Mabon is my second favorite Sabbat (after Beltane). It’s the start of the cooler months, leading into a time of crafting, long nights, and warm drinks. There are stews, there are campfires, there are the last vestiges of the summer months that lead into the fallow times of the year. Mabon is the second harvest, the fruits and vegetables. It’s time for canning and preserving and preparing for hibernation.

Old Ways starts off with Astrology, which is something we’ve not seen in the series prior to this. It also discusses ancestors as well as Aidan Kelly, who christened the modern celebration as Mabon. It talks about the ancient Greek harvest festival known as the Eleusinian Mysteries. We learn of the Dying God, John Barleycorn, and ritual scapegoats. More agrarian societies are familiar with Harvest Home and the Last Sheaf. There are corn dollies and Michaelmas.

New Ways lets us in on some of how some of the Druids, Hellenics, Heathens, traditional witches, Neopagans, eclectic witches, Celtic Pagans, and Strega celebrate the season. There is a list of some of the festivals that some countries and localities hold every year. There’s even a list of the Jewish holidays in September. There’s an extensive list of small things to do to help celebrate and help the season energetically.

Spells and Divination offer us ways to find a lost object, promote community harmony and prosperity and protection, awaken the activist spirit so many of us seem to have, a spell specifically for bees, a spell for wisdom, an apple blessing for teachers, and corn dollies. There is a tarot spread, a drinking charm, a horseshoe charm, and a daisy diviniation for Michaelmas.

Recipes and Crafts (my favorite part in this whole series!) include harvest bread, bruschetta, honeyed cucumber, green bean casserole, bean chili, roasted beets, beetcake, apple butter, baked apples, apple chips, roasted spiced nuts, walnut butter, ground cherry sauce, pomegranate mint relish, oranges with pomegranate molasses and honey, and a fig and pomegranate tapenade. The crafts include crop art, scarecrow effigies, Mabon oil, Mabon incense, a Mabon bath, apple candleholders, acorn prayer beads, acorn worry dolls, leaf candleholders, stick figures, leaf wreaths, and a gratitude journal.

Prayers and Invocations gives us invocations to Ishtar, Tammuz, Demeter, Kore, Persephone, Pluto, Mabon itself, Modron, Dionysus, Bacchus, Apollo, the God and Goddess, and the Dark Night of the Soul. We also get prayers for gratitude and crops.

Rituals of Celebration include rituals for the solitary practitioner, couples who practice together, and a group of people. The book ends with a solid, though by no means exhaustive, list of Mabon correspondences.

Diana Rajchel’s Mabon keeps with the high quality that I’ve already come to expect from Llewellyn’s re-envisioning of their Sabbat series. The sections are still the same, with the same kind of information, but even after 20 years of reading Craft books, this book, along with the rest of the series, is a beautiful addition to both new and experience practitioners alike.

~review by Jeremy Bredeson

Author: Diana Rajchel
Llewellyn Books, 2015
227 pages

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