Sunday, September 9, 2012

Two weeks to Mabon

I wish you can use this weekend to clean the home properly and decorate it, at least a little.

Take a long walk in the nature and pick things, like acorns, horse chestnuts, pinecones, twigs and leaves.

I would like every Pagan Sabbath celebrated as if it was Yule. It is especially difficult to do when it comes to the Autumn holidays, because we in the Western world just don't have the traditions. Sure, there's Harvest feast, Michael's Mass and Thanksgiving, but... In the modern, urbanized world, people barely know where they food comes from, not to mention celebrate the harvest. The USonian thanksgiving is big, but it's celebrated very late in the Autumn and it is very strongly associated with the Christian history of USA. But the truth is that most of the family traditions are just a couple of generations old, if even that. Our parents are responsible of creating the traditions we experience to be The True Holiday, and when we get old and start celebrating the holidays with friends and spouses, we realize that their True Holiday is quite different from ours... It really takes only a couple of years for you to create traditions for your own family (even if it includes just you), so start creating!

Now, there has been people telling me that they don't celebrate this or that - "Mabon" is a Wiccan name for a Norse tradition, so most other forms of Paganity don't celebrate Mabon. To me it's Autumn Equinox, and to me the Sun Days have always been significant... to me there's something magical with the idea of day and night being exactly the same length twice a year, then the one or the other getting longer, until one day it's the day when the night is the longest or the day is the longest... These are to me Goddess ordained holidays. They are put in the movements of the Earth. This is Divine Calender. So I cannot understand people who claim to be Pagan but don't celebrate Autumn Equinox. It doesn't make any sense to me.
(That doesn't mean that I would say you're not a Pagan because you don't celebrate Mabon (or what ever name you wish to use of it), because you form your own observations of your faith the way that suits you, and you define your faith yourself. I have nothing to do with that. I'm just saying I don't understand it :-D)

After the long prologue, I wanted to speak about a couple of things. One needs to focus on a couple of things when creating traditions.

1) Honor the Holiday.

Make it different, elevated, from all the other days of the year. That means, you really NEED to clean.
(And that reveals that I am a sloppy housewife. I don't like cleaning, I'm more of a hoarder, and I'd rather do creative stuff or reading, than clean. So my home is not very clean and tidy normally. I'm just talking to you as if you were me :-D Now, if you are one of those miraculous people who actually manages to keep their homes immaculate 24/7, I'm not talking to you, when I say "you have to clean". YOU will have to find other ways to differ this day from all the other days of the year.)
Decorate the home for the party, HAVE a party, watch season appropriate movies, read season appropriate books, enjoy season appropriate music... think about your favorite feast/holiday and try to remember what makes it so, and season adjust that for Mabon. Take your favorite foods created with the season vegetables and dedicate this specific day for that food. It makes both the day and the dish that much more special :-D

2) Create traditions that suit you, your life, your style, your preferences.

Don't take on too much. Don't take on traditions that just don't feel right to you.
One thing I have noticed is that there's tons of "material" in Yule. There are more "traditions" I'd like to have at Yule than I can fit in Yule. So - take those traditions you like but have no room for at Yule and divide them throughout the year for the other Sabbaths.
For example, we in Scandinavia have a tradition of "Glögg party". A week or two before Yule, people gather around a kettle of mulled wine, and have a small fore-party. This would be perfect for Mabon. Maybe the weather isn't too suitable for mulled wine, as September can be - and is - warm in many places on this planet, but perhaps wine tasting party?

3) Appeal to all senses

What most people remember of different holidays best is the smell... the specific, different, good smell that lingered in the house all through the holidays. You know exactly what I'm talking about, because you can almost smell it right now. :-D

As there are no general, traditional scent for Mabon, try
- wine, mulled wine
- fruits, especially apples, pear, plum
- woody scents, like sandalwood, patchouli, rosewood, cedar and camphor.
- chrysanthemums, asters, marigolds
- nuts and seeds, like sesame seed and hazelnut (the scent of nutella... ;-))
- the smell of woods when you walk there in the autumn... everything is wet, and smells extra strong, the mushrooms, the leaves, the soil, the trees... You can recreate this by having a bowl of leaves, mushroom and wood chips kept moist.

Odour of Chrysanthemums by D.H.Lawrence

The other senses are, of course, hearing, sight, touch, and taste. Taste you appeal to by all the good, special food and candy; sight is pleased with all the colors and shapes and decorations - these two are no problem. What is more problematic is the sounds and feelings...

Sounds of Mabon... the rustle of dry leaves under feet when you walk in the forest... wind and rain. To me autumn is all about wind and rain and storms :-) And I love it :-DThere's plenty of autumn songs:
songs for fall
15 brilliant songs about autumn
a long list of songs about autumn/fall

And feelings?
Pulling on the rubber boots. First time you pull on the sweater after summer. Raindrops on your skin. The feeling of raincoat, oilcloth, the rustling plastic... The feeling of soil through the rubber boots, the slightly springy feeling of layers of moss, needles and moisture... and then you come back home and cuddle in front of the open fireplace, a blanket and a cup of hot chocolate... The feeling of dry leaves. The feeling of fir-cones, nuts, acorns, chestnuts...

Now, don't use wax cloth to decorate your home, because it's a really ordinary, homely, common material, which doesn't honor the holiday, but try using materials like corduroy, tweed, wool, felt and fleece, and leather.

One idea would be to try to recreate a sort of a hunting lodge feeling, with wood with bark on, rough stone, woodland animals and Mid-European folklore :-D (Tyroler look, dirndl, Austria, Germany, Bavaria, October fest and so on.)

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