Monday, September 23, 2013

Personalizing the Sabbats to Make Them Holy

By Kevin Red Patrick

     Happy Mabon!! The Wheel of the Year turns another spoke continually taking us forward along our path. We all know this as the Autumn Equinox or the Second Harvest, but few of us know why we call it Mabon (May-bawn, Mah-bone) or how it relates to our personal tradition. What we do know is that this is the time of year that fall seems to begin and the “holidays” will soon be upon us.

     The name Mabon for this pagan Sabbat was coined by Aidan Kelly, founder of The New Reformed Orthodox Order of the Golden Dawn, sometime around 1970. He derived the name from the Welsh Celtic hero Mabon ap Modron. This hero’s name is interpreted as “son of the divine mother.” Modron is derived from the Gaulish goddess Matrona, the divine mother goddess. Mabon was taken from his mother’s arms three days after his birth and locked away in a dark watery prison. While imprisoned, Mabon learns various skills associated with hunting and battle. He is rescued by the legendary King Arthur and his knights on their quest to fulfill forty impossible demands of the giant Ysbaddaden and win the hand of his daughter Olwen for Arthur’s cousin Culhwch. Mabon is the only one who has the skill to hunt the dog Drudwyn, the only dog that can track the boar Twrch Trywth. The giant is slain after only a few of the tasks are completed allowing the two to marry.

     So you might be wondering, what this has to do with the second harvest. The coinage of this sabbat’s name appears to be quite arbitrary. Kelly has seemingly taken the name of a Celtic God of a favorite myth and applied it to the holiday just so it would have a specific name like the other modern pagan Sabbats instead of the mundane description of autumn equinox. This is what makes the name of this Sabbat controversial, however it has been accepted by the majority of the pagan community and has become the traditional name.

     The second harvest is the time to gather the fruits from the vine. The Roman festival of Dionysus, God of Wine, which is celebrated on this day is more closely related to the meaning of this holiday than is the tale of Mabon ap Modron whose story is about freedom, love, quests, and marriage. The myth of Persephone and Demeter is more symbolic of the turning of the Wheel of the Year. This marks the time when Persephone descends into the Underworld and the bounty of the earth begins to diminish due to Demeter’s anguish.  All of these deities give us reason to celebrate this day. We thank Dionysus for the bounty of fruits. We honor Demeter for her gifts of the harvest and support Her as she mourns, and we honor Persephone’s sacrifice to willingly go back to the Underworld each year.

     “But I’m not Greek or Roman!” you exclaim.

     One might wonder how they can celebrate this Sabbat because none of the myths associated with it include the culture that inspires their own personal path. Some may simply accept it as a “traditional” neo-pagan holiday and wonder why anyone wouldn’t celebrate an equinox; it has astrological significance. Either way I find it a more personable experience if I can relate it to My tradition through the myths of my chosen cultural influence, the Celts and my Gods. This is why it is important to learn the myths and legends of your personal path as well as those of others.

     My Celtic inspired path marks Mabon as an extension of Lughnasadh. For me, Lughnasadh marks the time when the Sun God Lugh, as the Great King of the Tuatha de Danann, defeated the king of the Fomorians, Balor and secured the grains of the harvest for his people. In addition to this, Lugh established the celebration of his adopted mother Tailtu on this day, who died as a result of her tireless work making the land good for planting, on this. This is why I honor Lugh as the God of Light (knowledge and skill), God of the Sun (as the King of the divine race is typically equated to the Sun), and the god of the harvest.  But it is the legend of Lugh’s sacrificial death that lends itself to my relation of the Sun God to the celebration of Mabon.

     My journey of research, meditation, and journey with Lugh has led me to the following description of the death of Lugh.

