Madron, also known as Mabon and the Autumn Equinox, is coming up next weekend. This year it's Sunday 23rd September. Note: This may be different depending on your time zone, the actual equinox time and date in the UK is 2.54 am on Sunday 23rd Sept, but in the US it's 9.54 pm EST on Saturday the 22nd. So celebrate at the appropriate time for you. The energy of the sabbats is thought to be active for a couple of days either side anyway. :)
Last year I did a post on ways to celebrate. You can read it here: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/09/madronautumn-equinox-celebration-ideas.html
So for 2018 I thought I'd do one about celebrating both Madron and autumn in general, like my previous ones about Oestara and spring, and Litha and summer.
Note: If you're in the Southern Hemipshere it's time for Oestara/Ostara and spring. You might like this post: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/03/celebrating-oestara-spring.html
Update 20/9/18: Added a couple of extra links. :)
Madron (more commonly known as Mabon but I was first introduced to it as "Madron" in Kate West's books) and the Autumn Equinox is the time when day and night is equal. It's the opposite of the Spring Equinox. Since Litha/the Summer Solstice which was the longest day of the year, the days have been getting gradually shorter. I've only really noticed it in recent weeks, sunset is now around 7.15pm. After Madron days will continue to get shorter and nights longer, until Yule aka the Winter Solstice, just before Christmas. So Madron is a time of balance.
As I mentioned in my Getting Ready for Autumn post, the Autumn Equinox is the first official day of autumn. (Or rather the astrological beginning, the meteorological beginning is 1st September). It's also the 2nd harvest festival on the "Wheel", the 1st was Lammas in August and the 3rd will be Samhain in October, the same day as Hallowe'en) so other themes are grain and abundance.
Here are some posts about Madron/Mabon:
My post from 2016: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2016/09/happy-madron.html
http://www.raisingfairiesandknights.com/mabon/ (Site not currently available)
Demi from Rockstar Priestess (2nd link) thinks of Madron as the season of earth in her tradition (Madron/autumn are more commonly associated with water), so that's an alternative way to look at it. :)
Ways to celebrate:
Making food and drink is one of my favourite ways to celebrate the sabbats. I usually bake gingerbread for Lammas and also like to make something similar for Madron, because it's another grain festival. I've baked gingerbread in the past and also ginger cakes. Last year I made a ginger and apple tealoaf. This Madron I think I'll make some kind of cake, maybe a spiced "wacky" cake and adapt it.
Here's a pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipe from Witch of Lupine Hollow (haven't tried these myself but looks nice): https://witchoflupinehollow.com/2017/09/09/pumpkin-chocolate-chip-cookies-recipe/
You could also bake bread. I occasionally bake a loaf for Lammas, most recently in 2017. This year it wasn't part of the main celebration but I did make some bread from a mix around Lammas time. I'm planning to have a go with another type of bread mix soon, maybe sourdough.
Celebrate with food/drink
As with Lammas, cider and beer are good for Madron because of their associations with the harvest, and UK apple season is around September to October. You can read about harvesting apples for cider here: https://www.hoganscider.co.uk/news/bring-in-the-harvest
I usually have cider for Lammas (my favourite is Bulmers and that's what I had this year). I don't tend to have it for Madron as well because I don't drink that much, but if cider is your favourite drink you might like to have some for this festival too.
