As the Earth travels around the Sun there are 4 daylight events that are particularly significant: The Longest Day and the Shortest Day of the Year, called Solstices, and 2 days when the duration of Day and Night are equal, called Equinoxes. Each of these days marks the official beginning of a particular Season. In the Northern hemisphere, the Day that marks the beginning of Fall (or Autumn) is the Autumnal Equinox, an event long revered by a multitude of ancient Pagan Religions. Many modern Pagans, most notably the Wiccans, celebrate this Day as the Festival of Mabon, or just Mabon, for short. In 2020 this day lands on Tuesday, September 22.
According to Welsh Folklore, Mabon, meaning “Great Son” was the Son of the Earth Mother Goddess Modron and a member of King Arthur’s war party. Legends indicate that Mabon was kidnapped days after his birth and held captive in a dungeon until he was rescued by King Arthur and his men, forming a life-long bond between the Monarch and the Deity. Mabon was said to be a great hunter and was revered by the Welsh as The Sun God, representing vitality, love, sex, and youth.
Mabon is the Second Harvest Festival of the Pagan Wheel of the Year falling between The Festival of Grain, Lamas (also called Lughnasadh) which celebrates the beginning of the harvest and Samhain (celebrated by many as Halloween) which marks the harvest’s end. Falling in the middle of the season and landing on an Equinox, Mabon appropriately celebrates Balance.
It is a time of reflection, looking back upon what we have done in the previous year and collecting the fruits of our labors. It is, literally, time to reap what we have sown. How have our actions and efforts lead us to where we are? Are we on the Path that will leads us to where we want to go? What has been effective? What needs improvement? All these things and more can be the focus of meditation during this time.
There are many ways that the Fall Equinox has been traditionally celebrated. Mabon embraces these traditions as well as incorporating more modern theologies. A common practice is the creation of an Altar using seasonally appropriate artifacts such as garden tools, soil, pinecones, and Fall fruits and vegetables such as apples or squash. Colors are often included such as orange, red, bronze, and rust, colors that might be prevalent in the forest at this time of year as Summer fades into Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere. Music, meditation, asking for blessings, and prayers for peace are common during this Celebration.
Pay extra attention to patterns of 5 during Mabon. The number 5 is sacred to Nature. There are 5 points to a Pentagram (as discussed in a previous blog article here) representing the 5 elements. We have 5 fingers and 5 toes. We have 5 senses. Chinese medicine tells us that there are 5 major organs. It is the 5th number in the Fibonacci Sequence.
Perhaps the most telling “5” pattern is given to us as a gift from the earth Mother herself: An apple. Many ancient stories tell of the Gods giving apples to Mankind for one reason or another. Apples represent the harvest because that is when they are at their ripest. The next time you encounter an apple, cut it in half horizontally and have a look for yourself. Every apple comes with a perfect pentagram hidden inside.