     Lugh, known by the Welsh as Llew, was cursed by his birth mother to never have a wife of the people who now inhabit the earth. The magicians Gwydion and Math, both protectors of Llew, used great sorcery to create the most beautiful and fairest  and graceful maiden that man ever saw, Blodeuwedd. A woman made of magic, oak, broom, and meadowsweet, her name mean “flower face.” Lugh loved Blodeuwedd. But many years after their marriage, Blodeuwedd fell in love with another. Lugh was told of Blodeuwedd’s adultery but his love for her kept him from taking actions against her. The two lovers plotted to kill Lugh but the god could not be killed in any ordinary fashion. Blodeuwedd betrayed Lugh a second time and revealed to her lover Gronw the secret to killing her husband. Lugh could not be killed on either on land or water, neither clothed nor naked, neither indoors or out, neither in the day or night, and neither in the summer or winter.  Blodeuwedd lured her husband into a garden pavilion at dusk for a bath on the autumn equinox. When Lugh was in place half in the bath with a wrap about his waist as the sun set, she called for her lover who struck Lugh with a spear. Lugh let out a screech when he received the fatal blow and immediately transformed into a raven and flew away. Gwydion searches for Lugh finally finding him at Samhain perched in an oak tree. He sings the bird down, restores Lugh to his human form and retreats to the underworld to care for his wounds. Lugh, Gwydion, and Math return to take back the kingdom form Blodeuwedd and Gronw. A battle ensues. Lugh refuses to allow Blodeuwedd to be killed. In the end Gwydion turns Blodeuwedd into an owl so she would never again have the light of the sun upon her face and Gronw escapes to the land of his people. Gronw appeals to Lugh for forgiveness but is denied. Lugh demands that Gronw stand on the bank of the river Cynfael and receive a blow from his spear. Gronw agrees after all others refuse to take his place and he secures the condition that he can place a stone between him and Lugh. Lugh of the long arm throws the spear with such force it pierces the stone and his enemy.

     This is my interpretation of the myth as I have come to know it. You may not agree with my willingness to adapt the legend but I assure you that this tale has come to me through study, meditation, and divine influence. The tales of the Celtic people, and many cultures throughout history, have been lost either in part or in entirety. There is no way to prove this true or false. But as pagans we know that each person’s journey is personal. How do you incorporate this Sabbat into your own personal belief system? Do you have a myth that you equate to this spoke in the wheel? Is it from the culture that inspires your spirituality?

     Having a myth that ties your beliefs and your gods to each Sabbat makes each Sabbat a personal holy day. As we walk the Wheel of the Year, we are encouraged to be in tune with its cyclic turning. What better way than to find a personal connection through the myths and legends as we come to know them.

Happy Mabon! 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Sabbat before Julie Jeznach

Mabon. Second Harvest. Pagan Thanksgiviing. That Sabbat before Samhain.

In the South autumn is not yet in full swing at Mabon. We might have seen a slight drop in temperatures or realized that Hallothanksmas is in full swing at the local craft or drugstore, but that special feeling of fall just hasn’t arrived yet. The tomato vines are full and the leaves are firmly attached to their branches and the Green Man is still virile. The last physical harvest is still pending.

 As southern urban pagans our daily connections to nature are climate controlled or covered in asphalt. We must seek out experiences with nature instead of being pulled into the flow.  External and retail oriented indications of the seasonal change inspire hurry and a sense of impending need. It is easy to get caught up in the anticipation of Samhain, Halloween, Yule, and Christmas (as many pagans celebrate both our religious holidays and secular ones with extended family)

How do we connect back to the Wheel turning without the seasonal cues of those in more northernly climates? Remember that there is magic and beauty in the ordinary.  As the temperatures slowly dip below 90 at sunset and twilight begins to arrive just after supper instead of at bedtime, reserve time to step outside and listen to the music of the tree frogs singing. The late blooming crepe myrtles have offered up their blossoms but there is also beauty in the rich green of plants past the flowering stage.

Plan a trip to a local farmer’s market and head to the stalls still selling the last of the tomatoes, pole beans, okra, peppers and peaches, the rewards of a longer growing season.  This is the beginning of pumpkin flavored everything in retail but there is time for that, the last harvests of summer are still waiting to be savored or canned.

Though our weather may not have caught up, Mabon is an equinox and a time of balance between the light and the dark.  It is in this time of between we find our connections to Mabon and our harvests that are the culmination of the things we have spent our time and effort on; our intellectual and financial harvests as well.  Set aside time to plan for the the coming short days and long night, create a space in your home for reading or crafting or other activities that feed your spirit through the Dark of the year. Start a journal or scrapbook to reflect on the gifts of what you have harvested through the spring and summer, family outings and vacations and summer games.

