Balance is Found
As Mystical Mabon Abounds
Origins of Mabon
The Second Harvest
The Science of the Equinox:
Two days a year, the Northern and Southern hemispheres receive the same amount of sunlight. Not only that, each receives the same amount of light as they do dark -- this is because the earth is tilted at a right angle to the sun, and the sun is directly over the equator. In Latin, the word equinox translates to "equal night." The autumn equinox, or Mabon, takes place on or near September 21, and its spring counterpart falls around March 21. If you're in the Northern hemisphere, the days will begin getting shorter after the autumn equinox and the nights will grow longer -- in the Southern hemisphere, the reverse is true.
The idea of a harvest festival is nothing new. In fact, people have celebrated it for millennia, all around the world. In ancient Greece,Oschophoria was a festival held in the fall to celebrate the harvesting of grapes for wine. In the 1700's, the Bavarians came up with Oktoberfest, which actually begins in the last week of September, and it was a time of great feasting and merriment, still in existence today. China's Mid-Autumn festival is celebrated on the night of the Harvest Moon, and is a festival of honoring family unity.
Although the traditional American holiday of Thanksgiving falls in November, many cultures see the second harvest time of the fall equinox as a time of giving thanks. After all, it's when you figure out how well your crops did, how fat your animals have gotten, and whether or not your family will be able to eat during the coming winter. However, by the end of November, there's not a whole lot left to harvest. Originally, the American Thanksgiving holiday was celebrated on October 3, which makes a lot more sense agriculturally.
In 1863, Abraham Lincoln issued his "Thanksgiving Proclamation", which changed the date to the last Thursday in November. In 1939, Franklin Delano Roosevelt adjusted it yet again, making it the second-to-last Thursday, in the hopes of boosting post-Depression holiday sales. Unfortunately, all this did was confuse people. Two years later, Congress finalized it, saying that the fourth Thursday of November would be Thanksgiving, each year.
Symbols of the Season:
The harvest is a time of thanks, and also a time of balance -- after all, there are equal hours of daylight and darkness. While we celebrate the gifts of the earth, we also accept that the soil is dying. We have food to eat, but the crops are brown and going dormant. Warmth is behind us, cold lies ahead.
Some symbols of Mabon include:
- Mid-autumn vegetables, like squashes and gourds
- Apples and anything made from them, such as cider or pies
- Seeds, nuts and seed pods
- Baskets, symbolizing the gathering of crops
- Sickles and scythes
- Grapes, vines, wine
Feasting and Friends:
Early agricultural societies understood the importance of hospitality -- it was crucial to develop a relationship with your neighbors, because they might be the ones to help you when your family ran out of food. Many people, particularly in rural villages, celebrated the harvest with great deals of feasting, drinking, and eating. After all, the grain had been made into bread, beer and wine had been made, and the cattle were brought down from the summer pastures for the coming winter. Celebrate Mabon yourself with a feast -- and the bigger, the better!
Magic and Mythology:
Nearly all of the myths and legends popular at this time of the year focus on the themes of life, death, and rebirth. Not much of a surprise, when you consider that this is the time at which the earth begins to die before winter sets in!
Demeter and Her Daughter
Perhaps the best known of all the harvest mythologies is the story of Demeter and Persephone. Demeter was a goddess of grain and of the harvest in ancient Greece. Her daughter, Persephone, caught the eye of Hades, god of the underworld. When Hades abducted Persephone and took her back to the underworld, Demeter's grief caused the crops on earth to die and go dormant. By the time she finally recovered her daughter, Persephone had eaten six pomegranate seeds, and so was doomed to spend six months of the year in the underworld. These six months are the time when the earth dies, beginning at the time of the autumn equinox.
Inanna Takes on the Underworld
The Sumerian goddess Inanna is the incarnation of fertility and abundance. Inanna descended into the underworld where her sister, Ereshkigal, ruled. Erishkigal decreed that Inanna could only enter her world in the traditional ways -- stripping herself of her clothing and earthly posessions. By the time Inanna got there, Erishkigal had unleashed a series of plagues upon her sister, killing Inanna. While Inanna was visiting the underworld, the earth ceased to grow and produce. A vizier restored Inanna to life, and sent her back to earth. As she journeyed home, the earth was restored to its former glory.
For contemporary Druids, this is the celebration of Alban Elfed, which is a time of balance between the light and the dark. Many Asatru groups honor the fall equinox as Winter Nights, a festival sacred to Freyr.
For most Wiccans and NeoPagans, this is a time of community and kinship. It's not uncommon to find a Pagan Pride Day celebration tied in with Mabon. Often, PPD organizers include a food drive as part of the festivities, to celebrate the bounty of the harvest and to share with the less fortunate.
If you choose to celebrate Mabon, give thanks for the things you have, and take time to reflect on the balance within your own life, honoring both the darkness and the light. Invite your friends and family over for a feast, and count the blessings that you have among kin and community.
How to create your Mabon Altar
Colors of the Season:
The leaves have begun to change, so reflect the colors of autumn in your altar decorations. Use yellows, oranges, reds and browns. Cover your altar with cloths that symbolize the harvest season, or go a step further and put brightly colored fallen leaves upon your work surface. Use candles in deep, rich colors -- reds, golds, or other autumn shades are perfect this time of year.
Symbols of the Harvest:
Mabon is the time of the second harvest, and the dying of the fields. Use corn, sheaves of wheat, squash and root vegetables on your altar. Add some tools of agriculture if you have them - scythes, sickles, and baskets.
A Time of Balance:
Remember, the equinoxes are the two nights of the year when the amount of light and darkness are equal. Decorate your altar to symbolize the aspect of the season. Try a small set of scales, a yin-yang symbol, a white candle paired up with a black one -- all are things which represent the concept of balance.
Other Symbols of Mabon:
Mabon Legends & Folklore
Gods of The VineGrapes. They're everywhere in the fall, so it's no surprise that the Mabon season is a popular time to celebrate wine-making, and deities connected to the growth of the vine. Whether you see him as Bacchus, Dionysus, the Green Man, or some other vegetative god, the god of the vine is a key archetype in harvest celebrations.
The Greek Dionysus was representative of the grapes in the vineyards, and of course the wine that they created. As such, he gained a bit of a reputation as a party-hardy kind of god, and his followers were typically seen as a debauched and drunken lot. However, before he was a party god, Dionysus was originally a god of trees and the forest. He was often portrayed with leaves growing out of his face, similar to later depictions of the Green Man. Farmers offered prayers to Dionysus to make their orchards grow, and he is often credited with the invention of the plow.
In Roman legend, Bacchus stepped in for Dionysus, and earned the title of party god. In fact, a drunken orgy is still called a bacchanalia, and for good reason. Devotees of Bacchus whipped themselves into a frenzy of intoxication, and in the spring Roman women attended secret ceremonies in his name. Bacchus was associated with fertility, wine and grapes, as well as sexual free-for-alls. Although Bacchus is often linked with Beltane and the greening of spring, because of his connection to wine and grapes he is also a deity of the harvest.
In medieval times, the image of the Green Man appeared. He is typically a male face peering out from the leaves, surrounded by ivy or grapes. Tales of the Green Man have overlapped through time, so that in his many aspects he is also Puck of the midsummer forest, Herne the Hunter, Cernunnos, the Oak King, John Barleycorn, Jack in the Green, and even Robin Hood. The spirit of the Green Man is everywhere in nature at the time of the harvest -- as leaves fall down around you outside, imagine the Green Man laughing at you from his hiding place within the woods!
