Mabon is the second of the three Harvest Sabbats. This is the Grain Harvest. That makes this probably the most important of the three Harvest Sabbats, because being seeds, the grain, if kept dry, won’t spoil. This is the harvest that will feed both the people and the livestock through the long cold Winter. Of course, by the time Imbolc comes back around, you’re going to be very tired of oatmeal.
Traditionally, this also marks the beginning of hunting season. No matter how you personally feel about killing “defenseless” animals, you have to understand that hunting provided the protein our Ancestors required. You can’t eat all of your livestock, especially if it is producing byproducts you can use, such as milk.
Since the dawn of time, the Hunt has been not only an important part of survival, but it was also an important part of culture. The Hunt was where boys proved themselves ready to be men. Both boys and girls change physically as they mature. While the change from Maiden to Mother for girls is obvious at their first menstrual cycle, boys became men during the Hunt. They proved their skill, and ability to take on the responsibility of adulthood by providing sustenance for the village, clan or tribe.
Having enough grain meant survival through the long cold Winter, not only for the people, but for the livestock as well. If you didn’t have enough grain to feed both, some of the livestock would have to be butchered, to ensure the survival of the heard, and the village.
In the Wheel of the Year, Mabon is the Wise Elder. Having lived a long and productive life, Mabon steps back to allow the next generation to take up the day to day responsibilities. She observes and counsels, based on many years of experience. What the young think they are the first to discover, Mabon has already lived and experienced.
Now at the end of a long and abundant life, She has no regrets. As the grain has turned from green to brown, ready for harvest, Mabon’s hair has also lost the color of youth. Mabon is not a burden on anyone. She is active and takes care of Herself, with a little help.
While Mabon can no longer do everything She once could, her bones ache with the change in the weather, and She is slower than in Her youth, She is still a very productive member of Her community. Now, instead of physical labor, Mabon provides experience and knowledge gleaned from a life well lived.
Mabon may not be up on the latest craze, but that is fine, She knows the fad will pass quickly, they always do. The important things change only slowly. Many of the things She was taught by Her grandmother, She now teaches to her Granddaughters. Some things have changed, and she incorporates the new ways, along with the stories of the old ways, into what She now teaches.
Mabon is consulted for disputes. Age and experience have taught Her the difference between what is really important, and what only seems important at the moment. It is said that age and experience always trump youth and enthusiasm. Or in more modern language…been there, done that, got the t-shirt.
Even now, stooped with age, and relying on a staff to steady aged legs, Mabon feels as young as ever. Sure, joints pop as Mabon gets out of bed each morning, moving from place to place is at a much slower pace, and it always seems cold, but that doesn’t keep Her from doing the things She enjoys. The person looking back from the mirror, would be unrecognizable to Her younger self, but Mabon still sees that younger self in the reflection.
Still, Mabon recognizes that life is nearly at an end, but isn’t frightened by the fact.
Winter is coming.