As urban pagans our lives are no longer dependent on the cycles of the growing season but our spirits remain tied to the cycle of Light and Dark. Set aside this time as the days begin to shorten to gather the gifts of the Light and know you have the harvest of strength, courage, and wisdom to step into the next cycle of the wheel.

Julie Jeznach is a Mother, student, and practitioner of an eclectic Wiccan life. She has been studying Wicca and Paganism for 31 years while pursuing varied careers and raising her children.  Julie is currently a second degree student and Maiden with Temple of the Sacred Gift and a talented tarot reader. She is skilled in fiber arts and jewelry making and channels her inner magpie collecting gemstones, yarns, and various small “pretty things.” She loves recipes both delicious and magical. Julie shares her home with her two wonderful children, a cranky orange tabby, and a loving border collie that keeps things running smoothly.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Mabon Fixins with Jenn Kahn, Southern Fried Pagan Style............

At Mabon, we celebrate the goddess in her aspect as the crone, or the Dark Mother. She is Demeter, she is Hecate, she is the wise old woman wielding a scythe rather than a basket of blooming flowers.  This makes me think of the Grain of the Fields, and instantly makes my hands itch to make and create wonderful fixings for me and my community! 

Here is me sharing one of my Bread recipes and hoping you will use it to celebrate Mabon with those you love.  Remember (while you are preparing your food in the kitchen hum, sing, dance, and spell it with visuals and a whole lot of love).

This honey wheat blend is a delicious way to celebrate the end of the harvest and say farewell to the fertile months of summer. Serve warm with herbed oils for dipping, or with a big scoop of Apple Butter.
Make this either in your bread machine, or by kneading it by hand.

Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Ingredients: •2 C. warm water •1 Tbs. active dry yeast •1/3 C. honey •3 C. whole wheat flour •1 tsp. salt •1/4 C. vegetable oil •2 Tbs. butter •4 C. all purpose baking flour

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add honey and mix well.
Stir in the whole wheat flour, salt, vegetable oil, and butter and mix until a stiff dough has formed. Gradually work the all-purpose flour into the mix, one cup at a time.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured countertop, and knead for about fifteen minutes. When it reaches the point where it's sort of elastic, shape it into a ball and place it into an oiled bowl. Cover with a warm, damp cloth, and allow to sit and rise until it's doubled in size -- usually about 45 minutes.

Punch the dough down and cut in half, so you can make two loaves of bread. Place each half in a greased loaf pan, and allow to rise. Once the dough has risen an inch or two above the top of the loaf pan, pop them in the oven. Bake at 375 for half an hour, or until golden brown at the top.

When you remove the loaves from the oven, allow to cool for about fifteen minutes before removing from the pan. If you like, brush some melted butter over the top of the hot loaves, to add a pretty golden glaze to them.

Note - If you're doing this in a bread machine, remember, the recipes makes two loaves. Halve everything if you're allowing the machine to do the mixing. If you hand mix it, you can still drop the single-loaf balls of dough into the machine to bake.


If we lived out further we would be pulling something out of the smokehouse, or going hunting to bring in a nice meat to eat at Mabon.  In Memphis, we go to our local supermarket and bring in the kill already skinned, de-boned, and ready for preparation.  We traditionally serve Pot roast at this time of year, this is my Southern Fried Pagan twist on that traditional dish.

All things Harvested Pot Roast:

4-5lb pot roast
1 stick butter
 1 large onion sliced
 3 celery stalks chopped
 1 garlic clove chopped
 ¼ tsp. dried thyme
¼ tsp. dried parsley
1 bay leaf
1/8 tsp. black pepper
 ¼ tsp. salt
 2-10oz cans French onion soup
 4 large potatoes, quartered
 1-8oz package raw baby carrots
 1-16oz pkg. frozen broccoli/cauliflower mix

