Mabon Ritual for Healing the Earth

21st or 22nd September


Welcome to our Mabon Ritual


Required items:


  • Altar cloth
  • Chalice and wine, mead, or fruit juice
  • Plate with second harvest produce, eg nuts, apples, pears, blackberries, prepared for sharing
  • Rattle/sword/athame for casting circle


Cast the circle and call in the quarters.

(Quarter calls and dismissals, and Earth healing meditation, adapted from The Plant Spirit Familiar by Christopher Penczak.)


We call to the element of Air and the green spirits of Knowledge. We call to the tree spirit of Hazel, keeper of wisdom and knowledge, Coll, keeper of secrets and tree of magicians. Help us, if you will, to connect with our knowledge of the Earth and learn to understand her better, for the highest good.. Hail and welcome!


We call to the element of Fire and the green spirits of Power. We call to the tree spirit of Hawthorn, tree of faery fire, Huath, holy tree of the Tor and fire of the blood. Bring us, if you will, your passion for spiritual growth and service to all of nature, for the highest good of all. Hail and welcome!


We call to the element of Water and the green spirits of Love. We call to the green spirit of Willow, great healer of body and spirit. Saille, reveal if you will your great mysteries, open the door to the dark, so that we may gain understanding and compassion in our work for the highest good of all. Hail and welcome.


We call to the element of Earth and the green spirits of Wisdom. We call to the spirit of Oak, master of Druidic Wisdom. Duir, if you will, be our protection and our gateway to the realm of the green spirits, so we may work for the highest good of all. Hail and Welcome!


We call to the spirits of place, the ancient guardians of the stones and portal of Coldrum, and to the ancestors and guardians of the ancient wisdom. Connect us to the land of our birth and the power of this place, to aid in our working, for the highest good of all. Hail and Welcome! 

There are three harvest festivals on the Celtic Wheel of the Year. Lammas, or Lughnasadh, is the harvest of corn; Autumn Equinox, or Mabon, is the harvest of fruit; and Samhain is the time of year when the winter’s meat was stored, as those animals deemed unlikely to survive the winter were slaughtered and butchered, ready for the coming season. 

Mabon is not a traditional name for this time of year, having been coined in the 1970s, and there are a number of other names for this festival. The Druid name for it is unpronounceable unless you speak Gaelic (Mea’n Fo’mhair), but to all Northern Hemisphere traditions at least, the Autumn Equinox is a time for gathering and honouring the fertility of the land, while preparing for the waning of the light and the fallow period of winter. Druidic tradition celebrates this festival by honouring the Green Man, the God of the Forest, and offering libations to trees of ciders, wines, fruits and herbs, and another name for this festival is the Wine Harvest. It is also known variously as the Feast of Avalon (Avalon being the Isle of Apples), Cornucopia, and Alban Elfed, while the Teutonic tradition sees it as the beginning of the season of Winter Finding, which ends in mid-October with the Norse New Year. The Wiccan tradition celebrates the Croning of the Mother at this time, as her consort, the God, prepares for his death and subsequent rebirth. 

As this is a harvest festival, it is often celebrated with feasting and drinking, and it should be a time to celebrate with family and friends, to finish old business and prepare for rest, relaxation, and reflection. It is also a Solar festival, being concerned with the waning of the Sun’s power towards the nadir of its days in the depth of the Winter Solstice. On this day, the Light gives way to the Dark, as the nights grow to be longer than the days, but today also, Light and Dark are perfectly balanced. 

Mabon, in Celtic mythology, is the Sacred Child, son of Modron, the Great Mother. According to the tales, Mabon ‘was taken from between his mother and the wall when he was but three days old’, symbolising for us in the modern era, perhaps, the loss of innocence and connection to the nurturing of our Great Mother, the Earth, whose spirit is known to many as Gaia. 

Echoing this tradition is the ancient Greek myth connected with this time of the year, that of Demeter and Persephone. Here, Demeter takes the role of the Earth Mother, and Persephone, her daughter, here representing the growth of vegetation, is the one stolen away from her. Legend has it that Hades, Lord of the Underworld, fell in love with Persephone and, advised by his brother Zeus that Demeter was unlikely to allow him to marry her beloved daughter, abducted her and took her into the shades of his domain. Demeter, distraught at the loss of her daughter, wandered the land in search of her, neglecting her duties as creatrix, so that the abundance of food, flowers, and all growing things waned and the earth became barren. 

Eventually, the Sun God, Helios, concerned at the neglect of Demeter’s duties and having witnessed the abduction, told her where her daughter was. Zeus, either Persephone’s father or her uncle (there are various versions of this myth), was finally persuaded, after much petitioning by the other gods, and the cries of his hungry people, to rescue her, and he forced Hades to return her. Unfortunately, tricked by Hades, Persephone had eaten of the food of the underworld – a few small pomegranate seeds only, the number of seeds representing the length of the fallow season – and so was unable to be restored fully to the world of man. However, Zeus reached a compromise agreement with Hades, in which he agreed that Persephone should live with him in the Underworld for a month each year for every seed she had eaten, and return to her mother for the rest of the year. Thus, when Persephone’s time to return to her husband looms, the land loses its fertility and all becomes barren and fallow, awaiting the moment when Demeter will be happily reunited with her daughter and her smiles and happiness will make the land blossom and all good things grow again. 

As the mistress of the Underworld, Persephone is usually portrayed as being harsh and uncompromising, much like the stark bareness of the winter landscape which is to come. In this guise, she is often referred to as Dread Persephone. 

On a geological timescale, we can see the same cycle occurring. The Earth bore many green and growing things before the sudden cataclysm that killed the dinosaurs and most of the other life that shared the planet with them, turning her into an almost barren place. But somehow, life hung on and, with time, the Earth became green and fruitful once again. The current slide into barrenness, destruction and decay is being accelerated by man’s greed and disconnection from our Mother, but we can all do our part in helping Gaia to survive and thrive in these challenging times. 

