XVIII - Sabbats: Mabon

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Pronounced MAY-bawn, MAH-bawn, MAY-bone, or MAY-boon. MAY-bawn is the most common. Mabon is one of the eight Sabbats.

- Other names: the Autumn Equinox, the Second Harvest.

- Date: September 22-24 (Northern Hemisphere), March 19-21 (Southern Hemisphere). The exact date depends on the year. You can find this year's date by googling "Autumn Equinox [year]". If you live on the Southern Hemisphere, you might have to add "Southern Hemisphere" to your search.

- What is the Autumn Equinox? Just like the Spring Equinox, on the Autumn Equinox the light and the dark time of the day are equally long. This means that everywhere in the world the day lasts 12 hours and the night lasts 12 hours.

- Mabon is the second Harvest Festival of the three (Lammas, Mabon, Samhain). Mabon is considered the harvest of fruits in particular, and it's the main Harvest Festival as most crops are harvested at this time.

- Like Ostara, Mabon is a time of balance. The Earth is once again at equilibrium with equal night and day – but this time, darkness takes over in the days and months that follow. We prepare for the winter and a time of rest and reflection.

- Mabon is the "pagan thanksgiving". We give thanks for abundance and prosperity, and the good harvest. We honor our deities (if any), especially those associated with plants, food, or harvest. We celebrate together with our families and dress in our best clothes.

- For some Mabon is the beginning of Autumn. For others it was Lammas in August.  Some also believe that the God dies on Mabon, while some believe that he dies on Samhain. Of course, this is only for those to decide who believe in a God and a Goddess.

- Symbolism and meaning: balance, equality, equilibrium, giving thanks, harmony, harvest, the Mysteries, power of darkness over light.

- Colors: brown, gold, maroon, orange, purple, red, russet, scarlet, yellow.

- Cardinal direction: West.

- Symbols: acorns, apples, corn, dried flowers, dried leaves, gourds, grains, grapes, Horn of Plenty, Indian corn, pine cones, pomegranates, seeds, vines (e.g. ivy), wine.

- Stones: amber, amethyst, aventurine, cat's eye, citrine, clear quartz, lapis lazuli, moss agate, peridot, ruby, sapphire, smoky quartz, tiger's eye, topaz, yellow agate.

- Incense: benzoin, cedar, frankincense, honeysuckle, marigold, myrrh, passionflower, patchouli, pine, rose, sage, sweetgrass, thistle.

- Herbs: acorn, benzoin, ferns, grains, honeysuckle, marigold, milkweed, myrrh, oak, passionflower, pine cones, rose, sage, Solomon's Seal, tobacco, thistle, vegetables, wheat.

- Foods & drinks: apples, baled squash, beans, breads, cider, dried fruits, grains, nuts, pie, pomegranates, seeds, smoked/roast poultry, vegetables (e.g. potatoes, carrots, onions, etc.), wine.

- Spells recommended for Mabon: balance, harmony, health, prosperity, protection, reflection, rest, security, self-confidence, thankfulness.

- Animals associated with Mabon: blackbird, deer, dog, eagle, goat, owl, raven, salmon, sphinx, stag, wolf.

Mabon activities and ways to celebrate:
Wear all of your finery and dine and celebrate in a lavish setting. Eat and spend time together with your family. Cook the dishes yourself and try to use as many locally grown fruits, vegetables, berries, and other ingredients as you can.

• Take a walk in nature and gather plants, leaves, seeds, and herbs to dry or use as decoration.

• Complete unfinished projects and clear your home of unwanted stuff. Prepare for the winter's rest and relaxation.

• Plant tree seeds and shrubs. They have all of winter in the darkness to establish and germinate. Plant bulbs which will hide in the earth until Spring arrives. Make each one a hope, idea, or aspiration for Spring and wait until their little green noses show above ground – to remind you!

• Make a gratitude list – a list of all the things you're grateful for. Put the list on your fridge or somewhere you can see it often.

• Bake some bread, pie, or apple dishes. Make your own cider, wine, or juice (can be berry juice, grape juice, apple juice... anything seasonal!). While baking, think about the things you're grateful for, and perhaps create a poem or chant about them. Repeat your poem out loud while you're baking.

• Reflect on the past year and think about the goals you had and the projects you started in the spring. Which were successes? Which weren't finished? Which ones failed? Celebrate your successes and forgive yourself for your failures.

• Take it easy on Mabon. It's a Harvest Festival, but it's also about rest. Have a relaxed day, spend time with friends, sit quietly, have some food, maybe treat yourself with a spa.

• Meditate on balance. This is especially helpful if you are a family caregiver, but also if you have a high-stress job, pressure-filled commute, or have a lot of personal drama. Reflect on how you handle pressure, how you manage your and other people's emotions, and how easily your peace of mind can be disrupted. Think about ways you can reduce stress and bring more balance to your days. Consider going to bed earlier and waking up earlier to get a jump on the day, practicing non-violent communication, eating more healthily, and eliminating unhealthy relationships.

"Mabon Correspondence", site: witchery.wordpress.com

"Mabon", adapted by: Akasha Ap Emrys, site: wicca.com

"Mabon/Autumn Equinox", site: goddessandgreenman.co.uk

"Mabon 2014: Six Ways To Celebrate The Pagan Autumnal Equinox", author: Antonia Blumberg, site: huffpost.com

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