Gods of wine and the vine are not unique to European societies. In Africa, the Zulu people have been brewing beer for a long time, and Mbaba Mwana Waresa is a goddess who knows all about brewing. Originally a rain goddess, and associated with rainbows, Mbaba Mwana Waresa gave the gift of beer to Africa.
The Aztec peoples honored Tezcatzontecatl, who was the god of a sour, somewhat yeasty brewed drink called pulque. It was considered a sacred drink and was consumed at festivals each fall. Interestingly, it was also give to pregnant women to ensure a good pregnancy and a strong baby - perhaps because of this, Tezcatzontecatl was associated not only with fertility but also with drunkenness.
Beer was one of the many gifts that Osiris gave to the people of Egypt. In addition to all of his other duties, his job is to brew beer for the gods of the Egyptian pantheon. Eventually, Osiris came to be known as a harvest god, as the cutting and dismemberment of his body was associated with the cutting and threshing of grain.
Acorns & Oaks
In many cultures the oak is sacred, and is often connected to legends of deities who interact with mortals. Throughout history, most of the major civilizations of Europe held the oak as a highly venerated tree, and it was associated with deities in many pantheons. The Celts, Romans, Greeks and Teutonic tribes all had legends connected to the mighty oak tree. Typically, the oak was related to deities that had control over thunder, lightning, and storms.
In Norse legend, Thor found shelter from a violent storm by sitting under a mighty oak tree. Today, people in some Nordic countries believe that acorns on the windowsill will protect a house from being hit by lightning. In parts of Great Britain, young ladies followed a custom of wearing an acorn on a string around their neck. It was believed that this was a talisman against premature aging.
The Druids are believed to have held rituals in oak groves, and certainly mistletoe was to be found on oak trees. According to legend, mistletoe was indicative of the a god stopping by via a lightning strike on the tree. Certainly, oak trees seem to be more susceptible to lightning strikes than other trees, although this could be because it's often the tallest tree around.
Rulers often wore crowns of oak leaves, as a symbol of their connection to the divine. After all, if one were a living god, personification of the god on earth, one had to look the part. Roman generals were presented with oak crowns upon returning victorious from battle, and the oak leaf is still used as a symbol of leadership in the military today.
Around the reign of King Henry VIII, oak became popular for its use in construction of homes for the wealthy. Managed oak forests in Scotland supplied thousands of pieces of timber for use in London and other English cities. The bark was used as well, to create a dye that was used in ink-making.
Today, many modern Pagans and Wiccans continue to honor the oak. It is found in the Celtic Ogham symbols, and contemporary Druids still celebrate its power.
For information on how to find the best acorns to plant an oak tree, read Collecting and Planting Acorns.
Demeter, Dark Mother of The Harvest
In some interpretations of the story, Persephone is not held in the underworld against her will. Instead, she chooses to stay there for six months each year so that she can bring a little bit of brightness and light to the souls doomed to spend eternity with Hades.
The Symbolism of The Stag
For many Pagans, the antlers of the stag are associated directly with the fertility of the God. The Horned God, in his many incarnations, often appears wearing a headdress of antlers. In some depictions, the horns grow directly from his head. Early Paleolithic cave art shows men wearing antlers on their heads, so it would appear that the horn or antler has long been a symbol of worship in some form or another. In Egyptian legend, many gods appear to wear a pair of horns on their head.
In some Pagan paths, there is a correlation between the shape of a pair of horns and the crescent moon. The image of a stag with a full moon between his antlers represents both the male (the antlers) and the female (the moon) aspects of the Divine.
Mabon is the time, in many areas, when hunting season begins. While many Pagans are opposed to hunting, others feel that they can hunt for food as our ancestors did. For many Pagans, equally as important as the idea of caring about animals is the concept of responsible wildlife management. The fact is, in some areas, wild animals such as whitetail deer, antelope, and others have reached the status of nuisance animal. If you're wondering about why Pagans hunt, be sure to read Pagans and Hunting.
In some Pagan traditions, a popular Mabon chant to sing is entitled simply, Hoof and Horn, originally written by Ian Corrigan of Ár nDraíocht Féin. You can listen to an audio clip here: Hoof and Horn.
Pomona, Goddess of Apples
In Ovid's writings, Pomona is a virginal wood nymph who rejected several suitors before finally marrying Vertumnus - and the only reason she married him was because he disguised himself as an old woman, and then offered Pomona advice on who she should marry. Vertumnus turned out to be quite lusty, and so the two of them are responsible for the prolific nature of apple trees. Pomona doesn't appear very often in mythology, but she does have a festival that she shares with her husband, celebrated on August 13.
Despite her being a rather obscure deity, Pomona's likeness appears many times in classical art, including paintings by Rubens and Rembrandt, and a number of sculptures. She is typically represented as a lovely maiden with an armful of fruit and a pruning knife in one hand. In J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, Professor Sprout, the teacher of Herbology -- the study of magical plants -- is named Pomona.
Celebrating The Second Harvest
Mabon Around The World
- In China, the moon's birthday falls around the time of the autumn equinox. Special holiday birthday cakes are baked with flour from harvested rice, and families gather together to honor the moon. It is believed that flowers will fall from the sky on the night of the moon's birthday, and those who saw them fall would be blessed with great abundance.
- Many English counties still observe Michaelmas, which is the feast of St. Michael, on September 29. Customs included the preparation of a meal of goose which had been fed on the stubble of the fields following the harvest (called a stubble-goose). There was also a tradition of preparing special larger-than-usual loaves of bread, and St. Michael's bannocks, which was a special kind of oatcake.
- Long before the Pilgrims arrived in the New World, the Native peoples of North Americacelebrated the harvest with thanksgiving festivals in the autumn. This typically included lots of meat and grains to eat. Games and activities were held, and it was also useful as a time of matchmaking between neighboring villages.
- In some Germanic countries, people worried about the fate of their grain harvest. If there was a great deal of wind during the harvesting season, it could be because Odin wanted a share of the crop. To keep him happy, a few spare sacks of flour were emptied into the wind.
- The Yoruba people of Nigeria had a celebration in October to celebrate the yam harvest. Dances were held to honor the ancestors, and to bid farewell to those who might have died in the past year. Yams were offered to dancers in hopes that a fertile crop would appear next year. Interestingly, studies have shown that women who consume a lot of yams (real African yams, not sweet potatoes) are statistically more likely to conceive twins, so there is certainly a link between yams and fertility symbolism!
- The Iroquois people celebrated a Corn Dance each fall. This was a way to give thanks for the ripening of the grain -- songs, dances and drumming were part of the celebration. Naturally, food played an important part as well, including corn bread and soup.
- For the ancient Druids, the fall equinox was Alban Elfed. Many contemporary Druids celebrate this as at time of balance and thanksgiving.
During the medieval period, Michaelmas was considered one of the holy days of obligation, although that tradition ended in the 1700s. Customs included the preparation of a meal of goose which had been fed on the stubble of the fields following the harvest (called a stubble-goose). There was also a tradition of preparing special larger-than-usual loaves of bread, and St. Michael's bannocks, which was a special kind of oatcake.
