Updated: Nov 22, 2020
As we approach the two sabbats Lughnasadh or Lammas, as some rather attempt to pronounce, and Mabon, we begin to sense the hasty energy that surrounds the natural world in preparation of Winter’s arrival. For a wildcrafting, urban farming witch like myself, the bustle of these two sabbats are much the same. The peak of the harvest is all around us, blessing us with an abundance of fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, and herbs. Preparing foods and herbal medicines by drying, canning, and varied methods of storage feels so in sync with nature… what the wildlife and faeries are also doing during these few prosperous months.
In this Faerie Majick article I wish to remind you of the power of the waning season. Yes, the Sun’s strength in fading. Yes, Winter lies just ahead. However, POWER through Sacrifice still remains, SUSTENANCE is all around us, THANKFULNESS is plentiful! So, let us now look closely to who and how we can celebrate the waning season of Lammas to Mabon.
The skilled God of Lammas/Lughnasadh is Lugh, a member of the faerie clan the Tuatha De Dannan. However, it is not him the sabbat is named after. Lugh was raised by a foster mother, Tailitu, Queen of the Fir Blog. It is her sacrifice in which the sabbats celebration is about. She died after many years of clearing the wild woods and huge boulders of Ireland, so that fields for food and wood for building and cooking can be had by her peoples. Lugh in his lament, marked the time between the Summer Solstice and the Autumn Equinox as a time to reap the bounty of the First Harvest; to celebrate the gifts that hard work and skill can bring forth.
With Tailitu’s effort, many generations of her people lived celebrated, healthy, and successful lives! Her death served the community, as does the death of the Sun’s strength. This signals to our harvest that it’s time to ripen and provisions are ready for the taking. Through a sacrificial death, power is transferred then heightened for one last hoorah! Boosting the health and lifeforce to all that witnessed and honored it.
The sabbat Mabon’s sacrifice story is a different, but still is present. Modron, the Great Mother of Mabon, wept through the loss of her infant son when he was only 3 days old. Mabon, the child of promise, is now hidden in darkness and suffering. This speaks of the complexity of balance/unbalance of the Autumn Equinox: A great and powerful sorcerers can’t kind her own son. A child of light is hidden in darkness. The Mother is now waning to a Crone through sorrow. The Son/Sun will grow to be strong while in the darkness of the Womb/Winter. Here, the sacrifice has deepened, instead of a transferring of power, the loss settles in across the land plummeting into darkness.
This kind of sacrificial power opens the gates to the Underworld. So, now we see this mother/son journey moving forward slowly with trials and tribulation. This is a reflection of the aging theme of Summer’s end; even more effort is needed to gain small amounts. It’s only with the aid of many wise creatures of nature; the Stag, the Owl, the Eagle, and the Salmon whose knowledge of the spirit world leads seekers to Mabon’s prison. The power at Mabon is that HOPE cannot be lost.
The waning season is rich with hope, sustenance and thankfulness. Both sabbats being the first two of three harvest festivals share bounty and blessings as a constant in both celebrations. As society parts from farming and agricultural understandings, we often think little about where and how our food came upon our plates…let alone how blessed we are to have received it. Celebrating the Wheel of the Year allows us witches and pagans to grasp the old ways and the lifestyle of those who still live it today. Visiting local farms during these months gives us a closer look of the effort it takes to produce, say, a barrel of apples, and just how many of those apples it takes to make a jug of cider. It’s truly astonishing and the mere sight of such efforts makes you rethink common food waste that occurs in our country.
We are so very lucky to have such a vast, diverse land that allows an array of seasonal crops and the water to sustain them! Lammas’s focus on grains and corn gives us insight into our world’s dependency on this crop; like Tailitu and her effort, without it people would be weak, suffer and die during the winter months. Mabon is often celebrated at the Witches Thanksgiving, here we can feast in the abundance of now aging Mother Earth with our spiritual families while giving blessings to Her for providing it too us. In our prayers we hope for this kind of prosperity to be worldwide and had by all…without the harmful destruction of our Great Mother.
Now, I don’t expect every reader to become a farmer or host a Mabon feast for their city just to feel the ‘feels’ of the season! But I would like for everyone to have a better appreciation for the abundance of waning season, the god/desses that lived these stories, and the blessing we have before us where others many not. Certainly, there are ways we can go beyond mere acknowledgment of these sabbats: visit local farms and wildcraft in your own area; contribute to food drives or join soup kitchen efforts, maintain bird feeders and bird baths, aid the aging community or make effort toward visiting community members who are lonely, visit the graves of your beloved departed and plant perennials, just to name a few.
Remember to recognize your own needs during the waning season: for rich natural food, to rest after tiring work, to allow yourself to feel lost while remaining hopeful, to seek comfort in silence or with others wiser than you, to celebrate with loved ones to restore balance.
I wish you all a prosperous Lughnasadh and Mabon! May the season be good and plenty for all to enjoy, So Mote it Be!
Originally written for the Beltane/Litha issue of the Cabot Kent Hermetic Temple Newsletter in 2018
new editing by Priestess Kimberlee Cabot Elizabeth, 2020