Mabon / Winter Finding 2012
This year, my local Circle’s Mabon ritual was led by a couple whose primary path is Asatru. So instead of a more traditional Mabon Sabbat, we participated in the Winter Finding ceremony.
I wasn’t sure what to expect; I don’t follow a Norse/Germanic path, so I had to look up what Winter Finding was all about. There seem to be a variety of different ideas of what Winter Finding is about (as to whether it should be a blot or a sumbel) and how it should be celebrated. Most agree that Winter Finding is on or near the Autumnal Equinox, and the second of the three harvest festivals of the year.
For our ritual, we did a blot to Odin, Thor, Sif, and Skadi, then passed the horn around the circle. We drank to our ancestors, and took some time to ‘brag and boast’ – brags on our accomplishments this year, and boasts about our fellow CircleMates.
We’ve had some communication issues in Circle over the past few weeks, and Bridey and I spent a lot of time over the past week working with everyone to resolve them. This ritual, with its spirit of connectivity and thankfulness, was exactly what we needed. I walked away from that ritual feeling full of love and appreciation for my spiritual family, and with the idea that they all were feeling the same thing. It was a wonderful opportunity to deepen our relationships with one another – to find out what things we’re all most proud of over the past year, and to let everyone know what things we’re grateful for in them – it was such a great experience!
I have to say that this is one of the things I like most about my local Circle – the diversity and willingness of all of our members to try on something new. Most of the people in our Circle identify as ‘eclectic Pagans’, with only a couple having a more defined, commercially identifiable path. Though we all have our own individual ideas and ways of practicing, the absolute willingness of each member to support and participate and learn from something new and different is absolutely wonderful!
We’re going as a group to Pagan Pride Day in Houston this weekend, and the ritual featured is supposed to be Summerian. I am definitely looking forward to that!
For my own practice and Mabon celebration, I have been drawn lately to Blodeuwedd. I found an article recently that talks about Blodeuwedd’s place in myth and lore, and how her story has been distorted over the ages. She was one of the first Goddesses that I drew in my first spiritual art journal ages ago, and she’s always been flitting around – she decided to make herself known recently. I love this quote from the article:
…Math and Gwydion create Blodeuwedd from the flowers of the forest, which symbolize the life and death aspects of the cycle of the year; they are intentionally drawing the White Goddess of the Underworld, the White Lady of Death, into the physical realm. Blodeuwedd of the Underworld is the balance to Lleu’s role as the Lord of the Sun.
Blodeuwedd is the physical manifestation of the Goddess of the Underworld. Just as Persephone in the Greek myths, Blodeuwedd is aware of what she is doing when she tasks Gronw with killing Lleu. Blodeuwedd’s “choice” between Lleu and Gronw is the neverending cycle of Growth and the Harvest. The Sun God must die so that winter may come: the cycle of death and rebirth again and again. Blodeuwedd is not just a woman who is torn between two lovers through Math and Gwydion’s magic; she is an incarnation of the White Goddess.
Blodeuwedd’s role in this cyclical story is an integral part of what Mabon symbolizes. When we forget the basic meanings behind the stories of our holidays or misinterpret their meanings, we forget the true importance of what we are celebrating. Blodeuwedd is not a light Goddess; she is the Dark that awaits all of us in the end, and her presence at Mabon should be considered in light of her true aspect.
This went hand-in-hand with her renewed appeals for my attention of late, and I thought it was fitting to post this here. I’ve been making devotional candles over the last week, and I will be redecorating my altar, and adding a devotional candle for Blodeuwedd through Samhain. I’ll post pictures when I have it done!
Hope your Mabon /Winter Finding ritual (and/or Harvest/Thanksgiving Celebration) was wonderful!