Mabon is also known as the Autumn Equinox—a magical day of year on September 21 when the length of the day and the night are equal and the Fall season officially begins. It is a time to celebrate balance by giving thanks to the light, paying our respects to the impending dark and honouring the aging Goddess as she passes from Mother to Crone.
Mabon is an ideal time to celebrate your personal harvest whether it be from your garden, your job, your family life or just from coping with everyday challenges! It is a time to dress up in your finest clothes and gather your friends and family for a pot-luck dinner party where you all enjoy yummy, fresh local produce outside in your back yard or even better, under the spreading branches of an apple or an oak tree.
The most recognizable myth involved with this festival is the story of the Mabon, the Child of Light and the son of Modron, the Great Mother. In this Welsh tale, it is said that Mabon was stolen from his mother only three nights after his birth at the beginning of time. This changed the earth and Modron’s light disappeared as she grieved over her lost child. The autumn equinox begins the seasons of cold and darkness in the northern hemispheres, paralleling the grief of the Great Mother.
Some of the many magical symbols of Mabon are wine, acorns, corn and herbs such as marigold, milkweed and sage. Mabon stones are amber, citrine, golden topaz, tiger-eye and amethyst. The colours of Mabon are the fall’s lovely hues: autumn red, deep orange, russet, maroon, brown and gold.
One of the most powerful symbols of Mabon is the apple. It is said that on the Isle of Avalon or Ynys Afallon which literally means “the isle of fruit (or apple trees)”, orchards of healing, restorative apples grew. In the Arthurian legend, Avalon is the place where King Arthur’s sword, Excalibur was forged and later, where Arthur was taken to recover from his wounds after the Battle of Camlann.
Here is a healing Mabon / Autumn Equinox ritual that you can do on your own or with others. All you need is an apple and a paring knife.
First, take some time to ground yourself. While breathing deeply, imagine that your feet are sprouting roots that are spreading down into the earth below. Raise your arms up and wiggle your fingers, pretending that they are the branches of a beautiful mature apple or oak tree reaching up to the sky above. Continue to breathe, pulling energy up from the earth, through your body and out through your fingers into the atmosphere. On the next breath, pull the energy of the heavens down into your body and back into the earth. In this way, you align yourself with the Axis Mundi, the tree of life.
Now, take the apple and really look at it carefully. Examine the beautiful red, green and yellow colour of its skin and realize what a perfect creation it is. As you stare at the apple, imagine that comes from the Isle of Avalon and it is filled with beautiful positive and restorative energies from Mother Earth. Then, slice the apple equally across the middle, separating the top half from the bottom half. Balance the two halves in each hand and watch as the clear juices flow. Notice the beautiful, magical five-pointed star in the centre.
Bite into the apple and really experience its taste and texture. As you munch on it, enjoying its juicy tart flavour, imagine its restorative energy being passed on to you. Think about your own personal situation during this time of balance. Are there areas of your life that are out of synch? Do you need to re-direct your energies in different ways that might improve your wellbeing? Are there some new health and fitness goals you’d like to set to accomplish during the cooler months and into the winter?
Take some time to reflect on any changes you are expecting and the parts of your life that will stay constant. Feel the Mother’s energy being spread through your body as you digest the apple and understand that even though winter is coming, the light will return.
Once you have finished the apple, dispose of the remains, ideally outdoors or in a compost.
Finally, as a special gift to yourself, take some time to relax and listen to this beautiful song about Fall by Ottawa’s beautiful bard and a graduate of WitchSchool, Amanda Cottreau. For more about Amanda, visit her website at this link.
Image source: Stephanie Inlow. Check out Stephanie's amazing photos at OhtheWitchiness on Facebook and Instagram.