Celtic Traditions: Mabon

Our Scottish ancestry is rich in Celtic traditions

The Celts follow an Earth based seasonal wheel. The Celtic year is divided into two halves, the dark beginning with Samhain and the light beginning with Beltane. In between these are Imbolc and Lughnasadh/Lammas. These key points of the Celtic year were recognized as doorways, when the veil between the worlds are thinnest.

These quarters are further divided by the solstices and equinoxes:  Winter Solstice, Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice, and Autumn Equinox. These were referred to as the Albans.

We’re all familiar with the solstices as they are noted as the longest (summer) and shortest (winter) days of the year. The word is derived from the Latin sol meaning sun and sistere meaning to stand still.

Equinoxes also occur twice a year, when day and night are equal lengths. In fact, the word is derived from the Latin aequus meaning equal and nox meaning night.

mabon-e1443006384668Today is Mabon (pronounced MA-bon)

Mabon is the autumn equinox, occurring between September 21st and 23nd. Mabon is the counterpoint of Ostara and marks the middle of the harvest. It’s the Celtic version of Thanksgiving. (Thus the Canadian celebration in early October is truer than the American one in late November.) This is a time to reap what you have sown, finish old projects and plant the seeds for new enterprises. Reflect on the last year, your life, and your plans for your future.

While the ancient Celts would have celebrated the autumn equinox, most agree the name Mabon is more recent and attached to the Welsh God Mabon. The autumn equinox was known as Alban Elued or “The Light of the Water.” This was a time when the old Sun God returns to the Goddess’ embrace, his power sacrificed at the harvest of the grain.

Decorate your home with acorns, oak sprigs, pine and cypress cones, corn ears, wheat stalks, and other autumn fruits and nuts.

Some activities to embrace:

  • Hold a food drive, count your blessings and give to those less fortunate.
  • Get back to nature, this is a good time to go on a nature walk with the family and enjoy the sights and sounds of the outdoors. Take a bag with you and fill it with the trash you find, clean up the outdoors.
  • Tell timeless stories, embrace a rich oral history and share it with your family. Or learn tales of the indigenous people in the area you live.
  • Celebrate hearth and home, take time to do a fall version of spring cleaning in preparation for the indoor months around the corner.
  • Grapes are everywhere, celebrate wine making and the deities connected to it. Make wine (I’ve got this one down. We do this every year at work…aren’t you jealous now?) or take tour a local winery.

Sherri Siggy


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