In 2021, Mabon falls on September 22, or the fall equinox as it’s known by in layman’s terms. This holiday has it’s origins dating back around 2,000 years with our ancient Celtic ancestors. Unlike many other annual dates, the equinox occurs at the same moment worldwide. In 2021, this moment is 1:20 PM MST in the Northern Hemisphere. Mabon is the astrological start of Autumn and a day when the light and darkness are equal in length. In fact, the word “equinox” originates with the Latin words “aequus” which means equal and “nox” which means night. It should be noted that the equinox doesn’t always occur on September 21st; in some years it falls on the 21st.
In the pagan world, Mabon is also known as the Second Harvest and our ancestors would use this occasion to give thanks to the Gods and Goddesses for providing ample resources at harvest. The only unfortunate thing to note on Mabon, is that after today, the darker half of the year starts to overtake the lighter half. The daylight will be reduced as the cold and dark reminder of winter starts to settle into the community.
What You’ll Need For Our 2021 Mabon Ritual
This ritual is designed for a medium to large sized group and is best done outside around a generous bonfire if conditions in your area are permissible for open fires (check your state burning restrictions websites and always use caution as the wildfire season is not over just yet)
What items you’ll need to collect for this ritual (as written)
Four quarter candles – yellow (east), red (south), blue (west), green (north) – as a side note, with very large groups we use tiki-torches instead of the candles; they are less likely to be blown out by the wind and they are much more visible by everyone
If possible, use a very large altar for this ceremony, so you can decorate it copiously with fresh harvested items (some suggestions are apples, pumpkins, squash, any remaining root vegetables, persimmons, pomegranates, pears, and late-seasonal herbs)
Basket with bulbs or seeds to share – these can be anything you wish – Mabon is a great time to share the fruits of your labor
God/Goddess Candle (White)
From an administration standpoint, any portion of this ritual that is bracketed by <> symbols should be understood as instructional notes and not to be spoken aloud.
Our 2021 Mabon Ritual Begins
<Have everyone gather around the fire and be silent before proceeding.>
“This circle cast, both wide and round, from the solid earth to the skies above is now a place deemed sacred ground – All are welcome, all are equal, no voice shall be silenced nor any opinion disregarded. We are between the worlds.”
Turn to the East; the direction Air and the origin of great intuition; the invisible yet powerful realm of the skies and clouds; the great power of the wind cascades across the landscape loosening and spreading the last of the seeds, clearing the storm clouds so that the illumination of the moon may peek through and shine ethereal light upon us all; for this and so much more, we honor you and bid you welcome to this circle. <light yellow candle>
Turn to the South; the direction of Fire and origin of the great forges of creation; the flames that offer both creation and destruction; the balancing power of taking and giving and ultimately releasing that which is transformational and magickal so that we who inhabit this world may have our eyes wide open to the possibilities and probabilities of the days of the future; for this and so much more, we honor you and bid you welcome to this circle. <light red candle>
Turn now to the West; the direction of Water and the portal of the everlasting fountain of life; the crystal clear wetness that sustains life; the great cleansing force that washes away the dirt and grime of a thousand lifetimes, filtering and directing an endless flow of clean water to quench our thirst, enrich our fields, and clean that which has accumulated debris; for this and so much more, we honor you and bid you welcome to this circle. <light blue candle>
And at last we look tot he North; the direction of Earth and a host of all things both organic and inorganic; the building blocks of that which we know as life; the fertile soil, foliage, nuts, berries, herbs, and forests teeming with wildlife all are brought together to sustain humankind and provide the basis for future generations; for this and so much more, we honor you and bid you welcome to our circle. <light green candle>
Gods & Goddesses
We look skyward to offer high praises to the Gods and Goddesses of all people’s, all civilizations, and all origins; for in this circle we do not claim to know that which is unknown to humankind, nor do we wish to elevate one deity over another. Instead we only offer our most profound and humble thanks for the many blessings that have been bestowed upon us. We stand here tonight offering praise to you for the seeds which you’ve allowed to rise from the soil to provide fruits and grains for us to eat; for the wind and water and plentiful rays of sunshine. We praise you for providing each of us a pathway to enlightenment. We thank you for bringing us together and being present in our circle as we celebrate this night. <light God/Goddess candle>
Hail! and a hearty welcome to all who gather!
Tonight we gather under the light of the waning gibbous Harvest Moon to celebrate Mabon, the second of the three great harvest festivals. On this equinox, Night and Day are once again in perfect equilibrium; masculine and feminine energies are in harmony; there is balance with all things.
Music is an integral part of all rituals, whether for raising energy or as a prelude to raising our glasses in a toast. so, without further hesitation, we present one of the classic Mabon songs, by Lisa Thiel called – Mabon (Autumn Equinox)
Mabon – The Second Harvest
To the uninitiated, the phrase “Second Harvest” likely refers to food pantry or maybe something else. To the faithful, it refers the the second of three annual harvests, which date back thousands of years and the actual feast of Thanksgiving. In August, when the summer sun is still high in the sky and the air it hot and thick with the humidity of the season, the first harvest takes place. We celebrate Lammas on August 1st, and the harvesting of the grain. Grains such as wheat, barley, rye and others are cut, winnowed and put away to provide bread, ale, and beer through the winter months. As the summer starts wane and the nights start to reveal a chill, harvesting begins for the traditional storage crops which are associated with Mabon.
