Autumn EquinoxBy LaVonne (LaVonne) on September 19, 2011
|Here is a bit of history about the Autumnal Equinox around the world and recipes for you to try at your Harvest Table.|
Mabon September 21
This is the Autumn Equinox, when we see the days begin to grow shorter than the nights. The Sun's light will continue to wane each day through Samhain, the next festival and New Year, until Yule, when the longest darkness will come again. This is the time of equality between the God and Goddess, the God represented by the Sun, the Goddess by the Moon, each half of one whole fulfilled by their joining. Fruitfulness of the land being the result of their mutual-ness, the bounty of the harvest will be brought in and stored against winter and the dark.
Early agricultural societies understood the importance of hospitality, as it was crucial to develop a relationship with neighbors, because they might be the ones to help if 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 had been brought down from the summer pastures for the coming winter. Celebrate Mabon with a feast – the bigger, the better.
We celebrate earth’s abundant harvest during this holiday. Day and night are once again equal, everything in balance. The other name for the autumn equinox, Mabon, comes from Mabon is one of the eight solar holidays or sabbats of American Neopaganism. Among the sabbats, it is the second of the three harvest festivals, preceded by Lammas and followed by Samhain.
Mabon was not an authentic ancient festival either in name or date. The autumn equinox was not celebrated in Celtic countries, while all that is known about Anglo-Saxon customs of that time was that September was known as haleg-monath or 'holy month'.
The Sabbat is named for a god, the Mabon ap Modron, (translates to Mabon son of Modron) who symbolizes the male fertilizing principle in Welsh myths. His full name (depending on the translation) means Great Son of the Great Mother, Young Son, Divine Youth or Son of Light. Modron, Mabon’s mother, is the Great Goddess, the Guardian of the Otherworld, Protector and Healer. She is Earth itself.
Previously, in Gardnerian Wicca the festival was simply known as the 'Autumnal Equinox', and many Neopagans still refer to it as such, or use alternative titles such as the neo-Druidical Aban Efed, a term invented by Iolo Morgannwg.
The use of the name Mabon is much more prevalent in America than Britain, where many Neopagans are scornfully dismissive of it as a blatantly inauthentic practice. The increasing number of American Neopagan publications sold in Britain by such publishers as Llewellyn has however resulted in some British Neopagans adopting the term.
The Druids call this celebration, Alban Elfed, and honor the balance of Light and Darkness. At this time, our ancestors saw the Lady who is the Spirit of the Land stand before her people with the full bounty of her Harvest. Here is the reward of labor and reverence of the Land. This is the fulfilled promise of the days of Spring and Summer. This is the Reckoning of the Year, for Harvest is now complete and the portions are set to feed folk and animals through the cold dark days that lie ahead. This is a time of wonder and gratitude for the gifts the Lady showers down upon her people. Offerings of ciders, wines, herbs and fertilizer are appropriate at this time.
In the Druidic myth of Mabon, the god disappears, taken at birth when only three nights old. His mother, Modron, cries. Although his whereabouts are initially veiled, Mabon is freed with the help of the wisdom and memory of the most ancient of living animals -- the blackbird, the stag, the owl, the eagle and the salmon. All along, Mabon has been quite happy, dwelling in Modron's magickal Otherworld -- Modron's womb. Only in so powerful a place of renewing strength can Mabon be reborn as his mother's champion, as the Son of Light. Mabon's light has been drawn into the Earth, gathering strength and wisdom enough to become a new seed.
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 (The full moon closest to the Autumn Equinox is called the Harvest Moon, and farmers would harvest their corps by this moonlight as part of the Second Harvest celebration.), Wine Harvest, Feast of Avalon, Equinozio di Autunno (Strega), 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.
Also called Harvest Home, this holiday is a ritual of thanksgiving for the fruits of the Earth and recognition of the need to share them to secure the blessings of the Goddess and God during the winter months.