By Michaelmas, the harvest was typically complete, and the next year's farming cycle would begin as landowners saw reeves elected from among the peasants for the following year. The reeve's job was to watch over the work and make sure everyone was doing their share, as well as collecting rents and donations of products. If a holding's rent fell short, it was up to the reeve to make it up - as you can imagine, no one really wanted to be reeve. This was also the time of year when accounts were balanced up, annual dues paid to local guilds, workers were hired on for the next season, and new leases taken for the following year.
In the British Isles, September 14 was the day when children would forage in the woods to collect hazelnuts, because this is when they are supposed to be perfectly ripe. In some legends, young maidens who go out a-nutting are in danger of becoming pregnant without benefit of marriage -- this is probably less due to the fertility associations of nuts and more to the fact that Nutting Day gave you a chance to be alone in the woods with your lover.
If you worked as a lacemaker, Nutting Day had a special significance. From this day untilShrove Tuesday in the spring, you could use a candle to light your work. Lacemakers spent long hours working at their craft for little pay, and because of the precise nature of their job, their eyes were often tired and achy by the end of the day. They were often advised to bathe their eyes in gin, which stung, but refreshed them enough that they could work a few more hours. The use of a candle permitted them to work longer during the dark winter months.
September 21 is sometimes called the Devil's Nutting Day, and it was the date on which mortals should never gather nuts. In some areas of Britain, nuts were not to be picked on Sundays, either. There's a story in the Warwickshire area that the devil himself was out gathering hazelnuts when he accidentally met the Virgin Mary (the story doesn't explain why Mary might have been wandering around in Warwickshire, but hey, it's an old story). He was so startled to see her that he dropped his bag of nuts, which turned into a hill called the Devil's Nightcap.
Scarecrows - Guardians of The Harvest
In the fields of ancient Greece, wooden statues were placed in the fields, carved to represent Priapus. Although he was the son ofAphrodite, Priapus was also hideously ugly, and his most prominent feature was his constant (and huge) erection. Birds tended to avoid fields where Priapus resided, so as Greek influence spread into Roman territory, Roman farmers soon adopted the practice.
Pre-feudal Japan used different kinds of scarecrows in their rice fields, but the most popular one was the kakashi. Old dirty rags and noisemakers like bells and sticks were mounted on a pole in the field and then lit on fire. The flames (and presumably, the smell) kept birds and other animals away from the rice fields. The word kakashi meant "something stinky." Eventually, Japanese farmers began making scarecrows that looked like people in raincoats and hats. Sometimes they were equipped with weaponry to make them look even more frightening.
(Note: There is one school of thought that states that rotten meat was hung on these as well; however, with crows and other such carrion eaters, it seems more logical that they would come TO the scarecrows, rather than staying away. This is mentioned in numerous secondary sources, but there do not appear to be any primary sources that verify the claim of the rotten meat being hung on the kakashi.)
During the Middle Ages in Britain and Europe, small children worked as crow-scarers. Their job was to run around in the fields, clapping blocks of wood together, to frighten away birds that might eat the grain. As the medieval period wound down and populations decreased due to plague, farmers discovered there was a shortage of spare children to scamper around shooing birds away. Instead, they stuffed old clothes with straw, placed a turnip or gourd up on top, and mounted the figure in the fields. They soon found that these lifelike guardians did a pretty good job of keeping crows away.
Scarecrows are also found in Native American cultures. In some parts of what is now Virginia and the Carolinas, before the white man arrived, adult men sat on raised platforms and shouted at birds or ground animals that came near the crops. Some native tribes discovered that soaking corn seeds in a poisonous herb mixture deterred birds as well, although one has to wonder how the corn would taste to people. In the Southwest, some Native American children had contests to see who could make the most frightening scarecrow, and the Zuni tribe used lines of cedar poles strung with cords and animal skins to keep the birds away.
Scarecrows also came to North America as waves of emigrants left Europe. German settlers in Pennsylvania brought with them the bootzamon, or bogeyman, which stood guard over the fields. Sometimes a female counterpart was added to the opposite end of the field or orchard.
During the heyday of America's agricultural period, scarecrows became popular, but following World War II, farmers realized they could accomplish a lot more by spraying their crops with pesticides like DDT. This went on until the 1960s, when it was discovered that pesticides are actually bad for you. Nowadays, although you don't see a lot of scarecrows guarding fields, they're extremely popular as a fall decoration. In more rural countries, scarecrows are still in use.
Mabon Ritual & Ceremony
Honoring the Dark Mother of Mabon
The earth dies a little each day, and we must embrace this slow descent into dark before we can truly appreciate the light that will return in a few months.
This ritual welcomes thearchetype of the Dark Mother, and celebrates that aspect of the Goddess which we may not always find comforting or appealing, but which we must always be willing to acknowledge. Decorate your altar with symbols of Demeter and her daughter -- flowers in red and yellow for Demeter, purple or black for Persephone, stalks of wheat, Indian corn, sickles, baskets. Have a candle on hand to represent each of them -- harvest colors for Demeter, black for Persephone. You'll also need a chalice of wine, or grape juice if you prefer, and a pomegranate.
If you normally cast a circle, or call the quarters, do so now. Turn to the altar, and light the Persephone candle. Say:
The land is beginning to die, and the soil grows cold.
The fertile womb of the earth has gone barren.
As Persephone descended into the Underworld,
So the earth continues its descent into night.
As Demeter mourns the loss of her daughter,
So we mourn the days drawing shorter.
The winter will soon be here.
Light the Demeter candle, and say:
In her anger and sorrow, Demeter roamed the earth,
And the crops died, and life withered and the soil went dormant.
In grief, she traveled looking for her lost child,
Leaving darkness behind in her wake.
We feel the mother's pain, and our hearts break for her,
As she searches for the child she gave birth to.
We welcome the darkness, in her honor.
Break open the pomegranate (it's a good idea to have a bowl to catch the drippings), and take out six seeds. Place them on the altar. Say:
Six months of light, and six months of dark.
The earth goes to sleep, and later wakes again.
O dark mother, we honor you this night,
And dance in your shadows.
We embrace that which is the darkness,
And celebrate the life of the Crone. Blessings to the dark goddess on this night, and every other.
As the wine is replaced upon the altar, hold your arms out in the Goddess position, and take a moment to reflect on the darker aspects of the human experience. Think of all the goddesses who evoke the night, and call out:
Demeter, Inanna, Kali, Tiamet, Hecate, Nemesis, Morrighan.
Bringers of destruction and darkness,
I embrace you tonight.
Without rage, we cannot feel love,
Without pain, we cannot feel happiness,
Without the night, there is no day,
Without death, there is no life.
Great goddesses of the night, I thank you.
Take a few moments to meditate on the darker aspects of your own soul. Is there a pain you've been longing to get rid of? Is there anger and frustration that you've been unable to move past? Is there someone who's hurt you, but you haven't told them how you feel? Now is the time to take this energy and turn it to your own purposes. Take any pain inside you, and reverse it so that it becomes a positive experience. If you're not suffering from anything hurtful, count your blessings, and reflect on a time in your life when you weren't so fortunate.
When you are ready, end the ritual.
