Mabon Playlist – Two Hours of Music for the Autumn Equinox

Winter is coming, as they say. Before the snow flies, however, there are some very important Sabbats to experience. Of course there’s Samhain, or Halloween, which is probably one of the most important holidays for Witches. We can’t neglect the minor Sabbat of Mabon, though. This quintessential autumn celebration gives us a moment to look around us and realize that summer is ending. Yet, we can appreciate that there is a lot to enjoy about the autumn, too. Even now as most of us aren’t directly connected to the harvesting and gathering of our food (at least not to the degree that we used to be), we can still enjoy the harvest through autumn activities, like apple picking, raking leaves, sipping cider…all the good things. Maybe you even like the occasional pumpkin spice latte.

I can’t lie, though. Making a playlist to get into the Mabon mindset was not an easy task. I only started creating Sabbat playlists back in April, when I started my Beltane playlist. I used a lot of music that didn’t even necessarily mention Beltane, but just seemed really enjoyable and Celtic-sounding, or by Pagan musicians. When I made a Litha playlist, I got some inspiration from Ozark Pagan Mamma, but had some of my own input. The same thing happened with the Lammas/Lughnasadh playlist, although I was able to add a lot of my own tracks, mostly because there’s just something really mysterious and somewhat sad about Lammas.

With Mabon, though, I’ve been pretty stuck. Ozark Pagan Mamma came through for me again with some inspiration, and I got the few tracks that literally had “Mabon” in the name from the old favorites (Damh the Bard, Lisa Thiel, et cetera). Unfortunately, it’s a little hard to pinpoint what feeling Mabon should have. To me, Mabon isn’t quite as melancholy as Lammas. At Mabon, the leaves are starting to change color, and the season is becoming that warm sweater weather that so many people enjoy. Lammas is just kind of hot and tired and feels like a sun-baked wheat field about to die. If you saw the BBC show “The Living and the Dead,” think of that sort of aesthetic.

Anyway, here’s my best shot at a good Mabon playlist. You may not enjoy every song, and I certainly don’t think this one works as cohesively as the Lammas playlist did, but at least you may get some inspiration for what you want to listen to as we cozy up to autumn.

Firstly, the list, secondly, the reasons why I chose each song.

