the candle’s glow on your cheeks. Take just a couple deep breaths – maybe five minutes, maybe less it does not matter how long you sit like this only that you breathe deeply and calmly. Let go of the stress and any worries of the day and just be. Give thanks for all of your blessings and the people that you care about. Now snuff or blow out the candle and get some rest!
One of My Favourite Mabon Recipes!
Although I feel like I have pretty much covered some of the best possible ways, in my opinion, to truly celebrate this wonderful holiday season, the kitchen witch in me just simply could not resist the chance to give you all a little bonus taste of how I personally celebrate it! So, without further ado, here is one of my favourite tried and true go-to recipes to make during your very own Mabon celebrations! Enjoy!
Cinnamon Apple Streusel Muffins
Recipe Note: This recipe has more of a “German Streusel” meaning that the bits scattered about will bake into a sort of shortbread-like texture that is crunchy and cookie-like on top and soft on the bottom where it meets the cake and fruit. “American Streusel” uses a different sugar/butter/flour ratio and is thus more sandy in texture and tends to shake off more easily.
1/2 cup of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1/4 cup of light brown sugar or light Muscovado sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/2 cup of whole milk
1/4 cup of sour cream
2 cups of small diced apple (cored and peeled!)
Recipe Note: Every avid baker has their own list of favourite baking apples depending on the dish or dessert they are preparing and I am no exception! Here is my list of top three apples that hold up fantastically when baking:
- Honey Crisp Apples (my favourite for Streusel)
- Golden Delicious Apples
- Granny Smith Apples
FOR THE STREUSEL:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 stick salted butter, melted
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
And just a pinch of ground or freshly grated nutmeg
- Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line 14 muffin cups with paper liners and set aside. You will need two pans for this recipe or to bake two batches.
- In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until they’re light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add the vanilla and stir to combine making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula periodically.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together your flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Add in half of the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg mixture, and beat well. Scrape down the sides again!
- Stir in the milk, and sour cream and then the remaining dry ingredients.
- Remove from the mixer and use a spatula or large spoon to gently fold in the chopped apples.
- Fill the muffin cups 3/4 to almost full, using all of the batter. It may look like a lot of batter at first but trust me!
- Make the Streusel: Now, in a bowl (I like to just reuse the previous dry ingredients bowl to save on dishes!) combine your flour, sugar, melted butter and cinnamon and then loosely mix them together with a fork. Divide between the muffin cups carefully piling the crumble on top of each muffin. You may have a little bit left over but that is okay!
10. Bake the muffins for 20-25 minutes, until they are very light golden brown.
Note: Check after 20 minutes and bake longer if needed. Muffins will be done when a toothpick inserted into the very center comes out clean.
- Carefully remove muffins from their pan (I like to just use a large spoon or knife for this) and place them on a cooling rack to cool.
- Serve them warm or at room temperature. Your muffins can be stored at room temperature in a sealed container for typically four to five days – if you can resist eating them all for that long!
And that’s it! The first of many Witchy Holiday and Seasonal Guides to come for my little Mystic Corner! I truly hope that you all enjoyed this week’s article as well as learning a little bit more about all of the different ways that you can easily celebrate the magick of Mabon and this bountiful Autumn season!
As always, if you have any questions or if you would just like to know more about today’s topic or recipe, please do feel free to reach out to me here on the website or directly via email at [email protected]! Also, check me out on Instagram @witchymoons! Don’t be shy! I am always happy for the chance to sit a spell and just chat with any of you – my fellow witches and knowledge seekers!
Until Next Time!
Clear Skies & Bright Moons,