Mabon, The Witch's Thanksgiving
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O Autumn. Laden with fruit, and stained
With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit
Beneath my shady roof, there thou may'st rest,
And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe;
And all the daughters of the year shall dance,
Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers.
Mabon, (May-bon) is known as the Autumn Equinox, Harvest Home, Second
Harvest, the Witches Thanksgiving and Siring Fate. (Mabon in Welsh
means son.) This reference usually refers to the son of the Welsh
goddess Madron, Mother and Son.
The Mother and son aspect is the most common among the neo-pagans,
and fits well with in the Wiccan perspective of the Holly King
mythology. It should also be noted that McCoy (page 185) claims that
the Celts did not call Mabon by this name but rather it was
originally a Norse festival. Though adopting other cultures, festivals
and Gods fits in with the Celtic adaptability and mentality.
Autumn Equinox refers to a time of the year when day and night are
equally balanced. The sun is in the process of crossing the equator
and in astrological terms is entering the sign of Libra. The sun is
the focal point of energy (along with the moon) and such; its life
force pushes us to discover more about ourselves. This movement into
the Libra puts a congenial, cooperative outlook on that time of year,
just what was needed by the communities, as they all worked together
to complete the harvest.
Harvest Home is an Anglo-Celtic version of the original Mabon, and
fell in-between the First (Lugnasadh) and the Third (Samhain)
Harvests. Harvests festivals were a very important part of the pre-
industrialized culture. It was a time of relief and of rest. Relief
that the crops were in and rest to catch their breath before the work
of preparing for winter began. This was a time to give thanks.
The Witches Thanksgiving, according to McCoy is one of the oldest
holidays known to Europe. On this I will have to disagree, first the
author mentions that Mabon is actually a Norse holiday, then
contradicts herself with the above statement. Actually I believe she
is trying to draw comparisons between the Witches Thanksgiving and
the American Thanksgiving. There are similarities, though the reason
she states about the time differences are not the same. The American
Thanksgiving is celebrated at the time of year it is, not because the
Puritans choose that date to distance themselves from the Pagan Mabon,
but rather because they had a late harvest and an early winter. Thus
celebrating it when they could, survival being more important then
distancing themselves from European witches Thanksgiving. (McCoy page 185-
Autumn is over the long leaves that love us,
And over the mice in the barley sheaves;
Yellow the leaves of the rowan above us,
And yellow the wet wild-strawberry leaves.
The hour of the waning of love has beset us;
And weary and worn are our sad souls now;
Let us part, ere the season of passion forget us,
With a kiss and a tear and dropping brow.
- W.B. Yeats (page 14-15)
Siring Fate according to King, are claims that this is the true name
of Mabon. Using Greek Mythology, the story of Persephone and Madron
and Mabon. Claiming that the name Mabon is the son's name, not the
Sabbats. He bases his claim on the fact that, Mabon, mates with his
mother Madron, thus siring the new season. He uses the story of
Persephone to back up his assertion, stating that when Persephone
leaves her mother to be with Hades, the new season begins. While
there may be similarities to these myths, King is making the common
mistake of associating cultures based on similarities rather than the
uniqueness of each myth, or culture. He Claims, as did Caesar and
others, that the Celts, Gods, heroes, Legends and Myths, were in
Mabon is a celebration of life and death, and giving of life again,
the cycle of the seasons. Mabon is a time to enjoy the fruits of a
hard year's labor, to stock up for the long winter. No matter how you
celebrate Mabon, or how it came about, or whatever it's true name may
be, it is important to know that Mabon a time for giving thanks.
1 Lam leg 7-8 pounds
2 teaspoons dried dill weed
1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
1 clove of garlic
Set oven at 325 F, for 3 1/2 hours for well done. Sprinkle roast with
seasonings, take knife and make several small insertions, place
pieces of garlic in Roast. (Remove cloves before serving.) Place
lamb, fat side up, on rack in shallow roasting pan. Roast till
desired pink(ness). 7-9 lb.: rare: 15-20 minutes, Medium: 20-25
minutes, well: 25-30 minutes per pound.
New Small Potatoes
Wash potatoes lightly and leave whole. Heat 1 inch salted water to
boiling. Add potatoes. Cover and heat to a boil; reduce heat. Boil to
tender, 20-25 minutes; drain, and butter.
1 1/2 cups of boiling water
1 package (6 ounces) lemon flavored gelatin
2 cups ginger ale, chilled
Pour boiling water on gelatin; stir until gelatin is dissolved. Stir
in ginger ale. Refrigerate until slightly thickened.
Pare and section oranges and grapefruit. Cut sections into 1-inch
pieces; stir into gelatin mixture. Pour into 8-cup mold. Refrigerate
until firm, about 4 hours; unmold. Garnish with additional orange
sections and salad greens if desired.
Rum Cracker Torte
6 eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon rum flavoring
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup fine graham crackers
1 cup of finely chopped nuts
1 square (1 ounce) unsweetened chocolate, grated
Rum-flavored Whipped Cream
Heat oven to 350 F. line bottoms of 2 round pans, 8 or 9X1 1/2 inches
with aluminum foil. Beat eggs whites in 21/2-quart bowl until foamy.
Beat in 1/2 cup of sugar. 1 tablespoon at a time; continue beat until
stiff and glossy. Beat egg yolks, oil and rum flavoring in 11/2 quart
on low speed until blended. Add 1/2 cup of sugar. Flour baking
powder, cinnamon and cloves; beat on medium speed 1 minute. Fold egg
yolk mixture into egg whites. Fold in cracker crumbs, nuts and
chocolate. Pour into pans.
