Mish, Regional Coordinator for North Lancashire and Cumbria, shares why she calls the current celebration in the Wheel of the Year, Mabon:
I’m an Eclectic Wiccan; Wiccan because I worship in a recognisably Wiccan way – inside a Circle into which I have called the Quarters and primary in the deities I honour are the God and the Goddess surrounded by Magic. Eclectic because as I have come across traditions and paths I have incorporated that which makes sense to me in my practice currently this includes elements of Druidry, Heathenry, Shinto and Native Mexican working.
I started on my path in the early 90s and one of the first books I came across was Starhawk’s The Spiral Dance, in fact a lot of the generic pagan books available at that time were heavily influenced by the Feri Tradition. So although Scott Cunningham, Marian Green and Vivianne Crowley may have been referring to the Autumn Equinox as the Autumn Equinox (three other authors who I was reading at the time) what I called that particular festival was Mabon.
I don’t think I’m unusual in that when I decided I was serious about this Wicca thing I read up on everything possible so that I, solitary in a small village in Lincolnshire, ‘Did It Right’. I took a postal course, did a heck of a lot of pathworkings and researched names so that I could find out what this wheel of the year thing really was. The postal course had me reading The White Goddess and I don’t think any other book has had quite so much influence on my understanding of poetry or religion, for me they’re intimately connected via intuition. (Intuition being located somewhere between thinking and feeling – I also recommend SSOTBME by Ramsay Dukes). I do not dispute reconstructionist viewpoints or religions, but they are not mine. I worship in a poetic religion, Gardner et al put together this way of worshipping at some point between the 30s and 50s. That does not deny that it’s older but I would suggest that the methodology and minutiae are not, the soul of the religion is. The soul, the poetic understanding is, for me, what we connect to when we come together in circle.
In the name of ‘Doing It Right’ I did a particular pathworking, I had come across the name Mabon before as I was interested in the legends of Arthur before I knew I was interested in Paganism. This was in the days before the internet so I had no way of looking up on Wikipedia whether or how the names were connected. Even these days, clicking and reading is not the only way I try to understand my religion.
Mabon ap Modron; Son of Mother.
What are you, a hunter, doing giving your name to a harvest festival at the Autumn Equinox?
Mabon is The Eldest, Mabon is the Hunter, Mabon is Wise.
Mabon is known by his relationship to Modron. Mabon is the Son of the Mother. Mabon seems out of place to this daughter of the farmlands because of his status as Hunter and I have always associated Harvest with being the territory of farmers. But it is the earth’s bounty that we harvest. We are of the earth as is Mabon, first man, the eldest. He is of the earth as are we. Mabon’s skills which were of such use to Arthur.
Of the images that I have received over the years during pathworkings one that retains perfect clarity is that of the silhouette of the huntsman against a starry sky.
What is Mabon ap Modron doing at this the second harvest? Reminding us that it is not only what we take from the ground that is the harvest. We are of the earth as well.
It’s a personal gnosis and is (as far as I am aware) completely unsubstantiated but Paganism as a whole and even Wicca is not only about the Reconstructionist path. Sure, you ought to do the groundwork but to discount the intuited poetic soul of this religion is, for me, to ignore much of the raw magic that knits Wicca together.
I’m an Eclectic Wiccan and I call the Autumn Equinox Mabon because his name fits and names have power.