Madron (also known as Mabon and the Autumn Equinox) is almost here. This year it's on Monday 23rd September which is tomorrow. (I started writing this post last week!).
Note: If you're in the Southern Hemisphere it's nearly time for Oestara aka Ostara/the Spring Equinox. You may like these posts with ideas for celebrating:
Oestara/Spring Equinox Celebration Ideas: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/03/oestaraspring-equinox-celebration-ideas.html
Celebrating Oestara + Spring: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/03/celebrating-oestara-spring.html
Oestara Celebration Inspiration: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/03/oestara-celebration-inspiration.html
For the previous two years I wrote Madron celebration idea posts which you can see below:
Madron/Autumn Equinox Celebration Ideas: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/09/madronautumn-equinox-celebration-ideas.html
Celebrating Madron + Autumn: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/09/celebrating-madron-autumn.html
This year I've written a series of Inspiration posts for the sabbats, so now it's time for Madron's!
Madron is the second harvest festival on the Wheel of the Year (after Lammas and before Samhain) and its themes include grain, balance, thanksgiving and gratitude for what you've "harvested", and abundance. It's also the time of the Autumn Equinox, when day and night are roughly equal. This day marks the "official" start to autumn, although as I've written in my Getting Ready for Autumn post, the meteorological beginning of autumn is 1st September.
The Autumn Equinox is the opposite of the Spring Equinox. This year it will occur at 7.50am UTC, 8.50am UK time, and 3.50 US Eastern time. You can work out your local time compared to universal here: https://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/universal-time
A note on names
Madron is more commonly known as Mabon, but as I said last year, I first came across it as "Madron" in Kate West's books and got used to calling it that. Madron is also a village in Cornwall. The village was named after Saint Madron or Maddern, who Professor John T. Koch thinks is the Christianisation of Modron, the mother of the Welsh hero Mabon (see below). It's interesting how it all links up. You can read about Mabon and Modron here: https://heartofthewitchspath.wordpress.com/2016/08/11/abcs-of-celtic-mythology-mabon-and-modron/
There is actually some controversy about this festival being named "Mabon"! The name comes from the character Mabon ap Modron, from a part in a Welsh tale called The Mabinogi or Mabinogion. Some people say that it's not an authentic name for this festival. For more on the history behind the name, visit this post: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnbeckett/2018/09/enough-with-the-mabon-hate.html
Some people call it Harvest Home or Autumn Tide. I don't think it matters what you call it, as long as you're in agreement if you're in a coven/group, and the name feels right to you. :)
Now here's some more info about Madron/Mabon:
Article by Ellen Duggan: https://www.dailyom.com/cgi-bin/display/librarydisplay.cgi?lid=242
And visit these posts for some celebration ideas:
10 Ways to Celebrate Mabon: https://www.mumblesandthings.com/blog/2016/9/19/10-ways-to-celebrate-mabon-and-the-autumn-equinox
For solitary pagans: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnbeckett/2018/09/8-things-to-do-for-mabon-as-a-solitary-pagan.html
Might-do list for the Autumn Equinox: http://www.wortsandcunning.com/blog/a-might-do-list-for-the-autumn-equinox
Ideas from The Wholesome Witch: http://www.thewholesomewitch.com/mabon-sabbat/
Fall Equinox affirmation meditation from Tess Whitehurst: https://tesswhitehurst.com/fall-equinox-affirmation-meditation/
Vegan Kitchen Magick post: https://www.vegankitchenmagick.com/mabon-or-thanksgiving-recipes-crafts/
Spirit work for Mabon: http://www.flyingthehedge.com/2019/09/spirit-work-for-mabon.html
Corn dolly history and tutorial: https://nittygrittylife.com/mabon-corn-dolly-history-tutorial/
Podcast/video from The Alchemy of Affluence: https://oddsouldesigns.com/2019/09/19/autumn-equinox-harvesting-your-blessings-podcast-s3-ep9/
In the podcast linked to above by Afura Nefertiti Fareed, she mentions shadow work. I wrote a bit about this in last year's Celebrating Samhain/Hallowe'en post, since Samhain is the "dark" time of the year when you may wish to focus on your "shadow side". Of course you can do this any time of year, but it also makes sense to do it at this time too, since autumn in starting and we're entering into a darker season. Visit the link above to hear more about it, and/or check out last year's Samhain post here: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/10/celebrating-samhainhalloween.html
More way to celebrate:
Bake- As with Lammas, Madron is a good sabbat to bake for (if you're into baking). While I normally make gingerbread for Lammas, in recent years I've made some form of ginger cake. Last year I make a ginger spice cake (based on a spiced wacky cake), and the year before a ginger apple tealoaf. I also baked a ginger beer cake one year. This year I'm planning to make these gingerbread spiced muffins: https://www.forkknifeswoon.com/one-bowl-spiced-gingerbread-muffins/
The recipe has a maple glaze frosting but I thought about making the cream cheese icing I've used for the white chocolate Easter cake I sometimes make, and have used for other ginger cakes in the past. I also came across a peanut butter frosting for another recipe a while ago. That sounds good but it's for banana cupcakes, so I'm not sure how well it will go with ginger. I've decided that I'll add peanut butter to some of the frosting, and try it out on some of the cupcakes! lol. So we'll see how that goes.
