Break out all of the good dishes. Call the corners. Get your coven together. Bring out the sacred dead. It is finally time for the New Year!
Mabon is a time for us to gather, balance, focus, and remember the dead. Celebrating life is recalling the impact and importance of those who have gone before us. During this season, it is common amongst nearly all religions to gather for meals and celebrations. Witches do it a bit differently than others. Beltane occurs on October 31st and marks the New Year for witches.
A Short History of Samhain
This is a Sabbat steeped in what some would consider gloom, doom, creepy crawlers, and death. However, Samhain is a traditional acceptance of the great process of life, energy work, and balance. Earlier in the season, you might have addressed light and dark work—dressing candles for the Blue Moon or charging your ritual elements. Samhain is the time that we brush out the old and renew ourselves for the coming year.
The ancestors and our dead are typically the focus of this season’s work. Storing our energies and preparing for the Winter are also key focus areas. Depending upon your deity, some traditions follow the dark mother’s path, or Celtic magick refers to her as Cailleach. She is a bringer of death and is usually portrayed as haggard. In other traditions, we acknowledge the maid, mother, and crone. The dark mother is a crone phase of our earth and energies.
Samhain is traditionally a nod to this goddess; however, your path describes her. The traditional stories vary, but our sacrifices and work during Samhain should, in part, be dedicated to her. A dark mother who is cared for and respected can bring about peace and gather through the colder months bearing down on us until Beltane comes in the Spring to renew the harvest.
Where Do We Begin?
If you are a new witch, this might be an exciting and challenging time for you. Many milestones in our year come during Mabon, and you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed. If you are an advanced practitioner, then you may already know your routine. Starting with the right process is key. Following through is critical.
Start by cleansing again, even if you have cleansed in preparation for the Harvest Moon, Mabon, or the coming Blue Moon this month. Cleansing is the first step always. Cleansing allows for clarity of intent. What do you want to focus on for Samhain? What respect do you want to pay to the dark mother? How best do you celebrate our ancestors and our dead?
After cleansing, you should undertake an altar change. Add items found, borrowed, or bought and cleansed. This season, although signaling death, is still a season of abundance. Ensure you prepare the items carefully. This could be a fantastic time to get your coven together (especially if you missed wine with Bacchus earlier in October) and make it a fun crafting exercise.
Plan Your Ancestral Feast
Consider making your feast plant-based. The dark mother is a protector of wild animals in certain circles, and an offering to her should be sensitive to that. Planning your feast should take time and be treated with the same intent as your other rituals and spell work. Clear your mind and spirit, arrive at a clear heart. Clean your space and cleanse your hosting spot. Prepare by blessing the area and prepare a blessing for the meal.
The table setting can be simple or incorporate colors and items from the season. Mabon gives us leaves with rich oranges, reds, and yellows. Ensure you set a plate at an empty seat for the ancestors and departed. Set a separate plate for the dark mother. Prepare an offering. Dress a candle before the event.
The feast should include others and be a celebration with family and friends. The season gives us root vegetables, hearty food, and items we can preserve for the winter months. Use the harvest for this feast to prepare yourself and your coven if you practice in a group. This is a time to can or freeze foods, make wines, and ensure your own survival for the winter months.
Your ritual can be simple. You are celebrating a new year and paying homage to the dark mother. You are thanking the earth for harvest and sharing nourishment. If you are an independent practitioner, this can be a time of focusing solely on your relationship with the elders and the dead. Remember that this is a celebration of life; we are also thankful for balance.
Combining the Samhain ritual with a ritual of fertility is suggested. Fertility for yourself is not what we are suggesting. We’re talking fertility for the earth mother. Use this time to ask for an abundant harvest. The dark mother signals the end of the abundant season. Call into mind the beginning of planting and growth next season.
Your ritual should thank the dark mother for bringing balance to a time of light. Thank her for the lessons that death can teach us and for the humility of balance. Use the concept of darkness and light in your ritual. This is an ideal task for a candle. Take time to write your ritual. Ensure you approach it with a full heart. Think through your intentions.
Mabon is a special season for us. Ground yourself, feel the coolness of the air still your soul. Ensure that you are thankful for the harvest you have been blessed within the last few months. Respect our departed and seek wisdom from the ancestors. Guidance from your path and deity during this season can bring about powerful self-awareness. The time between the moons is an incredible, exciting time. Comment down below if you have any plans this year. What do you love about Autumn? How does your religion approach this season?