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Thursday, September 20, 2007

TT #57: Mabon

TT57

Thirteen things about Mabon

Mabon (pronounced 'MAY-bon') is one of the eight witches' sabbaths. It is relatively unknown, so I wanted to tell you some things about this festival.
Other names that are used: Harvest Time, Fall Equinox, Autumn(al) Equinox, Feast of the Ingathering, Harvest End, Feast of Avalon, Alban Elfed, Michaelmas, Cornucopia, Feast of Dionysus, Festival of the Vine, Gwyl canol Hydref, Mea’n Fo’mhair, Second Harvest Tide, Witches' Thanksgiving.


  • Mabon signals the beginning of autumn in the northern hemisphere: the moment when the sun appears to cross the celestial equator, heading southward. It occurs between September 21 - September 24, varying slightly each year according to the 400-year cycle of leap years in the Gregorian Calendar. It is the moment when the day (light) is equal to the night (dark) and balance is created between them.


  • This holiday is a ritual of thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth and a recognition of the need to share them to secure the blessings of the Goddess and God during the winter months. It is the second of the three harvest festivals, preceded by Lammas and followed by Samhain.


  • At this festival it is appropriate to wear all of your finery and dine and celebrate in a lavish setting. It is the drawing to and of family as we prepare for the winding down of the year at Samhain. It is a time to finish old business as we are preparing for a period of rest, relaxation, and reflection.


  • Mabon is considered a time of the Mysteries. It is a time to reflect on the past season, celebrate nature's bounty and accept that summer is now over. A time of rest after hard work, and a ritual of thanksgiving for the fruits of nature. Time to look back on the past year and what you have achieved and learned, and to plan for the future.


  • The name Mabon comes from Welsh mythology: the god Mabon ap Modron (literally 'son of mother'). He was a hunter god who was stolen from his mother three days after his birth. Mabon stayed a young adult forever. He is the Welsh god of music, love and fertility. He represents the change of seasons, and can be equated with the Greek goddess Persephone.


  • During their celebration druids honour the Green Man, the god of the forest, by offering libations to trees. Offerings of ciders, wines, herbs and fertilizer are appropriate at this time. Witches celebrate the aging goddess as she passes from Mother to Crone, and her consort the God as he prepares for death and re-birth. At the Autumn equinox the goddess offers wisdom, healing and rest.


  • There is a Celtic custom at the autumnal equinox of dressing the last sheaf of corn to be harvested in fine clothes, or weaving it into a wicker-like man or woman. It was believed the sun or the corn spirit was trapped in the corn and needed to be set free. This effigy was usually burned in celebration of the harvest and the ashes would be spread on the fields. This annual sacrifice of a large wicker man (representing the corn spirit) is thought by many to have been the origin of the misconception that pagans made human sacrifices. In Scotland, the last sheaf of harvest is called 'the Maiden', and must be cut by the youngest female in attendance.


  • Although the traditional American holiday of Thanksgiving falls in November, many cultures see the second harvest time of the fall equinox as a time of giving thanks. After all, it's when you figure out how well your crops did, how fat your animals have gotten, and whether or not your family will be able to eat during the coming winter. However, by the end of November, there's not a whole lot left to harvest. Originally, the American Thanksgiving holiday was celebrated on October 3, which makes a lot more sense agriculturally. It was later moved by Franklin Roosevelt in a bid to help post-Depression holiday sales.


  • Mabon symbols (use them to decorate your home or altar) include: baskets (symbolizing the gathering of crops), apples and anything made from them, pomegranate, grapes, vines, wine, seeds, colours: orange / red / brown, fallen leaves, dried corn, pumpkin, marigolds, autumn flowers.


  • This is a time of initiation into the mysteries, or reinitiation or rededication to our studies. The time of coming in, preparing for the cold season when our activities will be inner rather than outer. Rather than working outside we will curl up by the fire and read, research, and contemplate the accumulated wisdom of our elders, and create crafts and useful things for gifting and for ourselves to use in the next season of growing.


  • The song of John Barleycorn tells perfectly the story of this time of year. This old folk song is a metaphor of the mystery of death and rebirth. The song describes the life, death and resurrection of the grain as it tells the story of John Barleycorn (called the spirit of the fields), who was killed, buried, sprang up in the spring, grew stronger in the summer and grew weaker in the autumn. It is a story of life and not death. The cycle of the year and of the sacrifice and transformation of grain into food and drink.


