Pagan Feasts: Mabon (Thanksgiving)

Mabon is the Witches’ Thanksgiving. It is the second Harvest Festival of the Witches’ calendar, and it celebrates and gives thanks for the bountiful harvest of fruit, squash, grains, and vegetables.

Witches meet and share celebration feasts with family and friends. Though joyous, this is also a serious time. At Mabon, Witches of many traditions prepare for the season of sleep, the dark time of fall and winter. Witches call to the animal spirits for guidance and insight as we enter this time of inner searching. We prepare to meet our true inner self and grow and further our journey toward self-enlightenment. We undertake this journey so that when we return to the coming cycle of light, the seasons of spring and summer, we can do so in a more peaceful, harmonious and balanced state. Our energies can then touch the community around us and help to promote peace and harmony within it.

Witches often look to mythology for the insights that its symbolism offers. Celtic mythology tells us the story of Mabon Ap Modron (son of Modron) in the Mabinogion. Mabon is stolen from his mother Modron when he is only 3 days old. While Modron grieves for her loss, Mabon, the bright child of promise is hidden or locked away (depending on the version of the myth that you read) in a castle for many years. His rescue becomes a quest for one of Arthur’s knights. Kai, Arthur’s adopted brother, and Gwrhyr, the translator of animal languages, set out to find and rescue Mabon. In their journey they must seek out many ancient animals, each older and wiser than the one before. They visit a Blackbird, a Stag, an Owl, an Eagle, and a Salmon. Each of these animals symbolizes a part of the journey and the lessons that we must each take and learn, until finally we can emerge from our own self quest transformed after having embraced our own inner child. Our own journey, much like the victorious end of our myth story when Kai and Gwrhyr return to Arthur with the young Mabon after the struggle to set him free, culminates when we emerge from our season of inner searching, into the season of light. We then come into a time when we can share this gained knowledge with others in our community.

The freeing of “Mabon”, our intuition, wisdom and inner child occurs with the aid of “Gwrhyr” our own inner spirit voices and “Kai, the Steward of Sovereignty”, the knowledge of our own personal connection to the energies around us, enabling us to return the “child of promise” our higher self back into the arms of “Modron, the Mother”, the soverign land that sustains us, so that we may comfort her “grief” the disharmony and destruction of the world with the return of the “young Mabon”, a wiser and stronger and more connected child.