The “greater sabbats” are generally thought of as the “cross-quarter” holidays of Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane, and Lammas, but on my personal calendar it’s the Fall Equinox and not Lammas that stands taller. Late September catches the best of Autumn like no other time of year. I realize that for many the name “Mabon” remains problematic (and I’m one of them), but the day its self never is!
In my own personal practice Mabon/Halig/Harvest Home/Solstice has become an extremely variable holiday. The rituals I led for the holiday in Michigan just don’t work as well in California. Writing about impending “cold winds” in Silicon Valley makes me laugh so this ritual is written with the weather of the Bay Area in mind. Luckily many of the ideas in it are universal no matter where one lives! (Though you may have to change the “bring the rains” portion of the ritual if that’s not what you need this time of year.
I like to use items from my garden as much as possible during ritual, which is why this rite calls for sunflower seeds. You can use any type of seed that falls in the Autumn, and certainly pumpkin seeds would work well here. I do think there’s something very “end of Summer” about sunflowers, but it’s mostly here out of personal preference. Some of the calls in this ritual were recycled from earlier rituals posted here at RtH, but I think it’s fine for me to steal from myself! My coven generally operates with a High Priestess and a High Priest which is why those parts are written here. This ritual can be lead by just one person, or as many as your circle wants! I just usually lead ritual with my wife, hence the way I write my rituals. I Happy Autumn to you!
More Autumn Equinox At Raise the Horns
Mabon Ritual 2013, A Midwestern themed rite.
The Triumph of Mabon, On the origins of “Mabon” as a name for the Fall Equinox. I like Halig much better.
Reflections on the Autumn Equinox, One of my earliest posts at RtH.
-Usual altar set up
-Seeds that fall in the Autumn (I’m using sunflower seeds here)
-Cakes and Ale that scream Fall
Statement of Intent
“We gather now to celebrate the Autumn Equinox; when all stands in balance: night and day, sun and moon, Lady and Lord. Tonight we drop our seeds into the Earth and welcome the Fall rains. Lord and Lady stand with us and bless our rite!”
East/Air: “I call to the spirits of the East, spirits of Air. Blow your blessings upon us as we celebrate the start of Fall. Hail and welcome!”
South/Fire: “I call to the spirits of the South, spirits of Fire. Forge your blessings upon us as we celebrate the start of Fall. Hail and welcome!”
West/Water: “I call to the spirits of the West, spirits of Water. Bestow your blessings upon us as we celebrate the start of Fall. Hail and welcome!”
North/Earth: “I call to the spirits of the North, spirits of Earth. Cultivate your blessings upon us as we celebrate the start of Fall. Hail and welcome!”
Casting the Circle
“With sword in hand I now cast this circle thrice round. First pass to stand between the worlds and create sacred ground. Second pass to protect and keep all within safe from harm. Third pass to hold in our energies, magic, and charm. Consecrated in the name of Lord and Lady, the circle is now cast, so mote it be!”
Call to the Goddess
“We call to the great Goddess, Lady of the Harvest, Mother Earth, She who provides us with nature’s abundance. Your beauty is all around us. We see your reflection in the night sky, you smile at us as the moon, the oceans are your veil, your hands create art in all that we see, your love surrounds us, in all that is the wheel of life. Join us in our ritual, fill our hearts with your love, our minds with the spirit of wonderment, and our souls with the assurance of your presence. Welcome great Lady, we thank you for this harvest celebration. Hail and welcome!”
Call to the God
“We call to the great God, Lord of the Harvest, the Cosmic Seed, He who is the spirit of the wild. Your energy surrounds us. We see you grinning at us in the bushes, we feel your lust for life radiating from the Earth, you make your presence known as the silent hunter and the powerful sun, your faces guide the Wheel of the Year on its journey. Join us in our ritual, fill our hearts with your lust, our minds with images of your revelry, and our souls with your friendly spirit. Welcome great Lord, we thank you for this harvest celebration. Hail and welcome!”
Sharing Our Gifts
“While we often think of the Spring as a time of planting and the Fall as the beginning of the Earth’s rest, nature is always active. For it’s in the Autumn when most plants drop their seeds to the ground, to be buried in the soil and to return again in the Spring. Every seed that falls is a promise that life will always begin anew and the the Lord and Lady ever walk beside us.”
“These sunflower seeds come from my backyard, and in this case they all came from just one plant. It’s amazing and wondrous to me to think that so much can come from just one little seed nestled deep in the earth of our Mother and given nothing but abundant sunshine and a little bit of water. The little things we do can have a tremendous impact upon the world and our community. From the smallest seeds grew the largest trees.”
“Tonight we want you to each take a sunflower seed and hold it in your hand. The seed you hold was one of hundreds from the same flower, like you it was a part of a large community, and just like you it has the power to grow big and glorious things. As we prepare for the harvest this night, what is it that you can give our community? What can you contribute to Paganism? What things can you grow while also being just one part of a think larger than yourself?”
