Holidays & Festivals
Lovin' the Harvest with Mabon
Balance the Seasons
of Light and Dark
by Deborah Blake
If you take a good look at traditional Pagan rituals and holidays, you will see that many of them revolve around the necessities of survival. A good harvest season could make the difference between life and death, and so there are not one, or two, but three Pagan holidays designated as harvest festivals.
The first, Lammas, celebrates grain and the beginning of the harvest. The third, Samhain, is the last harvest festival, and as such can be somewhat bittersweet, as we brace ourselves for the darker half of the year. To me, the central one — Mabon, also known as the Autumn Equinox — is the most joyous of all. Observed on or around September 21st, Mabon is one of two days of the year when the darkness and the light are in perfect balance (the other being Ostara, the Spring Equinox). This holiday is the perfect time to take a good look at the balance — or lack of it — in your life.
Are you spending all your time working, and little of it doing the things that fill you with joy? Do you focus on what you don’t have instead of appreciating what you do have? What can you do to shift the balance so that you are healthier, happier, and ready for the darker seasons which are (oh yes, they are) right around the corner?
Mabon is considered to be the Witches’ Thanksgiving, so be sure to take some time to thank the Earth for all Her gifts and appreciate your blessings: friends, family, food, a roof over your head, a job, whatever. Add up the positives and give yourself over to gratitude, if only for one day. While you’re at it, host an Autumn Equinox party for your friends, and serve this easy and inexpensive dish.
- 1 can of refried black beans
- 1 can white beans (Great Northern or any other kind), mashed
- ½ c. salsa (or fresh tomatoes if you prefer)
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 2 cloves chopped fresh garlic
- 3 T chopped fresh parsley
- 2 T fresh dill (or 2 tsp dried)
- ½ c. sour cream or greek yogurt
- Corn tortilla chips for dipping (corn is one of the foods celebrated at Mabon).
You will make two bean dips, one dark and one light. For the dark dip, combine the refried black beans, salsa/tomatoes, half the lemon juice, parsley, half the garlic, and half the sour cream/yogurt. Mix well and set aside.
For the light dip, combine mashed white beans, half the lemon juice, dill, half the garlic and the other half of the sour cream or yogurt. Mix well. Put the dips in two bowls side-by-side. Or, if you want to get fancy, put them in one bowl in the classic Yin/Yang shape. Enjoy with friends!
Do this project (either as a solitary or in a group) to connect with the balancing aspect of Mabon.
- cardboard or stiff paper
- aluminum foil
- pens, pencils, markers, or crayons
- decorations (glitter, foil, whatever; use your imagination!)
- glue (if necessary for decorations)
Years ago, I had an boyfriend who had a homemade pyramid suspended above his bed on a string. At the time, I thought this was a little crazy, but the pyramid shape has been associated with power for centuries, and now I’m thinking there might have been a method to his madness!
To make the pyramid, simply cut four triangles out of cardboard or any heavy paper (you want it to be fairly stiff, so it will keep its shape). On what will be the inside of your pyramid (the side that won’t be seen once you tape it together), write down or draw pictures of the elements of your life that you would like to be in balance. For instance, you may write “work” on one piece, “family” on another, “spiritual life,” on a third, and so forth.
Once you have done this, tape the cardboard together so you have three pieces attached, tie a knot in the string so it won’t pull through, put the knot inside the pyramid (so the string is outside and up), then tape the last side together to form your completed pyramid. Now cover the outside with shiny aluminum foil, and decorate as desired. (Make sure that you can still see the words inside.)
Hang your pyramid over your bed, over your altar, or in any spot where you might sit and meditate. If you don’t want to put it up permanently, it should be light enough to tape up when you need to sit under it for a bit and meditate on balance or pull in some energy. Remember to take some time periodically to sit under your pyramid and focus on balance. Make it on the Equinox, to be sure that some of the holiday’s wonderful energy gets stored inside to be called on during the darker months ahead.
DEBORAH BLAKE is a Wiccan high priestess living in upstate New York. Deborah is the author of three books from Llewellyn: Circle, Coven & Grove: A Year of Magickal Practice (2007), Everyday Witch A to Z: An Amusing, Inspiring & Informative Guide to The Wonderful World of Witchcraft (2008), and The Goddess is in the Details (2009).
» Originally published in Witches&Pagans #23
Support Your Path —
Subscribe to Witches&Pagans magazine.