What has Mabon got to do with the Autumn Equinox?


I just read that the term 'Mabon' to refer to the sabbat at the autumn equinox was coined by Aidan Kelly around 1970. I can't figure out what connection there is between the story of Mabon ap Modron and the equinox.

Please if someone knows WHY this holiday has come to be called Mabon, could you explain it here? What is this connection that Kelly made??


This is what I suspected...

Found this:

The name Mabon has only been applied to the neopagan festival of the autumn equinox very recently; the term was invented by Aidan Kelly in the 1970s as part of a religious studies project. (The use of Litha for the Summer Solstice is also attributed to Kelly).

Previously, in Gardnerian Wicca the festival was simply known as the 'Autumnal Equinox', and many neopagans still refer to it as such, or use alternative titles such as the neo-Druidical Aban Efed, a term invented by Iolo Morgannwg.

The name Mabon was chosen to impart a more authentic-sounding "Celtic" feel to the event, since all the other festivals either had names deriving from genuine tradition, or had had names grafted on to them. The Spring Equinox had already been misleadingly termed 'Ostara', and so only the Autumn Equinox was left with a technical rather than an evocative title. Accordingly, the name Mabon was given to it, having been drawn (seemingly at random) from Welsh mythology.

The use of the name Mabon is much more prevalent in America than Britain, where many neopagans are scornfully dismissive of it as a blatantly inauthentic practice. The increasing number of American Neopagan publications sold in Britain by such publishers as Llewellyn has however resulted in some British neopagans adopting the term.

Source: http://reformed-druids.org/?q=node/82


Interesting Carla. I never knew this, mind you, I never felt drawn towards many of the celebrations in the neo-pagan calendar (wheel of the year).

Although I cannot offer any more information on the word 'Mabon', rather than trying to find only a traditional way of working, I personally feel it necessary to celebrate within the context of the way we live today. What is important today, not 500 years ago. So much has changed so even if there was a 'Mabon' would it be appropriate to celebrate it today?

What does the equinox mean to us now in centrally heated homes with electric lights, motor cars and exotic foods all year round?


What does the equinox mean to us now in centrally heated homes with electric lights, motor cars and exotic foods all year round?

But even in our world of 'Daylight Savings Time' with our homes complete with electric lights, the days still appear to get longer and shorter, Milfoil!


But even in our world of 'Daylight Savings Time' with our homes complete with electric ights, the days still appear to get longer and shorter, Milfoil!

I was thinking the same thing. I'm not trying to be dismissive of Milfoil's point, though, either as I think it has some merit.

I do remember one spring equinox as a small child asking my Lutheran mother what holiday the equinoxes and solstices were, though, without having ever heard of Neo-Paganism. When she told me there weren't any holidays associated with them I just seemed to intuitively know that they were celebrated by some religion as the identity of the religion was the next question.

The reason I bring that up is that if in 1976 or so that was intuitively relevant to a clueless 8 year old I'm thinking there might just be some relevance to these holidays today too, even if not the same as 500 years ago.


I think people don't notice the solstices and equinoxes so much in cities, but are still aware of them in more country places. They may not know the exact day, or any ancient significance, religious or otherwise, but they certainly do notice the changes in the length of days, quality of light, and temperature!And anyone who gardens at all is sharply aware of the wheel of the natural year.


A city dweller most of my life I was drawn to the sky(stars, moon, clouds) while living in the desert in El Paso, TX as a child. We moved around a lot as an Army family and I remember feeling that no matter where I was the moon would never abandon me. The moon, though it changes in appearance is always there. The changing of the seasons was always something I felt and looked forward to. I remember feeling the rocks speaking to me as a child and I tried to listen to them very closely. When we moved away from El Paso, I became fascinated with the trees and tried to hear them speak, too.

I think the Solstices and the Equinoxes (sabbats) are all just as important as ever in order for us to feel connected to the Earth and nature. I think it's more important for us city dwellers-how else can we remain grounded and centered. I enjoy paying attn to the changing leaves and the changes in the air. Even though we may not be harvesting the food ourselves, I can't see why it isn't important to acknowledge the fact that someone has harvested it and give thanks to those who do and to think about where it all really comes from. I've been following the wheel of the year for a solid year this past Lammas for exactly these reasons. It's a chance to stop the fast paced world and pay attn to nature, because it helps me to remember that the universe is bigger than just me.


But even in our world of 'Daylight Savings Time' with our homes complete with electric lights, the days still appear to get longer and shorter, Milfoil!

Of course they do but what does that mean to people today? What does that mean to you tarotbear? I doubt it means what it did to our ancestors even 100 years ago.


What a beautiful post, Disa! :heart: It rings so true, & natural to me.

I echo your question, Carla. About 12 years ago, when I first became interested in modern neo-paganism, & joined OBOD, I'm sure the winter solstice was called Mabon - celebrating the birth of the 'baby're-born sun after its lowest point at the solar standstill. OBOD used different names, based on Welsh words & myths, for the equinoxes. The recent (apparently American) switch to Mabon for the autumnal equinox struck me as inexplicable & strange.
I've also often wondered why modern Druidry (& Wicca too in some places) uses the Welsh myths as their basic, important symbolic, teaching texts, rather than the much older Irish Tain on which it was based??? And why the Welsh language rather than Irish Gaelic (& Scottish Gallic), which are both still spoken over a much broader area?

ps Are there many Welsh-speakers in America, Australia & New Zealand? (In fact, in the world?) More than Gaelic-speakers, maybe?


The solstices, equinoxes and moon phases are the centre of my practice. But I never felt comfortable with the 'Celtic' names--I just couldn't make the connection. Autumnal Equinox is my favourite sabbat of the year. I've never called it Mabon and I'm not starting now. I just wondered if someone knew once and for all why and when it was ever called that. :)