The Mabon altar celebrates the bounty of the second harvest, which is root crops and also grapes. In the Wheel of the Year, there are Greater Sabbats, which are the fire festivals, and Lesser Sabbats, which are the cross-quarter days of solstice and equinox. Mabon is one of the Lesser Sabbats, which does not diminish its importance. It is a day with a rugged, down-to-earth, sweaty appeal as it commemorates the serious hard work of bringing in the harvest. Best of all, it allows us to rejoice in the abundance of what we reap, to praise ourselves, and give thanks to the gods.
Mabon colors include deep crimson, purple, burgundy, brown, orange, and rich gold. Accent your altar with polished wood, woven straw, earthenware, and touches of brass, bronze, and gold.
Nature-themed decorations include anything related to the harvest, especially root crops and grapes. Bring out your tiny pumpkins and decorative gourds. Add potatoes, purple onions, carrots, strings of red chili peppers, red apples, squash, dried Indian corn, wreaths of herbs and wrapped straw, and tiny bales of hay. Include bright fall leaves, nuts, and acorns.
For a basic seasonal altar that is not overtly Wiccan, start by draping your altar with a large cloth of rich brown to represent the bounty of the second harvest (root crops). Add a second cloth of purple to symbolize the grapes also harvested at this time to make red wine. Top it with crimson to represent the fruits of the harvest, and adjust the cloths diagonally so that you can see the points of the ones beneath. For a centerpiece, use a basket, bowl, or even a cornucopia to display your fruits and vegetables. Place small dishes of potpourri on your altar and add tiny scarecrow figures.
Overtly Wiccan items for your altar include God and Goddess figurines or effigies made of plants, antlers for the Lord, and a cauldron for the Lady, which could also serve as your centerpiece.
Though Mabon is not a fire festival, nothing looks better on the Mabon altar than pillar candles or taper candles in rich autumnal shades of purple, burgundy, red, orange, and brown. Even better is if they are scented with a deep, spicy smell. Never leave lit candles unattended. The safest to use are in glass jars, which can also reflect the candlelight through their thick glass for a beautiful magnifying effect.
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