The Second Harvest
There is a day in mid September, usually around the 21-23, where there is balance of daylight and darkness for the second time in the wheel of the year. Here we observe with reverence and respect the return of the powerful dark. Also known as the Festival of Mabon (pronounced MAY-bun, MAY-bone, MAH-boon, or MAH-bawn), the Autumnal Equinox is a short moment of equilibrium in the pendulum of time, where day and night hours are equal, as darkness grows and expands, to rule once again for another six months. Nature has ways of giving the signs of change. The more you connect with the Earth the sooner you learn to notice these signs. It’s important to establish a relationship with Nature, it’s essential for survival.
As we look up at the sky we notice birds already lined up flying south. Earth bound nature-creatures begin to gather their supplies for the cold months ahead. Some, with the adventurous spirit, decides to stretch it a bit and explore just before first frost. The mood for Fall festivals, apple picking and hay rides beckons. Loud and joyful celebration to stand out in the dark, the bittersweet pleasures this holiday brings.
In Druidism this celebration is known as Mea’n Fo’mhair. Here the honor is to The Green Man, God of the Forest, and offer tribute to the trees and forests.
Traditionally these offerings include: ciders and wines, herbs of the season and fertilizer.
Wiccans celebrate the aging Goddess as she passes from Mother to Crone, and her consort the God as he prepares for death and re-birth.
Various other names for this Lesser Wiccan Sabbat are The Second Harvest Festival, Wine Harvest, Feast of Avalon, Equinozio di Autunno (Strega), Alben Elfed (Caledonii), or Cornucopia. The Teutonic name, Winter Finding, spans a period of time from the Sabbat to Oct. 15th, Winter’s Night, which is the Norse New Year.
We give thanks to the waning sunlight, as we store our harvest of this year’s crops. Mabon is a time of fruition. As we commemorate the harvest and look back upon our labors, we evaluate our gains and losses. This goes for all the fruits of our labor. Our physical labor during the warm months of Summer would be responsible for getting us through the the cool months of winter. But we also face spiritual and philosophical challenges, where our harvest is more symbolic, these are the fruits of our inner labors. In its central theme of balancing light with darkness, Mabon is a good time to evaluate our spiritual growth and review our direction of the chosen path.
Have we honored the Goddess and God this year with our lives?
Have we lived in accordance with our convictions?
Have we taken the time to examine our ethics?
Have we achieved a balance of giving and receiving?
Mabon also teaches us about letting go. Summer is going away. The green lands, the flowers and the herbs in the garden are dying back to the earth for the next cycle of rebirth and growth. The rising Moon is the Harvest Moon.
As we take time to celebrate and savor the profound beauty of the autumn season, we are also preparing ourselves to let go of summer’s pleasures and embrace the new waves of wisdom the winter brings. It is a time to finish old business as we ready for a period of rest, relaxation, and reflection, centering ourselves. Meditate on the prosperity in your life.
It is this holiday that reveals the abundance in our lives. Bring out the horn of plenty to decorate the altar, and fill it to burst with fruits of the fields and forests. Use your horned cow from Imbolc to symbolize the horned Goddess. Dress in all your finery for this Sabbat; use crystal, china, and silver for feasting to create sympathetic magic for the abundance of another harvest. This holiday is a true family holiday, be certain that you touch one another in a closed circle. It is the drawing to and of family as we prepare for the winding down of the year at Samhain. Display the Green Man in circle and be sure to offer him libations in places where he lurks. Thanksgiving offerings can be left for the nature spirits; sprinkle new cider, freshly harvested herbs, or bits of compost in garden beds.
Symbolism of Mabon: Second Harvest, the Mysteries, Equality and Balance.
Symbols: wine, gourds, pine cones, acorns, grains, corn, apples, pomegranates, vines such as ivy, dried seeds, and horns of plenty.
Herbs: Acorn, benzoin, ferns, grains, honeysuckle, marigold, milkweed, myrrh, passionflower, rose, sage, solomon’s seal, tobacco, thistle, and vegetables.
Foods: Breads, nuts, apples, pomegranates, and vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, and onions.
Incense: Autumn Blend-benzoin, myrrh, and sage.
Colors: Orange, red, purple, russet, maroon, brown, and gold.
Stones: Sapphire, lapis lazuli, and yellow agates.
Activities: Making wine, gathering dried herbs, plants, seeds and seed pods, walking in the woods, scattering offerings in harvested fields, offering libations to trees, adorning burial sites with leaves, acorns, and pine cones to honor those who have passed over.
Spellworkings of Mabon: Protection, prosperity, security, and self-confidence. Also those of harmony and balance.
Deities: Goddesses- The Crone, Modron, Morgan, Epona, Persephone, Pamona and the Muses. Gods-Mabon, Thoth, Thor, Hermes, and The Green Man.
Mabon is a time for mysteries, to gather the young-ones and talk about hidden ancient knowledge. It is a time to honor Aging Deities and the Spirit World, and to pay our respects to the Elders and the keepers of Time. Considered a time of balance, it is when we stop and relax and enjoy the fruits of our personal harvests, whether they be from toiling in our gardens, working at our jobs, raising our families, or just coping with the hussle-and-bussle of everyday life.