  • Mabon is a perfect time for crafts. You can make corn dollies, a Mabon wreath, chain of autumn leaves, prosperity candles, etc. Just google on "Mabon crafts" and get started! :-)


  • I love the song "Autumnal Equinox" by Narsilion. On YouTube I found the song accompagnied by beautiful autumn images, look here.

Mabon Blessings

sources: Chrystalinks, Everything2, New-Age, About.com, Avalon Visions, Google

~*~*~*~

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
~*~ pussreboots ~*~ Nicholas ~*~ Chelle Y. ~*~ Lara Angelina ~*~ Sandee ~*~ Lori ~*~ Judy Callarman ~*~ WorksForMom ~*~ Susan Helene ~*~ Wylie Kinson ~*~ Mishelle ~*~ Damozel ~*~ Xakara ~*~ Grace ~*~ JoyIsMyGoal ~*~ mar ~*~ Robin ~*~ Rae ~*~ MomNotMum ~*~ Ann Aquirre ~*~ WAHM ~*~ julia ~*~ Mama Pajama ~*~ Alasandra ~*~ Titania Starlight ~*~ Adrian Drake ~*~ Dorothy ~*~ Linda R. Moore ~*~



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32 comments:

  1. I remember my grandmother talking about some of these traditions that her grandmother followed. So we're talking about 100-120 years ago. Happy TT and thanks for stopping by mine.

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  2. This is all completely new to me. Thanks for that list.

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  3. Very informative! Thanks for the lesson! :)

    www.chelleyoung.com

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  4. I really had no idea! I learned something today!! Thanks for the info, that was interesting!
    Happy TT!

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  5. What an intersting list. I had no idea. Have a great TT. :)

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  6. Wow...cool stuff:) Thanks for the info. Happy TT.

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  7. This is a very interesting list--especially about the Celtic tradition with corn and the American Thanksgiving. As an American myself, I probably read that sometime or other, but I don't remember it!

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  8. Wow, I had no idea. This was a really interesting read!! Especialy with halloween approaching!

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  9. Neat list, Tink! I'd often wondered about this sort of thing, given how many other religions have a harvest festival.

    Happy TT!

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  10. Cool beans, Tink! Very informative, but I found the Celtic wicker-man bit the most interesting.

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  11. Very, very interesting. I love reading and learning about these types of things. I'm a Christian but am very open to other faiths, beliefs and customs! GREAT LIST!

    http://www.mishellelane.com/blog

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  12. I always love it when you share the witchy info. I'd read a little about the sabbaths, but I didn't remember much about them. This is really excellent. I'm stumbling it!

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  13. Thanks as always, Tink. It was great to start my very short blog hop this night with a refresher course in Mabon. Appropriately enough my 13 this week in on things I'm grateful for.:)

    Happy TT,

    ~X

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  14. Good informative TT!
    Mine's up:
    http://www.sandierpastures.com/thursday-thirteen/thursday-thirteen-10.html

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  15. This is all fascinating new to me!!
    Happy thirteening!

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  16. Great TT Tink! I almost forgot it was that time already! I was planning to do a little something ritual-wise this weekend, but now I won’t forget weaving Mabon into it!

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  17. I've always liked John Barleycorn. Great imagery in it. It's fascinating how many different cultures have harvest festivals. Judaism's - Sukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles - starts next week.

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  18. I just began reading about Wicca & they talked about Mabon thank you for sharing this information

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  19. I learn something new every Thursday.

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  20. Very interesting and informative. I wasn't familiar with this.

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  21. Great traditions. I always love learning about new ones and am surprised about some that my family has done.

    mine is up on
    http://momworksathome.blogspot.com

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  22. A beautiful TT, Tink! Fall is my favorite time of year. I can feel everything you describe swirling though the air at this time - it has always pulsed with energy for me.

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  23. This was all new information for me. I knew nothing about Mabon! Very interesting TT!

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  24. Wonderful TT list! I love the traditions of this time of year.

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  25. How very interesting and timely. I am going to try to celebrate it this year.

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  26. This is my favorite time of year. Samhain is just around the corner.

    I also did a T13 about the season. I thing this time of year brings comfort and good feelings to a lot of people.

    Blessings

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  27. Nice information. Great reading.

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  28. Lovely tradition. I'm glad to learn about your beliefs. Facinating.

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  29. I learned a lot more about Mabon than I had known before from this post. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

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  30. What a readable and educating post. I just love to learn about traditions like this and this was very informative - thanks for sharing!

    Btw: Did you know it is fall Equinox tomorrow:-)

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  31. Dammit. I *knew* I was forgetting something important. :(

    My TT is up, though you may need to hunt for it a couple of pages back by now.

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Love, Tink