As summer draws to close we celebrate the 2nd harvest festival of the year-Mabon which falls between the 20th and 22nd of September.
Mabon is the Autumn Equinox the opposite of Ostara when light and dark in balance before tipping over. A time for reflection and gratitude. As the Harvest season begins to come to a close we look back on our achievements, the seeds we planted in the spring physically and spiritually. Where we have ‘reaped what we have sown’. Have you achieved what you set out to? What could have been done better? Now is a time for completion and reflection.
It is also (like all harvest festivals) when we must prepare for winter. Like spring cleaning, Mabon is also a good time to ready your home and mind, realising what will not serve you through the Cauldron time of winter, working hard now so you can rest in waiting of the fresh spring.
We see this around us in the berries and nuts now ready to gather and store (one word JAM!) so we have enough to eat. Yes, we have supermarkets and non seasonal food available all year round. But it wasn’t always so. For our ancestors, failure to put the work in now would mean a very lean winter.
One pagan tradition which isn’t observed much anymore (maybe if you’re a farmer) is the reaping and celebrating of the last sheaf of the harvest. Believed to have stored the spirit of harvest e.g the Horned God, John Barleycorn, The Green Man. This ritual is to honour the Death part of the life, death, rebirth cycle. It was given many names the mare, neck or kern baby are some. In the Hebrides it is called the Caillech (the hag) as she has come and brought the winter. Offerings and gifts are left to welcome her.
In modern times we see this tradition being shown through the making of a corn or wheat ‘dolly’. where a figure is made by bending, wrapping and dressing a sheaf to bring wealth and fertility to your home and hearth. Often placed upon Altars and taken out and given back to the land in spring.
I find this time very busy, foraging, pickling, storing and cooking. Crumbles are great this time of year if like me the idea of baking a Mabon cake is terrifying.
I also make all of the things I will need to stave off winter bugs like elderberry syrup and fire cider. I like to sort through my clothes, packing away the summer clothes and finding all my cozy jumpers and slipper socks. I give any clothes I no longer need to charity, being a Goth, this time of year is great for me to clear out, halloween celebrations are just around the corner after all.
I also use this time to actively reflect, journaling and divining where my success and downfalls lie and really focus on all lessons. I clear and redress my alter with nuts, seeds and apples, reds and oranges. I give thanks for all I have been given and ask for nothing at this time. I have work to do. I work now so I can rest and regather later. I cleanse my home and hearth, sweeping and smoke cleansing to clear out old energies.
I usually mull everything from now until February and can be heard shouting “MULL ALL THE THINGS!” often. However it’s still so warm this year. I haven’t felt the need to make anything warm to drink yet. The leaves are just showing a peek of turning and the nights are drawing in so I’ll use this time to graft.
What traditions do you have in your home? Are there any recipes you particularly enjoy at this time? Hit me up in the comments below.
Merry Mabon! Peace out witches!