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Posted on Monday, September 12 - 2005

" We modern Pagans often celebrate the Autumn Equinox by the name Mabon. Unlike most of our Celtic names for Sabbats, Mabon is Welsh, meaning simply, Son. So Mabon is someone's name: in full, Mabon ap Modron, Son, son of Mother.H.R. Ellis-Davidson quotes the Venerable Bede, who translates ..."

Mabon

We modern Pagans often celebrate the Autumn Equinox by the name Mabon. Unlike most of our Celtic names for Sabbats, Mabon is Welsh, meaning simply, Son. So Mabon is someone's name: in full, Mabon ap Modron, Son, son of Mother.H.R. Ellis-Davidson quotes the Venerable Bede, who translates Modron as the Mothers -- plural. Modern translators give it as the Mother -- singular. Linguistic evidence may well support the plural interpretation, for although Mabon ap is unequivocally Welsh, Modron may not be: in Saxon, the singular of Modron becomes Modr -- recognizably mother.Suddenly we have, not as was always believed a corruption of the Latin Matrona, but good Germanic. All very scholarly,but it doesn't tell us much about Mabon, does it? Actually, it does.

The first thing it tells us is that he (more likely, He) is old, so old he's the son of a Mother, rather than a Father. Mabon may be from a matrilineal culture as we know pre-Christian Wales to have been. If the Saxon connection holds up, He may be the result of a cultural fusion, indicating more borrowing between the British Celts and the Saxon invaders than has previously been assumed. And He bears many of the signs of a sacred king, losing whatever mortal name he had to become only the Mother's Son, ruling and dying in Her name alone.Well into the Christian period, the Mothers referred collectively to the female land spirits known to the Norse as Disir and elsewhere by many, mostly now lost, other names. Up through the 19th century they were often called White Ladies. The pluralname recognized the multiplicity of that energy/entity/being we now call the Great Mother.The Mothers were conceived-of as a kind of pool of feminine ancestral energy, not in the same category as the "high" Gods, the ones in Asgard, or at Tara or the Court of Don, but deeper, older, and to most people actually more important.The Mothers' function was to give life-energy to a particular place, and to keep that energy flowing in a form helpful to human endeavor. A particular Mother would be worshipped by name by those living in Her district, but most people recognized that their local Modr was in fact one of many Modron.The only myth we have about Mabon says that within minutes of his birth, he was stolen from between his mother's side and the wall next to which she lay. By whom, is not known. He was imprisoned in a castle, on an island in......


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