**You may wish to tie this rite into a celebration of the Harvest Moon.
How to Hold a Mabon Apple Rite
In many pantheons, the apple is a symbol of the Divine. Apple trees are representative of wisdom and guidance. This apple ritual will allow you time to thank the gods for their bounty and blessings, and to enjoy the magic of the earth before the winds of winter blow through.
Decorate your altar with symbols of the season -- a basket of gourds or small pumpkins, colorful fall leaves, acorns, vines, grapes or blackberries. You'll also need a pair of orange candles to symbolize the harvest, a cup of cider or wine, and an apple.
If your tradition requires you to cast a circle, do so now.
Light your harvest candles. Face the altar and hold the apple in both hands. If you can do this rite outside, raise the apple up to the sky, and feel the wisdom and energy of the gods coming to you. Say:
The apple is sacred, a symbol of the gods,
and holds the knowledge of the ancients inside.
Tonight I ask the gods to bless me with their wisdom.
Five points in a star, hidden inside.
One for earth, one for air, one for fire,
one for water, and the last for spirit.
Next, turn to the south and say:
I call upon the wise ones, the ancient gods,
as the sun moves away and fire fades,
to be replaced with the chill of the night.
Finally, face west, and say:
I will reflect on the guidance of the gods,
and let the cool autumn rains wash over me,
cleansing my heart and soul.
Raise the cup of wine or cider to the sky, and toast the gods. Say:
The wild god returns this night to the belly of the Mother.
The mother goddess tonight becomes the Crone.
As the Wheel of the Year turns, the earth dies a bit each day.
I willingly follow the old gods into the darkness,
where they will watch over me, protect me, and keep me safe.
Sip from the cup, and as you drink your wine or cider, think about the power and energy of the Divine, in whatever aspect you choose to honor.
Extinguish one of the candles, and say:
The wild god has gone to rest in the Underworld.
I look to the darkness for renewal and rebirth.
- Leave the apples on your altar overnight, and the next morning, put them in your garden as an offering to the earth.
- Feel free to replace the wild god and mother goddess with the names of deities from your own tradition.
Mabon Meditation for Balance
Mabon is one of those times of year that affect people in different ways. For some, it's a season to honor the darker aspects of the goddess, calling upon that which is devoid of light. For others, it's a time of thankfulness, of gratitude for the abundance we have at the season of harvest. No matter how you see it, Mabon is traditionally a time of balance. After all, it's one of the two times each year that has equal amounts of darkness and daytime.
Because this is, for many people, a time of high energy, there is sometimes a feeling of restlessness in the air, a sense that something is just a bit "off". If you're feeling a bit spiritually lopsided, with this simple meditation you can restore a little balance into your life.
Setting the Mood
Now that fall is here, why not do an autumn version of Spring Cleaning? Get rid of any emotional baggage you're dragging around with you. Accept that there are darker aspects to life, and embrace them, but don't let them rule you. Understand that a healthy life finds balance in all things.
You can perform this ritual anywhere, but the best place to do it is outside, in the evening as the sun goes down. Decorate your altar (or if you're outside, use a flat stone or tree stump) with colorful autumn leaves, acorns, small pumpkins, and other symbols of the season. You'll need a black candle and a white one of any size, although tealights probably work best. Make sure you have something safe to put them in, either a candle holder or a bowl of sand.
Light both candles, and say the following:
A balance of night and day, a balance of light and dark
Tonight I seek balance in my life
as it is found in the Universe.
A black candle for darkness and pain
and things I can eliminate from my life.
A white candle for the light, and for joy
and all the abundance I wish to bring forth.
At Mabon, the time of the equinox,
there is harmony and balance in the Universe,
and so there shall be in my life.
Meditate on the things you wish to change. Focus on eliminating the bad, and strengthening the good around you. Put toxic relationships into the past, where they belong, and welcome new positive relationships into your life. Let your baggage go, and take heart in knowing that for every dark night of the soul, there will be a sunrise the next morning.
10 Ways to Celebrate Mabon
1. Find Some Balance
Mabon is a time of balance, when there are equal hours of darkness and light, and that can affect people in different ways. For some, it's a season to honor the darker aspects of the goddess, calling upon that which is devoid of light. For others, it's a time of thankfulness, of gratitude for the abundance we have at the season of harvest. Because this is, for many people, a time of high energy, there is sometimes a feeling of restlessness in the air, a sense that something is just a bit "off". If you're feeling a bit spiritually lopsided, with this simple meditation you can restore a little balance into your life. You can also try a ritual to bring balance and harmony to your home.
2. Hold a Food Drive
Many Pagans and Wiccans count Mabon as a time of thanks and blessings -- and because of that, it seems like a good time to give to those less fortunate than ourselves. If you find yourself blessed with abundance at Mabon, why not give to those who aren't? Invite friendsover for a feast, but ask each of them to bring a canned food, dry goods, or other non-perishable items? Donate the collected bounty to a local food bank or homeless shelter.
3. Pick Some Apples
Apples are the perfect symbol of the Mabon season. Long connected to wisdom and magic, there are so many wonderful things you can do with an apple. Find an orchard near you, and spend a day with your family. As you pick the apples, give thanks to Pomona, goddess of fruit trees. Be sure to only pick what you're going to use -- if you can, gather plenty to take home and preserve for the coming winter months. Take your apples home and use them in rituals, for divination, and for delicious recipes that your family can enjoy all season long.
4. Count Your Blessings
Mabon is a time of giving thanks, but sometimes we take our fortune for granted. Sit down and make a gratitude list. Write down things that you are thankful for. An attitude of gratefulness helps bring more abundance our way -- what are things you're glad you have in your life? Maybe it's the small things, like "I'm glad I have my cat Peaches" or "I'm glad my car is running." Maybe it's something bigger, like "I'm thankful I have a warm home and food to eat" or "I'm thankful people love me even when I'm cranky." Keep your list some place you can see it, and add to it when the mood strikes you.
5. Honor the Darkness
Without darkness, there is no light. Without night, there can be no day. Despite a basic human need to overlook the dark, there are many positive aspects to embracing the dark side, if it's just for a short time. After all, it was Demeter's love for her daughter Persephone that led her to wander the world, mourning for six months at a time, bringing us the death of the soil each fall. In some paths, Mabon is the time of year that celebrates the Crone aspect of a triune goddess. Celebrate a ritual that honors that aspect of the Goddess which we may not always find comforting or appealing, but which we must always be willing to acknowledge. Call upon the gods and goddesses of the dark night, and ask for their blessings this time of year.
6. Get Back to Nature
Fall is here, and that means the weather is bearable once more. The nights are becoming crisp and cool, and there's a chill in the air. Take your family on a nature walk, and enjoy the changing sights and sounds of the outdoors. Listen for geese honking in the sky above you, check the trees for changing in the colors of the leaves, and watch the ground for dropped items like acorns, nuts, and seed pods. If you live in an area that doesn't have any restrictions on removing natural items from park property, take a small bag with you and fill it up with the things you discover along the way. Bring your goodies home for your family's altar. If you are prohibited from removing natural items, fill your bag with trash and clean up the outdoors!
7. Tell Timeless Stories
In many cultures, fall was a time of celebration and gathering. It was the season in which friends and relatives would come from far and near to get together before the cold winter kept them apart for months at a time. Part of this custom was storytelling. Learn the harvest tales of your ancestors or of the people indigenous to the area in which you live. A common theme in these stories is the cycle of death and rebirth, as seen in the planting season. Learn about the stories of Osiris, Mithras, Dionysius, Odin and other deities who have died and then restored to life.