The cycle of the wheel is moving towards its annual completion as we harvest the potatoes, squash, pumpkins, onions, and root vegetables from the soil. We also pluck the juicy apples, pears, persimmons, and any remaining berries from the trees and vines. Also the corn and hay are cut and put into storage to feed the animals throughout the winter months. The sap from the trees starts to return back to roots deep in the earth, changing the green of summer to the flaming reds, oranges, and golds of autumn. It’s also the time to dig medicinal roots to be dried for fighting illness and malady during the times of cold. Dandelion, horseradish, valerian, and many other roots will be at their peak strength now, as the plants above ground begin to die. Each day the gathering and processing reminds us that the Gods and Goddesses have blessed us and are providing for our future.
With so much gratitude to be shared, it is obvious that Mabon is the true Thanksgiving, regardless of what modern calendars try to tell us otherwise. There will be feasting and sharing on this night and tables will overflow with potatoes and onions, roasted meat and game birds, fresh herbs will be added for color and flavor to boiled corn, snapped beans, and mushrooms. Pumpkins and squash will be cooked down to make deserts and pies, with dried fruit and molasses added to sweeten the mix. All of these delicious food items are inherently and forever connected to the second harvest of Mabon. If that alone isn’t proof enough, then ask yourself who is working the land in late November? No answer is necessary.
At this point, we’d like to take a few moments to fellowship and open up conversation on being thankful. Everyone is thankful for the food, but that isn’t the only thing. So I ask each and every one of you, “What are you thankful for?”
<the ritual leader uses this time to go around the circle and have everyone say something aloud that they are thankful for>
<Once everyone has shared their thanks – the leader should recite this prayer>
Mabon Prayer of Thanksgiving
On this day of balance
When light dances with darkness
In perfect and pure perfection
When the fields are showing their lines
Dark furrows left by the blades of plows
Tall rows of corn now cut and stored
Vines dark and drying in the sunlight
Trees surrendering their precious leaves
Herbs now hanging inside to dry
Pumpkins and squash curing
All things sorted and as they should be
Smiles are evident throughout the land
For the earth has provided once again
And the winter shall be tolerable
With full bellies
And enough to share with the community
We must look skyward
Raise our hands
And give praises upon high
For that which we have received
Spiritual Review and Looking Ahead
The season of Mabon will soon give way to the season of rest and recovery. We’ve spent long hours tilling and toiling with crops and livestock to ensure the icy spear of winter shall not find a victim in this community. Our bodies are in need of rest and our souls in need of peaceful reflection. I ask each of you to take stock in your lives and evaluate all that you’ve accomplished this year. Do not get caught in the belief that the fruits of your labor are all that matters. Look within yourself on a spiritual level and review the steps you’ve taken to grow and if you are feeling lapse, what you still need to work on. Winter will soon be upon us once again and now is the time to start another chapter of your life and to clear out and let go that which is no longer wanted or needed. With a clear mind and full bellies from our harvests, we can use the winter for peaceful reflection and planning. And despite the frozen ground and chilling temperatures ahead, we can still plant something; the seeds of new hope.
May the next turn of the Wheel bring us love and compassion, abundance and prosperity, fertility and life; as the moon above, so the earth below.
Closing the Mabon Circle
Great spirits of Earth, we cannot measure the value of that which you provide us with, no more than we could count the trees in the forest. We can only give thanks. Thank you for the soil, rich with nutrients from the decaying matter of a generation passed. Thank you for the mighty trees, for their shade in the heat of summer, for their lumber when we need to build, and for the dead branches to be used as fuel to heat our homes. Thank you for the stones that line our wells, grind our grain, and shore up our foundations, Thank you for the roots and herbs from which we make tonics and healing poultices. Thank you for the golden sun and the light that coaxes all living things to reach for the skies. But most of all, thank you for caring about humankind and ensuring the race perseveres. <extinguish green candle>
Great spirits of Water, we are forever humbled by your generosity. Thank you for the cold mountain ponds, teeming with fish below and fowl on the surface. Thank for the endless running streams that bring a supply of fresh drinking water to nourish our bodies and the bodies of our children and animals. Thanks you for the great oceans and all that they provide. Thank you for humidity and airborne moisture to keep green leaves from curling and skins from drying. Thank you for caring about the human race and providing the support to everyone for all time. <extinguish blue candle>
Great spirits of Fire, we are perpetually in awe of your great power. Thank you for showing us the way to transport this most precious gift from place to place. Thank you for an all-encompassing source of heat, light, warmth, radiance, comfort, and magick. Thank you for your great lesson on balancing creation and destruction and giving us the time to learn and master the skills necessary to be a good steward of this greatest gift of all. <extinguish red candle>
Great spirits of Air, we are mesmerized by the amazing power of all that you do. Thank you for creating a trust among all humans and the understanding that just because we cannot see something, that doesn’t mean it’s no there. We thank you for the prevailing winds that cool our skin on a hot summer day. Thank you for the turbulent breezes that elevate and give life to the dancing leaves which rise from the forest floor. Thank you for carrying the lost words of our ancestors to and from the spirit world, so that we may never forget the wisdom they possess. Thank you for your pure cleansing perfection. <extinguish yellow candle>
Great Gods and Goddesses, thank you for your abundance, your wisdom and the unconditional love shared with us this night in our sacred space. Thank you for showing us how to achieve balance in our lives; night and day; male and female; summer and winter. <extinguish God/Goddess candle>
And so the wheel turns…blessed be!