It’s Mabon, folks! Also known as the autumn equinox, Mabon ushers in my favorite time of year. I don’t know about you, but fall is also the season when I feel most spiritual as a pagan. Mabon serves as the kick-off to this exciting season, and its themes are all about preparation, abundance, harvest, gratitude, and balance.
This year, the autumn equinox falls on September 23, but many pagans celebrate Mabon as a week-long festival, so the dates you choose to observe Mabon don’t really matter as long as you’re enjoying the spirit of the season. Honestly, I tend to forget Sabbat dates until the last minute, so I’m usually a couple days behind with my own celebrations. What can I say? I’m a lazy pagan.
While you can generally find a lot of information about celebrating Mabon for Wiccans and polytheist witches, pantheists are a minority in pagan circles, so you might wonder how to develop more nontheistic rituals. In reality, though, the ways pantheists can celebrate Mabon aren’t much different from other pagans.
Decorate Your Altar for the Season
Switch out your summer-themed altar decor for autumnal colors like gold, orange, brown, and rusted red. Since Mabon is a harvest festival, your altar should be brimming with pinecones, acorns, root vegetables, and seasonal fruit.
Since I live in an area with plenty of corn fields and apple orchards, I tend to decorate my altar with ornamental corn, shiny apples, and fall-colored candles. Ideally, you should choose your own altar elements based on the current harvests in your own region.
Charge a Talisman
Since Mabon is all about preparation, now is the perfect time to cleanse and charge a talisman for protection, abundance, or balance. If you’ve never charged a talisman before, you can use any piece of jewelry or wearable object that speaks to you.
Unless the object already has good energy, you’ll want to cleanse it with water, salt, sound, or smoke. I personally don’t make a big ritual out of cleansing objects, but you can create an elaborate ritual if you wish. When charging your talisman, however, I recommend doing so at your altar with any candles and incense lit to help you achieve a meditative state.
To charge your talisman, hold it in your hand and focus your intention. If you want to charge the object with protection, think about what that means to you. Meditate on the idea of protection. You might want to speak your intentions aloud: “I am safe.” “My family is safe.” “My home is protected.” Once you’ve focused your intention on the object, seal it with a gesture such as a kiss, a nod, or a “so mote it be.”
Play With Apple Magic
If any type of magic is associated with Mabon, it’s apple magic!
Having grown up in the Appalachian Mountains, I was actually exposed to apple divination long before becoming pagan. I remember in high school that my friends and I would twist our apple stems to divine the first letter of our true love’s first name. The first twist was A, the second B, and so on until the stem came off, and whichever letter the stem came off on was what your true love’s name started with.
Is it a coincidence that my apple stem almost always came off on G and my husband’s legal name starts with a G? I don’t know! But practicing apple divination and having it accurately predict my marriage is a fun memory I love retelling to this day.
There are many ways to practice apple magic, so have fun with it and start your own tradition!
Have a Feast
Since Mabon is a harvest festival, you may want to stir up some magic in the kitchen. Having a Thanksgiving-like feast is a good way to celebrate the Sabbat with friends and family.
I’m not much of a cook, and as a solitary practitioner who’s only guest would be my husband, I tend to bake more than cook this time of year. I recently transformed some stale sourdough bread into a bread pudding with whiskey sauce, which is a special occasion in this house, so to me that counts. 😉
Bring Balance to Your Home and Life
Mabon occurs at the point when there are equal hours of darkness and light, hence its theme of balance. If you’re feeling a bit off or unbalanced, identify areas in your life where you can restore some of that balance. This may mean performing a simple ritual to rededicate your practice, taking a hike in the woods, trying a yoga class, or decluttering the house.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, Mabon is the perfect time to make a gratitude list. Write down the things you are thankful for that you tend to take for granted. Even this simple act can restore some much-needed balance to your soul.
I hope this list gives you some ideas for celebrating Mabon as a pantheist pagan. What are your favorite ways to mark the season?