8. Raise Some Energy
It's not uncommon for Pagans and Wiccans to make remarks regarding the "energy" of an experience or event. If you're having friends or family over to celebrate Mabon with you, you can raise group energy by working together. A great way to do this is with a drum or music circle. Invite everyone to bring drums, rattles, bells, or other instruments. Those who don't have an instrument can clap their hands. Begin in a slow, regular rhythm, gradually increasing the tempo until it reaches a rapid pace. End the drumming at a pre-arranged signal, and you'll be able to feel that energy wash over the group in waves. Another way of raising group energy is chanting, or with dance. With enough people, you can hold a Spiral Dance.
9. Celebrate Hearth & Home
As autumn rolls in, we know we'll be spending more time indoors in just a few months. Take some time to do a fall version of spring cleaning. Physically clean your home from top to bottom, and then do a ritual smudging. Use sage or sweetgrass, or asperge with consecrated water as you go through your home and bless each room. Decorate your home with symbols of the harvest season, and set up a family Mabon altar. Put sickles, scythes and bales of hay around the yard. Collect colorful autumn leaves, gourds and fallen twigs and place them in decorative baskets in your house. If you have any repairs that need to be done, do them now so you don't have to worry about them over the winter. Throw out or give away anything that's no longer of use.
10. Welcome the Gods of the Vine
Grapes are everywhere, so it's no surprise that the Mabon season is a popular time to celebrate winemaking, and deities connected to the growth of the vine. Whether you see him as Bacchus, Dionysus, the Green Man, or some other vegetative god, the god of the vine is a keyarchetype in harvest celebrations. Take a tour of a local winery and see what it is they do this time of year. Better yet, try your hand at making your own wine! If you're not into wine, that's okay -- you can still enjoy the bounty of grapes, and use their leaves and vines for recipes andcraft projects. However you celebrate these deities of vine and vegetation, you may want to leave a small offering of thanks as you reap the benefits of the grape harvest.
What is a Kitchen Witch?
There's a growing movement within modern Paganism known as kitchen witchery. The kitchen is, after all, the heart and hearth of many modern households. When you have a gathering in your home, where do most of your guests hang out? Why, the kitchen, of course! Also, thanks to a declining economy, many more people are making meals from scratch and the kitchen has once again become a place where people spend hours, rather than minutes. So it's no surprise that kitchen witchery has seen a rise in popularity.
Meal Prep as Magic:
When you take the time to put meals together from the basic ingredients, you have a magical opportunity at hand. You can infuse every dish with intent and will. A meal can stop being something you dump out of a can, and start being a ritual in and of itself. When you take time to prepare something with your own hands, that lends it sacredness, and will make you want to spend time savoring it with your family, rather than just snarfing it down on your way out the door to soccer practice. By changing the way you view food, its preparation and its consumption, you can craft some practical magic at its simplest level.
How To Bring Magic Into the Kitchen:
As you become more aware of what it's like to live magically, and more in tune with your own actions and activities, you may at some point realize that your kitchen is a magical one. There are a number of things you can do to enhance the magical atmosphere in your kitchen. Try some or all of these to get started:
- Have a kitchen altar. The stovetop is today's equivalent of the hearth fires of old, and it's where most food preparation is done. Create a small altar with items that can be moved as needed -- add a statue of a home or hearth goddess, a cauldron, or a candle. If you like, paint a trivet with symbols of your tradition.
- Make sure your herbs are readily accessible. If you cook with them, display them in decorative jars. Make sure that they're not sitting in direct sunlight, though, or they'll lose their potency. If possible, have live plants in pots to use during the year. Keep fresh vegetables on hand as well.
- Read up on practices like Feng Shui so you can optimize your work space for maximum efficiency, both spiritual and practical.
- Keep the space clean. Much like any other sacred space, physical cleanliness maintains spiritual cleanliness. It's hard to find balance in a place that is cluttered and chaotic. Make sure counter tops are wiped down after each meal, keep the sink free of dirty dishes, and organize cupboards and shelves so they are easy to use.
- Paint the walls in colors that are comforting and happy. If your house still has the 1970's metallic flecked wallpaper in the kitchen, it's time to get it out of there. Choose a color that makes you and your family feel good -- earth tones are soothing, yellows are happy and bright, and greens bring prosperity and abundance.
- Keep cookbooks and recipes organized where you can find them. You might even want to have a special book of magical recipes that you keep separate from your regular Book of Shadows.
Consider some of these:
- When stirring a recipe, stir in a deosil or widdershins direction, depending on the goal you wish to achieve.
- If you're making a sandwich, spread condiments like mustard in a sigil for your purpose.
- When you bake bread, add herbs or spices that correspond to your magical needs.
The Magical Energy of Apples
Apples have always been popular tools for foretelling the future. There are a number of traditional methods in folklore for seeing who one's lover might be.
- Peel the apple, keeping the peel in one long piece. When the peel comes off, drop it on the floor. The letter it forms is the first initial of your true love's name.
- Wait until midnight and cut an apple into nine pieces. Take the pieces into a dark room with a mirror (either hanging on the wall or a hand-held one will do). At midnight, begin eating the pieces of apple while looking into the mirror. When you get to the ninth piece, throw it over your shoulder. The face of your lover should appear in the mirror.
- If a girl has more than one potential lover, peel an apple and pull out the seeds. Place a wet seed on your cheek for each boyfriend. The last one left stuck to the skin represents the suitor who is the true love.
Because of its associations with the harvest, the apple is perfect for Mabon magic. Try the Apple Harvest rite, or honor the goddess Pomona at the harvest.
- Mabon Apple Harvest Rite: This harvest ritual is designed with solitary Wiccans and Pagans in mind, and uses the apple and its five-pointed star as the focus. Honor the ancient gods at Mabon with this harvest ritual.
- Pomona, Goddess of Apples: Pomona was an obscure Roman goddess, but she still has significance when it comes to the blooming of orchards and fruit trees in the fall.
- Magic of the Apple Blossoms: The apple is associated with immortality, but is also considered a food for the dead, which is why it often makes its appearance at Mabon celebrations.
In addition to being tasty and sweet, apples are perfect for craft projects. Try one of these to decorate your home with magical apple energy.
- Apple Candleholders: Make a set of decorative candleholders by coring out the top of a pair of apples.
- Apple Garlands: This easy-to-make craft not only looks pretty, but will leave your home smelling delicious and welcoming!
- Apple Butter: Brew up a pot of delicious apple butter to celebrate the harvest.
A Hearth & Home Rite for Mabon
You'll need the following items:
There is no need to cast a circle before beginning this rite, because you will be casting a magical perimeter as part of the working.
- A bowl of fresh earth from your yard
- An assortment of iron nails* (railroad spikes work nicely if you can get them)
- A brown or green candle to represent the land
Place the bowl of earth at the entrance to your property. If you like, you can place it on a table, or you can just set it on the ground. Place your hands into the bowl, and feel the cool soil on your fingertips. Feel the energy of the earth, traveling from the ground, up into the bowl, through the dirt, and into you.
