Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

Blessed Be!
 I’ve been to Mabon Sabbats. I don’t like it.
I garden, sure. But I get my foods from supermarket. So celebrating the bounty of one of three harvest celebrations, (Lammas, Mabon, Samhain) does not hold meaning for me. Then if you live in North America, like me, you do Thanksgiving, too. FOUR harvest celebrations!
The older I get, the less energy I have for so much.
I have an indifference to Mabon., I never bother with it. That is how I see it. A bother.
Shadow taught me Neo-Pagans had four Sabbats at one time. One for each of the four seasons. Sounds better than eight to me.
For myself, I feel personal significance from two. Beltaine and Samhain. The other six I can take or leave. I realize this is strange for a Neo-Pagan. It took years for me to discover that there were some Pre-Christain Pagans who just did two as well.
Maybe I am not so weird after all!
Well, I have more to gripe about with this.  The Autumn Equinox is also where we have equal light with equal darkness.
For somebody like me who has Seasonal Affective Disorder, this is not good news. It seems the lengthening nights rush in at time warp speed. In Ohio, it feels like six months of winter and six months of summer. Soonafter Autumn Equinox, all I will want to do is sleep and eat cookies in between naps.
For me Mabon means Summer is ending, and the party is over. It’s going to be cold , snowy, and dark soon.
I never celebrate that.
YES, I do have a however in between griping…
In my studies of the Sabbat, I saw somebody write someplace that Mabon is about leaving behind things. Things you have no use for. Things that need put in the past and moved away from.
This is a very personal thing. Quite often, nobody else’s business.
 Long a champion of the cause for group ritual and how powerful combining energy is- I propose instead a personal Mabon rite focusing on the topic of forgiveness.
It’s not a big Pagan topic.
I admit, one of the first books I grabbed when looking into Paganism was Anton LaVey’s Satanic Bible. It made me feel I had permission to explore without guilt a forbidden urge. The urge to exact vengeance.
I’d been raised by people who spoke against that. While they brawled with one another and exacted revenge regularly- I was forbidden. Perhaps they were not proud of themselves and wanted me to “be a better person”. They were also abusive and dysfunctional. It was a long time ago when I realized this. And I was not nice about how I threw it up in their faces. Like most families, mine consisted of human beings, capable of both right and wrong. And for a time, I focused just on the wrongs. I could not accept people who loved me could have stood by, and allow atrocities to happen to me.
Rather than say they were wrong or sorry, they just got defensive. The lectures about forgiveness began.
I refused, because their definition of forgiveness was one I rejected. Or if forgiveness was what they said it was, they were never going to get it from me. They taught that forgiveness is something you owed your perpetrator. It was the person who had been hurts responsibility to feel shame and guilt for experiencing pain and apologize for reacting that way. How dare I? I was told I was a bad daughter. A bad niece. A bad granddaughter. I was not loyal, and I ought to be sorry. After all they had done for me, who did I think I was to insinuate that things I had lived with was unacceptable? Why was I digging up the past? Why couldn’t I just move on with my life and let everybody live in peace? 
It took me years to accept that some people do not know how to apologize. They don’t know how to accept responsibility for wrongs. They don’t want to feel guilty and are far more ashamed then they will ever let on. 
An excuse used by some is that they have confessed to god and been washed clean.
To me, apologizing to their god does not excuse somebody from apologizing to somebody they hurt. 
But in their eyes, god said it is okay. So I had to also, and I was to be ashamed for still being hurt even after their god had washed it away.
That never made any sense to me either.
Another take on forgiveness came from  a wise ass- not a wise man- not an ass- a wise ass- and he told me “You don’t have to forgive anybody unless you want to.” He furthermore said I did not have to forgive unless I was ready to.
He was right.
Another person told me forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. 
Somebody else said forgiveness means you have moved on from the pain and you are not owned by it anymore.
Everybody had their own opinions about forgiveness. They all had ideas about how everybody should feel about it and they had explicit instructions on how to successfully forgive. The more people went to worship services, the more they demanded you instantly forgive everybody of everything. And forget about everything immediately.
Like I was going to have amnesia of what all of the first 26 years of my life were. 
What I have learned over the years is that the people yelling the loudest for you to forgive and forget typically have the most that needs forgiven. And they don’t want to admit it. They are also the most likely to continue the behaviors if they do apologize, and most likely to leave you hanging when you need them to be there for you.
They do not want anybody to hold them accountable for what they do and will lie to get out of consequences.
So I will not join their ranks and say that Mabon is the Sabbat where you make a list of all the things people have done against you and forgive them for it and move on with your life.
The reality is- if you live long enough- you will be hurt. And sometimes, that pain restricts you from participating in something you’d love to participate in.
In that way your perpetrators still control you.
In that way, they are still in your head.
My goal with this working is not so that the pain will disappear. It might never stop hurting. 
But that you will be able to push past it and carry on despite it.
Keeping in mind- forgiving somebody or an event is not necessary. But it is still entirely possible even if they are not sorry. It is also possible to forgive even if you decide you would not like to reconnect or continue the relationship. It does not mean you have made peace with the person or event. It does not mean that you have perspective or believe this happened for a reason. Some things are simply not okay,  and never will be no matter how much time goes on.