May your Mabon be memorable, and your hearts and spirits be filled with opulence as you celebrate your accomplishments!
For a Harvest & Mabon ritual visit Divine Muse: Mabon Harvest Ritual
2 parts Frankincense
1 part Sandalwood
1 part Cypress
1 part Juniper
1 part Pine
1/2 part Oakmoss (or a few drops Oakmoss bouquet)
1 pinch pulverized Oak leaf
Burn during Wiccan ceremonies on Mabon (the Autumnal Equinox, circa September 21st), or at that time to attune with the change of the seasons.
Recipe source: “The Complete Book of Incense, Oils & Brews” by Scott Cunningham, Llewellyn Publications, 1989
Autumn Equinox Ritual Potpourri
45 drops Honeysuckle Oil
1 cup Oak Moss
6 small Acorns
2 cups dried Oak Leaves
2 cups dried Honeysuckle
1 cup dried Passionflower
1 cup dried Rosebuds and Petals
1/2 cup dried Pine Needles
1 tablespoon Sage
Mix the honeysuckle oil with the oak moss and then add the remaining ingredients. Stir the potpourri well and store in a tightly covered ceramic or glass container.
Recipe source: “The Wicca Spellbook: A Witch’s Collection of Wiccan Spells, Potions and Recipes” by Gerina Dunwich, a Citadel Press Book, Carol Publishing Group, 1994
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup finely chopped citron
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons anise seeds
2-1/3 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan. Add honey, citron, sugar, and anise seeds. Stir until the sugar completely dissolves and then remove from heat.
Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices, and fold into the hot honey mixture. Turn the batter into a well-greased 9 X 5 X 3-inch loaf pan and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for one hour. Turn out on a wire rack to cool. (This recipe yields one loaf of bread.)
Covenstead Bread improves if allowed to stand for a day, and it is an ideal bread to serve during Lammas and Autumn Equinox Sabbats as well as at all coven meetings.
* Recipe source: “The Wicca Spellbook: A Witch’s Collection of Wiccan Spells, Potions and Recipes” by Gerina Dunwich, p. 169, a Citadel Press Book, Carol Publishing Group, 1994
Sea Turtle Wisdom Bread
2 tsp. active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tsp. b. sugar or honey
3/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vegetable oil
2 1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
Green food coloring
Dissolve yeast in warm water. Whisk in sugar/honey, salt, and oil. Slowly fold in flour, as it becomes harder to stir, turn the dough onto a lightly floured countertop and dust the dough with flour. Knead the dough by folding it in half and pressing it with the palm of your hand until it springs back when you poke it lightly with a finger. Form into ball and place in lightly greased bowl. Dust dough with flour and cover it with a clean cloth towel. Let it rise for 30 minutes. (Shouldn’t spring back, now)
After the dough has risen once, punch it down and form balls for the shell (6in. diameter), head (3in.) , and legs (2in.), and assemble on a greased cookie sheet. Etch a crisscross pattern on top of shell with a knife. Use 2 raisins for eyes. Let rise for 30 more minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush lightly with egg wash (1 egg whisked with 1 tbs. water and couple drops green food coloring) and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 2 turtles
Harvest Morning Apple Muffins
2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups plain vegan soydrink
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 apple, peeled and cut into 1 cm cubes.
Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease muffin tins.
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Mix wet ingredients in a separate vessel.
Add wet to dry and mix well. Batter will be lumpy.
Mix in chopped apple.
Pour into muffin tins and bake at 400 F for 20 minutes. Makes 12.
1 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
6 tbs. butter
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. allspice
2 tbs. apple juice or orange juice
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter a 9-inch square baking pan or a casserole of the equivalent size, then dust it with flour. Peel, core and slice the apples, and arrange them in the pan. In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend the oats, brown sugar, flour, butter, cinnamon, salt and allspice on low speed until it forms a coarse meal. Crumble the mixture evenly over the apple slices and sprinkle with the juice. Bake for 35 minutes.
Makes 6 servings.
(Serve warm with chilled fruit and vegetable plates, buffet style.)
Share the Wealth Applesauce
24 tart apples
Juice of a lemon
2 cups water
1 cup b sugar
4 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup raisins (optional)
Peel and core the apples, then cut them into chunks. Place the apples in a large nonreactive saucepan, and add the lemon juice and water. Stir in the sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and cook for 30 minutes or until the apples are soft. Remove the mixture from the heat and add the cinnamon and raisins, if desired. Stir light for a chunky sauce and rigorously for a smooth sauce. For a pink applesauce, use red apples and leave the skins on. Once the apples are soft, you can strain out the skins or lift them from the sauce with a fork.
Makes 2 1/2 cups.
(Pour into resealable jars, decorate to give as Harvest gifts to relatives, friends, and neighbors)
Mabon Caramel Apples
1 package Kraft* Caramels
6 red or green apples, destemmed
6 popsicle sticks
Melt caramels slowly in a double boiler. When runny in consistency, stick popsicle sticks into top center of apple, and dip apple into caramel sauce, making sure to cover entire apple with a coating of caramel. Place dipped apples, stick up on wax paper covered cookie sheet an refrigerate till caramel hardens.
Makes 6 servings.
Remember, an apple a day keeps the dentist, doctor, and dermatologist away!!!!