  1. English Country Dances: Irish Lamentation (Musica Pacifica)
  2. Mabon (Lisa Thiel)
  3. The Mabon (Damh the Bard)
  4. Persephone’s Descent (Autumn) (Marie Bruce, Llewellyn, Chris Conway, Juliana)
  5. The Mortal Boy King (The Paper Kites)
  6. Mabon (Threefold)
  7. Dance of the Darkness (Blackmore’s Night)
  8. Harvest Song (Beltane)
  9. Sabbat (Damh the Bard)
  10. Woodland (The Paper Kiss)
  11. The First Leaves of Autumn (The Fureys)
  12. Hope (Eluveitie)
  13. Meadowlarks (Fleet Foxes)
  14. Coinleach Glas An Fhomhair (Clannad)
  15. Harvest Chant (Reclaiming)
  16. Penelope’s Song (Loreena McKennitt)
  17. Tis Autumn – From “Beverly Kenny Sings for Johnny Smith” (Beverly Kenny)
  18. Health to the Company (Blackmore’s Night)
  19. Loreena McKennitt Trilogy: La Serenissima (Silverwood Quartet)
  20. Harvest (Jenna Greene)
  21. Autumn Time (Libana)
  22. Hunting Song (Pentangle)
  23. The Old Favourite (The Gloaming)
  24. Marigold/Harvest Home (Ariel)
  1. English Country Dances – So I chose this song first, and that may be because I absolutely love putting instrumental music at the beginning of a playlist. It can just really help get me into the mood of listening to music. This particular piece is a simple string number that sounds like a song the band would play at a harvest, as a farewell to summer.
  2. Mabon – I couldn’t leave out Lisa Thiel’s take on the autumn equinox. Again, this piece isn’t my favorite of her work, but she’s going to be on every one of my playlists, as she did a song for each Sabbat.
  3. The Mabon – On second thought, these song titles could get confusing. Damh the Bard croons his ode to the spirit of the autumn, especially to the Horned God (notable in his reference to wearing “the antlered crown”). I particularly enjoy the first person perspective of this song.
  4. Persephone’s Descent – If you are unfamiliar with Greek mythology, it’s time to brush up on it. This ode to Persephone as she makes her way to the Underworld for the winter is quietly calm and inevitable. At the same time, there is a hint of hope as Persephone sees the light of the Earth above her, which she yearns for even as she has the power of Death.
  5. The Mortal Boy King – I saw another song by this group on the Ozark Pagan Mamma playlist, and listened to a few more pieces by The Paper Kites. I was drawn in by the title of this song, since in celebrating the Wheel of the Year, many Witches recognize the death of the Oak King on the summer solstice and the death of the Holly King on the winter solstice. The indie vibe of this song rings through as The Paper Kites sing about the inevitability of night falling and yet holding on to hope.
  6. Mabon – Another song entitled “Mabon,” but this one is a lot more abstract than the others. Threefold is actually a very interesting group, which makes instrumental/vocal tracks that still sound entirely instrumental in nature. As the voices sing about “day and night,” it’s easy to feel pulled in by the constantly descending melody and recall the balance between the light and dark that is quickly shifting towards night.
  7. Dance of the Darkness – I thought about saving this bold piece for the Samhain playlist, and I can’t promise that it won’t show up there, too. Something about the hectic nature of this song just drew me in. The chaos of it seems to speak to the way that we head into the winter, hurrying to tie up loose ends as fast as we can.
  8. Harvest Song – This sweet piece cherishes the gift of the harvest given by the Sun, or by Lugh, as they mention in the lyrics. Everything comes from the Sun, and we wouldn’t have the harvest without the power of the warmth.
  9. Sabbat – This one didn’t need to go here in the Wheel of the Year, to be honest. I could have put Damh’s classic anywhere, since it talks about all the Sabbat. However, some of the lyrics suggest this piece could fit right in at Mabon. In any case, I think of Witches dancing around in the fallen leaves when I hear this song.
  10. Woodland – I saw this song on Ozark Pagan Mamma’s Mabon playlist, and while I like the aesthetic, I’m not sure that I like it here at Mabon. That being said, I’m not sure where else in the Wheel I would put it. So, here it remains. The lyrics do mention autumn, and running until you reach the sun, which feels cute and kitschy and like a high school movie. Hey, school is starting, in any case.
  11. The First Leaves of Autumn – I have to admit that I’m somewhat in love with this creaky voice. The Fureys sing about losing a love in the autumn, but it could just as easily be a metaphor for the loss of summertime.
  12. Hope – This is a song that I found on my older Renaissance/Pagan playlist that I came up with about six months ago on Spotify. As I was going through, I gave this one another listen and felt like it sounded both upbeat and ominous in the way that only autumn can.
  13. Meadowlarks – I love how this song goes between major and minor throughout. It feels like the tenuous balance between light and dark that Mabon represents. As the year continues to go on, darkness will continue to fall until Yule.
  14. Coinleach Glas An Fhomhair – If you like Enya, you’ll definitely enjoy this gorgeous voice layered over the jangly guitar. I found two translations for the title, either “Fierce Winter’s Eve” or “Green Stubble Autumn.” Either way, this song’s melody and (either) title are all about heading into the darker months.
  15. Harvest Chant – This album contains music written by Starhawk, one of the main people behind the Reclaiming tradition. In particular, this chant is an upbeat piece about working toward a better world and Earth, and partaking in that better world.
  16. Penelope’s Song – Loreena McKennitt, as you’ve probably figured out, is definitely one of my favorite singers at the moment. And this song is just as good as the rest of her music. A reverent piece about keeping memories and love for a particular person in her heart, this song brings to mind holding onto hope for the future summer to come.
  17. Tis Autumn – I’m not sure why, but whenever I hear an old-timey song like this, I always think of Christmas (maybe because of Bing Crosby or something). But this is a cute piece about all the great things that come with fall, and it’ll definitely get you in the mood for some pumpkin spice.
  18. Health to the Company – Unlike the other song by Blackmore’s Night, this song isn’t merely instrumental. It talks about celebrating the last good night before parting ways. While it’s a little on the melancholy side (it says “we may never meet here again”), it’s still a reminder to take advantage of the end of the summer before winter rolls in.
  19. Loreena McKennitt Trilogy: La Serenissima – A relatively short instrumental piece (string quartet) which brings to mind a medieval court and a stately feast. Definitely a lovely piece to play while you take an autumn soak or sit by the window with a cup of tea, watching the leaves fall.
  20. Harvest – So many songs with either “harvest” or “Mabon” in the title! Well, that’s what comes up when you search for good pieces for a Mabon playlist. Jenna Greene has a lovely voice and is one of the songs that certainly brings the magick element into her lyrics. She talks about the turning of the Wheel and the dark part of the year coming.
  21. Autumn Time – A quiet, short choral piece that brings to mind the cacophony of input we can get at autumn, yet the beauty that can emerge when it all comes together.
  22. Hunting Song – Now this is a long one. However, it’s a beautiful piece, with a sprightly female and male singing duo, and some quality percussion. You may not catch all the lyrics in this fast-paced piece, but the haunting melody will get you into the mood to enjoy the oncoming Sabbat.
  23. The Old Favourite – It’s no wonder that this is the name of this gorgeous instrumental piece. I could honestly just put this fiddle melody on repeat all day. But I think that The Old Favourite deserves a spot on this playlist because while it doesn’t really line up with any Sabbat, the melody brings me to late summer fields and dancing in the leaves.
  24. Marigold/Harvest Home – Just a really beautiful song about the changing of the season, and how that affects our lives and our homes. In the midst of autumn, we warm our hearts and homes. And this song ends with the beautiful “Harvest Home” chant that I had in my Lammas/Lughnasadh playlist. I thought this was a great way to end this playlist, with such a stripped chant about the end of the year. Perhaps, in my struggle to find a good Mabon aesthetic, this chant is just about as good as it gets.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s