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Historical Mabon


Mabon, the second of the great harvest festivals, is celebrated at the Autumnal Equinox around the 21st of March. (between September 21-September 25).It marks the end of the corn harvest which started with Lughnasadh. It is the time of the apple harvest. For our ancestors, apples were the fruit that sustained them through the winter. Apples themselves and the cider which was pressed from them were an important part of the diet. The Wheel has turned and for this single day the hours of daylight and darkness are once again equal. The air is cooler and the harvest of fruits and vegetables means that we are busy canning, pickling, drying and bottling the bounties of orchard and garden. The sun is the focal point of energy (along with the moon) and such; its life force pushes us to discover more about ourselves. It is time for a cooperative outlook on that time of year, just what was needed by the communities, as they all worked together to complete the harvest.


Mabon is the Welsh name for a Celtic god who was stolen from his mother three days after his birth and locked away till he was a man. His name was Mabon, son of Modron, which translated means "Son, son of the Mother". Mabon was also known as the Son of Light. He was the god of liberation, harmony, music and unity. The Mother and son aspect is the most common among the neo-pagans, and fits well with in the Wiccan perspective of the Holly King mythology.The story has very ancient origins and much of it has been lost. The version which has come down to us tells of, Kyllwch, one of King Arthur's knights, finding and freeing Mabon as a step toward fulfilling one of the conditions for his betrothal to the fair Olwen. Through the intervention of the Stag, Blackbird, Owl, Eagle and Salmon -- the ancient Celtic symbols of wisdom-- Mabon is freed from his mysterious captivity and Kyllwch wins Olwen.


At Mabon, The Mother of the Harvest becomes the Old One, the wise grandmother who teaches us to rest after our labours.

In ancient Greece, the Goddess of the season was both Demeter, who can be generous with her gifts, or hold them back as she mourns for her daughter, and Persephone, who goes into the underworld to return again.


This is often a time of reflection and re-establishment of routines that may have slipped during the heat of the summer. We pull out the boxes of warmer clothing and realize how much our children have grown when clothing that fit them just a few months ago is far too short and tight.


Altar arrangement - The Mabon altar is simple. Make an arrangement of some of the things harvested that will keep for a few weeks: winter squash, dried corn, herbs, pumpkins. If you haven't harvested anything yourself, this is a good time to go to a farmers' market or a pick-your-own farm and choose what you want on the altar.
Autumn leaves, a bouquet of late-blooming flowers, picture or figurines of animals are good additions, as well.

If you know any stories of people who have been imprisoned for their beliefs, their religion or race, you can put their pictures on the altar.


Colours -red, bronze, orange, yellow and rust!


Incense, Herbs and Woods - Nutmeg, cloves, Sandalwood and myrrh. Heather, pine and cedar also make good choices. Herbs commonly associated with Mabon are: mace, cinnamon, cloves, cypress, juniper, oakmoss, marigold, ivy and sage. Make your wands from hazel at this time of year.





Activities and Craft


Quick List:


  Look for coloured leaves. Collect fallen leaves and make a centerpiece or bouquet for your home, save the leaves to burn in your Yule fire, or make a "Contact Collage" by sticking the leaves on the contact (or similar brand), then sticking the whole thing on a piece of paper or card.


  Visit an apple orchard and, if possible, pick your own apples.


  Do a taste test of different kinds of apples.


  Make apple sauce or apple pie.


  Make an apple Doll. (You can speed things up by putting your peeled and carves apple "head" in the oven at the lowest setting). If you put them outside to dry, protect them from birds, Magpies once made quite a feast of our apple heads!


Any of the activities listed for the other harvest festivals (Lughnasadh or Samhain) would also be appropriate for Mabon.








Star Prints


After you have shared the story of the Little Red House with your children, it is fun to make block prints using your cut apples. Of course you can use other fruits and vegetables to make other shapes, but the natural pentacle inside an apple is a fun for all kinds of pagan applications from stationary to tee-shirts (Star fruit also has the pentacle when sliced across).




  Apples cut cross-wise to reveal the star


  Acrylic craft paint in desired colours. Available in tubes and small bottles. The tubes work better for this project.

(Note: while it is wet, most acrylic paints can be washed away with water or rubbing alcohol--once it is dry, it is virtually impossible to remove from fabrics.)


  Items to be printed (white polyester tee-shirts, printer paper folded into quarters to use as stationary or greeting cards, plain brown paper or white butcher paper to use as wrapping paper, brown or white bags with handles, etc.)


  A piece of tile, or a Styrofoam meat tray to use as a paint surface


  Brayer (Optional, but nice to have--a small rolling pin can be used, but a real brayer can be purchased reasonably at most art supply stores.)





1. Squeeze a small amount of paint on your paint surface and spread with the brayer.


2. Dip the cut side of your apple in the paint and apply to the item you are stamping.


3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 as many times as desired. If using more than one colour, let dry between colours.


