* Harvest Home didn't fall on a specific date. It was celebrated when the harvest was brought home. Not earlier, not later. In a rural society the dates were not that important. Sure, there were Dates, but Harvest Home was not one of them.
* Christian hymns are NOT appropriate for Pagans, of one simple reason. They are Christian. They are infused with the Christian mindset and Christian world view and Christian values, and those are not Pagan. Sure, thanksgiving is thanksgiving, and I, a theist, have no problems in singing God's praise for the goods She bestows upon us. But - *I* object VEHEMENTLY to singing Christian hymns.
Yes, I know most of them are based on folk music, but it really isn't rocket science to write a simple folk melody and lyrics oneself. And it's with music as with everything else, the more you do, the better you become. Write your own music.
First you will be copying, stealing, borrowing, adopting bits and pieces from existing music, later you will be doing it so skillfully people won't even notice that you do that. That's the way music has been written for centuries, by even the best. There are no new ideas under the sun, everything has already been sang, written, painted... you are just to do it again, in your way... ;-)
* "Lavender Blue, Lavender Green" doesn't fit Mabon so well...
"Call up your men, set them to work,
Some to the plow, some to the fork,
Some to make hay, some to cut corn..."
I would put it in Lammas. And, sure, lavender scent would fit nicely there.
* "Those... may choose to meet for a special feast of Thanksgiving separate from their regular gatherings..."
What!? You MIGHT want to celebrate Mabon, but you can also ignore it, brush it aside as a sidenote and join the Christian mainstream society... No wonder Pagans suck at celebrating Sabbats!
* I don't think there's a focus on death on Mabon. Being old is not dying. Old age has its own blessings and teachings and if one thinks "those old people are just waiting to die" - one foot in the grave - one misses those blessings and teachings... The modern society is too focused on youth, strength and such, exploring, adventures, pioneering. Faster, stronger, higher...
To me the OLD shaman is better than a young one. Old wives' tales are interesting, fascinating... we have entered the Winter King's world, where we are to sit quietly and learn, listen to the teachings of the Old Ones, learn their wisdom, learn from their experiences, learn to never repeat their mistakes, at least not the worst ones. "We should never forget" we say, but as we ignore those who were there, those who knew by their own experience what it was we should never forget, we will forget... or remember just some insignificant, petty details... The Wise One, the Sage, the Crone... these are old people. The Elders' Council...
In my mind it is wrong of the Wiccans to choose the "most beautiful, young woman" to represent the Goddess... Of course she too has a place and time, she should be chosen at Beltane, but not the year around. At Mabon they should choose a Crone.
* "The Norse spent the day and night before Autumn Equinox fasting and praying"
Did they? Interesting. Reminds me of Yom Kippur. Which also happens around this time of the year.
* Heather wine
* Horn of plenty a phallic symbol?
"a large horn-shaped container overflowing with produce, flowers, nuts, other edibles, or wealth in some form"... er... doesn't sound phallic to me. Sounds more like the female part to me...
According to one story, it comes from the time when Zeus was a baby. He accidentally broke one of his nurse's horns (she was a goat), and this horn then started spilling food, fruits, wine and what not.
"The cornucopia became the attribute of several Greek and Roman deities, particularly those associated with the harvest, prosperity, or spiritual abundance, such as personifications of Earth (Gaia or Terra); the nymph Maia; and Fortuna. Roman deities who fostered peace and prosperity were also depicted with a cornucopia, including Abundantia, and Annona, Rome's specific grain Goddess. Pluto was also depicted with Cornucopia to symbolise his status as the giver of agricultural, mineral and spiritual wealth."
What irks me most are the appendixes... lists of correspondences. Especially the "mythological creatures"... People just keep copying these lists, and no-one ever seems to waste one minute of time thinking WHY these things are associated with the sabbats. Except me, of course :-D
Gulon? It's a f-ing wolverine! It's not mythological!
Andamans? What? What is that? I just learned a couple of weeks ago, that andamans are the dog-headed people. Eh. How are they connected to August Equinox?
Cyclopes, minotaurs, gnomes, sphinx...
WHY? What's the connection? There is never given any. I don't know why and how she assigned the mythological creatures to the different sabbats, and she ain't telling. No-one is.
So - I asked my amazing husband.
The wolverine is a scavenger, a bit like a Nordic hyena, and my husband thought of Loki. Mischievous and industrious.
I was thinking about the gluttony, and that Mabon is the feast of moderation...
Dog headed people... Anubis?
I suppose these are here because Edain associated wolves and dogs to Mabon too. Why? I have no idea.
Well... dogs, perhaps - or more precisely hounds. Mabon is associated with hunting, and thus hunting dogs, birds and - cats... leopards were trained and used as hunting cats long time ago. Nevertheless, I associate wolves with Imbolc, Lupercalia.
Cyclops. One eye... Odin? The focus on learning, teaching and wisdom of September, and old age. Here's a list of one-eyed mythological people and creatures
Minotaurs... bull... strength - Thor? Hammer? Cow... Hathor?
I was thinking about the labyrinth. And solving mysteries underground... like the Eleusian mysteries.
Gnomes - Leprachauns, fool's gold, greedy gets pockets full of autumn leaves... Now, that's a Mabon story :-D
I was thinking about "earthlings", "maahinen" as gnomes are in Finnish. The faefolks who lived in fairy mounds.
Sphinx - the Gate Keeper. You needed to answer the question, show that you were worthy, to be let in, in to the winter, Winter King's Kingdom. She lets those who are old and worthy and weary in.
I was thinking about High Priestess and Justice.
Q: What is the best way to plan for a large party without breaking the bank?
A: Shop early and shop often. Use sales. Not only will you get the best prices, but the cost of the meal won't hit your pocketbook all at the same time.