The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Complete A-Z for the Entire Magical World - Judika Illes 2005
Calendar of Revelry and Sacred Days
Mabon coincides with the autumn equinox, approximately September 21st. Day and night are temporarily equal; it is considered a time for contemplation and reflection. According to the old Celtic calendar, Mabon was the “second harvest” following Lughnasa. It is a harvest festival in the manner of traditional Thanksgiving harvests. Mabon is the time to honor the trees. Its symbol is the cornucopia.
It is among the more difficult feasts for modern people to appreciate; it is more than just acknowledgement of the equinox and the coming of the winter season. This festival was a crucial spiritual experience for those responsible for gathering their own food, whether through the seasonal harvest or the seasonal slaughter. Food production was once a communal activity; in essence, the harvest, whether flora or fauna, sacrifices their lives so that people can live. Mabon is the festival of thanksgiving and purification that attempts to maintain vital spiritual balance.
The name “Mabon” derives from a hunting deity, the child of Modron. Modron and Mabon may be titles, rather than names. Modron is believed to mean “mother” or “divine mother.” Mabon may mean “young man” or “son.”
Mabon is simultaneously the youngest and oldest of souls. He is eternally young and embodies male fertility. Reminiscent of stories of changelings, Mabon was stolen from Modron three days after birth and disappeared for many years; he is believed to have been held captive in the otherworld. Mabon fades into the afterworld at Samhain to emerge in spring, a male counterpart to Persephone.