At this festival Autumn Festival it is appropriate to wear all of your finery and dine and celebrate in a lavish setting. It is the drawing to and of family as we prepare for the winding down of the year at Samhain. It is a time to finish old business as we ready for a period of rest, relaxation, and reflection.
Symbolism of Mabon:
Symbols of Mabon:
Herbs of Mabon:
Foods of Mabon:
Incense and oils of Mabon:
Colors and candles of Mabon:
Stones of Mabon:
Plants associated with Mabon: Vines, ivy, hazel, cedar, hops and tobacco,
Activities of Mabon:
Spell workings of Mabon:
Deities of Mabon:
Customs associated with Mabon: Offerings to land, preparing for cold weather, bringing in harvest, cutting willow wands (Druidic), eating seasonal fruit, leaving apples upon burial cairns and graves as a token of honor, walking in wild places and forests, gathering seed pods and dried plants, fermenting grapes to make wine, picking ripe produce, stalk bundling, fishing, and on the nearest full moon (Harvest Moon) harvesting corps by moonlight.
Mabon is considered a time of the Mysteries. It is a time to honor Aging Deities and the Spirit World. 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-bussle of everyday life.
Recipes for Mabon:
My Spicy Black Bean Soup
Corn Chowder for Mabon
In the Midwest, the Buckeye tree, or aesculus glabra, flourishes. It's part of the horse chestnut family, and although the nuts are toxic to anyone who's not a squirrel, it's a very prolific and abundant species. The small brown nuts, which begin dropping in late August, have been used for many years in some traditions of folk magic. 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.
Combine peanut butter, butter, and vanilla together and cream until smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar a little bit at a time until you've gotten it all mixed in. It should produce a really heavy, thick dough. Roll this into small balls (one inch diameter or less) and place them on wax paper. Chill in refrigerator until firm.
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 cooling. 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.
Dark Mother Bread - Mabon Honey Wheat Bread
At Mabon, we celebrate the goddess in her aspect as the crone, or the Dark Mother. She is Demeter, she is Hecate, she is the wise old woman wielding a scythe rather than a basket of blooming flowers. This honey wheat blend is a delicious way to celebrate the end of the harvest and say farewell to the fertile months of summer. Serve warm with herbed oils for dipping, or with a big scoop of Apple Butter.
Make this either in your bread machine, or by kneading it by hand.
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
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.
Crockpot Apple Butter
Apple butter is a delicious treat all year long, and if you make it in the fall with fresh apple sauce, you can preserve it to eat later on. Enjoy this tasty spread on warm bread, or just straight from the jar! You'll need basic canning supplies like Mason jars with lids, a pair of tongs, and a big pot to get started. This recipe should yield you about ten pints of apple butter.
Cook Time: 12 hours
Total Time: 12 hours
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 below. 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 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!
Home-made Applesauce Recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Put all the ingredients in a sauce pan and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Mash the mixture using a potato masher or an electric mixer until it is smooth. Put the applesauce in an airtight container and place in the refrigerator to cool. Once cool, top with a little cinnamon if you like, and enjoy a bowl of fresh applesauce!
The Autumnal Equinox Day is an official national holiday in Japan, and is spent visiting family graves, and holding family reunions. It's a day not just to mark the changing of seasons but also to pay respect to deceased family members. The Japanese have traditionally called the period around the autumnal equinox 'higan.' There's a saying that goes, "both the heat and cold end with higan."
Higan lasts for seven days - beginning three days prior to the equinox and ending three days after it. It occurs twice a year in the spring and in the fall. Higan has Buddhist origins. It means the "other side of the river of death." This side of the river is the world where we live, and the other side is the realm where the souls of those who have passed away dwell. To pray for the repose of deceased ancestors, visits are made to the family grave. 'Bon' in August (July in some regions) is a time when the souls of our ancestors come to visit the people. On higan, it is their turn to visit the souls. Visiting the family grave usually means cleaning the tombstone, offering flowers and food, burning incense sticks, and praying. A popular offering is ohagi, made with glutinous rice covered with adzuki-bean paste or soybean flour. As higan approaches, confectioners become very busy trying to meet the expected demand for ohagi.