Focus on the bowl of earth, and say:
Earth, symbol of security and stability,
bring peace and harmony into my home
at this season of thanksgiving.
May my family be well,
my house be a haven,
and my table be one of hospitality.
May the earth, the soil, the land,
ground me and protect me and
those whom I love,
and that which I call mine.
My property shall be a safe place,
a secure place, a harmonious place
for all those who enter.
As I will, so it shall be.
Leave the bowl in place, and begin slowly walking around the perimeter of your property, traveling in a deosil, or clockwise, direction. Feel the energy of your land, and the way in which you connect with it. Is there a tree you particularly love? Or the big rock where the kids always sit? Or that weird piece of root that you trip over every time? Consider why your property is home instead of just a place to live. Even if you live in an apartment, you can do this -- what about that creaky spot by the door that your mom always hears when you come in late? All of these make a house personal and connect us to it.
Periodically -- and depending on how many iron nails or railroad ties you've got -- stop and touch the ground. Drive a nail or spike into the dirt - iron is known as a protective materialthroughout many cultures. As you push it into the earth, say:
Iron spike, in the ground,
protect my home, my family and me.
Keep out that which would cause us harm.
Repeat this with each iron nail or spike, until you've placed a protective barrier around your property. By now, you should have returned to your bowl of earth at the entrance. Light the green or brown candle, and place it within the bowl. Pack the earth lightly around it so that the candle doesn't topple over. Say:
Dark and light, equal parts
at the time of Mabon.
Fire and earth, together.
Balance, harmony, security,
these things shall be mine.
If there is a particular deity of your tradition that represents hearth and home, now might be a good time to call upon them asking for assistance. If you do so, be sure to make an offeringin their honor. If you choose not to call upon deity at this time, just take a few moments to reflect on your home life, and the things that mean security to you. When you are finished, bring the bowl with the candle inside, and place it in a spot where all can see -- on your hearth, or the kitchen table -- and allow it to sit until the candle goes out. When the candle has burned away, return the earth to your property.
- Even if you just live in one room of a home, you can still do this rite. Simply adapt it so that you're going around the perimeter of the room, beginning with the doorway. Instead of pounding iron spikes into the ground, you can tuck a small nail up under the edge of the carpet.
- A reader points out that in some areas, the ground may freeze enough to push iron nails out of the ground, which could cause problems once things warm up - no one wants a small child to step on a rusty nail! If you live in an area where this may be a problem, you may wish to remove the nails at certain times of year, or at the very least, check to make sure they are securely in the ground.
Grapevine Legends & Lore
The Magic of The Grape
Grapevines are believed to have originated around Mesopotamia, and were cultivated as long as six thousand years before the Romans got around to introducing the plant to the British Isles. The National Grape Cooperative says that grapes were probably one of the earliest cultivated fruits. Although the Greeks gave winemaking a shot, their success was mediocre at best. Historians say that Greek wine was thick and syrupy and the flavor was not exactly good. It wasn't until the Romans got into the act that winemaking became a truly refined art, thanks to specialized cultivation, and proper fermentation and storage.
In Jewish mysticism, there are references to grapes in the Torah. Some believe that it was actually a grape, not an apple, that Eve munched on in the Garden of Eden, leading to all kinds of trouble. Later, Moses sent a dozen spies into Canaan, and they came back holding a cluster of grapes so huge that it took two men to lift it. Because of this, grapes are once again associated with bounty and abundance.
When it came to winemaking, vineyards were commonly found on both noble estates and in monasteries during the Middle Ages. Many European medieval communities thrived because of their excellent winemaking skills. The Tacuinum Sanitatis, a medieval handbook on wellness,recommends grapes for their nutritional value, and suggests that wine is a good remedy for just about any illness.
Grapes have traditionally symbolized fertility. Those who had a healthy, hearty grape harvest were practically guaranteed to be prosperous. Today, many Wiccans and Pagans use the symbolism of the grape in ritual. Here are some simple ways you can incorporate the bounty of the grapevine into your fall harvest celebrations.
- Decorate your altar with grapes and vines.
- Make a Grapevine Pentacle to hang on your wall.
- Paint or stencil grapes on the walls of your kitchen or garden - according to traditional folklore, this will make your crops bountiful!
- Use grape leaves as an ingredient in a spell to bring abundance. For a simple talisman, fold a grape leaf around a silver coin, and tie with green string. Carry this in your pocket to bring you prosperity.
- Plant grapes in pots on either side of your front door. As the vines grow, train them up around the doorframe. This will help ensure that abundance enters your home.
- Use wine to asperge the ground before you cast a circle, or as an offering to the deity of your tradition, if appropriate.
Raising Energy with A Drum Circle
First, one or two people will sit down with their drums. Usually, they're experienced drummers, but not always. One will begin a slow, steady beat, and the other will chime in with something a bit faster and more up-tempo. Eventually, other people will notice that there's something going on, and they'll join in, each playing their own rhythm and beat. A few more people may be intrigued, and join in with rhythmic clapping, stomping of the feet, or other sounds. A few folks might start dancing. What's really magical about this is that there's hardly any verbal communication going on at all -- it's all about the music.
As the drumming continues - and there may be as many as two or three dozen people joining in -- the beat speeds up, the pace quickens, and you can literally feel the energy in the air. It's a palpable humming that courses through your veins. Finally, the drumming reaches its peak, and at the same time -- without any pre-planning at all -- everyone stops. Afterwards, there's typically lots of laughter, socializing, clapping… and then the whole thing often begins again.
Although many drum circles are impromptu, if you want to have one at your event it's a good idea to let people know that a drum circle may take place. That way they can bring their drums and be prepared. If you decide to host one, here are some tips for making it a success:
- Make sure you have one or two competent drummers to set the pace. If you have nothing but beginners, it can be awkward. Experienced drummers will help you get things started, and maintain the energy level that you want. They'll also be able to focus on the collective sound and feel of the group, rather than just their own performance.
- Leave room for dancers. When a drum circle really gets going, no one can hold still for long. There will probably be people there who aren't drumming, but will need room to move around.
- You may wish to have extra drums, as well a few non-drum instruments available for people who didn't bring their own -- maracas or other shakers, sticks to tap together, a triangle, etc.
- If you plan to have children present, understand that not all kids have rhythm. For that matter, neither do a lot of adults. That's normal. Don't discourage anyone from playing along -- there's something truly magical about the complete lack of inhibition in small children, and they may drum or dance to their own beat.
- If you're having your drum circle in a public place, watch out for local noise ordinances. You don't want the police coming by to break things up because you stayed out drumming too late. Likewise, if you're on private property, be considerate of neighbors. If there are other homes nearby, wrap things up at a reasonable time.
Mabon Crafts & Creations
Make A God's Eye
By using alternating colors of thread or yarn, the finished result looks like an eye. In some traditions, you might associate the four points of the cross with the four classical elements, or the directions on the compass. You could even see them as representative of the four major Sabbats -- the solstices and the equinoxes. One great thing to do while making god's eyes is use them as a spell working in themselves -- visualize your intent while wrapping the yarn, whether it's protection for your home and family, to bring love your way, or even a prosperity talisman.
To begin, hold your two sticks together in a cross. If you'd doing this with children, it's a good idea to put a small dab of glue on here to prevent slipping.
