Autumn Equinox

Scottish Pagan Fellowship

Autumn Equinox/Mabon 19th - 22nd September

One of the titles used for this festival is named after the the God of Welsh mythology, Mabon. He is the Child of Light and the son of the Earth Mother Goddess, Modron. In truth, there is little evidence that Mabon was celebrated in Celtic countries.The term Mabon was applied as recently as the 1970's as part of our reconstructed Paganism.

 

The two equinoxes are times of equilibrium. Day and night are balanced and the tide of the year flows steadily. But while the Spring equinox manifests the equilibrium of an athlete poised for action, the Autumn equinox's theme is that of rest after labour. The harvest has been gathered in and the Sun is mellower and less fierce than he was although he is till with us.

 

Autumn Equinox finalises the grain harvest and is a time of thanksgiving for the harvest of grain as well as the abundance of fruit. It is a celebration of abundance! But again we are poised on the cusp of transition. From now the year begins to wane and from this moment darkness begins to defeat the light. The natural cycle of the world is moving towards completion. The Sun's power is beginning to wane and from here the nights grow longer and the days are are shorter and cooler. Trees and plants begin to return their sap back to their roots, changing from the green of summer to the fire of autumn. Foliage of flaming reds, oranges, yellows and golds begin to tentavily appear. We are returning to the dark from whence we came

 

But before we do that we give thanks and celebrate the Second Harvest of fruit. The Goddess is radiant as Harvest Queen and the God finally dies with His gift of pure love with the cutting of the last grain. As the final grain harvest is safely gathered in from Lammas and labour reaches completion, we enjoy the abundance of fruit and vegetables. It is time to thank the waning Sun for the wealth of harvest he has bestowed upon us.

 

The Autumn Equinox is a celebration as well as a time of rest after the labour of harvest. As a reflection of life events it is the moment of reaping what you have sown. It is time to look back to the hopes, golas and aspirations of Imbolc and Ostara and reflect on how they have manifested. This is also a time to complete and bring projects to a positive close. Clear out and let go that which is no longer wanted or needed as we prepare for descent toward winter when we can enter a time of reflection and peace while carefully contamplationg the seeds of new ideas and hopes which will lie dormant but nourished in the dark, until the return of Spring.

 

 

The Cornucopia

 

The cornucopia (from Latin cornu copiae) or horn of plenty is a symbol of abundance and nourishment, commonly a large horn-shaped container overflowing with produce, flowers or nuts. The Cornucopia, or Horn of Plenty, is an excelent and traditional symbol for the Autumn Equinox. The Cornucopia is a wonderful way to symblise the wealth of harvest. The Cornucopia is a perfectly balanced symbol which contains both male (phallic) and female (hollow and receptive) attributes.

 

Preserving The Bounty of Autumn

 

Autumn Equinox is an ideal time to walk and collect as much of nature's wild bounty as you can. Always respect the need to leave enough for everyone else including the nature spirits. You will find wild damsons, sloes, rosehips, elderberries, blackberries, hawthorn berries and more. Remember the fruit is the carrier of the precious seed.

 

 

Wild Plums

 

Wild plum jam recipes. Wild plums taste quite tart, similar to damsons. They are excellent for jam and jelly, neither being too sweet.The following recipe describes one methods for making wild plum jam.

 

If your plums are barely ripe (still pretty firm) go for the first one, if they are soft and ripe go for the second. The barely ripe recipe will have a sharper taste.

 

Barely ripe wild plum jam recipe:

 

Ingredients:

 

  • 900g/2lb of barely ripe wild plums
  • 900g/2lb of preserving sugar

 

Method:

 

  1. Wash the plums and discard any damaged fruit.

 

  1. Slit the plums with a knife. This will allow the stones to float to the surface during cooking so that they can be easily removed.

 

  1. Place plums in a non metallic bowl, sprinkle over sugar and mix to coat the plums.

 

  1. Cover with a clean tea cloth and leave overnight.

 

  1. The following day put plums and sugar into a large heavy bottomed saucepan (or preserving pan) and heat very gently until the sugar has dissolved.

 

  1. Bring the jam to the boil and continue to boil very rapidly for about 8-10 minutes until the jam reaches setting point. At this stage carefully remove the stones as they float up to the surface, with a slotted spoon. (What is setting point? See tricks and tips below).