Alternatively you could have an apple soft drink, make something with apple in (cake, pie etc.) or just simply eat an apple. If I picked a favourite fruit it would be apples but I don't have them very often, so this is a reminder to eat more! See last year's post for links about using apples in witchcraft: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/09/madronautumn-equinox-celebration-ideas.html
I also might make this roast devilled potatoes recipe (heard about it through Witch of Lupine Hollow): https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-deviled-potatoes-231196
Madron/Mabon is also known as the pagan Thanksgiving. (Abundance and gratitude for what you've "harvested" are also Lammas themes.) Since Samhain tends to be seen as the Witches' New Year, Madron is often viewed as the last festival of the previous cycle. (Although some people may consider Samhain to be the last of the cycle.) My favourite pagan/seasonal books (including Kate's West The Real Witches' Kitchen and Llewellyn's 2017 Sabbats almanac) start with Samhain and end with Madron. So it's a good time to think about what you've harvested this year and count your blessings.*
I heard a lot about gratitude through reading self help and spiritual books and websites, but didn't really get into it until 2013 when I took part in Celestine Chua of Personal Excellence's 14-Day Gratitude Challenge. Since then I've found it helpful to have a gratitude journal, although it tends to not be a daily one! I wrote a bit about gratitude as a spiritual practice on my other blog Falling Petals: https://fallingpetalsuk.blogspot.com/2017/01/spiritual-toolspractices.html
I also have a monthly Gratitude List on that blog, you can find all posts here: https://fallingpetalsuk.blogspot.com/search/label/gratitude
I shared this post from Rockstar Priestess in last year's celebration post, here it is again because there are some ideas for expressing gratitude: http://www.priestesstraining.com/10-inspired-things-to-do-to-celebrate-autumn/
This Penniless Pagan post mentions gratitude as well: http://www.pennilesspagan.com/2016/09/5-ways-to-celebrate-mabon-without.html
Here are a few more about Madron and gratitude:
*Speaking of books, I'm currently reading Deborah Blake's A Year and a Day of Everyday Witchcraft and Kate West's The Real Witches' Year, both of which are good for celebrating sabbats and the seasons in general. A Year and a Day has several gratitude exercises throughout the year.
I'll round off this section with a few more posts containing celebration ideas:
Mabon journal prompts: http://www.theseasonalsoul.com/mabon-journal-prompts/
http://www.raisingfairiesandknights.com/celebrate-mabon/ (A separate post to the other Raising Fairies and Knights one linked above)
http://www.witchywords.com/2018/09/autumn-equinox-mabon-ten-ideas-for.html (Now a private blog)
I'll also do this Tess Whitehurst Fall Equinox Affirmation from last year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcChRcxhXC0 (Blog post gone so linking to video directly)
Gonna try this one as well: https://tesswhitehurst.com/fall-equinox-and-harvest-moon-meditation/
I always feel a bit sad at this time of year because my favourite season (summer) is over. The weather is changing and you can feel the shift to the darker half of the year. The really long days are over and now it's dark by 8pm. Having said that, I also like autumn. It's a beautiful time of year with all the trees changing colour and the golden light. Also the weather cools down but it's not too cold yet, just enough to make you feel "cosy" indoors, lol. And the days aren't that short yet. So here are some suggestions for celebrating autumn. :)
Walk in the woods/countryside
Autumn is a lovely time of year to walk in the woods. As I mentioned in the post on getting ready for autumn, I went for a walk in the woods at a local place last October. I wanted to have an autumn walk in the woods since I hadn't done that for ages! The weather is usually still fairly nice in September and into October, and if you don't like the heat it's a better time to go walking than summer.
This one could also go in the Madron Ideas section. I like to take sunset pictures for the sabbats in the countryside or at the beach (although not so much during winter because it's cold!). I'm planning to go to my local nature reserve on or around Madron this year.
Get outside generally
Since the weather is still quite good, you can take advantage of it and go for walks in the neighbourhood or the park, the beach etc. The parks are lovely with all the beautiful trees. I usually walk in the park year round, although less in winter if the weather's really bad.
I used to knit a bit when I was young. My grandma taught me the basics. A few years ago I got more into it and made some things to sell. Unfortunately that didn't do so well but it was still fun to do. Last year I was getting issues of a knitting magazine which gave you some wool each week and a pattern to make a blanket. I couldn't afford to keep buying the magazine because it was quite expensive, but it was fun having a go. I'm thinking of doing some knitting again now because it's a good activity this time of year.
So if you like knitting, have a go at knitting a jumper or Hallowe'en/Christmas decorations. I made some decorations for both those occasions in the past and they were fairly simple to do. You might also like to crochet. I don't know how to do that but I know it's popular.
In my Getting Ready for Autumn post I mentioned making soup and "autumn cleaning". You can read the post here for more on that: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/09/getting-ready-for-autumn.html
Baking is another activity not just for Madron. Last year I made some parkin for Bonfire Night (had been planning to make some for ages!). Check it out here: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/11/bonfire-night-parkin-fireworks.html
I recently made some South African rusks and then frosted peanut butter cake bars yesterday. Here are the links:
Finally here are a few link about autumn:
Hope you enjoyed the post! What are some of your favourite autumn things to do? Happy Madron and Autumn! (Or Happy Oestara and Spring depending where you are!). :)
Photo: South Downs. Moonsparkle 2018.