Bake until top springs back when touched lightly, 30-35 minutes. Cool
ten minutes. Loosen edge layers with knife; invert pan and hit
sharply on table. (Cake will drop out) Remove foil; cool completely.
Split cake to make four layers. Fill layers and frost torte with Rum
Flavored Whipped Cream. Refrigerate for at least 7 hours.
Rum-flavored Whipped Cream
Beat 2 cups of chilled whipping cream, 1.2 cup powered sugar and 2
teaspoons of rum flavoring in chilled bowl till stiff.
As Mabon is a time of giving thanks there are several suggested
rituals. The first involves those more fortunate helping out those
less fortunate. This can involve helping out at a shelter,
volunteering at a hospital or working for the Homes for Humanity
project. There are many more ways to help; the point is to give to
those who can't help themselves. It may also involve teaching them a
skill (reading and writing) to help them find a job.
A more formal ritual involves candles, a meal and being surrounded by
those who love you and those whom you love. It is actually a very
simple ceremony, after opening up the circle around the table, the
Leader starts by reciting the following and passing on the flame to
light the candles stationed on each of the corners. Pass flame
clockwise. As each person receives the flame to light their candle
they also recite a section of the blessing, until the flame returns
the flame, the leader then close the circle and all eat and enjoy the
harvest as it is meant to be enjoyed. The recommended blessing is the
Charge of the Goddess.
Hear ye the words of the Star Goddess;
She in the dust of whose feet are the hosts of heaven,
and whose body encircles the universe:
I who am the beauty of the green earth,
and the white moon among the stars,
and the mystery of the waters,
call unto they soul:
Arise, and come unto me.
For I am the soul of nature,
who gives life to the universe.
From Me all things proceed, and unto Me all things must return;
and before My face, beloved of gods and of men,
let thine innermost divine self be enfolded in the rapture of the
Let My worship be within the heart that rejoices;
for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are My rituals.
And therefore let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion,
honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.
And thou who thinkest to seek Me,
Know that thy seeking and yearning shall avail thee not,
unless thou knowest the Mystery:
that if that which thou seekest thou findest not within thee,
thou wilt never find it without.
For behold, I have been with thee from the beginning;
And I am that which is attained at the end of desire.
And so Mote it be!
- Bord, Janet & Colin, Earth Rites, Fertility Practices in Pre-
Industrial Britain, Granada, London, 1982.
- Carr-Gomm, Philip The Elements of the Druid Tradition Element Books,
Rockport, MA 1998
- Danaher, Kevin, The Year in Ireland, The Mercier Press, Cork, 1972.
- Henes, Donna, Celestially Auspicious Occasions: Seasons, Cycles &
Celebrations, A Pedigree Book. NY, NY 1996
- Hole, Christina, Witchcraft in England, Rowman & Littlefield, Totowa
- Holleston, T.W., Celtic Mythology: History, Legends and Deities,
NewCastle Publishing, Van Nuys, CA 1997
- MacCana, Proinsias, Celtic Mythology, The Hamlyn Publishing Group,
Ltd., London, 1970.
- MacCulloch, J.A. Religion of the Ancient Celts, Folcroft Library
Editions, London, 1977.
- Matthews, John, The Druid Source Book: Complied and Edited by John
Matthews, A Blanford Book, London, England, 1997
- Matthews, John and Caitlin Matthews, The Encyclopedia of Celtic
Wisdom, Element Books Rockport, MA 1994
- McCoy, Edain, The Sabbats: A New Approach to Living the Old Ways,
Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, MN 1998
- Nichols, Ross, The Book of Druidry, Harper-Collins, London, England
- Powell, T.G.E. The Celts, Thames & Hudson, New York, 1980.
- Sharkey, John, Celtic Mysteries, the Ancient Religion, Thames &
Hudson, New York, 1979.
- Squire, Charles, Celtic Myth, Legend, Poetry, and Romance, Newcastle
Publishing Co., Van Nuys, CA, 1975.
- Stewart, R.J. Celtic Myths, Celtic Legends, Blanford Books, London,
- Williamson, John, The Oak King, The Holly King, and the Unicorn,
Harper & Row, New York, 1986.
- Wood-Martin, W.G., Traces of the Elder Faiths of Ireland, Kennikat
Press, Port Washington, NY, 1902.
Suggested News Resources
- Why Pagans Spend Halloween Baking Bread
- But in the small English town of Glastonbury, the festival has a meaning beyond “sexy” witch costumes and pumpkin-coloured punch. ... The second is Mabon, also the autumnal equinox, marking the harvest of the fruits and giving thanks.
- Supermoon total eclipse is essential viewing — especially for witches
- It's even more magical coming on the heels of Mabon, or the fall equinox (also known as the Witch's Thanksgiving). It's the point on the Wheel of the Year (the pagan calendar) when day and night are equally long. From Mabon until Ostara, or the spring ...
- Preparing For the Celebration of Mabon Harvest and Feast
- Mabon is one of the seasonal festivities observed by modern day pagans that usually falls between the 21st and 23rd of September.
- Mabon Outrage (And Why We Love the Autumnal Equinox)
- We never really celebrated Harvest Home (though some of its customs would be absorbed by the American Thanksgiving), so it has no history for us.
- A Mabon Ritual
- The Mabon ritual welcomes the coming second harvest and gives thanks for the first harvest. A designated leader may say the words that guide the group through the ritual or the speaking portions may be divided among group members.