Welcoming the Dark

It’s that time, again. The long days of summer are becoming a fading memory and preparations have begun to welcome the darkness. We pause on this now familiar threshold, balancing for a moment between the two worlds, to reflect on what is past and prepare for what is to come.

Traditionally, Mabon is referred to as the second of three harvests. It is a time to rest after laboring in the garden and celebrate Earth’s generosity. We welcome the wisdom of the Crone as we are reminded there is much to do, yet, to prepare for the coming winter. We ask for blessings for ourselves and for our families and, for many, strive for ways to bring balance into our hectic lives and our unstable world. It is a perfect time to pray for peace and seek ways of protecting yourself from the stresses of life as well as any unseen dangers surrounding your home or your loved ones.

The apple harvest has long been one of my favorite things about the Fall season. Every year I make a special cinnamon apple recipe to celebrate my Mabon sabbat. This year, I’m trying out a new recipe for cinnamon apple cider donuts. Cinnamon is an effective tool for increasing one’s personal power, psychic abilities, and connecting to Spirit. It is also used to ensure protection, draw money, speed healing, attract love and induce lust. It can’t be beat as a part of a house protection spell, to lay groundwork for any shadow work you may be doing during the dark half of the year, or to ensure a cozy winter full of worthwhile activities!

May you find balance and harmony this Harvest season!

I wish you blessings.

 

 

 

 

The Apple, the Tree and Me

As a Crone, I am a believer in old proverbs that I heard many times over the years.  I used to think they were silly, but I have come to understand the beauty of their practical wisdom, expressed in a simple way, much like a well-written Country Music lyric.

One of my favorites has been, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”, — whether because I love apples, or I thought it easy to understand – I can’t be sure exactly why.  The meaning always seemed straight forward enough; children may be forever “tied” to their childhood home, at least emotionally, is the most literal meaning.  But, it usually refers to the idea that children inherit both physical and behavioral characteristics from their parents, the latter often referring to a negative connotation (e.g. the son of a drunkard ends up as a drunkard).

But, my increasing-every-day Super Crone Wisdom sees so much more!  You see, while I may share some physical characteristics from my ancestors, I am one apple that didn’t fall from the tree, — rather, I flung myself from that old tree!  Small Town East Coast to Big City West Coast; Obedient Protestant Daughter to Rebellious Catholic Wife, and then, onto Crazy Wackadoo Pagan Witch.

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Apples are always on my mind at this time of year!  I have so many great memories involving apples from my childhood in Pennsylvania:

  • gallon jugs of freshly-pressed apple cider on the porch
  • going to the fort every year during Fort Ligonier Days to see my grandmother and other ladies of the Eastern Star (each dressed in 18th century costume), attend a giant cauldron of applebutter over an open fire
  • gallons of freshly made applesauce – smooth as silk!
  • warm apple pies,
  • and my father’s favorite dessert, Apple Brown Betty (which, my mother claimed, he had never actually eaten!)

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It is the apple that triggers my longing to return to the Tree.  The apple holds the reflection of my mother’s hands, working with practiced efficiency and her favorite paring knife, peel and quarter an apple for my after-school snack (an “approved snack” that would not “spoil my dinner”).  I can smell the freshly baked pie, — tucked safely into my grandmother’s pie basket under her neatly pressed and carefully folded apron, — as she climbed the stairs into our kitchen for Sunday supper.

My applehead spirit dolls epitomize the energies of the Crone Goddess in a very special way.  The shriveling face recalls the last stage of life, when the body is at its weakest, BUT the psychic and magickal powers at the strongest.  The Crone is the Transformer, breaking down our old forms to make change and rebirth possible.  At the center, — at the core — of the shriveled apple, remain the seeds of the rebirth.

The apple didn’t fall far from the tree.  It is still connected, over the miles and beyond the years, by heartstrings – strong enough to bind forever, yet gentle enough to strum the sweetest of songs.

I wish you blessings.

Mabon: the Harvest of Second Chances

There has been much joy in this year’s garden.  We have been blessed with a bountiful harvest of fruits and vegetables — the reward of my husband’s labor — combined with the riches that our chickens add to our ever-growing compost pile.  But, the sight of the dry, dead vine that once was this summer’s green bean crop leaves little doubt that the summer’s bounty is swiftly coming to an end.   Soon, all that is left of the sweet tastes of summer will be what has been captured and stored on pantry shelves lined with my grandmother’s canning jars, and in our generously-sized freezer.

Mabon, one of the four Quarter festivals in some pagan traditions, coincides with the autumnal equinox.  It is sometimes referred to as the second harvest, and an excellent time to identify those things in your personal life that may be out of balance, the time to take steps to re-align and re-ground yourself.  It is a good time to 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 everyday life.

I like to think of Mabon as the “second chance” harvest.  As I carefully gather and preserve the seeds from this year’s garden, I ensure that I have the chance of an even better and bigger harvest next year.  Any disappointments lingering from this year — caused by uneven watering, hungry pests, waiting too long to pick them, etc. — can be overcome during the next season, as long as I have a strong, viable seed to plant.

Unfortunately, while our garden thrived this summer, we experienced more than our share of disappointments in our personal life.  Specifically, our family business has not weathered as well as as our vegetable patch, and we believe it is time to change direction.  It is time to harvest what we have grown, save the viable seeds, and re-plant in another location.  It is not failure that we harvest from this experience; it is opportunity — to build something stronger and better than that we leave behind.  Because we have a strong foundation on which to build, we are optimistic that our new venture will succeed where the old one did not.  We will embrace the darkness, knowing it only to be a period of regeneration — from which will come rebirth.

I wish you blessings.