About Mabon

Mabon ap Modron

Mabon is the name given to the festival of the Autumn Equinox that falls mid-way between the Summer and Winter Solstice. The name Mabon is taken from a figure in Welsh mythology called Mabon ap Modron meaning "the divine son of the divine mother".

In the legends of King Arthur, Mabon ap Modron is a knight who hunts the enchanted wild boar Twrch Trwyth. This mythical hero appears to have been based on a far older Celtic deity named Maponos.

The Old North (Yr Hen Ogledd)

Much of Welsh heroic bardic poetry refers to the kings that ruled and to events that took place in "The Old North" (Yr Hen Ogledd) an area of Britain that extended across the north of England and into southern Scotland.

In the 6th and 7th century the Old North was divided into four Celtic Kingdoms: Elmet, Rheged, Gododdin and Ystrad Clud. In the epic poems of the Welsh bard Taliesin the "Land of Mabon" is a part of the Old North associated with Owain mab Urien, son of Urien King of Rheged. The exact location of the Kingdom of Rheged are unknown, but it is thought to have been centered around Cumbria and extending into Lancashire and Scotland.

Inscriptions to the Celtic God Maponos are also found in the north of England (in Cumbria, Northumberland and Lancashire) indicating an historical link between Maponos and Mabon.

Find out more about the history the Old North (Hen Ogledd) in the poems of the bard Taliesin

The Celtic God Maponos

Maponos is a Celtic diety known to have been worshipped in the north of England and in Gaul during the period of Roman rule and often associated with the Greek-Roman god Apollo.
He is also equated with the Irish mythical figure Aengus Óg ("Aengus the young") as well as the aforementioned Welsh hero Mabon ap Modron.

Carving of the Goddess
Dea Matrona with child.

Mabon's divine mother Modron in the Welsh tradition has a Gaulish countepart Dea Matrona ("the Divine Mother Goddess") a diety associated with the river Marne in France. Dea Matrona may therefore be considered to be the mother of Maponos.

An evocation to the Celtic god Maponos is preserved in a 12 line magical text written on a lead tablet found in Chamalières France and dated to 50 AD.

The Gaulish tribe of the Parisi (from whom Paris takes it name) were also found in East Yorkshire in pre-Roman times (where they were the neighbours of the much larger Brigantes tribe of England and Ireland). The Parisi may therefore provide the direct link by which the Celtic god Maponos ("the divine son") came to be worshipped in both England and France.

The knight Culhwch is given the task of freeing the prisoner Mabon ap Modron by the giant Ysbadadden in the Welsh legend of Culhwch ac Olwen.
Yr Hen Ogledd - The Old North
Celebrate Autumn Equinox at Thornborough Henge - Saturday 22nd September 2012