In dutch oven or oven safe pot w/lid brown both side of the roast, using half the butter. Set the roast aside. With remaining butter, saute' the onion, garlic, and celery until onions are tender and beginning to brown. Add the the thyme, parsley, bay leaf, and pepper. Mix well and then return the pot roast to the pan. Sprinkle salt over the roast and add the french onion soup. Cook at 325 degrees for 4 hours. Baste meat as needed. Add potatoes and carrots and salt to taste. Cook for another 45 minutes. Add broccoli/cauliflower mix and cook for 20 more minutes. Serve with hot bread. (Makes 8 servings)

 You cannot have a Southern Mabon without a great dessert!  Dessert is what we all oooh and ahhh over; and what makes us eat less Pot Roast and bread saving room in our bellies for delight.  Keeping that in mind, and what is plentiful for us in this part of the region we use apples in everything around Mabon.  I am sharing with you my coveted "what's that special ingredient" Crumble pie, knowing that whether you fix it in a skillet, a bread pan, or a pyrex dish it will make you the talk of the Potluck event.   

Lunch Crumble:

 5 apples
1 cup rolled oats
 2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
6 tbs. butter
1 tsp. cinnamon
 1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. allspice
 2 tbs. apple juice or orange juice

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter a 9-inch square baking pan or a casserole of the equivalent size, then dust it with flour. Peel, core and slice the apples, and arrange them in the pan. In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend the oats, brown sugar, flour, butter, cinnamon, salt and allspice on low speed until it forms a coarse meal. Crumble the mixture evenly over the apple slices and sprinkle with the juice. Bake for 35 minutes.
Makes 6 servings. (Serve warm with chilled fruit and vegetable plates, buffet style)

Don't forget to say a prayer of thanks to the Goddess and thank her for her bountiful blessings that she so richly shares with us....ENJOY!

Jenn Kahn is the "Queen Kitchen Witch" at the Temple of the Sacred Gift, Atc. A first degree student, maiden at the Temple, and understands that she is priestess and Goddess while walking an Egyptian Path.  She also is an accomplished seamstress, makes specialty cakes, a fabulous belly dancer, decorator, and plays viola.  While doing all of these other interesting accomplished things she still manages to have a career in the mundane world, and raise three healthy beautiful pagan children. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Happy Mabon: Egyptian-Heka Style

So if you are Wiccan/Pagan or a Witch that walks the Wheel of the Year (this means celebrating our Sabbats) you know that MABON is on the horizon.  But here in the Midsouth, Autumn is not even tipping our trees.  The leaves are not falling, and the hottest most humid months are at their peak.  I think that because the Wheel of the Year is based more on the UK that at times it is really hard to adapt here in the United States; but that is another blog/story altogether.

If you walk the Egyptian Path like me, you might find it difficult to find our Wheel and correspondences at all in the Celtic/British  Wheel.  So today, I am going to help you find took me a while; but I did.  Mabon is not just about the Autumn harvest it is about the Son Mabon (Lord of Light) of the Goddess (Modron) coming into his own, as his father MAKES a Sacrifice for the Greater good of the whole.  It seems Mabon the young God was hid away and protected by several animals until he grew strong enough to come forth and help the people of the world.

Well, strangely enough this story very easily corresponds with Isis/Horus/Osiris.  Isis had to hide her son Horus, he is well hidden and grows strong and withstands many lessons and challenges and is taught by Thoth the Ibis, and Serqet the Scorpion, and Wadjet the Cobra, and Heket the Frog, and Tauret the Hippo.  When the time is right, he emerges and is ready to face of against Set the God of Chaos so that things can be set back into place...and that the wheel of Human years will flow with "the stars".  The Celestial Map that the Egyptians walk by in short more Astrology and Sun guiding you externally, and the Moon is used to illuminate the lessons of the Sun.

Some facts about HORUS and his names because these are the qualities of him you want to concetrate on for MABON see which name he brings to you (Ask him personally to help you know which one to use)!  Use that name working with him until the next Sabbat/turning of the wheel! 

Harsiesis (Horus son of Isis) This Horus was the son of Isis and Osiris. He was conceived magically after the death of Osiris and brought up by Isis on a floating island in the marshes of Buto. The child was weak and in constant danger from the scheming of his wicked uncle Seth, who sent serpents and monsters to attack him. But his mother, Isis was great in the magical arts and she warded off this evil by using a spell against creatures biting with their mouths and stinging with their tails, and the young Horus survived and grew.

