Monday, September 24, 2012

Mabon 2012

"Winter is coming." 

 Mabon is the second time of the year when the sun crosses the celestial equator only this time the sun is heading south. Winter's approach is noticed by the shortened days. In ancient times (and still in some rural ares of the world) the harvest is brought into the home. In our modern society we can see the symbolic, spiritual aspect of this "second harvest" by measuring the fruits of our hardwork and celebrating the bounty of the harvest, as we brace for the coming cold and darkness. There is a bustle of hustle as preparations are made, final tasks are completed and the success of the year is measured. Mark this time by actualizing fullfillment of your own dreams.
 Mabon represents all that we should be thankful for; all that we have gained thus far in life. We must attune ourselves to the divine influences that rule this sabbat: to the Father God, the Sage, and the Earth Mother. These are the main divine types that are invoked for Mabon. *The Father God represents the sun loosing its powers as summer ends as well as the withering vine; symbolically this is a self-sacrafice from Father God, who gives up His life force so His children may live on. We are to be thankful to our Father God for his sacrafice so that we may be strong for the coming cycle. He will eventually die but be reborn on Yule as the Divine Child: the Sun God reborn.
*The Sage is represented as Dionysus, the God of the Vine. Mabon is also called the winefeast, wine is sacred to Dionysus and so many enchant wine as a way to invoke Dionysus within themselves. Rituals that involve Dionysus usually involve ecstatic trance, vision work (divination,pathworking,spirit summoning), and general revelry to honor and be blessed by the the Great Old One Dionysus.
*The Earth Mother is repsresented most famously by Demeter, whose power over the Earth's abundance and growth withers to nothing after Her daughter Persephone is kidnapped by the God of the Underworld, Hades. He tricks Persephone into a marriage to the woe of Demeter. With the help of the Crone Goddess Hekate, Demeter was able to meet and work a compromise with Hades.  Persephone will be free from the underworld and be able to be with Demeter during the spring and summer season but at the equinox the young Goddess had to return to Her husband, and she then becomes the Queen of the underworld. This bit of mythology has a number of symbolic material attached to it that explain key lessons of the pagan mystery teachings. The tale of Demeter and Hades is an echo of an ancient mythos for the Goddess called Inanna and her descent into the underworld, this is symbolic of the Goddess conquering death and creating the Cycle of Rebirth.
Mabon then has many themes; sacrifice, death, rebirth, transformation, vision working, divination, pathworking. We must take in the transmutive energy of the sabbat and internalize it with in ourselves.
Many celebrate the equinox by doing a simple ritual known as "the wine feast", in honor of Dionysus. So it is appropriate to have some wine that is blessed and to use the remainder in the glass to perform a divination through scrying with the wine; or to enchant the wine, drink half and pour the remainder as a libation to the Earth. Generally a feast of the harvest (or symbolic harvest) is mostly practiced at this time, said to be in honor of Demeter and Dionysus (or the Father God). Think of this sabbat as the Wiccan Thanksgiving, but less about pilgrims and more about the natural changes happening in our Earth and being one with those changes.

Mabon Harvest Ritual
*based on ritual by High Priestess Judy Ann Nock in her book "The Wiccan Year"*Cast a circle then invoke Demeter and Dionysus, place upon the altar: an ear of corn, a loaf of bread, a bowl of grain, a chalice of wine. Think of all the gifts of the land as you accept their bounty. Position each object on the altar to its cardinal point and call forth each quarter as you touch each object in turn: 
  • Touch Corn (east) and say,"Golden is the ripe corn, as golden as the sun rising in the East. The seeds of new life will be carried on the wind to the waiting fields of our eternity. To the East and the spirits Air, We bid you Hail and Welcome!"
  • Touch the Bread (south) and say,"The fire of the south aids our cooking, and warms our hearths. By the blessed flame does wheat transform to nourishment. We take in your essence, O' spirits of the South. And to the Spirits of Fire, We bid you Hail and Welcome!"
  • Touch the chalice of Wine (west) and say,"The sacred chalice holds the gift of the God, and in partaking, we share the libation of joyful measure. To the West and the Spirits of Water, we bid you Hail and Welcome!"
  • Touch the Grains (north) in the bowl and say,"The abundance of the Goddess is evident in the teeming fields. The harvest of Her great body sustains our soul. Behold Her gifts of the Fruitful Earth. To the North and the spirits of Earth, we bid you hail and welcome!"
  • Hold the Corn aloft and take a bite. After doing so recite the following invocation: "Blessed be the corn of the fields. Such was the beginning of the settled Earth. Demeter taught us the secrets of cultivation. In Her golden hair is the silk and the seed that flows in a river of beautiful abundance."
  • Hold the Bread, break off a piece. Eat slowly, taking in its texture and flavor. Recite the following: "Bread is humankind's first alchemy. Through the sacred transmutation of the elements our bodies are fed and nourished. The Goddess feeds us with spiritual food. May the blessings of Her body be ours. She is with us, She is beside us, She dwells within us."
  • Hold out the Chalice, take a sip and recite: "Blessed be the blood of the god that flows within our veins, He dies and awaits rebirth. His long sleep begins as the Earth opens to receive Him. May we be reminded of His sacrifice and coming resurrection, like the vine that dies and rises again. Life is eternal and in each death is the potential for birth. Through His sacrifice, the land increases."
  • Take some grains from the bowl and sprinkle them onto the ground. Recite: "Into the Earth the seed will spill, sprouting forth life. Likewise we shall harvest what is here and be thankful for the blessings we have. We are in awe of the Earth, we are in awe of the Seed, We are grateful for all the Lord and Lady has given us."
  • Meditate on your successes and gains of the year. Give thanks for all that you have received and allow yourself to mourn for the things not meant to be. If you are in a coven take this time to pass the blessed food around and share each others achievements and memories. If you are solitary enjoy your blessed feast and think of your accomplishments, write them in your journal as they come to you during this meditation. When you are ready to close the ritual, use this passage from Ranae, by the Greek poet and playwright Aristophanes to honor the essence of the season:
Let us to the flowery meads repair,
With deathless rosses blooming,
Whose balmy sweets impregn the air,
Both hills and dales perfuming,
Since Fate benign our choir has joined,
We'll trip in mystic measure,
In sweetest harmony combined,
We'll quaff full draughts of pleasure,
For us alone the power of the day,
A milder light dispenses,
And sheds benign a mellow ray, 
To cheer our ravished sense

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