Mabon, the Autumn Equinox

Mabon, the Autumn Equinox, is part of an Introductory Course in Wicca for incarcerated Wiccans, their families and friends, and prison Chaplains. It has been written to provide a greater understanding of Wicca as a spiritual practice and religion for those who seek to understand it, either as an incarcerated Wiccan or as someone who cares about incarcerated Wiccans.

Mabon, the Autumn Equinox, is another day when the hours of daylight and darkness are of equal length, but this day foreshadows the darker days that will soon come. Mabon is the harvest of the fruits of the Mother, who in her aspect of eternal Goddess enters the third trimester of her pregnancy.

For Wiccans, this is the time when the dying Sun/Son begins his journey across the Western ocean to sojourn with the eldest aspect of the Goddess, in the land of the dead at Samhain. Witches can easily see in this the Arthurian legends that echoes of the dying god in the fallen King Arthur, who is borne westwards toward either the Summerlands or Avalon, the Celtic Otherworld, accompanied by the three maidens, thought to symbolize the triple Goddess. His renewal is seen in the birth of the Star Child at the Winter Solstice, and his rapid growth to youth, hero and protector in the next year’s cycle. The King is dead. Long live the King!

Mabon, also known as Modron, the Festival of Dionysus, is celebrated on September 21st or 22nd, and is associated with the gods Dionysus and Damuzi. It represents maturity, a time of rest after life’s labors, and indeed it is a time of rest within the year-between the harvest being gathered in, and the long dark that is coming.

In our rituals, we often slice open apples to reveal the mystery within–a five-pointed star symbolizing all the elements of life combined. They remind us that, as Wiccans, we walk between the worlds, that of consensual reality and that of the magical Otherworld. On this day, we stand between the pillars of light and darkness, ready to descend, with all those goddesses whose myths are associated with the Underworld, into the long night of the year. We eat the fruits of our labor, and like Inanna, Persephone, Freya and Ishtar, prepare ourselves for the descent into the deep, creative darkness of the six months to follow.

If Yule is the year’s midnight, Mabon is its sunset and in this dusk we carry what we can of the Sun’s noonday strength at Litha with us into the dark.

Next: Samhain, the Festival of the Dead