4. If stamping tee-shirts, let dry at least 24 hours before wearing or washing.





Autumn Sabbat Incense


3 parts Frankincense

 2 parts Myrrh

1 part Rosemary

1 part Cedar

1 part Juniper


Burn during fall and winter Sabbat rituals.




Mabon Incense


2 Parts Frankincense

1 Part Sandalwood

1 Part Cypress

1 Part Juniper

1 Part Pine

1/2 Part Oakmoss (or few drops of Oakmoss Bouquet)

1 Pinch Pulverized oak leaf


Burn during Mabon rituals.






Apple Cinnamon Pudding



  2 c Apple juice

  1 c Water

  1 pinch Sea salt (optional)

  1 c Rice bran

  1 Ts Cinnamon

  1 c Roasted pecan or other nuts -- (chopped)

  1 Ts Vanilla



1.     Bring juice, water and salt to a boil in a large saucepan.

2.     Stir in Rice bran and cinnamon.

3.     Turn heat to low.

4.     Simmer 5 minutes.

5.     Remove from heat.

6.     Stir in nuts and vanilla.

7.     Let set until slightly cool.

8.     Pour into a 20cm square pan.

9.     Refrigerate until set and cool.


Serve squares plain or with a little fruit syrup.





Fresh Apple Cake


This is a very rich, moist cake which needs no frosting. I'm told it mellows and improves with age.


  3 C. tart apples, diced and peeled

  2 1/2 C. Sugar

  1 1/2 C. Vegetable oil

  3 Eggs

  3 C. Flour

  1 tsp. Salt

  1 tsp. Baking Soda

  1 1/2 tsp. Almond flavouring

  1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla

  3/4 C. shredded Coconut

  1 C. chopped Nuts.



1.      Mix sugar in oil.

2.      Add eggs and mix.

3.      Combine dry ingredients.

4.      Stir the apples, nuts and coconut into the dry ingredients.

5.      Stir everything together. Add the flavorings.

6.      Pour into a greased and floured tube pan.

Bake at 170C for 1 hour & 30 minutes, or until a pick inserted in the cake comes out clean.




Applesauce Cake


This is a wonderful recipe!

It keeps well for up to a week without refrigeration.
It's good for breakfast, for snacks or for dessert.


  1 1/2 C. Applesauce (chunky is especially good)

  1 C. Sugar

  1/2 C. Shortening

  1 C. Raisins

  2 C. Flour

  1 tsp. Baking Soda

  1 tsp. Nutmeg

  1 tsp. Cinnamon

  1 C. chopped Nuts.



1.            Combine applesauce, sugar, raisins and shortening in a saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently until the mixture comes to a  boil. Allow to cool.

2.            Combine dry ingredients and nuts.

3.            Stir everything together until well blended. (Mixture will be very thick.)

4.            Pour into a greased and floured 22cm x 30cm pan.

5.            Bake at 175C for 30 minutes, or until a pick inserted in the cake comes out clean.

6.            Allow to cool completely, then cover with plastic wrap.















Stuffed Acorn Squash

2 acorn squash (or similar small pumpkin), washed and cut in halves          

1/2 stick of butter

1/2 cup of crushed Ritz crackers                  

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup brown sugar


1.      Wash and cut acorn squash in half from stem to bottom

2.      Scoop out the seeds and rub the inside and cut parts with butter

3.      Put the acorn squash on a cookie sheet

4.      Melt the butter, and mix in the walnuts, brown sugar, and crackers

5.      Place in the holes of the squash and bake at 175C for 30 - 40 minutes or until done.




Wild Rice with Apples and Walnuts


1 cup wild rice

 2 cups water

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil


Cook rice and oil in water for 50 minutes.


1 cup walnuts

1 rib of celery, chopped

4 chopped scallions

1 cup raisins

1 red apple, peeled and chopped, set aside in lemon water

2 teaspoons grated lemon rind


Combine nuts, celery, onions, raisins, drained apple and lemon rind and set aside.


3 T. lemon juice

2 garlic cloves, minced

 1/2 t. salt

 1/3 cup olive oil

 pepper, to taste


Whisk together juice, salt and pepper, garlic and oil and add to cooked rice.

Add fruit mixture to the rice (to which has been added oil, spices and juice) and mix well. May be served cold or heated.








Sweet Potato Casserole

1-1.5 kg sweet potatoes, peeled and steamed until completely soft

3/4 cup orange juice

2 eggs, beaten

2 Tablespoons melted butter

2 T. sugar

1 1/2 t cinnamon

1/2 t. nutmeg


Mix juice, eggs, sugar and spices and blend thoroughly with potatoes using an electric mixer. Spread into a greased 22cm x 33cm pan.


