13 Things I am Grateful For This Mabon

With Mabon in a few days and Thanksgiving in a few weeks, looking at your life and reflecting on what makes it awesome can be an uplifting spiritual practice.  We spend so much time running around and on the go that it is easy to forget what make life so special.

During this season I have spent a lot of time really looking at my life and allowing myself to feel a deep sense of appreciate for it.  The good, the bad, everything. Continue reading

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Magical in the Mundane Series: Mabon

Sabats are seasons.  They are more than just a singular day, but rather the culmination of an entire spiritual and natural era.  It’s like a switch goes off and suddenly your in Mabon mode.  For me, I know I am in Mabon’s season because I want to buy mums and drink pumpkin beer.  All year long I will be practicing exactly what I’ve been preaching–fusing elements of the spiritual seasons into everyday activities–and sharing some suggestions based on my experiences.

Mabon is otherwise known as the Witch’s Thanksgiving.  It is a time of preparation and gratefulness.  Here are a few ideas to bring that energy into everyday life.

Household

  • Harvest the remainder of your crops and take potted plants into the house
  • Take extra cans and nonperishables to the local food pantry
  • Board up holes to avoid pest infestation
  • Make applesauce and cider to enjoy all winter long
  • Turn off air conditioners and store window units for next summer

Personal Care

  • Take coats, hats, scarves, boots, and sweaters out of storage
  • Begin any regime to avoid the winter blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder. Yoga, sun lamps, and time outside work well for mild cases; see a doctor in moderate to severe cases
  • If you’re super DIY, make a big batch of body or hand cream 
  • Stock up on cold and flu remedies, including your flu vaccine
  • Enjoy including fall fruits and veggies, such as apples and squash, into meals

Work and School

  • Take off work for Samhain
  • Stock up on school supplies and make any necessary upgrades to your computers and devices
  • Plan a charitable event hosted by your company or campus organization
  • Make a list of dormant projects to keep track of your workload
  • Start a project to make your work life easier.  For example, I work in a historical society and we are putting environmental monitoring devices in every room to make sure the objects are in optimal conditions.  After its installed, I will check these devices every week to check for problems.  This action will prevent deterioration and damage to the collections

Social Life

  • Go apple picking with your family or friends
  • Host or attend a bonfire with plenty of warm cider and seasonal beers
  • Volunteer at a local park to help clean up trash
  • Take a drive with a crush or significant other to see the changing leaves
  • Sign up for a class, whether to expand the mind, learn a new skill, or to make friends

© Ariadne Woods

Magical in the Mundane Series: Mabon

Sabats are seasons.  They are more than just a singular day, but rather the culmination of an entire spiritual and natural era.  It’s like a switch goes off and suddenly your in Mabon mode.  For me, I know I am in Mabon’s season because I want to buy mums and drink pumpkin beer.  All year long I will be practicing exactly what I’ve been preaching–fusing elements of the spiritual seasons into everyday activities–and sharing some suggestions based on my experiences.

Mabon is otherwise known as the Witch’s Thanksgiving.  It is a time of preparation and gratefulness.  Here are a few ideas to bring that energy into everyday life.

Household

  • Harvest the remainder of your crops and take potted plants into the house
  • Take extra cans and nonperishables to the local food pantry
  • Board up holes to avoid pest infestation
  • Make applesauce and cider to enjoy all winter long
  • Turn off air conditioners and store window units for next summer

Personal Care

  • Take coats, hats, scarves, boots, and sweaters out of storage
  • Begin any regime to avoid the winter blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder. Yoga, sun lamps, and time outside work well for mild cases; see a doctor in moderate to severe cases
  • If you’re super DIY, make a big batch of body or hand cream 
  • Stock up on cold and flu remedies, including your flu vaccine
  • Enjoy including fall fruits and veggies, such as apples and squash, into meals

Work and School

  • Take off work for Samhain
  • Stock up on school supplies and make any necessary upgrades to your computers and devices
  • Plan a charitable event hosted by your company or campus organization
  • Make a list of dormant projects to keep track of your workload
  • Start a project to make your work life easier.  For example, I work in a historical society and we are putting environmental monitoring devices in every room to make sure the objects are in optimal conditions.  After its installed, I will check these devices every week to check for problems.  This action will prevent deterioration and damage to the collections

Social Life

  • Go apple picking with your family or friends
  • Host or attend a bonfire with plenty of warm cider and seasonal beers
  • Volunteer at a local park to help clean up trash
  • Take a drive with a crush or significant other to see the changing leaves
  • Sign up for a class, whether to expand the mind, learn a new skill, or to make friends

© Ariadne Woods

Are All Sabats Created Equal?

