Mabon is the Pagan Autumn Equinox (Sept. 20 - 23) and a time for celebrating harvest and giving thanks! It is a time to offer gratitude to the land, the God and Goddess and to set intentions to move with ease through the approaching darkness as the Wheel of the Year spins.
“Gather, do a breathing meditation. The Priestess says, 'This is a time of harvest, of thanksgiving and joy, of leave taking and sorrow. Now day and night are equal, in perfect balance, and we give thought to the balance and flow within our own lives. The Sun King has become the Lord of the Shadows, sailing West: we follow Him into the dark. Life declines; the season of barrenness is upon us, yet we give thanks for that which we have reaped and gathered. We meet to turn the Wheel and weave the cord of life that will sustain us through the dark.'” (Starhawk, Spiral Dance, A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess. p. 192)
A ritual may be performed further by preference of the individual/group. It may be ceremonial with simple intention and meditation and/or more structured as a traditional magick ritual. It is always nice to end with feast and dance!
Ritual often includes a large altar filled with seasonal fruits, vegetables, seeds, feathers, candles, incense and yarn. Pumpkins, squash, corn and apples are excellent ornaments as well as late summer flowers. Pumpkins can be carved with sacred symbols or sigils and the apples can be split in half to find the naturally formed five-pointed star, the pentagram!
Mabon is also the time when the Goddess Demeter lost her daughter Persephone (Kore) to Plouton (Hades), the God of the Underworld, whereby she became angry and in despair, the land wasted away. Many versions of the story say that Persephone was abducted by Plouton, however there are others that say she left by choice. She had dreamt about Plouton and fallen in love with him, hoping to bring life and light into the Underworld and to bless the souls of the dead who reside there. It was her compassionate heart that drove her. Persephone was torn when she heard of how devastated her Mother was, as her heart wanted to be in both places with her mother and her beloved. Aphrodite had come to the Underworld and blessed their love as pure and true and so Demeter came to the Underworld to offer her blessings. Here a council of Gods and Goddesses decided to “Let fair Persephone stay with the Lord Plouton from the time the grain is stored to the time the grain is again planted. Then may Persephone rise to work with holy Demeter as before.” (Reif, Jennifer. Mysteries of Demeter, Rebirth of the Pagan Way. p.29). They all rejoiced and celebrated as life was restored and joy was replenished in the hearts of Demeter and Persephone.
Demeter is the Great Mother, Goddess of crops, who gave the first wheat seeds to humans and taught them about agriculture. She symbolizes protection of women, renewal, vegetation, motherhood, corn, soil, and high magick. Persephone (Kore before marrying Plouton) is the corn maiden, destroyer, Goddess of the seasons and the Underworld, and is often associated with a pomegranate.
“Through the experiences of Demeter’s Daughter, we learn about the cycles of the soul. The experiences of the Holy Daughter, from Spring Maiden to the Underworld Queen, are like the cycle of the seed. Both are Demeter’s creations, her children. The daughter and the seed both spring forth from the Earth to grow, flourish, and mature. Then at the end of their cycle they pass into death. Later they arise and are born into life again. This pattern is symbolic of our own cyclical and continuing nature.” (Reif, Jennifer. Mysteries of Demeter, Rebirth of the Pagan Way. p.32)
"The Kore Chant:
Her name cannot be spoken,
Her face was not forgotten,
Her power is to open,
Her promise can never be broken.
All seeds She deeply buries,
She weaves the thread of seasons.
Her secret, darkness carries,
She loves beyond all reason.
She changes everything She touches, and
Everything She touches, changes. [Repeat – chant.]
Change is, touch is; Touch is, change is.
Change us! Touch us! Touch us! Change us!
Everything lost is found again,
In a new form, In a new way.
Everything hurt is healed again,
In a new life, In a new day.
[Repeat any and all verses.]"
(Starhawk, Spiral Dance, A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess. p. 102-3)