Wrap a length of yarn one or two times around the top arm of the cross, right where the two sticks meet, going counterclockwise (be sure to hold the loose tail in place and wrap the yarn over it to keep it from unraveling later). As you come around on the left side of the upper arm, cross down and over to the bottom side of the right arm. Bring the yarn out behind the top of the right arm, and cross over to the left side of the bottom arm. Finally, bring the yarn from the right side of the bottom arm across to the top side of the left arm.
This is actually easier than it sounds -- follow the excellent diagram on Aunt Annie's Page to see how it works. Continue wrapping the sticks in the same order until you have a good amount of the color you're working in. Then switch to a new color, and continue the process until you want to change again. Finish it off with a length of yarn tied in a loop, so you can hang your god's eye.
Finally, you can decorate the ends of the sticks with feathers, ribbons, beads, or crystals, whatever you prefer. Hang your god's eye on a wall, or use it on your altar for Sabbat celebrations.
How to make a Mabon Cleansing Wash
To make this cleansing wash, we'll be using herbs that are in full bloom in the weeks before Mabon.
You'll need a handful of each of the following:
Place the herbs in the glass jar. Pour boiling water over them until the jar is filled. Screw the lid on loosely, and allow to steep for four to six hours. Strain out all the plant material. Cap the jar, and store in a cool place. Use as a skin wash or to asperge your home or sacred space.
Mabon Prosperity Candles
You'll need the following items on your workspace before you begin:
- An unscented candle in a harvest color -- yellow, orange, brown, or in green to symbolize cash in hand
- Your choice of Money Oil or essential oil of cinnamon, orange, or ginger
- Something to inscribe the candle with -- a pencil, stylus, etc.
- A pinch of dried basil, sage or dill
Once you've completed your inscription, anoint the candle with the Money Oil. If you don't have Money Oil, use another essential oil that brings prosperity -- cinnamon, orange or ginger are all good to use. Focus your intent into the candle, drawing abundance to you. Rub a small amount of the dried basil, sage or dill -- all herbs connected with money -- into the oil. As you do, clearly visualize how you will be using the money that comes your way. Will you use it to pay off debt? Buy a new car? Take a class for personal growth?
Light the candle, and meditate on the flame. Continue focusing on your intent, and imagine it building, first as a small spark, and then growing into a large ball of light. Maintain this image as long as you can, and then release it into the candle flame. Make sure the candle is in a safe place so as not to be a fire hazard (a bowl of sand is perfect for this) and allow the candle to burn out on its own.
You can make incense with sticks and in cones, but the easiest kind uses loose ingredients, which are then burned on top of a charcoal disc or tossed into a fire. This recipe is for loose incense, but you can adapt it for stick or cone recipes if you wish.
As you mix and blend your incense, focus on the intent of your work. In this particular recipe, we’re creating an incense to use during Mabon. It’s a time to celebrate the season of balance and harmony, as well as the gratitude and thanksgiving of the harvest season.
Mabon, a season of dark and light,
balance of day turning to night.
Counting my blessings in all I have and do,
love and harmony, and gratitude too.
Mabon herbs, bring balance to me,
As I will, so it shall be.
Store your incense in a tightly sealed jar. Make sure you label it with its intent and name, as well as the date you created it. Use within three months, so that it remains charged and fresh.
Your Mabon Celebration
We have so much before us
on for this we are thankful.
We have so many blessings,
and for this we are thankful.
There are others not so fortunate,
and by this we are humbled.
We shall make an offering in their name
to the gods who watch over us,
that those in need are someday
as blessed as we are this day.
Equal hours of light and darkness
we celebrate the balance of Mabon,
and ask the gods to bless us.
For all that is bad, there is good.
For that which is despair, there is hope.
For the moments of pain, there are moments of love.
For all that falls, there is the chance to rise again.
May we find balance in our lives
as we find it in our hearts.
The grapes have been gathered!
The wine has been pressed!
The casks have been opened!
Dionysus and Bacchus,
watch over our celebration
and bless us with merrymaking!
Hail! Hail! Hail!
Note: Feel free to replace the above deities with gods of your own tradition.
You can learn more about the gods of the vine here: Gods of the Vine.
Day turns to night,
and life turns to death,
and the Dark Mother teaches us to dance.
Hecate, Demeter, Kali,
Nemesis, Morrighan, Tiamet,
bringers of destruction, you who embody the Crone,
I honor you as the earth goes dark,
and as the world slowly dies.
If you happen to be someone who feels a connection to the darker aspect of the year,
considering holding a full Ritual Honoring the Dark Mother.
The harvest is ending,
the earth is dying.
The cattle have come in from their fields.
We have the earth's bounty
on the table before us
and for this we give thanks to the gods.
Note: Many Pagans choose to celebrate thanksgiving at Mabon.
If you have concerns about celebrating it in November with the rest of your family, be sure to read Pagans and Thanksgiving.
This incantation calls upon the goddess Morrighan, who was aCeltic deity of battle and sovereignty. As a goddess who determined kingship and land holdings, she can be called upon for assistance in protecting your property and the boundaries of your land. If you’ve been robbed lately, or are having trouble with trespassers, this prayer comes in particularly handy. You may wish to make this as martial as possible, with lots of banging drums, clapping, and even a sword or two thrown in as you march around the boundaries of your property.
Hail Morrighan! Hail Morrighan!
Protect this land from those who would trespass upon it!
Hail Morrighan! Hail Morrighan!
Guard this land and all those who dwell within it!
Hail Morrighan! Hail Morrighan!
Watch over this land and all contained upon it!
Hail Morrighan! Hail Morrighan!
Goddess of battle, great goddess of the land,
She who is the Washer at the Ford, Mistress of Ravens,
And Keeper of the Shield,
We call upon you for protection.
Trespassers beware! The great Morrighan stands guard,
And she shall unleash her displeasure upon you.
Let it be known that this land falls under her protection,
And to do harm to any within it
Is to invite her wrath.
Hail Morrighan! Hail Morrighan!
We honor and thank you this day!
Hail Morrighan! Hail Morrighan!
Your Mabon Celebration Feast
Crockpot Apple Butter
Cook Time: 12 hours
Total Time: 12 hoursIngredients:
- 9 quarts of applesauce
- 2 C. apple cider
- 3 Tbs. ground cinnamon
- 1 Tbs, ground cloves
- 1 Tbs. nutmeg
- 3 C. sugar (more if you like really sweet apple butter)
You can make this recipe with homemade or store-bought applesauce. Homemade tastes far better, so if you've never made your own applesauce, check out the Applesauce recipe at our Family Crafts site.
Fill a crock pot with as much applesauce as it takes to bring you about an inch from the top -- this will NOT hold all of the applesauce, unless you have a REALLY big crock pot, but that's okay. It should take about half the applesauce if you use a 5-quart crock.
Add 1 C. of the cider, half the cinnamon, half the cloves and nutmeg, and 1 1/2 C. of the sugar. Set the crock pot on Low, and cover. Allow the applesauce to cook on low setting for about 8 - 12 hours.
Around the 10-hour point, check the amount of applesauce in the pot. It should have reduced significantly by now, so add in the remaining quarts of applesauce, spices, cider and sugar. Mix thoroughly to blend with the applesauce that's already in the pot, and allow to simmer for a few more hours, until the applesauce has reduced to a nice, thick brown apple butter.
