We can already feel the crisp, sugary chill begin to permeate the air and mark the end of the summer season. Lughnasadh is now past us and the Wheel of the Year reaches Her ultimate balance at the Autumn equinox. Poised in this liminal space like a cunning huntress, the Dark Goddess begins to call to us through the waterfall of russet and umber leaves that begin to tumble to the ground like badges representing our summer memories. Marking the passage of time are the Sisters of the harvest – pumpkin, corn, squash dancing in a triad of fullness and bounty unparalleled. Pagans, witches, nature lovers gather in the woods and are serenaded with the animated, woody calls of turkey and rewarded with the sight of awkward yearling deer sprouting their first velvet antlers. We truly have entered the season of Mabon!
Mabon is one of those glorious holidays that was celebrated by our Pagan ancestors throughout the globe. The Greeks celebrated the Eleusinian mysteries, which honored the grain Goddess Demeter, Her daughter Persephone, and the jovial Lord of the Vine, Dionysus. The Druids of the Celtic Isle turned their attention and gave sacred offerings to trees and their Bards sung of Mabon ap Modron (the Great Son of the Great Queen) who was stolen from His mother at only three days old. The hero is freed from captivity after being rescued by a rag-tag group of animals, the owl, the blackbird, the stag, an eagle, and a salmon. Moving forward in time, Great Britain observed this illustrious holiday in the name of the Arch Angel Michael or Feast of Michaelmas Modern Americans revere this time as the bittersweet passage of the Lord into the womb of the Mother Goddess. Mabon is truly a time when so much is possible and so much is changing. How can we as Pagans and Witches harness this special time to improve ourselves?
As we dip our hands into the far-reaching cornucopia of the harvest season, can we reap more than just a Sabbat celebration from this time of the year? Looking out into nature and seeing the grain fall from the husk and the untamed foliage burst into a jubilee of ornament, can we as Pagans also allow ourselves to move on and change? Just after Lughnasadh, I get the sense of deep contemplation. I feel the Dark Mother at my shoulder and hear Her whisper messages of mortality in my waiting ears. Many of us subscribe to reincarnation, however, none of us live forever in this incarnation. We have limited time on this earth to accomplish our “early missions” and leave behind a legacy. Behind those glowing hues of orange, yellow, and burnt sienna and the festive pumpkin decorations – there’s that small subconscious check in. Are we on the right Path? Are those who surround us there to help sustain and nourished us through the harsh winter. Modern conveniences may have removed us from the physical struggle of life and death, although the internal battle is quite real.
Mabon is the time to look at what we’ve harvested for ourselves and take stock of our accomplishments and also our failures. It’s a time to cut away the ties that no longer serve us and round the corner to a brand-new adventure. Don’t let the decaying leaves and drab coloured sky fool you, this is the time to kindle the fire of life within us. Consider setting up an altar of gratitude with reminders of the things that inspire you and drive your ambitions. You can also visit the local Dollar Store and pick up adorable little coffin boxes – bury the ideas and bad habits that drag you down. Fortify your shelves with cherished books, new challenges, and meaningful lessons. You can also grab a nine-foot piece of natural cord (something like cotton, wool, or a organic fiber), tie and knot it three times around a tree. Pull the cord towards you and hold on to it tightly. Envision that this cord represents that which holds you back. Take your favorite sacred blade and slice away at this binding, freeing yourself and your psyche from undo stress. Birds and small animals will then collect the pieces of natural cord and make nests from the fibers, renewing the cycle of death and rebirth.
As clergy, this tends to be a time when I notice folks feeling like their in a rut. Take heart, you’re not alone. Reach out to friends, family, community, and Tribe to help yourself through this enigmatic change of season. As always, thank you for reading along. May this article help you get in the mood for Mabon. If you’re interested in attending our Sabbat – it falls 09/20-09/22. Chad Ostorero will be officiating the ritual this year, and it’s sure to be a great time! For more information, check out the events portion of our website here or on Facebook. Blessed Be! -Shining Quill the Unicorn