The Chinese have Mid-Autumn or Moon festival. The predominant mood of these autumnal celebrations is a gladness for the fruits of the Earth mixed with a certain melancholy linked to the imminence of harsh weather. Remembrance of ancestors is also a common theme.
The joyous Mid-Autumn Festival, the third and last festival for the living, was celebrated on the fifteenth day of the eighth moon, around the time of the autumn equinox. Many referred to it simply as the "Fifteenth of the Eighth Moon". In the Western calendar, the day of the festival usually occurred sometime between the second week of September and the second week of October.
This day was also considered a harvest festival since fruits, vegetables and grain had been harvested by this time and food was abundant. With delinquent accounts settled prior to the festival , it was a time for relaxation and celebration. Food offerings were placed on an altar set up in the courtyard. Apples, pears, peaches, grapes, pomegranates, melons, oranges and pomelos might be seen. Special foods for the festival included moon cakes, cooked taro, edible snails from the taro patches or rice paddies cooked with sweet basil, and water caltrope, a type of water chestnut resembling black buffalo horns. Some people insisted that cooked taro be included because at the time of creation, taro was the first food discovered at night in the moonlight. Of all these foods, it could not be omitted from the Mid-Autumn Festival.
The round moon cakes, measuring about three inches in diameter and one and a half inches in thickness, resembled Western fruitcakes in taste and consistency. These cakes were made with melon seeds, lotus seeds, almonds, minced meats, bean paste, orange peels and lard. A golden yolk from a salted duck egg was placed at the center of each cake, and the golden brown crust was decorated with symbols of the festival. Traditionally, thirteen moon cakes were piled in a pyramid to symbolize the thirteen moons of a "complete year," that is, twelve moons plus one intercalary moon.
The Mid-Autumn Festival is a traditional festivity for both the Han and minority nationalities. The custom of worshipping the moon (called xi yue in Chinese) can be traced back as far as the ancient Xia and Shang Dynasties (2000 B.C.-1066 B.C.). In the Zhou Dynasty(1066 B.C.-221 B.C.), people hold ceremonies to greet winter and worship the moon whenever the Mid-Autumn Festival sets in. It becomes very prevalent in the Tang Dynasty(618-907 A.D.) that people enjoy and worship the full moon.
In the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279 A.D.), however, people send round moon cakes to their relatives as gifts in expression of their best wishes of family reunion. When it becomes dark, they look up at the full silver moon or go sightseeing on lakes to celebrate the festival. Since the Ming (1368-1644 A.D. ) and Qing Dynasties (1644-1911A.D.), the custom of Mid-Autumn Festival celebration becomes unprecedented popular. Together with the celebration there appear some special customs in different parts of the country, such as burning incense, planting Mid-Autumn trees, lighting lanterns on towers and fire dragon dances. However, the custom of playing under the moon is not so popular as it used to be nowadays, but it is not less popular to enjoy the bright silver moon. Whenever the festival sets in, people will look up at the full silver moon, drinking wine to celebrate their happy life or thinking of their relatives and friends far from home, and extending all of their best wishes to them.
There is a legend about moon-cakes. During the Yuan dynasty (A.D. 1280-1368) China was ruled by the Mongolian people. Leaders from the preceding Sung dynasty (A.D. 960-1280) were unhappy at submitting to the foreign rule, and set how to coordinate the rebellion without being discovered. The leaders of the rebellion, knowing that the Moon Festival was drawing near, ordered the making of special cakes. Backed into each moon caked was a message with the outline of the attack. On the night of the Moon Festival, the rebels successfully attached and overthrew the government. Today moon cakes are eaten to commemorate this legend and it is called the Moon Cake. For generations, moon cakes have been made with sweet fillings of nuts, mashed red beans, lotus-seed paste or Chinese dates, wrapped in a pastry. Sometimes a cooked egg yolk can be found in the middle of the rich tasting dessert. People compare moon cakes to the plum pudding and fruit cakes which are served in the English holiday seasons. Nowadays, there are hundreds of varieties of moon cakes on sale a month before the arrival of Moon Festival.
