March 20, 2023

Mabon and Your Inner Storehouse


While the fine weather lingers and is often at its most stable this time of year, the shadows also lengthen in the mellow autumn sunshine, and we begin to feel a chill at night.

Mabon is also known as the Autumnal Equinox when night and day are equal to each other. With Mabon, we all take a moment to pay our respects to the impending darkness. Offerings of ciders, wines, herbs, and fertiliser are appropriate at this time. Wiccans celebrate the aging Goddess as she passes from Mother to Crone, and her consort the God as he prepares for death and re-birth. Druids call this celebration Mea’n Fo’mhair and honor The Green Man, the God of the Forest, by offering libations to trees.

At this festival, wearing all your fineries, dining, and celebrating in a lavish setting is the most traditional way to celebrate. It is the drawing to the family as we prepare for the winding down of the year at Samhain. It is a time to finish old business as we prepare for rest, relaxation, and reflection.

In the bush, hourhere or lacebark is in flower. Still, for the main part, the season of flowers is over, and we see more seeds and berries, such as purple pate and kapuka berries, black putaputaweta, and the red, edible berries of the kahikatea. The round, female cones of the great Kauri trees fall to the bush floor to mature and split open to reveal their seeds, and the black pods of harakeke burst to display their small shiny black seeds.

The morning appearance of the star Whanui (Vega) was greeted by Maori with joy as this was the sign that kumara could now be harvested. By this time, the storage pits were ready, and Whanui gave the warning not to delay as frosts would soon be on their way.

This is a time for cutting, gathering, and storage. Just as bracken was cut back to dry in Britain, so here raupo would be cut back and the leaves used for thatching. Pinecone drops are gathered for firewood, chestnuts ripen and fall from the trees, and sunflowers heads loosen their nutty kernels. Grapes are juicy, apples are abundant, and rosehips ripen where the blooms have long fallen.

At Mabon, light and dark come into balance, making this a time to both give thanks and offerings and acknowledge the power of seeds to carry life during their gestation time over the dark months. What appears to be a time of dying off is really a part of the endless cycle of moving forward into renewal and re-birth. Hold faith that the darkness will bring forth new light at the spring equinox.

If you feel called, decorate your altar with symbols of the harvest, such as pine cones, acorns, grains, corn, apples, pomegranates, dried seeds, horns of plenty, Harakeke seed pods, Houhere flowers, Kete of Kumara, scales, or other symbols of abundance and balance.

Mabon is the perfect time of year to learn how to make (and drink) wine to store over the winter months. The land around us is abundant in its offerings, so make the most of it and gather dried herbs, plants, seeds, and seed pods, while walking in the woods and scattering your offerings of gratitude (such as last year’s seeds or other biodegradable items) in harvested fields, offering libations to trees, or adorning burial sites with leaves, acorns, and pine cones to honour those who have passed over. Fill your storage cupboards and larders with preserved foods: make jam, bottle fruit, dry tomatoes, and other foods.

If you feel inclined, take still yourself in this moment of balance and look inwards. Contemplate the transition into darkness: What does it mean to you? What are you gathering in your inner storehouse for times of scarcity? Where do you need to create more balance? Write a list of your internal resources to keep for times of need.

Mabon is considered a time to honor aging members of our family and community as well as those who have passed to the Spirit World. At this time of balance, we stop and relax and enjoy the fruits of our personal harvests, whether from toiling in our gardens, working at our jobs, raising our families, or just coping with the hustle and bustle of everyday life. May your Mabon be memorable, and your hearts and spirits be filled to overflowing!

Athena Macmillan is a traditional witch from a Romani family who has been actively practicing witchcraft for 28 years. Athena is an outspoken advocate for inclusivity and intersectionality within the Craft and has postgraduate degrees in Anthropology and Health Law. She is a hedgewitch and medium with a strong focus in her personal magical practice on ancestral and spirit work, journeying, and divination. Athena created the online space ‘Kiwi Witch’ as a place for witches throughout Aotearoa to learn and support each other along their spiritual paths, which has been thriving since it was established in 2015.

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