This morning, before most North Americans had rolled out of bed, we moved into the time of perfect balance, the Equinox, taken from the Latin for “equal night.” It is the autumnal equinox in the northern hemisphere, and the spring equinox below the equator. In both cases, today consists of exactly twelve hours of daylight and twelve hours of darkness.
Mabon, (pronounced “MAY-bon”) is one ancient name for the Autumn Equinox, also called Harvest Home, Second Harvest, the Druidic Alban Alued, the Witches’ Thanksgiving and Siring Fate. This is the time of balance, for since Summer Solstice, the power of the darkness has grown as the daylight hours have diminished. Today, the dark and light are equal. But from now until Spring, the night will prevail.
The name Mabon has links to the Mabinogion, the ancient stories of Gods and humans in Welsh mythology. The tales of the Mabon are the “tales of the hero.” They derive this meaning from “mabon” or “meibon” –meaning a young man or youth. It is also the name of the God, Mabon ap Modron (Mabon in Welsh means son). So this is a reference to the son of the Welsh Goddess Madron. She is the Divine Mother and He is, simply, the Divine Son.
Most scholars agree that the Celts did not call the Autumn Equinox by the name Mabon. But this newer adaptation is certainly in keeping with the ancient Celtic practice of adopting festivals, myths, and Deities from other cultures.
This is a good time for divination and it marks the end of the second harvest. By this time, most of the crops would have been gathered in, primarily fruits, vegetables and herbs that will not stand up to frost. Mabon signals the beginning of Autumn, when we go into the dark season where most life sleeps for a short time. This is nearing the time when the God dies and goes to the underworld, and the Goddess is entering Her Crone aspect, storing the wisdom that She has learned over the years.
We honor the Goddess Demeter, who is Goddess of all growing things, and Her daughter Persephone, who becomes Queen of the Underworld at Mabon. As Persephone descends into the Underworld, Demeter covers her face, and all living and growing things die until Persephone returns at Ostara.
Often celebrated as the Witches’ Thanksgiving, we now gather in the harvest of summer, and prepare for winter’s needs. Everything in nature is constantly giving to and receiving from everything else. The Wise only take what is needed, and with reverence, mindfulness, gratitude and giving in return. For as we receive the gifts of the Goddess, we also give back, making an offering, and expressing our gratitude. This is, in fact, the heart of being in balance.
May you and your beloveds celebrate this day in peace and plenty. Blessed be.