Too Late for Protestors, Term “Mabon” is Taking Hold in Pop Culture

Saturday was the fall equinox (as I usually call it), and various various voices reminded us again that the term “Mabon” was not Authentically Celtic. (Although disagreeing, John Beckett sums up the objections here.)

Others disagreed: Jason Mankey suggested that perhaps a god wanted it that way.

Mankey linked to an older blog post by Aidan Kelly, one of the pioneers of 1960s California Paganism and also a man whom I consider a co-founder of the field of Pagan studies, based his textual criticism of the Gardnerian Book of Shadows back in the 1980s.

Back in 1974, I was putting together a “Pagan-Craft” calendar—the first of its kind, as far as I know—listing the holidays, astrological aspects, and other stuff of interest to Pagans. We have Gaelic names for the four Celtic holidays. It offended my aesthetic sensibilities that there seemed to be no Pagan names for the summer solstice or the fall equinox equivalent to Yule or Beltane—so I decided to supply them.

By now, “Mabon” is showing up more and more in popular culture, such as Modern Drunkard magazine. (What is more popular than booze?) Their “Today’s Reason to Drink” for September 22nd read,

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s the first day of Autumn. Summer just blew by, didn’t it? If that makes you a little melancholy, well, it’s also the International Day of Radiant Peace. Yeah. Also? It’s Batman Day. And Car Free Day. And Chainmail Day. Yes, Chainmail Day is finally upon us. Also? It’s Dear Diary Day. And Fish Amnesty Day. And Hobbit Day. And Ice Cream Cone Day. And International Rabbit Day. If you don’t have a rabbit, some grocery stores keep them in the freezer section. They’re called fryers, and I think we know why. If none of those strike your fancy, it’s also Love Note Day and Elephant Appreciation Day. You can combine those, if you don’t mind getting odd looks down at the zoo. And it’s National Museum Day. And if you’re a Wiccan, it’s Mabon, which sounds a bit sinister, but it’s just their version of the Autumnal equinox. The list goes on. It’s National Centenarian’s Day. National Hunting and Fishing Day. National Public Lands Day. National Rock n’ Roll Dog Day. I don’t even want to know what that’s about. And National Singles Day. National White Chocolate Day. READ in America Day. And finally, Remote Employee Appreciation Day. There are others, but they’re even more frivolous than National Rock n’ Roll Dog Day, if you can believe it. It’s like everyone with an agenda or wacky idea picked the first day of Autumn, so as to steal from its majestic power, and they just piled on. So pick one and raise a drink. Or, since it’s Saturday, pick a lot of them and raise a lot of drinks. Why not? It’s freaking Wiccan Hobbits in Chainmail Riding a Centenarian Elephant Day! Let’s go nuts!

One-hundred-year-old Wiccan hobbits in chainmail . . . how are you going to come back at that?

3 thoughts on “Too Late for Protestors, Term “Mabon” is Taking Hold in Pop Culture

  1. Pitch313

    Being a California Pagan my own self, I don’t get my undies in a bunch over using MABON
    to refer to the Autumn Equinox. Post WWII California’s Bay Area was an Alexandria on the Pacific!

    Even if the term MABON s a contemporary coinage, not an ancestral legacy. The Wheel of the Year has 8 spokes, and Witches and Pagans needed to call each of them something witchy and paganish. Nobody else, it appears, suggested a more likely to be used term back when there was plenty of opportunity to make nominations for Pagan calendars. [These days I might look to the Chinook Salmon for inspiration.]

    But Neither do I hold that any celebrants or practitioners are under much obligation to use these calendar terms and no others. Autumn equinox or Hobbit Day is OK by me.

  2. For my own solitary path (not a tradition), I worked out my own names and detailed some of the relationships. I also started the new year with my version of Imbolc (the light returns). So I end up with four pairs, each holiday paired with it’s weird, the opposite on the wheel of the year. Here are the names for what it is worth.

    Sparkpoint • Harvestpoint
    Greenmark • Redmark (my equivalent of Mabon)
    Summergate • Wintergate
    Suncrest • Starwell

    I’m not out to set a new “standard,” these just worked better for me.

    1. kalinysta

      Like you, I do the same, only I work, to some degree, from a Balto-Slavic perspective.

      The new year is supposed to start “when bears first begin to hibernate”, however, I haven’t seen any bears in my area, despite my friends in the next county having them show up on their back porch. Instead, my “new year” starts at Kaledos/Kolaida (Winter Solstice or SunReturn), January 1st is Užsparin? (goddess of land borders), January 25th is Kirmeline – Day of the (house) Snakes, February 2nd is Grabnycios or Gromniczny or Hramnitsy, February 3rd is Volos (throat blessing – my mom used to insist I get the Polish Catholic priest to bless my throat since I had so many sore throats – didn’t help. Finally got my tonsils out and problem was solved!), February 9- Veles, March 5th is Ahavia, March 17th is Uzgavenes (Goodby to winter – Pancake eating!) March 20/21st is Velykos or Bia?o Nieziela or Wiosna, March 23 is Komoedytsy (Honey Eating feast), March 25 is Matya Syr Zemla, End of April is Rododyntsa, End of May is Sambariai, June – Rasa, Sobotki (Summer Solstice), July 21st is Feast of Pierun, August 15th is Zemyna’s Day or Dozynki, October/Nov is Dziadi/Veles.

      Do I keep up with all this? Heck no! Although I do pay attention and set out a small glass of liquor for the land spirts.

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