For me, I realized I’d forgiven when I could function normally around my perpetrator  and the people who blamed me for the abuse. I know none of them are sorry and never will be. I accepted that is the way things are, and that is not okay but it is what it is. Said individuals were not doing things to me because they no longer could. Not because they would not have. I realized I’d forgiven when I was able to stand in the cemetery and actually cry as the casket was installed into the mausoleum walls. I was able to celebrate the good and accept the bad as part of the tragic mistakes said individual had made in their lifetime. I had learned to acknowledge I had not been the only one who had been harmed. I forgave said individual for being imperfect, making unspeakable mistakes,  but they all know how I feel about what they did, and failed to do. I accept them as they way they are.
I accepted it was okay to feel the way I was feeling.
And I accepted I could have some form of a relationship with them all despite it- not because it was what they wanted. But because it was what I needed.
And at that moment,  I felt so good.
Forgiveness was for me, not other people.
If you live long enough, somebody will do something that could be forgiven. You may actually find you have to forgive yourself of some things. It is not crucial for you to forgive yourself or anybody else. You will not go to hell, as I was always told. You will not dwell on events 24/7. You will not  be more able to move on from things. You will be able to understand reasons and accept things are what they are even if you do not forgive. You will not be a nasty, evil, horrible bitter person if you do not forgive.
You do not ever have to forgive. But you can if you would like to.
Regardless of whether you forgive or not.
Here is my ritual to help you to function once more in a situation you’ve been held back from by some past trauma. Mabon is a good time to do this.
I’m not going to be doing anything else for Mabon, btw. I don’t feel a connection to this harvest or any of the gods a lot of folks honor.
 But I will do this for myself.
As with any of my rites, you custom tailor this as you see fit.
Saoirse’s Leaving Behind and Resuming Something Mabon Rite
or Saoirse’s All About Me Mabon Rite
Do this anywhere you see fit- but someplace where you have complete privacy. Do it day or night, but in 100% complete darkness.
You need  one candle, one toothpick, a mirror, plenty of red thread, scissors,  fireproof tongs, and a fire safe bowl or plate. Whatever color holds significance for you should be the candle color. For me, it will be a white one. For you, it can be whatever you choose.
You may consecrate your candle with an oil of choice if you want to. For self-love, use rose. That would be my choice.
Think about what you want for at least a week before doing this. Realize you don’t have to prove anything to anybody. You are doing this for you.
An event or person can hold you back from doing something you desire to do. It is crucial this is not some physical boundary including other people’s will. It is crucial this is a boundary that simply being hurt keeps you from crossing. 
Keep these things in your heart. And only do this when you are ready for this change because it will entail action. I have seen people do spellwork for change, and then fall to pieces when the change occurs. 
When you have decided what you want and are certain you are prepared, take all items to your ritual space, and begin.
Cast circle, call the quarters, and call your gods and guides as you see fit, according to your tradition.
Light your candle you will use for this.
Then take the toothpick, which will represent your obstacle. That hurt that keeps you from participating in what you want to start doing again. Pick it up and put that energy into it. Try to put all the hurt you can into it. Try to give all the hurt to the toothpick. Then, when you feel it is all in there- cry on it if you want to. Bind it all in there with red thread. Bind it all good, focusing on it not being able to get out, but leave enough loose because you will be breaking this.
When this is finished, put it down.
By the light of your candle, look in the mirror and have a conversation with yourself, making sure to look into your own eyes. Say whatever you need to. Acknowledge the hurt and that is it justified. Remembering you have put that pain all into the thing you will destroy. Validate you needed time to be away and now you want to go back to doing what you did before. And this pain will no longer keep you from it.
When you have said all there is to say, break the toothpick, focusing on breaking the obstacle, the pain that was in the way. And then burn it. Focus on feeling it disappear as it burns. Use tongs as to not burn your fingers. Burn the toothpick completely.
Now look at the pathetic debris it has left. Not so strong and in the way anymore, is it?
That is all that stands in the way now. Look in the mirror and say anything in the effect of what your plans are now that you have this crap out of your way. Feel good about it.
Dismiss the quarters, thank your gods and guides, take down circle, and go about your business. But just for kicks, flush the ashes from the toothpick you burned down the toilet. That is where crap belongs, you know.
The when the time comes, go out and do that which you want to do, freed of the pain that held you back.
It may be difficult, but you can do this when you decide.
As for me, I have to get off my butt and start my musical studies again. I have most of the supplies gathered up now, I just have to forgive myself for being deaf. Nobody kicked me out of the band, but I know playing with the band is not going to get it for me. Not right now at least. I had my heart set on that for so long, and I up and quit playing entirely when I knew I’d never function as well as I could if I had normal hearing. I gradually accepted this is okay…mostly.  The rest will come together because I am ready for it to. Almost… I had cochlear implant surgery a couple of years ago, and it helped- some- but not enough for my liking. I was very upset and just plain old gave up and I donated my bagpipes to the band. Well, about a month ago, I contacted the band director to see if he had some used pipes to sell, and guess what? Hew gave me my bagpipes back. This Mabon rite will be focused on pushing myself to forget about past goals and just enjoy what I can and accept things as they are. Who knows what time will bring? If he bothered to give me the $1,200 instrument back, maybe I’m not such a lousy player after all, you know?
 Perhaps I will share how it goes.
Blessed Be, and Blessed Mabon