The fours quarters represent the elements that make up our Earth, all of which are under attack by man. Her Waters and seas are polluted and its creatures over-fished, many on the verge of extinction, and there is an ever-present risk of oil pollution. Nature in the Gulf of Mexico is still suffering from the massive spillage from the BP rig last year. Her Air is polluted by fumes and chemicals, and the birds that fly in it are at risk of oil-slick damage, habitat loss, or death through contact with man’s refuse – plastic bags and can-holders, fishing lines etc. The element of Fire is represented by the encroaching sands of the desert in many places, with the burning sun that scorches the landscape when too much water is taken for man’s use, or too many trees are cleared, creating landscapes where very little can grow; or for the forest fires deliberately or carelessly caused, that kill off great swathes of forest and the creatures in them, allowing nature to regenerate and start again. The element of Earth is clearly under attack in many ways – pollution by landfill and farming chemicals, exhaust fumes and manufacturing processes, mining, the dangerous new practice of fracking; the North quarter also represents the animals of Earth, many of whom are at risk of extinction, through over-hunting, loss of habitat, and a hundred other man-made hazards. The world of Spirit is denied by many, misunderstood by many more, and ignored or even maligned by the majority, and yet is vital to the growth of humanity, both individually and collectively. 

So to celebrate this autumn Equinox, I would ask you to join me in an exercise to help balance the Earth. So, perhaps with the help of one or more of the spirits we have called into the circle, please choose one of the five elements to work with in sending healing to our planet. You could also use this exercise to heal a part of your own life that feels barren and lifeless or lacking in growth, as healing yourself also heals the Earth. 

It may help if you close your eyes so that you can connect with this better. Take a deeper breath and settle into the landscape. Notice how the problems are portrayed in your mind’s eye; the barren part of yourself or the damage or difficulties in your chosen element; the dead landscape, the polluted waters, the parched and suffering landscape – internal or external – or whatever comes to you. As you make your way through this devastation, you notice an oasis or island of clear, sparkling water and living vegetation in the distance. Move towards it, and you will see, as you draw closer, that it is protected by a hedge of long, sharp thorns. You will need help to get through this hedge, so look around and see what animal, plant or mineral spirits, ancestor, guide or spirit of place, is nearby who might be willing to help you.
When you find a friendly spirit, approach it and ask whether it will help you get through the hedge, so that you can work to release the healing waters into the barren, polluted or devastated area. If it seems inclined not to help, either find another, or see if you can persuade it of your good intentions in some way. I’ll give you a moment to find and connect with your helper. [Pause.] 

When you have your helper, approach the hedge. A way will open for you to pass through it because of your helper and your good intentions. Now spend some time clearing the way for the stream to break out of its confinement so that it can flow through the area and cleanse it, bringing life back to the lifeless places. This may involve moving rocks and stones, or clearing earth from the head of the stream-bed – again, your companion spirit may be able to help, or find a way to gain assistance for you. {Pause.] 

Eventually, you succeed in clearing the stream-head and the waters begin to flow. Pass through the hedge again and watch with gratitude as the landscape springs back to life as the healing waters flow into it. Bright and beautiful colours once again flourish and the area is teeming with its native creatures and plants, all touched by the wondrous magic of the waters of the spring. Enjoy this quickening of the land or waters for a few moments, before thanking your companion and bringing yourself back to ordinary reality and opening your eyes. [Pause until all have opened their eyes.] 

Thank you for helping with this healing of ourselves and our Mother Earth. Feel free to repeat the exercise any time you wish, with any of the elements or any part of your life – in fact, the more you do this, the better, both for yourself and for Mother Earth. We may not personally be able to stop the pollution and devastation of our planet, but we can all do our part to help her to remain strong and fruitful in spite of the worst that man can do to her. 

You may also want to work with your companion spirit again, or simply keep in touch with them, and providing you are respectful to them, they will almost certainly be glad to oblige. 

Lift the chalice from the altar. This cup represents the creative force, filled with the life-blood of the Earth Mother, the liquid that flows through her veins and which she so generously shares with us. Drink it in gratitude to her for all that she gives to sustain life. Blessed be. Pass round the chalice filled with harvest drink. Pour some out for the Earth Mother. Blessed be. 

Lift the plate/bowl from the altar. This produce represents the bounty of second harvest, provided for us from the loving heart of our Mother Earth. Eat it in gratitude for all that She provides for us to eat. Blessed be. Pass round the plate of harvest produce to share. Drop some on the ground for the Earth Mother. Blessed be.


Thank the quarters and close the circle.


To the Spirits of Place and the Ancestors, we release and thank you for your help in connecting to land and power, wisdom and truth. May we meet again in love and trust. Hail and Farewell! 


To the North of the Great Between, we thank and release the element of Earth and the green spirits of Wisdom. We thank and release the tree spirit of Oak, Duir to the wise. May we meet again in love and trust. Hail and Farewell! 


To the West of the Great Between, we thank and release the element of Water and the green spirits of Love. We thank and release the tree spirit of Willow, Saille to the wise. May we meet again in love and trust. Hail and Farewell. 


To the South of the Great Between, we thank and release the element of Fire and green spirits of Power. We thank and release the tree spirit of Hawthorn, Huath to the wise. May we meet again in love and trust. Hail and Farewell! 


To the East of the Great Between, we thank and release element of Air and the green spirits of Knowledge. We thank and release the tree spirit of Hazel, Coll to the wise. May we meet again in love and trust. Hail and Farewell!

Written by:
Karen Tucker
Holistic Therapist