1/2 cup flour

1/4 c plus 2 T. brown sugar

1/2 t. cinnamon

1/4 c. chopped butter

1/2 c. chopped pecans


Mix together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, butter and nuts until crumbly, spread on top of sweet potatoes and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.















The Little Red House                                                


One crisp Autumn day a boy named Peter was looking for something to do. His mother was busy making applesauce and couldn't stop to play with him, so she suggested that he go on a quest.

"What is a quest?" asked Peter.

"A quest is a search for something important that is very hard to find," said his mother.

"What shall I look for?" asked Peter.

His mother thought for a moment. "You could look for the Little Red House with No Doors and No Windows and a Star Inside," his mother said.

Peter had never heard of such a strange house, but he supposed that it would be more fun to go on a quest than to sit and wait for the applesauce to cook, so he put on his jactet and hat and set out on his way.

Peter didn't know where he should start looking, but he knew his mother would never set him a task that would be too hard for him to accomplish, so he walked along the street looking at all the houses. All of the houses he passed had doors and windows and none of them seemed like the sort of house that would have a star inside.

Peter saw a little girl playing in the park. He decided to ask her if she knew about the Little Red House with No Doors and No Windows and a Star Inside.


The little girl said, "I have never heard of such an unusual house. Let's go ask my father. He is a farmer. He knows how to make the crops grow and when it will rain. Maybe he knows about the Little Red House with No Doors and No Windows and a Star Inside."

Peter followed the little girl. They walked down the lane, over the hill and to a small white farmhouse. The girl's father was sitting on the porch. Beside him were bushel baskets of golden corn and squash, which he had harvested that morning.

"Daddy," said the little girl, "This is Peter. He is looking for a Little Red House with No Doors and No Windows and a Star Inside. Do you know where he can find it?"


The farmer took off his hat and scratched his head. "I heard of such a house once, but I never tried to find it. Maybe you should ask my Granny. She is very old and very wise. She knows how to make apple pies and red mittens. Maybe she can tell you where it is."

Peter set of down the road looking for Granny's cottage. He walked all morning and was beginning to get very hungry when when he finally arrived at the Granny's gate. The old lady was sitting in rocking chair on the front porch knitting some red mittens.

"Excuse me, Granny" said Peter, "The farmer told me that you might be able to help me with my quest. I am looking for the Little Red House with No Doors and No Windows and with a Star Inside. Could you help me?"

The old woman's face was as wrinkled as an apple doll's. It wrinkled even more when she squinted at Peter and smiled. "I have heard of that house, but I never tried to find it. Perhaps you should ask the Wind. He sees and hears everything."

Peter walked to the top of a high hill and called to the wind. "Excuse me, Wind, do you know where I can find Little Red House with No Doors and No Windows and a Star Inside?"


"Yes-s-s-s," answered the Wind it it's gusty voice. "I know where that hous-s-s-se is-s-s-s. Follow me."

Peter followed the wind. Sometimes the wind would push him gently in the direction it wished him to go and other times it would snatch off his hat and throw it into the air in a silly game of catch.

They went down the hill and through the vale. They finally arrived at an apple orchard. The Wind climbed into a tree and threw an apple down to Peter.


Peter picked up the apple and looked at it. The apple was red as rubies and shiny in the sun. With it's stiff brown stem sticking up like a chimney it did look like a little house with no doors and no windows.

"But what about the star?" asked Peter. "Where is the star?"

"Ins-s-side," whispered the Wind. "Cut it open from s-s-side to s-s-side."

Peter took his pocket knife and did as the wind instructed. He cut the apple from side to side and when he opened it, there was a star inside holding the apple's seeds.


"Thank you, Wind" called Peter as he ran towards him home.          

"You're welcome, Peter," whistled the Wind.

"Granny, I found it! Thank you for helping me," he shouted as he ran past her cottage. Granny just nodded and smiled.

"Farmer, I found it! Thank you for helping me," he shouted as he ran past the farmer's corn field. The farmer waved and smiled.

Peter didn't stop running till he got home. "I found it, Mom!" he said.

"I knew you would" smiled his mother as she gave him a big hug and a spoonful of applesauce.


The End











This beautiful painting from -


Once upon a time there was a little girl named Meagan. She lived with her mommy and daddy, her big brother Corwin and her beautiful cat named Starweaver.  It was a cool day. The leaves had started to change colour. Meagan walked home looking at all the pretty colours. She was wearing the new sweater that her Nana had made for her. Meagan sighed. Her brother had gotten his cast off of his arm. But he still didn't seem to want to play with her. Meagan wished that things would go back to being the way they were before he broke his arm. 