Harpokrates (The infant Horus) As a child he represented the new born sun and was often pictured being suckled by Isis. he was usually represented as a seated child, sucking his thumb, his head was shaved except for the sidelock of youth. Even as a child, he wore the royal crown and uraeus.

Horus Behudety In the form of Horus of Edfu, he represented the midday sun. This Horus was worshipped in the western Delta and later, as his cult spread south into Upper Egypt, a cult center was established in Edfu. Horus of Edfu fights a great battle against Seth and an army of conspirators. He is pictured as a winged sun-disk or as a hawk headed lion.

Harendotes (Horus the avenger of his father).
Heru, Hor, Harendotes/Har-nedj-itef (Horus the Avenger),

So if you are Egyptian and you wanted to relate this all to your Pagan/Wiccan/Witch sisters and brothers what are you to do? 

1. Do a ISIS and Horus ritual!

by Rev. Sonya Miller Egyptian-Heka Tradition

Items needed:  1. Red carnelian, Blue Lapis Lazulu (these are to represent the two eyes of Horus) 

2. White feather, or Ostrich feather for Maat  (you should always have one of these on your Egyptian Altar)

3.  Sugar cookies shaped like triangles (a modern representation of shat- cake) thought to be his favorite
4.  Dark brown beer for HORUS 
5. Milk for ISIS 
6.  Rose petals for Isis 
7.  Honey for her the best you can afford.
8.  Ankh on altar 
9.  White and Black candle
10.  Cauldron
11.  Charcoals to burn incense on
(12)  Incense (Rosemary is always associated with Horus, Khufru incense is my favorite, Juniper berries ground always work well, and Frankincense and Myrrh, Sandalwood and Rose) 
 (13)  Paper and Pen
The Spiritual Lesson you are supposed to be gaining from Mabon is there in the Mythos of Isis and Horus.  Isis has given birth to a new creative being (we call him Horus); and she and many other Gods and Goddesses have fought to protect that new idea/creative project/ physical manifestation all year round.  Now is the time to THANK HER for doing this, and to ask that Idea she has helped you co-create come into Physical Manifestation or form so that you can see it, and work with it, and walk with it yourself.  The symbol for that Manifestation is Horus.  For he is the new Young Strong God.
Cast a Circle of Protection (I say a pyramid)  make sure you do not forget below you is Geb, and above you is NUT.   Invite in Isis and Horus.  Take your piece of paper and start writing down all you are grateful for that has happened since the last Sabbat to this one (take the time to figure out what that period is BEFORE circle)  Roll it up loosely sprinkle some of that incense in it...burn it.  Say THank you ISIS, sing her a song, dance wildly, or just send her all the joy in your heart. 
Next, think of the best and strongest thing in your life or idea that has manifested a possibility that you might want to develop.  Mine is a "writing project"  pick yours!  Now write that down, and blow on it and say Horus at least Nine times....(with the name you feel intuitevely he sent you or use all the cannot hurt)  Burn it, and as you do look at the smoke and flame and visualize it transforming to a HUGE BIRD flapping its wings until it rises and becomes a huge SUN.......Hold up your offering to Horus and thank him before hand.  NOW tell him what you are going to do to make that dream manifest in the next Sabbat.
Bless your food, eat a cookie, drink some of the beer and the milk (pick your order how you want to drink it I use mild first then beer for my tummy) 
Take down the pyramid.
Take the ashes outside and when they are done burning...BLOW THEM TO THE WIND.
Go inside and look at your calendar and start setting aside time each day to make that dream a reality.  Does it mean waking up an hour early?  Does it mean no television or less facebook.  Remember you Promised Horus you would make it happen with him.  Now the rest of this period everytime you feel like procrastinating or putting it off or feel stuck, call on Horus (use that sacred name he gave you) and know IT IS DONE, just go collect your Prize!
Duat Horus!
Duat Isis!
Enjoy ...and if you have any questions please feel free to POST THEM UNDER THIS.  I will be gone for the weekend at Gathering of the Tribes 2013, see you when I return.