Mabon is upon us. It is a time of equal opposites being in balance and the second harvest of the year. The fields are clear and the crops are sowed. The trees shed colorful fiery leaves and pumpkin soup warms the stomachs and hearts of everyone around.
Mabon falls at the Fall Equinox, or when the sun enters Libra. The Welsh name Mabon means “great son” and refers to the Son of the Great Mother. This Celtic mythological figure, who has many names and figures in many tales, was identified by the Romans as Mercury or sometimes as Apollo. In Christian Britain He was superseded by St. Michael, to whom churches on many sacred Pagan sites were dedicated, and the Fall Equinox became the Christian feast of Michaelmas. In medieval times, rents fell due and contracts were settled at Easter and at Michaelmas.
Mabon is primarily a harvest festival; it falls either during or at the end of the European grain harvest, depending on latitude. The Fall equinox is the mating season for deer, and marks the beginning of the hunting season in many places. In British folklore this time of year is associated with Herne the Hunter, who leads a wild phantom chase through the forest, heralding confusion and change. In one Craft tradition the Fall Equinox is called “the Night of the Hunter,” when weak livestock which will not survive the winter must be slain. Mabon in some traditions marks the death or departure of the God in His yearly life-cycle; in others, however, this may occur at Lughnasadh or at Samhain. The Fall Equinox has also been identified as the “assumption of the Crone,” when the dark face of the Goddess assumes the sway over the world which She will hold until the return of the Maiden at Imbolc.