In the northern hemisphere, Mabon is the next Sabbat of the year and it is Sept 22nd—this Saturday, for you calendar challenged people like me. Though this will be the second Mabon of my practice, it will be the first I plan to celebrate accordingly. During all of my research and planning, I’ve constructed this general outline that others in my situation may find useful for constructing their own Mabon rituals. And so without any further ado, let us begin planning for this year’s Witch’s Thanksgiving.
- Make a list of the things you are thankful for
In terms of the earth, this is the time when the final harvests are brought in and thanks given for the year’s bounty. We each have more than just harvest to be thankful for though. Take out a notebook and think about the blessings you’ve had this year. My list includes: My fiancé is still willing to put up with me; my relationship with my mother has strengthened and we are closer; my future sister-in-law had a brush with death a couple of weeks ago and is doing better now.
- Set your altar
Traditional items for a Mabon altar include fruits and vegetables from harvest, fragrant herbs like rosemary, tokens of family members and loved ones and anything else that signifies abundance to you or goes with the gold/orange/red/green color scheme. You should also have a gold or green prayer candle specifically for this ritual. In addition to these items, I’m also adding a token I associate with each thing from my thankful list above. For example, to represent my fiancé’s continued support, the claddagh ring I gave him years ago will be on my altar.
- Understand the real reason behind the Sabbat
It is appropriate to honor the gods by give thanks through a ritual and to actively respect the earth that has sustained us for another year, but this time of year is also about fellowship with other people. Now is the time to express gratitude for support offered, kind words exchanged or admired actions. Let your loved ones know how much you appreciate them, and express hope that you have been as supportive of them as they have been of you.
- Consider writing your own thanksgiving prayer/chant
There are a lot of standard ritual words out there, and of course any of them are fine to utilize. Personally, I am combining parts of what I’ve seen used before and creating my own. Here are a few examples to get you started.
I am thankful for my health, because it allows me to feel well.
I am thankful for my children, for keeping me young.
I am thankful for my career, because each day I get paid to do what I love.
We have so many blessings,
and for this we are thankful.
There are others not so fortunate,
and by this we are humbled.
We shall make an offering in their name
to the gods who watch over us,
that those in need are someday
as blessed as we are this day.
Ancient symbol of life, death and rebirth, take away my mourning.
Help me to be assured that death is not a permanent parting, but a new and joyful beginning.
- Decide the tone of your ritual
The generic way to go is to give thanks for things we have been blessed with this past year, but there are other ways to celebrate Mabon. You might also consider offering a prayer of help for those who have been less fortunate, or construct the ritual around bringing yourself to understand death and rebirth. This is the Dark Mother’s time; the Crone holds sway, and She has traded her basket of flowers and fruits for the scythe and sickle. The earth is dying a little each day, and that’s a powerful thing to be reckoned with. Another option is to use a theme for your day (like apples or pumpkin) that ties everything together.
- What kinds of food will you prepare?
This is a great chance to involve children or other family members if it’s an option. My family does not know I’m Wiccan, but we have lots of zucchini that still need to be used, so I will be asking my youngest siblings if they’re interested in helping me bake. It doesn’t have to be overtly Wiccan to celebrate family bonds. Here’s a starter list of potential dishes from a fellow Wiccan blogger. If I get a chance, I’ll be posting more detailed suggestions for food preparations later in the week. For now, keep in mind pumpkin, apples, squash and zucchini.
Over the next few posts we will look at some different ritual approaches for Mabon, including: honoring the Dark Mother, hearth and home, gratitude ritual, and spells for earth healing and for peace. I’m also accepting requests, so if you have questions or would like to see a post on a certain topic, leave a comment below!
As always, stay in the Mother’s Light,