Mabon. A word we all know, and a word we all associate with the Autumnal Equinox. As with every seasonal celebration, Mabon returns at the same time every year with its unique blessings and lessons for all who wish to hear them. It is one of my favourite Pagan celebrations and no doubt many of you also celebrate with as much happiness as I do to know we are closing in on one of the most magical times of the year. Celebrations are in the air as Autumn rolls over us.
I would find it all too easy at this point to ramble along, telling you why, to me, every season, every month, every day of the year is truly magical, but as ever, I must force my roaming mind to focus on one magical thought at a time. Today’s thought is Mabon; Mabon returns. I have written about Mabon before of course and have written of it as one of the eight Sabbats represented on the Wheel of the Year. And one of those Sabbats it undoubtably is.
What Mabon also is, however, is the newest addition to these magical and seasonal Sabbats. I have written before of the joining of minds between Gerald Gardner and Ross Nichols who together brought us the modern Wheel of the Year most commonly used amongst those Pagans who follow the paths of Wicca and Druidry, but to whom the Wheel is most certainly not exclusive.By way of a very brief recap, Gerald Gardner initially incorporated celebrations into his Wicca for Imbolc, Beltane, Lammas and Samhain; those times of year most anciently used by our ancestors to understand and follow the turning of the earth and changing of the seasons. Yes, our ancestors still celebrated and observed Yule, Litha and Ostara, however less commonly observed was the autumnal equinox of Mabon. Even the word Mabon is a recent one, relatively speaking.
I read many Pagan blogs, pages, posts and snippets, and listen to many YouTube channels and lectures. And it seems to me that a lot of Pagans outside of the Wiccan and Druid paths hold the celebration of Mabon in contempt, finding it to be an outsider and not worthy of inclusion in Pagan festivals and celebrations. The reason I see cited most often is that it does not fit in with the old ways.
Our ancestors, especially those in the far North, would not have celebrated Mabon, and possibly not Ostara, as their harsh weather did not, and still does not, have seasons that fade slowly into each other. They do not see much of transitional phases of the seasons such as autumn and Spring. Instead, they have and had fiercely cold and brutal winters that stole summer from their skies and lay siege to the lands until the sun regained his strength and fought off the frost for another cycle high above the thaw. Their harvests were not spread over the three festivals that we in milder climates are lucky to enjoy; their larders had to be full and stocked before the snow started to fall or they would be lucky to survive the grasp of winter.
And this is not wrong. Mabon was not celebrated everywhere. It is still not celebrated everywhere. But why, as people who walk a path of acceptance towards one another, need this celebration fall into discord and arguments. Let’s all celebrate what we will as we will (legally of course, though I know none of you need to be told that, my wonderful Pagan readers).
I for one will be celebrating and I will encourage other’s who want to and respect those who don’t. But HOW will I be celebrating – let’s have a sneak peak at some of the things I have planned for celebrating Mabon.
Yes I know, Pumpkins are for Halloween (well, in England it was Swede when I was little) but aren’t they just a joy to have as decoration. A couple of different sized pumpkins and a couple of different sized Mallows make for stunning arrangements on a porch if you’re lucky enough to have one, on your fireplace or at your back door if you use your outdoor space a lot. Just remember to replenish them if you use real ones or you’ll find yourself wondering what the strange smell is (nope, never done that before – honest). Then when you’re done with them, don’t just let them go to waste, pop them outside either in your garden or a local wildlife spot and let the wildlife enjoy the fruit.
What fun there is to have making an autumn wreath. Pretty strings and wools in oranges, reds and browns, real or fabric leaves, pine cones, acorns, conker, and all arrays of rich deep Earthy colours woven into a ring of warmth and hope for the coming colder months. Hung above your Hearth or on your front door, you are honouring the circle of the seasons, having great fun with your family, friends or by yourself, and you are creating something beautiful to hang in your home.