Suddenly Meagan saw a flash of colour at the door to her house. She looked closer and started running. It was her best friend Cindy! "Hey!" she called out. Cindy turned around and grinned. "Guess what?" asked Cindy. Meagan stopped by her panting, "You haven't got a cold anymore." Cindy giggled, "Yeah, but that's not all. My mom said that I can go with you to pick apples at Jeremy and Sybil's farm!" "Yay!!" shrieked Meagan. She and Cindy started jumping up and down and dancing around. She had been looking forward to picking apples but it would be even more fun having Cindy with her. Especially since Corwin wasn't paying attention to her. 


The two girls went inside the house. Meagan's father smiled as they walked past him chatting about how many apples they were going to pick. "My Nana said that she'd help teach me to make applesauce and apple butter," said Meagan, "Then we can have them for Mabon." Cindy frowned, "Which one is that?" They sat down on Meagan's bed. "Mabon is when we celebrate the second harvest." "Huh?" said Cindy, "I know that a harvest is when you bring the crops in on a farm but I didn't know that there was more than one."


Meagan nodded, "Yeah, remember I told you how Lammas is the grain harvest?" Cindy nodded. "Well," continued Meagan, "Mabon is when you harvest the fruit, like apples. And then Samhain is when you harvest the meat if you eat meat. 'Cus you have to choose how many animals you can feed through the winter." Cindy looked puzzled, "But we don't have to do that anymore." Elizabeth appeared in the doorway, "That's right Cindy, but we still celebrate many of the holidays that our ancestors did. But Mabon is also one of the two equinoxes. That's a day when the sun is up just as long as it's down. But I didn't come in here to lecture. Would you two like to come help me make cookies for Mabon?" 

The girls jumped off of the bed and went into the kitchen with Elizabeth. They laid out the ingredients and began making cookies. They rolled out the dough and used the special cookie cutters. They had a stag for the North, an eagle for the East, a lion for the South and a dragon for the West. They also had a star, a sun and a moon. Cindy looked through the rest of the cookie cutters. "Hey, here's an apple! Wouldn't that be good for Mabon too?" Elizabeth nodded, "Yes, you're right. And we have a pumpkin cutter you can use too." Everyone worked busily making the cookies. 


Soon Meagan looked at her mother, "Mom? How come Corwin is such a grouch lately?" Elizabeth set the timer and put a tray of cookies into the oven. "Well," she said, "your brother is going through some changes right now. His body is changing and so is his life. How he sees things. How he relates to people and what they expect of them. So he has lots of stuff to deal with right at the time his body is changing which makes it that much harder. You'll understand better when your body starts changing more. Try to give him some space. Once he works things out he'll be able to be your favourite brother again." 


"He's my only brother!" laughed Meagan, "He'd better be my favourite!" Elizabeth smiled at her. "I remember my cousin Lisa getting really weird when her body started getting to be like a grown-ups," said Cindy, "I hope I don't get like that." Meagan nodded, "Me too!" she said. "Well," said her mother, "it helps if you know what is going on inside. And remember, you can always go talk to a grown-up, even if it isn't me or your father. You should never try to keep everything inside. If it's inside too long it might burn, like those cookies will if we don't get them out soon!" 


Soon it was time to go to the farm to pick apples. Meagan and Cindy had a good time. They were made the official apple inspectors since they were still too young to climb the ladders. Sybil had even made them buttons to wear on their coats. They checked all the apples for worm holes. The apples that didn't pass inspection went into baskets that went to the animals on the farm. Some other apples had started to rot or had other damage. They put these into another basket to go to the compost pile. When all the apples had been picked they divided them up. Jeremy and Sybil got the most because it was their farm, but everyone got at least some apples to take home with them. When Meagan and Cindy got back home, Meagan's Nana was already there, ready to teach them to make applesauce and apple butter. They worked so long that Elizabeth called Anna and got permission for Cindy to spend the night. 


The next day Meagan and Cindy carefully packed some jars of the applesauce and apple butter for Cindy to take home with her. Elizabeth also let her have some of the cookies that they had made. They were just finishing when they heard Anna's car in the driveway. The girls rushed outside to put the packages in the car. "Hold up!" said Anna, "I've got a few things in the car that need to go inside." In her car she had some pretty gourds. Meagan hadn't known that gourds could come in that many colours. 


She waved good-bye to her friend and went back inside with the gourds. It wasn't very long before it was time for the Mabon celebration. Meagan put on warm clothes under her robe. She helped lay out gourds and grapes and apples on the Altar and around the Circle. She felt a little better after talking to her mother about Corwin and he wasn't acting so weird either. Someone lit the candles and the Coven members began chanting. After Circle was over Meagan wasn't very tired so she helped clean things up. But soon she began yawning. It was time to go to bed.  She picked up Starweaver and went to her room. She got ready for bed and was just about to snuggle under the blankets when Corwin put his head in the room. "Hey Sis," he said, "sweet dreams." "You too," replied Meagan and she went to sleep. It had been a good day.



by Kathryn Dyer





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