For thousands of years, the Chinese people have related the vicissitudes of life to changes of the moon as it waxes and wanes; joy and sorrow, parting and reunion. Because the full moon is round and symbolizes reunion, the Mid-Autumn Festival is also known as the festival of reunion. All family members try to get together on this special day. Those who cannot return home watch the bright moonlight and feel deep longing for their loved ones.
Today, festivities centered about the Mid-Autumn Festival are more varied. After a family reunion dinner, many people like to go out to attend special performances in parks or on public squares. People in different parts of China have different ways to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival. In Guangzhou in South China, a huge lantern show is a big attraction for local citizens. Thousands of differently shaped lanterns are lit, forming a fantastic contrast with the bright moonlight.
In East Chia's Zhejiang Province, watching the flood tide of the Qian-tang River during the Mid-Autumn Festival is not only a must for local people, but also an attraction for those from other parts of the country. The ebb and flow of tides coincide with the waxing and waning of the moon as it exerts a strong gravitational pull. In mid autumn, the sun, earth and moon send out strong gravitational forces upon the seas. The outer part of the Qiantang River is shaped like a bugle. So the flood tide which forms at the narrow mouth is particularly impressive. Spectators are known to form a crowd on the river bank and watch the roaring waves. At its peak, the tide rises as high as three and a half meters.
The key action at Mabon is giving thanks. Pagan activities for the Sabbat include the making of wine and the adorning of graves. It is considered taboo to pass burial sites and not honor the dead. Another traditional practice is to walk wild places and forests, gathering seedpods and dried plants. Some of these can be used to decorate the home or altar; others can be saved for future herbal magick.
Chinese Moon cakes:
Moon cakes: A recipe for moon cakes, the Chinese snack traditionally served during the Moon or Mid-Autumn Festival.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Filling Instructions: Soak red beans in water to cover 2 hours. Drain and discard the water. Cover with 8 cups fresh water and bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat 1-1/2 hours or until skins open. Strain the beans and discard the skins. Place the strained beans in several layers of cheesecloth and squeeze out any excess water.
Place in a saucepan with the lard or oil and the sugar. Cook, stirring continuously, until almost all the moisture has evaporated. Let cool.
Dough Instructions: You will need 2 cups of filling for the moon cakes. Divide this into 20 portions and shape into balls. Mix ingredients for the water-shortening dough and the flaky dough separately until smooth. Divide each batch of dough into 20 equal portions.
Wrap one portion of flaky dough inside each portion of water-shortening dough. Roll out each piece of dough, and then fold in thirds to form three layers. Roll out again, and once more fold in thirds to form three layers.
Flatten each piece of dough with the palm of your hand to form a 3" circle. Place one portion of filling in the center. Gather the edges to enclose the filling and pinch to seal. Place the filled packet in the mold, gently pressing to fit. Invert and remove the mold.
Dilute red food coloring with water and pour onto a damp paper towel on a plate. Take some food coloring onto the cookie-design stamp, then press on top of the moon cake.
Other Celebrations in the Autumn
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.
May the Lord and Lady bestow prosperity, abundance and good health on you and yours for the coming year.
|, Autumn, Equinox, Harvest, Mabon|
|I am still learning who LaVonne/Dorothy is.|
Statistically I am a 65 y/young mother of 3, grandmother of 9, and great-grandmother of 3. I am a High Priestess and founder of the College of the Boundless Truth, am an Ordained Minister and perform Handfastings, marriages during the Spring and Summer season. I am enjoying my Crone years.
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