Each year on the autumn equinox, we come together to celebrate, to feast, and to give thanks to the Goddess for the generous bounties that she has provided us with. We call this great harvest celebration Mabon; the halfway point between the peak of the sun at Litha and it’s opposite in December, the night before Yule. This is the second time of year that day and night are equal; the first was Ostara. Unfortunately, after this day the darkness will overtake the light, and the days will grow shorter. Mabon traditionally marks the first day of Autumn and is a cause for great celebration as it is the period when we realize the largest harvests of the year. We celebrate because without these harvests, life would be difficult if even possible at all. This year we celebrate on September 22nd.
What You’ll Need
This ritual is designed for a medium-sized group and is best performed 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)
What items you’ll need to collect for this ritual (as written)
Four quarter candles – yellow (east), red (south), green (north), blue (west)
A bounty of fresh harvested items for the altar (especially apples, pumpkins, squash, vegetables, persimmons, pomegranates, pears, potatoes, onions, and late-seasonal herbs)
Basket with bulbs or seeds to share – these can be anything you wish
Basket with pine cones and leaves
Goddess Candle (White)
Any portion of the ritual that is bracketed by <> symbols should be understood as instructional notes and not to be spoken aloud.
Our Mabon Ritual Begins
From the sky, to the ground, from the flames in the round, this circle now a holding space, outside of time, a sacred place
Calling the Quarters
Hail oh great Guardians of the East; where the powers of air and intuition reside; the realm which is invisible but all powerful. As you have carried the seeds, loosened the leaves from the autumn trees, and moved the clouds away, we honor you and bid you welcome to this circle. <light yellow candle>
Greetings ye noble Guardians of the South, where the mighty forges give forth the searing heat, light and untamed power of fire. Such as your flames clear and cleanse the land, we too shall beseech you to cleanse our hearts of that which weighs too heavy upon our hearts. We bid you welcome. <light red candle>
Salutations royal Guardians of the west, where the three states of water show their separate powers; the rain which champions new life, the ice and snow which bring dormancy to that same life, and the moisture which binds everything as one. We call upon your strength and flexibility in this circle. <light blue candle>
The power of earth emerges from the Great lands of the North, where the guardians speak of fertile soil, abundant foliage; forest’s teeming with life and farmlands thick with crops and livestock. We humbly honor the mother who provides everything and asks for nothing in return. You grace us with your presence in this circle on this night <light green candle>
Great Goddess; it is you who give life to all things; both large and small; both strong and weak; both wise and mysterious. 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 Goddess candle>
Tonight we gather under the light of the waxing 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 the inner and the outer.
Before we begin, enjoy this wonderful song by Loreena McKennitt – it really is a “Mabon” song.
Mabon – The Second Harvest
As we enter the season of autumn the days start to show their age, allowing the darkness to once again quest for dominance. From this point forward, the year begins to wane. The cycle of the wheel is moving towards its annual completion. The Sun’s power is ebbing and each day afterward will be shorter and the temperatures cooler. 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. The grains have already been winnowed and busheled in preparation for the winter. Now is the time to once again reap what we have sown and gather the fruits from the trees and the squash from the vines; the apples and the pears for preserving and baking, the last of the grapes for the late season wines and cordials. Persimmons and pomegranates, and squashes and pumpkins; the root vegetables, corn, the onions and potatoes. Each day the gathering and processing reminds us that the Goddess has blessed us!
Mabon is the Second Harvest but also The Great Feast of Thanksgiving. The Goddess is radiant as the Harvest Queen in knowing that the God; who sacrificed himself for humanity with the cutting of the last sheaf of grain at Lammas, will soon return. We take time to offer thanks for many things on this night. We thank the waning Sun for the warmth and light it provided us throughout the summer. We thank the trees for their shade and the clouds for the rain. We thank one another for companionship, for love, for support, for sharing guidance and advice, and for keeping true to the paths we have chosen.
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 – example “I am thankful for the trees, for their spirit lies within me, keeping me rooted to the earth when my head seems to want to fly away”>
We honor these thoughts with a simple offering to the earth – pine cones; for they represent potential growth and a natural grounding & leaves for they symbolize truth, family, and significant changes for the better
<Once everyone has shared their thanks – have someone walk around the circle spreading the leaves and pine cones from the basket>
Prayer of Thanksgiving
O Gracious Goddess
We have sown and now prepare reap
Both the fruits of the earth
And the fruits of our actions and deeds
Grant us the courage in the coming year
To plant the seeds of kindness and joy
Of love and togetherness
Of beauty and great bounty
Teach us the secrets
To banish misery and misfortune
To cast out hatred
To answer anger with love
And despair with hope
We relinquish all thoughts of negativity
Seeking a future of wisdom
Nurturing our own
Harmony, trust, and peace
So mote it be!
Spiritual Review and Looking Ahead
The season of Mabon will soon give way to a time of rest; after the long hours and toiling labor spent bringing in and storing the last of the harvest, our physical bodies are weary. Take time to evaluate all that you’ve accomplished this year and what you still need to work on. Understanding that you will be reaping the spiritual bounty of what you have sown. It is time to look back at the hopes and aspirations of Imbolc and Ostara and reflect on how they have manifested in your lives. Did you follow through with your plans? If not, then what stopped you? Once you are able to identify those hurdles; you can easily step over them and focus. Winter will soon be upon us and now is the time to complete projects, to clear out and let go that which is no longer wanted or needed and to cleanse our spiritual selves as we prepare for the descent into darkness. 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. Now is time to plant the seeds of new ideas and fresh hopes; ones which may lie dormant but are being nourished in the darkness of our minds until the return of spring.
<ritual leader should hold up the second basket before passing it around the gathering – inside are bulbs and seeds to symbolize new growth>
Behold, I offer a gift for each of you – whisper into the basket and take the bulb which speaks to you – carefully move it to your own home and choose a spiritual place to inter it into the earth – now is the perfect time to plant this “seed” as a symbolic reminder of those new hopes and ideas that will emerge in the spring
The Second Harvest Prayer
Alas, ‘tis the time whenst the days grow cold,
Nights even colder
The morning chill reminds us
Darkness comes earlier
The Goddess surrounds herself
With the last life of summer
As the Great Sun God sails westerly
To the lands of enchantment
Waiting and remembering
Until rebirth begins
The land provides final preparations
Coaxing the last of the fruits to ripen
Seeds to open and drop
Hours of day equate hours of night
Yet only for this night
Tomorrow all will change
The cold riding upon the wind
A precursor of the coming winter
Growth begins to wilt
Leaves began to fall
Not and end, but a dormancy
For without death
We cannot experience rebirth
And spring cannot occur
Without this second harvest
Sharing The Love
<Have everyone in the circle join hands and make this short statement>
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
Power of earth, spirits of the north, we give thanks for the fertile fields, the deep forests and the majestic mountains. Thank you for nurturing our crops so that we shall sustain. <extinguish green candle>
Power of water, spirits of the west, we give you thanks for the sparkling streams, the mighty rivers, and the endless oceans. Thank you for supporting all that which we require. <extinguish blue candle>
Power of fire, spirits of the south, we give you thanks for the brilliance of fire; for the heat and warmth that it provides us in the cold months. Thank you for your strength and clarity. <extinguish red candle>
Power of air, spirits of the east, we give you thanks for the gentle winds that carry the seed, the purity of the wind, and the freshness of a gentle breeze. Thank you for your perfection. <extinguish yellow candle>
Great Goddess, 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 Goddess candle>
And so the wheel turns…blessed be!