Now I manage to make everything about having a fire. Here at Mabon we pause and remember that the nights are now noticeably longer as the sun sets earlier and earlier every day. We light fires at this time to remind both that the sun will and we will once again bask in it’s warmth, and that there is light to be found in the darkness of the night; that the small lights found in the coldest and darkest times can sometimes be the warmest. And this is the lesson I love most about Mabon (and the other winter festivals); that sometimes we do more growing in the darkness than we do in the light. Which leads me on nicely to …
A time for Rituals
At Mabon I take time to reflect on my year so far, and to revisit the goals I set for myself at Imbolc and Ostara. Have I completed any of them? Are they still relevant? Have they evolved or have I outgrown them? Are they still leading me in the direction I want to go it? Are my intentions what they should be to best serve my spiritual, intellectual, emotional and social growth? This is no small task and it isn’t to be completed in one sitting. This is something I take my time over, that I enjoy doing and that I use to make sure I don’t find myself too of course for what I want in my life at that time. Do not be rigid in your goals – perhaps what was right for you or what you hoped for at Ostara is n longer right for you. That’s okay. Just reshuffle your thoughts and intentions to align with what is right for you now.
As I undertake this task one of my overriding intentions is to remain honest and authentic to myself. Those things in my life that are no longer right for me are things that I will let go of inside of ritual space, thanking them for being with me whilst I needed then, and wishing their blessings on someone who needs them more than me. I do this in many ways, through the use of spell bags, poetry, meditation, cards and runes. Sometimes I create art in ritual space to freeze in a moment something that has impacted me but which I must let go. Or something that I have come to learn over the summer months that has been massively influential on where I am on my path right now.
I also bring into my ritual space new manifestation hopes to brew over the dark months, either burning spells to send my intentions into the Ether, meditating on them and inviting my Goddesses to assist me if they will, or keeping them in a cauldron of my own ritual magical blends to develop and mature over the winter months, burning or releasing them once the time is right, when Spring comes around again.
As a Witch and Druid, watching the seasons change and tuning into the transformation of the landscape around me is something I find enormous peace and calm in. The simple practice of sitting in a space of nature and observing the changes; the colours changing in the treetops, leaves floating from their lofty homes to create a soft cover of bedding on the ground to urge hibernating animals to start nesting. Feeling the chill blowing over your skin with each breath of the wind, listening to the tone change in it’s whistle as it twits through the longest of grasses and bare branches of the ancient trees. I close my eyes, take a breath, and let all the natural elements around me engulf my senses. Taking mindful and purposeful breaths, I set no time limit, have no expectations, and allow my mind to immerse into the cycle of the birth and rebirth. When my meditation is over, I make notes on my thoughts, any manifestations and any creative ideas, whether new, old or altered. Personally, I like to make these notes with a pen (or pencil) and paper. Usually, I have an array of pretty books and pens and spend time creating my thoughts into words, images, and shapes. I might find pieces of nature such as the leaves and wildflowers around me to press into the pages of my book.
Now you may be thinking that doesn’t sound very magical, or very “witchy”, but in fact it could not be more Pagan if I tried. The very essence of a (or at least my) Pagan path is to be immersed in nature and follow the change in the seasons along with the changes on ourselves. We care for and notice nature, feel and commune with the energies around us, the energy that surrounds and flows through all living beings, plants and animals alike (sounds a bit like the Force doesn’t it – maybe that’s where the inspiration came from – look at the Jedi Robes 😊).
So I think I’ll leave you with those thoughts, perhaps more of a rambling than usual this time, but isn’t that sometimes the point of a blog; to get thoughts and tangents out of your head, clearing some space for your Muses to whisper into, to start growing whatever will come next out of your thoughts.
I put a lot of my experience and knowledge into practice to bring you magically and ritually charged items in my Ritual Shop, and in my Etsy Store, which stocks identical items. It is better for me if you purchase from my Ritual Shop as it helps me brand and will eventually allow me to sell less on an outside platform.
Darkest Ginger Blessings