I'm also baking bread today. I don't do it very often because it can be quite a complicated process (apart from this year, the last time I baked bread was for Lammas 2017), but this Lammas I made 90 Minute Man Bread and it was quite easy, and tasted nice. So I thought for Madron this year I'd bake this beer bread: https://dontwastethecrumbs.com/yummy-recipe-beer-bread/
The recipe is from the same site the Man Bread is from, and a similar process. But if you don't fancy making bread from scratch you can always use a bread mix. That's what I did for Lammas 2018. :) It's easier if you already making something else as well. On Lammas this year I made gingerbread and bread in the same day, but decided not to do that for Madron because it got a bit stressful keeping on eye on both things!
These spiced apple muffins also look good: https://applytofaceblog.com/spiced-apple-muffins/
I don't eat a lot of apple things but I think they'd be nice. Maybe I'll make them another year!
Have seasonal food and drink- If baking's not your thing you might prefer to make/eat some other food and drink. In The Real Witches' Kitchen (one of my favourite witch books and the one that inspired me to celebrate the sabbats), Kate West mentions that goose was the traditional meat of this season. I'm not sure how many people eat goose these days (I don't think I've ever had it and don't often hear people mention it), but it might be good to try for something new. Maybe it is popular and I just didn't know! lol. Goose used to be the traditional meat for a British Christmas, but got replaced by turkey after turkeys were brought in from America. You can find some goose recipes here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/goose
One alternative to goose suggested in The Real Witches' Kitchen is fish. Root vegetables are also a good idea and soups, like my favourite potato and onion soup.
If you are a vegetarian or a vegan here are a few links with some recipe ideas:
Vegetarian and vegan: https://chelseamwright.wordpress.com/2012/09/04/mabon-recipes-side-dishes/
Vegan Kitchen Mabon post which contains links to recipes: https://www.vegankitchenmagick.com/mabon-or-thanksgiving-recipes-crafts/
And here are a few more recipe links:
Here's a recipe from Moody Moons for gingerbread American pancakes with fried apples:
Mabon recipes: http://greenhaventradition.weebly.com/mabon-recipes.html
Beer and cider are traditional drinks, also apple juice fits the theme. If you're not so keen on beer, shandy is good. I like shandy but I'm having ginger beer this year.
Gratitude/Giving thanks- Madron is known as the Witches' Thanksgiving. Autumn is a season for gratitude for many, with Canadian Thanksgiving in October and American Thanksgiving in November. Afura also talks about gratitude in her podcast. I shared more about it last year, so I won't cover it again but you can read last year's post here: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/09/celebrating-madron-autumn.html
Go for a walk/get out in nature- I like go to to my local nature reserve for several of the sabbats (usually during the warmer months!) and take sunset pictures. I last went on Lammas and am planning to go tomorrow. September is also a good time of year to go to the park or the beach depending on what's nearest you, since the weather is usually nice still.
Hope that gave you lots of Madron/Autumn Equinox inspiration! I'll do a post next weekend about how I celebrated. How do you like to celebrate this sabbat?
Have a good Madron and Happy Autumn! (Or have a good Oestara/Spring Equinox and Happy Spring!) :)
P.S. Also check out this post for some autumn inspiration. (Contains photos from the summer too): https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2019/09/summer-photos-preparing-for-autumn.html
Photo: Buckingham Park, Shoreham-by-sea. Moonsparkle 2019.