“Think for a second about what you have to offer your fellow Witches and Pagans. What can you contribute to our circles, groves, and covens? What will be the seed you share with the Earth this night. Hold that image of you giving of yourself inside your head, picture it vividly and send that energy down into your sunflower seed. When that energy glows about your seed step forward and place it in our cauldron of Earth. As you plant your seed you can share your promise with us or simply let it sink into the fertile soil.”
Everyone goes around, plants theirs seeds, and speaks if they wish to. No pressure to talk though, don’t need to make anyone uncomfortable. After everyone has approached the cauldron of earth continue with the ritual.
“May our promises nestle in the warmth of the Earth and manifest themselves when they are ready. After this ritual I shall place our seeds in the ground and will look for them in the Spring! Lord and Lady watch over us as we share our gifts with this community. Blessed Be!”
Bringing the Autumn Rains
“It has been a long hot summer and our Earth desperately needs rain. Fires rage in our hills and our reservoirs are strained. Our home is out of balance. We need four elements to thrive: earth, air, fire and water, and the latter has been missing. Tonight we work to bring the blessings of the rain.”
“Most of you know that theres been a ridge of high pressure out in the Pacific Ocean thats been blocking the much needed moisture from reaching us. That system of high pressure has caused droughts in California and flooding to the East of us. But behind that high pressure is the promise of El Nino and a wet winter if those rains can reach us.”
“We are going to give you every one of you a stone and we want you to put as much energy into that stone as possible. Visualize the rain, see the Earth this Spring all green, think of yourself standing outside and feeling the waters of life fall upon you! Lets bring back the rains to quench the ground and fill the reservoirs! We are going to dance and chant to raise energy and at the end of our magic we want you to place your stone in this bowl of water. Later our High Priestess will be placing the stones and water in a local reservoir. Like attracts like you know.
“As we move and chant imagine the high pressure system in the Pacific lessening and the rains from El Nino coming in. We are going to chant something simple “rains come in, water comes down, rains come in, water comes down!” As we move deosil around the circle be sure to move your arms as well as your feet. With every step of your feet imagine the swirling storm clouds out on the ocean, and with every punch of your fist visualize the high pressure going away and the rain coming easily to shore. ON the signal of the High Priestess we will then move in close to the altar and drop our stones into the water and saying So mote it be!”
So everyone dances around the circle deosil (clockwise) building up energy. There should be someone standing in the middle of the ritual or off to the side directing the energy and giving the cue for everyone to come into the center. That part is written here for the High Priestess but it could be anyone. When the stones go in the cauldron is when the energy not in the stones will be released, so direct it out and up towards the rain clouds!
“Lord and Lady hear our prayers and help us to work our magics! Bring us rain this Autumn and beyond! Blessed Be!”
The Great Rite/Cakes and Ale
High Priestess: “The days have grown shorter, the nights cooler, but Autumn is a promise of new beginnings, new experiences, new friends, and new harvests.”
(High Priest picks up his athame, the High Priestess the Cup. He raises the athame to just above the rim of the chalice.)
High Priest: “Life is more than a gift, it is a promise. All that dies shall be reborn.”
High Priestess: “We now celebrate the most ancient of magicks, the magick of joining.”
High Priest: “The athame is to the Lord.”
High Priestess: “As the cup is the Lady.”
Both: “United in life and abundance. Blessed Be!”
(Athame is plunged into the chalice.)
High Priest: “In the names of the Lord and Lady we bless this bread.”
(Touches athame to either the bread or the plate it is being served upon.)
High Priestess: “In the names of the Lord and Lady we bless this drink.”
(Touches athame to the top of the cup.)
“We thank the Lord of the Harvest for being present in our ritual. Stay in our hearts and our minds throughout the coming mouths. Remind us of your presence in the dark days of ahead. Blessed Be!”
“We thank the Lady of Great Bounty for being present in our ritual, thank you for all the gifts we have shared tonight. As you go from Mother to Crone, continue to comfort and nurture us in the shorter days ahead. Be with us in our hearts and our thoughts, Blessed Be!”
North: “Spirits of the North, Spirits of Earth, thank you for your presence in our ritual tonight. We give thanks for your many gifts this time of year. Blessed Be.”
West: “Spirits of the West, Spirits of Water, thank you for your presence in our ritual tonight. We give thanks for your many gifts this time of year. Blessed Be.”
South: “Spirits of the South, Spirits of Fire, thank you for your presence in our ritual tonight. We give thanks for your many gifts this time of year. Blessed Be.”
East: “Spirits of the East, Spirits of Air, thank you for your presence in our ritual tonight. We give thanks for your many gifts at this time of year. Blessed Be.”
Taking Down the Circle
“With sword in hand I now undo this circle round. First pass to return the sacred to mundane ground. Second pass to release all that kept us safe from harm. Third pass to release our spells, magic, and charm. In the names of the Lord and Lady all has been dismissed and all is now as it once was. The circle is open, but never truly broken. So mote it be!”
“With gifts given and blessings to soon be received I proclaim this rite to be at an end. Blessed be the harvest, blessed be the gods, and Merry Meet and Merry Part and Merry Meet Again!”