Most witches, Wiccans, and Pagans follow the Eight Great Celtic Sabat model (although there are thousands of other traditions.  Read The Grandmother of Time by Z. Budapest and The Pagan Book of Days by Nigel Pennick for more information).  The benefit about following the natural world is the major holidays are nicely spaced throughout the year.  Getting bummed after Yule? Imbolc is right around the corner.  We are constantly celebrating life and the Earth and our faith.

Yet, I have found that try as I may to celebrate every holiday, I have noticed a pattern about how I approach the Wheel of the Year:

  • Yule: Christmas (a very important day in my family) is a few days away and since that’s such a high stress holiday I am too wiped to stay up with the Goddess as she births the God.
  • Imbolc: Very informal celebration.  This year I had my friends over for mead.
  • Ostara: I always seem to forget about it.
  • Beltane: One of my favorites, but it always falls on finals or reading days.  I do make an effort to do some sort of ritual, though.
  • Litha: I go to a local farm festival with my mom every year and go home for a late night ritual.  One of the best days of the year.
  • Lammas: So. Much. Baking.  Always a laid back holiday.
  • Mabon: I adore Mabon.  Never miss it.
  • Samhain: I celebrate it, but I always seem burnt out due to a variety of reasons.

I do not treat them all with the same amount of pomp and circumstance.  I mean, it’s not practical for me.  I have school, work, family, friends, boyfriend, extra curricular activities, taking care of myself, etc.  The prep time is not always there.

What ultimately drives celebratory worship is the connection to particular times of the year.  For me, I feel at home in summer and fall holidays.  They speak to my soul in such an empowering way, which is what matters the most about sabat celebrations.  That connection is key because that is what allows the worshiper to benefit spiritually from the ritual.

© Ariadne Woods

Reciprocity

The Goddesses and Gods fulfill many roles in our lives. They are our guardians and protectors.  They inspire us on many different levels.  They provide our beautiful earth and sky and sea.  They help us through dark times and through the blessings.  Whatever your relationship to the Gods and Goddesses, they have a powerful effect on your life.

In the spirit of Mabon, it is the time of year to thank them.  This action can come in a variety of ways:

  • Burning candles, herbs or incense
  • Pouring Libations
  • Volunteering for a neighbor clean up or at a soup kitchen
  • Giving a donation to a non-profit organization
  • Recycling

Give back for all you have received this year.

© Ariadne Woods

Mabon Food

This is the time of year when the last of the harvest comes in from the fields and the gardens.  Apples, zucchini  and squash rule the day as to hearty herbs like rosemary and warm spices like cinnamon.  Think of fall colors like greens, yellows, and oranges in preparing foods on Saturday.

A couple of simple ideas:

  • Apple Cider:  If you haven’t already, buy your first jug from the grocery store or farmer’s market this weekend and not only use it in your meal, but also take it into the ritual circle.  Hard cider is also fabulous this time of year for the 21+ crowd.
  • Zucchini Fritters: These are simple and yummy.  You can make them on a hot plate, that’s how easy they are to make.  You can pair down the recipe for one person if need be.
  • Pumpkin Dip: My friend made this year during our Samhain Pumpkin Carving Party and I craved it or three months.  We ate it with apples, ginger snaps, and plain pita chips, but I think you could use pretzels or crackers too.
  • Fall Fruit Salad: Grapes, pomegranate, apples, pears, and whatever looks yummy at the grocery store.
  • Rosemary Balsamic Chicken: Make a dressing with garlic, rosemary, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.  Play it by ear with the measurements (Tip: go heavier on the vinegar for a glazed effect).  Put the appropriate amount of skinless boneless chicken breasts in a plastic ziplock bag and pour the dressing over the chicken.  Close the bag, shake, and put in the fridge for at least an hour.  Preheat the over to 350 and foil line a sheet pan.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  • Roasted Squash: Try a variety you’ve never had before.  Last year a pub near my school made citrus marinated acorn squash with cranberry compote that blew my socks off.  This dish now makes me think of Fall.
  • Carmel Apples:  These are kind of hard to make at home.  Grocery stores and candy shops offer fabulous varieties, even chocolate dipped!

Happy Cooking!

© Ariadne Woods