The heart of the ritual
At the center of the celebration for Treibh na Tintean is Mabon, a Welsh god.
“He’s kind of an obscure god who represents the great hunter,” Costa said. “He’s also a god of light and youth and strength. And although there is no real evidence the holiday was meant to be named after him, he’s a very good symbol of it.”
Why is that?
“When you get ready for winter, what do you need? In terms of old traditions, you need sustenance, so you need someone to help you get through the cold when you can’t grow anything,” Costa said. “And Mabon, son of a triple goddess, is known as the best huntsman in the world.”
Because these stories of gods and goddesses are based on oral traditions, each retelling brings variations, Costa said. But at their core, they also hold spiritual truths applicable to modern times.
“I don’t live in an agrarian society,” Costa said. “If I didn’t store enough grain or meat, I’m going to survive. I can still work, make money and go to the grocery store.”
But now that the first harvest has passed and people have “a little food in their stores,” one’s attention turns to people who aren’t as fortunate, Costa said.
“A lot of times pagan communities will make big donations to food banks or collect for food banks,” Costa said. “If we have individual members of our group in need, we help them out.”