 

  1. When the jam has set, carefully pour into warm, sterilised jars, using a ladle or small jug (How to sterilise jars? See tricks and tips below)

 

  1. Cover the jars with tight fitting screw-top lids, or waxed disks and cellophane pot covers (waxed disks, wax facing upwards and plastic covers secured with plastic bands).

 

Bramble Jelly

 

Prep Time: 10 minutes

 

Cook Time: 45 minutes

 

This year’s warm, early spring and seemingly endless Indian summer has seen a wonderful crop of all kinds of fruits and berries. In fact, the perfect weather has produced the greatest abundance of brambles (blackberries) for over a decade. Why not take a long autumn walk, pick a pound or two of these black hedgerow diamonds and make this simple jelly which can be enjoyed spread thickly on some delicious, hot scones or freshly baked bread. It's really easy and quick to make and seems to set as if by magic (thanks to the pectin in the fruit), so you don't need to be a preserve-making expert to make it!

 

Ingredients

 

  • 1lb ripe blackberries
  • 1lb granulated sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon

 

What you’ll need

 

1lb (350ml) preserving jar (sterilised)

large nylon sieve and a piece of gauze roughly 12 inches square

 

 

Method

 

1. Wash the blackberries thoroughly and place in a heavy-based saucepan. Add 6 fl oz water, cover and stew very gently for about 20 minutes. Mash the blackberries every now and then to reduce them to a pulp and get as much juice out of them as possible.

 

2. Add the sugar and lemon juice to the pan and, keeping the heat very low allow the sugar to dissolve completely. This process should take about 10 minutes.

 

3. Now turn the heat up to full and boil the mixture rapidly for 8 minutes, stirring frequently to stop the jelly from sticking.

 

4. Meanwhile, warm a large bowl. Line the sieve with the gauze, place it over the bowl and pour the blackberry mixture into the lined sieve. Using a wooden spoon, push all the liquid through into the bowl as quickly as you can, squeezing the remaining pulp to get as much juice out as possible. If the jelly starts to set before you’ve finished, just put it back into the pan and gently reheat it.

 

5. Now pour the jelly into the jars, cover with a waxed disc and tie down.

 

 

Corn Bread

 

 

  • Less than 30 mins preparation time
  • 10 to 30 mins cooking time
  • Serves 10

 

 

You can vary the recipe by adding other ingredients.

We've made some cornbread with jalapeno peppers,

others with cheese.

 

Ingredients

 

  • 375g/13oz plain flour

 

  • 225g/8oz cornmeal

 

  • 1 tsp salt

 

  • 4 tsp baking powder

 

  • 110g/4oz sugar

 

  • 480ml/17fl oz milk

 

  • 2 free-range eggs

 

  • 110g/4oz butter, melted, plus extra for greasing

 

  • small tin sweetcorn kernels, drained (or use fresh sweetcorn)

 

 

Preparation method

 

  • Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Grease 23cm/9in square baking pan with melted butter.

 

  • In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients together except for the sweetcorn kernels. Mix until you have the consistency of a sponge cake batter, then add the sweetcorn.

 

  • Stir to combine thoroughly, then pour into the prepared baking pan. Bake for about 20 minutes in the top of the oven. (Alternatively, you can bake these in a muffin tray lined with paper cases.)

 

  • The cornbread is ready when it has a golden colour and is springy to the touch. Allow to cool slightly before cutting.

 

 

 

Easy Pickled Beets

 

Although many people like pickled beets getting the right taste from store bought beets can be difficult. Here's an easy recipe for busy people

 

  • 1 can of small Beets

 

  • 1/2 cup of apple vinegar

 

  • 1/2 cup of sugar

 

Method

 

Drain The Beet juics into a saucepan. Add sugar and vinegar. Heat until the sugar dissolves. Slice the beets into a sterilised jar with a lid. Pour the hot liquid over the Beets, put on the lid and refiridgerate.

 

Ideas for your Altar

 

Drape your altar to reflect the colours that surround you. Oranges, reds. yellows and ochre. Make a simple 'Horn Of Plenty' for your altar and fill it with the fruit. Decorate with fruit boughs and ribbons that reflect the colours of the fruit that is now ready for harvest. Make simple preserves and jams to enjoy following the ritual you have chosen to celebrate and give thanks.

 

 

If you are burning candles, incense, oils or any other naked flame do remember that in the interests of safety they should be attended at all times!


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