Optional - use a hand-held mixer to blend the apple butter into a creamy, smooth texture.
Finally, can the apple butter using the following steps: Home Canning Basics, so you'll have apple butter that lasts for months in your pantry.
Serve your apple butter with a loaf of warm, soft bread, or eat it straight from the jar!
Stuffed Grape Leaves - Dolmas
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
- 1 jar grape leaves
- 2 Cups white or brown rice, cooked about halfway
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 egg
- 1/2 Cup golden raisins
- 1 granny smith apple, chopped
- 1/2 Cup loose fresh mint leaves, chopped
- 1/3 Cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans are perfect, but pine nuts work too)
- 2 Tbs. curry powder (or more, depending on how much you like curry)
- 4 Cups vegetable broth
- Lemon wedges
First, if you're using commercially prepared grape leaves, remove them from their jar and rinse them in cold water for about five minutes. They're pickled in a brine solution, so you'll want to separate them gently and let them soak for a while. If you're using fresh leaves off the vine, soak them until they're nice and pliable.
Meanwhile, combine the rice, onion, egg, raisins, apple, mint, nuts and curry powder together in a bowl, mixing well.
Lay a few grape leaves out on a cutting board, shiny side down, and remove their stems. Place a small, compact scoop of the rice mixture in the middle of each leaf - about a tablespoon should do it, although you could use more if you have really big grape leaves. Fold the grape leaves over each other, like you're wrapping a burrito. Be sure to roll them as tightly as possible. Repeat until you've used up all your rice mixture, or run out of grape leaves.
Place all your rolled leaves in the bottom of a large pot. You can pack them in pretty tightly, which will help keep them from unrolling as they cook -- you can even stack them in layers, if you need to. Pour the broth in on top, covering the rolled leaves just barely to the top. Cover the pot and bring to a rolling boil, and then decrease heat and simmer for about 25 minutes.
When the rolled leaves are done simmering, the rice will be cooked all the way. Remove the leaves from the pot and allow to cool. Squeeze lemon wedges over the tops. These are really nice served with chilled yogurt and pita bread as a light meal, or they can be a side dish to a Mediterranean or Middle Eastern-style dinner.
Renaissance Faire Turkey
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutesIngredients:
- A turkey leg for each person you're feeding
- Salt & pepper
- Olive oil
- 4 quarts of water
- 1/2 C kosher salt or sea salt
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- **Basting Sauce**
- Your favorite barbeque sauce
- Red wine vinegar
Combine the water, kosher salt and sugar and mix well. Place the turkey drumsticks in the brine so they're completely covered -- if you're making a lot of turkey legs, you may need to double the amount of brine.
Refrigerate your turkey legs, in the brine solution, over night. Remove from the fridge about an hour before cooking, so they can reach room temperature.
When you're ready to cook, remove the turkey legs from the brine and pat them dry. Brush each turkey leg lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Preheat your grill.
Combine the honey, barbeque sauce and red wine vinegar to taste. Some people like sweeter, so if that's you, use more honey. If you like your sauce tangier, use more vinegar.
Place the turkey legs on the grill over low heat. Brush them with the sauce periodically, and turn them so they can grill evenly all over. Keep the lid closed as much as possible.
Keep grilling the turkey legs for about 30 minutes, turning and basting them occasionally, until done. When finished, remove them from the grill and wrap them in aluminum foil for about fifteen minutes to finish cooking. Enjoy your turkey legs with a big drumstick in one hand, and a tankard of ale in the other!
Mabon Honey Wheat Bread
Make this either in your bread machine, or by kneading it by hand.
Prep Time: 1 hourCook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutesIngredients:
- 2 C. warm water
- 1 Tbs. active dry yeast
- 1/3 C. honey
- 3 C. whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/4 C. vegetable oil
- 2 Tbs. butter
- 4 C. all purpose baking flour
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add honey and mix well.
Stir in the whole wheat flour, salt, vegetable oil, and butter and mix until a stiff dough has formed. Gradually work the all-purpose flour into the mix, one cup at a time.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured countertop, and knead for about fifteen minutes. When it reaches the point where it's sort of elastic, shape it into a ball and place it into an oiled bowl. Cover with a warm, damp cloth, and allow to sit and rise until it's doubled in size -- usually about 45 minutes.
Punch the dough down and cut in half, so you can make two loaves of bread. Place each half in a greased loaf pan, and allow to rise. Once the dough has risen an inch or two above the top of the loaf pan, pop them in the oven. Bake at 375 for half an hour, or until golden brown at the top.
When you remove the loaves from the oven, allow to cool for about fifteen minutes before removing from the pan. If you like, brush some melted butter over the top of the hot loaves, to add a pretty golden glaze to them.
Note - If you're doing this in a bread machine, remember, the recipes makes two loaves. Halve everything if you're allowing the machine to do the mixing. If you hand mix it, you can still drop the single-loaf balls of dough into the machine to bake.
- 2 C. pomegranate juice
- 1/3 C. orange juice
- 1/3 C. cranberry juice
- 1/2 Tsp. lemon juice
- 1/3 C. sugar
- 1 orange
- Mint leaves
- Fresh pomegranate seeds
To serve, scoop the frozen sorbet into cups or glasses, and garnes with slices of orange, mint leaves, and the extra pomegranate seeds.
The Buckeye is associated with prosperity and abundance. Why not whip up a batch of Buckeye candies for your Mabon guests, and share your wishes for a bountiful harvest with your friends? This recipe has been popular in Ohio - the Buckeye state - since the 1920s.
- 1 16-oz jar of creamy peanut butter
- 1 pound bag of confectioners sugar
- 1 C stick butter, softened
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 12-oz bag of chocolate chips for dipping
Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler over low heat. Use a toothpick or bamboo skewer to dip each peanut butter ball into the chocolate -- be sure to leave a bit of the peanut butter showing at the top, so you get the brown-and-black look of a real Buckeye! Return the balls to the wax paper and allow to cool. Keep in an airtight container until ready to serve.
The great thing about these candies is that because the Buckeye is associated with prosperity and abundance, you can use this for magical purposes. As you mix and blend the ingredients, focus your intent on abundance, so that you can share it with your friends and family at Mabon or other Sabbat celebrations.
For more Mabon Recipes, Enriching Stories & Pagan Ways...
Recipes for The Pagan Soul Cookbook by Psychic Bella
former pen name: Druidessia
This cookbook was a collaborative effort from Pagans all over the world, From recipes 8 generations back to historically enriched recipes with cultural fusion and a rich tapestry of words to adorn each recipe. From the far east, middle east to the far west this cookbook is full of recipes, stories and educational insight and rituals from pagans all over the world. Without the contributions from multi-generational and first life pagans this book wouldn't be possible it was a world wide effort made entirely of good food and a lot of love.
Recipe's for The Pagan Soul Cookbook
Ritual Cooking Section for Sabbats, Esbats, Handfastings and more, to Mead, Druidic Teas, Vegan & Vegetarian Dishes, and each page is full of beautiful photos, stories from all over the pagan world, we even have recipes for your children to create and enjoy along with special organic treats for family pets or "familiars" as we witches call them. So what are you waiting for?! This cookbook was featured on Amazon.com for 3 years for being the most unique cookbook on Lulu.com!