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Merry Mabon Celebration!


The Autumn Equinox or Harvest Home is also called Mabon, pronounced 'MAY-bon', after the Welsh god Mabon ap Modron, which means literally 'son of mother',the Feast of the Ingathering, Meán Fómhair or Alban Elfed (in Neo-Druidic traditions).

Mabon appears in 'The Mabinogion' tale. The Druids call this celebration, Mea'n Fo'mhair, and honour The Green Man, the God of the Forest, by offering libations to the trees. The Welsh know this time as 'Alban Elfed', meaning 'light of autumn'.
It is basically a ritual of thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth and a recognition of the need to share them to secure the blessings of the Goddess and the God during the winter months.
Mabon is considered a time of the Mysteries. It is a time to honor Aging Deities and the Spirit World. Considered a time of balance, it is when we stop and relax and enjoy the fruits of our personal harvests, whether they be from toiling in our gardens, working at our jobs, raising our families, or just coping with the hussle-bussle of everyday life.
It is a time to be thankful for friends and family and knowing there is enough food to last through the cold winter months. It is a time to honor Aging Deities and the Spirit World. Considered a time of balance, it is when we stop and relax and enjoy the fruits of our personal harvests, whether they be from toiling in our gardens, working at our jobs, raising our families, or just coping with the hussle-bussle of everyday life.
The triple Goddess is now in her aspect of the ageing Goddess and now passes from Mother to Crone, until she is reborn as a youthful virgin as the wheel of nature turns.

At the Autumn equinox the goddess offers wisdom, healing and rest.In the northern hemisphere this equinox occurs anywhere from September 21 to 24. In the southern hemisphere, the autumn equinox occurs anywhere from March 20–23. Among the sabbats, it is the second of the three pagan harvest festivals, preceded by Lammas/Lughnasadh and followed by Samhain.
This is the point of the year when once again day and night are equal - 12 hours, as at Ostara, the Spring Equinox. The Latin word for Equinox means 'time of equal days and nights'.After this celebration the descent into winter brings hours of increasing darkness and chiller temperatures. It is the time of the year when night conquers day.

After the Autumn Equinox the days shorten and nights lengthen. To astrologers this is the date on which the sun enters the sign of Libra, the scales, reflecting appropriately the balanced day and night of the equinox. This was also the time when the farmers brought in their harvested goods to be weighed and sold.
Harvest festival
This is the second festival of the season of harvest - at the beginning of the harvest, at Lammas, winter retreated to his underworld, now at the Autumn equinox he comes back to earth. For our Celtic ancestors this was time to reflect on the past season and celebrate nature's bounty and accept that summer is now over. Harvest Home marks a time of rest after hard work, and a ritual of thanksgiving for the fruits of nature.
This is the time to look back on the past year and what you have achieved and learnt, and to plan for the future.

The full moon nearest to the Autumn Equinox is called the Harvest Moon and farmers would harvest their crops by then, as part of the second harvest celebration.
Mabon was when livestock would be slaughtered and preserved (salted and smoked) to provide enough food for the winter.

Mabon Traditions

The Wicker man
There was a Celtic ritual of dressing the last sheaf of corn to be harvested in fine clothes, or weaving it into a wicker-like man or woman. It was believed the sun or the corn spirit was trapped in the corn and needed to be set free. This effigy was usually burned in celebration of the harvest and the ashes would be spread on the fields. This annual sacrifice of a large wicker man (representing the corn spirit) is thought by many to have been the origin of the misconception that Druids made human sacrifices.

'The reaping is over and the harvest is in,
Summer is finished, another cycle begins'

In some areas of the country the last sheaf was kept inside until the following spring, when it would be ploughed back into the land. In Scotland, the last sheaf of harvest is called 'the Maiden', and must be cut by the youngest female in attendance.

Corn Dollies
Corn dollies were also made from the last sheaf and kept in the house to protect the inhabitants from bad spirits during the long winter.

Apples
To honour the dead, it was also traditional at Mabon to place apples on burial cairns, as symbolism of rebirth and thanks. This also symbolizes the wish for the living to one day be reunited with their loved ones.
Mabon is also known as the Feast of Avalon, deriving from the meaning of Avalon being, 'the land of the apples'.


Rituals of Mabon
Rituals to celebrate Mabon can have a dual focus, or choose just one aspect: feasting and thanksgiving for harvest, or recognition that the Year's Wheel is turning towards winter.
Celebrate this harvest aspect before your feasting meal by blessing the loaf of bread. The head of the household should break off a piece while thanking the Earth for Her gifts; this first piece should go on a special dish for offering. As the host serves each dish, the first spoonful should go on this dish to offer the gods. Bless each dish to the guests' health as it is passed, and be sure to have a toast!
Another way to recognize the darker aspects of the day would be to hold a Falling Leaves ritual out doors. Take an offering of grains and vegetables out to a large tree, preferrably an oak that is beginning to color and lose its leaves. Speak about the Wheel as reflected in the life of the tree in Spring the first new signs of life appear, moving into maturity at summer, then to ripe acorns in late summer, now to dying as acorns and leaves fall, and the tree will "die" and slumber under Winter's cold before beginning again in early Spring. At ritual's end, have the children gather a few favorite leaves to press between waxed paper with an iron(parents, supervise the ironing!); cut around leaves and hang in the child's window.

Related Sources:
http://www.new-age.co.uk
http://www.angelfire.com/nb/appalachianpagan
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