For those of you who live in the northern hemisphere, we are approaching what many refer to as Mabon. This is the autumn equinox, but why the funny name? Well, for that little bit of lore, we must travel to Wales. Not literally of course, but the Celtic people are where the story of Mabon begins. Before I say another word, I must be honest; every mention of a goddess typically turns my stomach. I just find the whole way they are embraced to be hugely disempowering and far from reality. The real-world application of belief behind a goddess is always backed by some sort of “girl power” mentality, and I find that repulsive. No offense to anyone who resonates with that way of being; I just feel it has a negative influence on real-world women. Don’t twist my words though, I am not subservient to men. I simply do not require my power to be defined into a lesser category of “girl”, where no boys are allowed. Believe me, I know my power and I wield none of it at the expense or belittlement of men. That is important to say because if I were reading this, I would stop the second a goddess is mentioned and keep scrolling with a long eye roll. With that said, we begin with a mother goddess.
Oh, like Mother Earth? Not so much. There is a difference between the Mother Earth character and the idea of the mother goddess. The Earth is the origin of all things physical. There is only one of her. There are supposedly many mother goddesses, and while they hold the key role of birthing new creations, they also hold particular qualities. Just the same as human mothers have their own individual traits, so too do mother goddesses have a unique individual fingerprint they leave on the world. Our mother in question is known as Modron, daughter of Afallach, the king of the “Otherworld”. It said she took a husband who was known by the name of Urien Rheged, and he was one of King Arthur’s knights. This information isn’t exactly all that relevant to the story, but some believe this links our mother goddess to a more well-known character. Some believe she may be an earlier version of Morgan Le Fay. Many interested in this topic will already know who that is, but for those who don’t, she is one that is thought to be associated with The Triple Goddess. There are many worshiped by this title across the globe. I happen to think they could be all the same “being”. I just love when lore overlaps ideas. Especially when we don’t see it coming. This is about to be like one of those old TV infomercials though. Because wait- there’s more.
Modron is the mother to the sacred son, Mabon an Modron, also known as Maponus, (the god of light). Some of the lore associated with Apollo also aligns with Mabon. It is said that when he was a baby, he was kidnapped and held hostage in the Underworld. This portion of our tale draws parallel to the sadness Demeter felt when Persephone was sent to the Underworld, and the growth of plant life ceased as the Earth grew cold without her here. Modron felt great despair and emptiness during this time. In an effort to right this wrong, King Arthur went on a quest to retrieve the baby, and after some time, he returned victoriously. The gratitude that was felt was beyond measure. The event was significant enough to demand remembrance and so we find each year the celebration of the return of Mabon.
Now, there is evidence that the Autumnal Equinox only adopted the name Mabon in the 1970s. Before that, this time of year has been known by many names – even though they all essentially serve as a reminder of the same thing. It is a time of thanks. A time when we take notice of what we have in preparation for the darkness that is to come. We have the Festival of Dionysus in Greece, Harvest Home in England, Oschophoria in Ancient Greece, Oktoberfest in Germany, Winter Finding in the Nordic Areas, the Witch’s Thanksgiving, and even the original American Thanksgiving took place around October 3. Whatever name you embrace, whatever the lore behind your celebration, the Autumnal Equinox is a time to take stock of what you have. It is time to draw your attention inward and be thankful.
The mother goddess of our story lends the wisdom to know that life is cyclical. The maiden highlights the time of youth and the naive nature of being. A time when all things are possible, and the world is full of beauty. The mother is a time of struggle and strength. A time of sacrifice and creation. A time where beauty is seen from a different perspective. The crone is that of insight and stillness. An enduring patience that savors each moment due to the knowledge of experience that time is fleeting and all things change. What one thing is today, it will never again be exactly the same. The power of a goddess is not to overpower men. It is to highlight the beauty of creation and transformation. There are few things more precious in our world than those powers. A thankful heart and appreciation for all we are, is what our mother goddess lends us on this day. Grace and strength perfectly blended are what we can find on Mabon. A day when light and dark are of equal portions. A day to bring balance within our lives so that we may be prepared for what is to come.
It doesn’t really matter what name you call this time of year. Even if you don’t call it by any name at all, we can all feel it. We feel the shift and it isn’t just the weather that calls us to change. It is a time of transformation, a time of reaping, a time of thanks. One of the best ways to honor the day, is to hold a gracious and thankful heart. Embrace those you care for and your fellow man alike. Fill the world with the light you wish to see. I pray the abundance you reap is plentiful and love finds its way to your doorstep.