Mabon – The Fire Festival
Date: Fall Equinox
Important Elements: Bringing in the last harvest, honoring the dead, the production of wine, preparing for winter
Related Holiday(s): Alban Elfed, Meán Fómhair
Colors: Brown, Green, Orange, Russet, Indigo, Gold
Symbols: Autumn Flowers, fallen leaves, acorns, corn, wheat sheaves, Owl, Salmon
Related Deities: Mabon, Holly King
The Sabbat festival of Mabon symbolizes the end of the summer year. Each day from this one forward sees the cold dark night of winter gaining power. The Holly King has come into his own in those traditions that revere him, and the Sun God is no longer a sage. He has died, beginning the long journey that will end in Yule, when he returns as the Sun Child from the land of the dead.
The mother is well fruited with a child at the time of the Pagan Mabon and is deep within her mother aspect. She can be seen as Demeter at this time, mourning her daughter Persephone as she returns to the Underworld for the winter. She is also Modron, meaning simply Mother.
But this season is a season of plenty, the last harvest, the tables, and silos are loaded high with the gains of the Summer’s harvest, the result of the sun-god sacrificing his strength that the crops may grow.
There is no need for hunger at this time of year. The very fields are ripe with the overabundance of the season’s harvest. And all can and should be shared with those around us. Each time we share the wealth of food, we honor ourselves, and the Goddess Mother.
Most important this time of year of Mabon is the preparation for winter. After the feasting is done, houses must be prepared. The nights are already colder and soon will become unforgivable as the darkest time of the year arrives.
So make sure your larder is stocked, your wood stores are high, and that the windows in your home are all weatherized and prepared for the coming season.
The altar during the Sabbat of Mabon should be decorated with the abundance of the season’s wealth, with the leaves of autumn scattered in their rainbow of earthy colors.
The green of summer has faded as the chlorophyll within them fades, and the lesser, hidden colors shine forth from their dry crisp corpses. Pumpkins and gourds should adorn the altar, candles of gold, orange, and red.
Other ways to honor the holiday include leaving out the gleanings of the field for the wild animals. They are preparing for winter too, and with the continual reduction in the spaces they live and the wild places, we should offer forth our bounty to them, remembering that this was once their land too.