The Mabon Sabbat

Mabon is the autumn equinox and falls between 21-24 September. This is a relatively new name for the ancient Meán Fómhair that is sometimes known as the Harvest Home day and close to the Feast of the Ingathering.

Pagans celebrate Mabon as the first of the three annual harvest festivals, with the second being Lammas (Lughnasadh) and Samhain being the third. Essentially it is the Witches’ Thanksgiving.

Apples are abundant this time of year, and my song pick for this entry is The Andrews Sisters “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree.”

For my Mabon Sabbat, I wanted the menu to be centered on seasonal squash, pumpkins, root vegetables, and apples with lots of colour and high comfort. Here is what I came up with:

Creamy kale soup with unpeeled red potatoes, spicy sausage, onions, garlic, herbs, vegetable stock, and heavy cream.

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Stuffed acorn squash with caramelized onions, quinoa, spinach, apples, garlic, rosemary, and cream cheese

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Pumpkin curry with coconut milk, Thai chilies from my garden, green peas, broccoli, cauliflower, garbanzo beans, onions, ginger, and lemongrass, over jasmine rice.

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Brussels sprouts with bacon, amino acids, and black pepper

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A friend made these Deviled eggs- one set is Bloody Mary and the other was full of herbs.

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In previous years, I have baked other stuffed items such as butternut squash with quinoa, sausage, and cheese as well as apples stuffed with steel cut oats, cinnamon, maple, and honey. It’s just the right time for treats like that.

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In lieu of an altar, I led a group smudging ritual and shared my knowledge of materials, procedures, and intent. We talked about different herbs, resins, woods, and how/when to use each one, etc.

Bonus link:
The Dark Secret of Harvest Home is a 1978 horror film with Bette Davis, lots of Mabon imagery and references, chock-full of over the top false witchlore and stereotypical misunderstandings. I have not been able to watch it in its entirety but here is a link to a very poor quality Youtube version.

Blessed Mabon!

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© Venerate Your Dead, 2015- Current. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Venerate Your Dead with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Eostre Sabbat

The Spring Equinox falls between 19-22 March each year during a period when daylight and darkness is balanced, and the sun begins to move forward. Flowers start to bloom, lawns are continuously being mowed at awkward hours, and I have to stock up on sunscreen and Claritin.

Now’s a good time as ever for a metal song dedicated to Eostre:

Eostre (aka Easter, Ostara, or Ishtar) is the German goddess of Spring and fertility who loves rabbits and is said to have shape-shifted into them often. Eostre‘s followers honour her by offering cakes and eggs they had dyed and decorated in exchange for a blessed Spring, abundance, fertility, happiness, light, and more.

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Credit: We Share the Same Moon

Rabbits are a well-known symbol of fertility and new life due to their capacity for fast, frequent reproduction and growth. But listen, rabbits don’t lay eggs.

That was a funny children’s’ story created by German immigrants aka the Pennsylvanian Dutch community back in the 1600s and should never have been perpetuated by grown adults hundreds of years later.

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Credit: NY Daily News

Non-Pagans (primarily American Christians) observe these absolute Pagan traditions by dying and decorating eggs, buying hordes of egg/bunny-themed items, and decorating fancy cakes. However, they typically refuse to acknowledge the Pagan origins and insist it is all about the crucifixion/resurrection of Jesus.

(Sidenote: I always wondered when Jesus found time for his fancy egg-dying craft party and cake soiree with everything else he had going on that day.)

In this clip of Neil Gaiman’s book-turned-series American Gods, Mr. Wednesday confronts Eostre (“Ostara”) about her delusions and compliance in being forgotten and traded in for Jesus:

And then a challenge:

To which she accepts:

While I do not actually worship any deities, I do honour ancient Pagan traditions and I look to them for inspiration and mindfulness. I identify with many old rituals and incorporate them into my life and my practice, primarily by hosting Sabbat/esbat feasts and meditation.

For a meditation altar, I chose the colours of light green, light purple, jasmine buds, rose quartz, amethyst, clear quartz, and agates- basically what reminded me of Spring.

My wishes were for a season of abundance for my loved ones and myself, and I meditated while thinking of a bright gold light taking over everything.

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My Eostre sabbat this year took the shape of a housewarming party, and I held it on the same day as Greek Orthodox Easter. I had been craving Greek food for some time so putting together a menu to welcome my friends and family to the new place came easily.

All the snacks: varieties of olives, hummus, marinated artichokes and tomatoes, Mediterranean-seasoned veggies, dates, figs, sun-dried tomato jam, etc.

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Keftedes made from ground turkey, spinach, feta, bread crumbs, egg, mint, garlic, cumin, and dill.

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Served in pita with homemade tzatziki, fresh greens, and red onions.

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Kotopoulo Orzo- baked chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon, artichoke, goat cheese, olive oil, garlic, butter, green onion, dill, oregano, parsley, and orzo pasta.

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Moussaka with roasted eggplant, zucchini, onions, ground beef, and a tomato-garlic sauce.

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Karidopita spice cake soaked in honey with ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, brown sugar, cocoa hazelnuts, walnuts, and pecans.

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Our cocktail for the evening was Greek sours with Metaxa brandy and organic lemonade.

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Making creative meals with leftovers on the following day is always a fun challenge for me. This time I made tzatziki turkey burgers with hummus and tons of olives.

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Check out the May 2019 edition of Coffee Table Coven Magazine for a published, revised version of this entry.

Blessed Eostre / Ostara / Easter!

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© Venerate Your Dead, 2015- Current. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Venerate Your Dead with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.