Sage has been celebrating the Wheel of the Year for 25+ years. Being a holiday junkie, she just can't get enough of the sabbats!
When you’re new to Wicca and have never been to a Mabon ritual before, you might wonder—what do I need? What should I get? How should I go about setting up my altar or planning my ritual?
The way I see it, there’s nothing you actually need. Wicca is a religion; the most important things going on are internal. It’s about your relationship with your Gods, and celebrating the sabbat in a way that is meaningful to you on a personal level. A lot of people will freeze up on that word ‘need’ and might even be discouraged from doing anything because they feel unprepared. But having stuff is not what prepares you for a Wiccan ritual; the right mindset is all you need.
Now, as far as what you would like to have—that’s another story. This is by no means a list set in stone, but this will give you a general idea of things that correspond to the seasonal celebration. You might also be interested in a simple Mabon ritual designed for solitaries, found here.
Mabon would be the quarter of the year associated with the west. You may wish to face your altar to the west for your celebration, start your quarter calls or circle casting in the west.
This would also align it with the Element of Water and sunset/twilight time—the ending of the day.
Of course, a lot here depends on tradition, personal preference and of course regional, so only follow this method if it makes sense to you. If it doesn’t make sense, change it.
The bolline or scythe, if you have one, should have a place of honor on the altar for these are the tool expressly built for this harvest season. One focus in our house at Mabon is the cauldron—not just because it’s a symbol of the Great Mother and Her womb from which all the bounty springs forth, but because of all those yummy, rib-sticking fall foods we start cooking in the season (we always make a big pot of Autumn soup in our 12 quart cauldron for Mabon). Of course, the cup, a symbol associated with water, the west, and the Mother’s womb, is also a key figure in the celebration.
Pagan Gods for Mabon
Naturally, this holiday being named after Mabon ap Modron, He is often a central figure in those who honor Welsh and Celtic pantheons. Because it's the beginning of the dark half of the year, the Morrigan or Epona may be honored at the altar as well.
Those more drawn to Greco/Roman pantheons may honor Dionysus/Bacchus, Demeter/Ceres, Persephone/Prosperina, or Hestia/Vesta.
Those worshipping Germanic deities may give honor to Frey and Freya.
In Sumarian mythology, this is when Inanna began her descent to the underworld.
Any God or Goddess of harvest, wine, grain, dark Gods and Goddesses or aging deities is appropriate.
Symbols are great not just for ritual-specific use, but for seasonal decorations. Why not really get into the spirit of the season by decorating your home, or at least your altar, with a few of the following.
Symbols of balance, such as the yin/yang, scales, night/day, etc. are appropriate as equinoxes are a time of balance.
Fall colors can make for a splendid altar or home, and can really put you in the seasonal mood: deep shades of red, gold, orange, dark yellow, browns and rusty shades are perfect.
It is the harvest season and the zenith of autumn, so any symbols traditionally associated with this season are perfect, such as: baskets of fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, acorns, pine cones, seed pods, seeds, sunflowers, marigolds, chrysanthemums, asters, squashes, gourds, dried (Indian) corn, popcorn, colorful leaves, vines, sickles, scythes, bollines, scarecrows, crows, feathers, shells, dried herbs, bales of hay and bundles of corn stalks, cornucopias, horns, symbols of the hunt, and any Gods and Goddesses associated with this time of year.
The Blessings of the Harvest
Food for Mabon
Food and Drink
Whether you’re having a small simple feast in ritual, going to a big potluck or having a family harvest dinner, Mabon is one of the best holidays for food and drink. Harvest foods like big roasts (turkey, pot roast, roast beef) with seasonal vegetables (particularly squash, roots and corn) or fruits (particularly apples and pears—we particularly love apple pie) are ideal. You might also opt for hearty stews and meaty soups, or black bean stews to symbolize moving into the dark half of the year. My family's traditional Mabon meal is Autumn soup (recipe here) and bread with fresh, home-made harvest butter (recipe here).
Breads are also a big part of the Mabon feast—if you love making home-made bread, this is the time. You might make a regular loaf of white, or perhaps pumpernickel to represent the growing darkness. If you don’t like to bake bread from scratch, how about something simpler like homemade biscuits, or even pre-made refrigerator dough for crescent rolls or dinner rolls?
Other things to go on the table that are appropriate would be any kinds of nuts or seeds to munch on, or popcorn.
When it comes to beverages, mulled wines and ciders lend a sweet warmth to the season. If you’re not old enough to drink wine or hard cider, use juice or soft cider. I like pomegranate and/or cranberry juice for this season in particular. Herbal teas—especially with balsam spices like cinnamon or apple—make for delicious sipping.
At Mabon, it’s a good time to start working on wrapping things up, so if you’ve had any ongoing projects that have been lingering or in limbo, do a spell to give a boost to your previous efforts to help get it finished with once and for all. It’s also a good time to do spells for letting go of things—thoughts, ideas, ambitions, dreams—anything that no longer serves you. If you want to break bad habits or get rid of things, the timing is ideal.
Equinoxes are also en excellent time to perform spells for balance. If you feel you're lacking balance in some area of your life, it might be a good opportunity to create an amulet or mojo bag, then charm it at the moment of the equinox to imbue it with those balanced energies so they'll carry you through the year.
Fabulous Mabon Chant:
Own This Song:
Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on September 10, 2013:
Mine to! I'm glad you enjoyed AudtreyHowitt, thanks for your comments!
Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on September 10, 2013:
Thank you Nell Rose-- something about the Autumn season perks me up too.
Audrey Howitt from California on September 09, 2013:
I so enjoyed learning more about Wiccan beliefs--Autumn is absolutely my favorite time of year!
Nell Rose from England on September 09, 2013:
HI Wiccan, I love this time of year, and mabon, thanksgiving is great. I have an altar, but I must admit I am slipping a bit! lol! I have always been pagan, wicca call it what you will, but there is something about this time of year that really brings it out for me, wonderful hub! voted up and shared, nell