On September 21st the Autumn equinox will be celebrated in the Northern hemisphere with the Wiccan or Pagan holiday of Mabon (in the Southern hemisphere it is the holiday Ostara). Since we are in the Northern hemisphere we focused on Mabon. Mabon is the mid-harvest festival when Pagans and Wiccans honor the changing season and celebrate the second harvest. This holiday is about giving thanks for crops and other blessings. This is also a holiday about the balance between light and dark. Mabon falls on a day when there are equal amounts of day and night and is about celebrating the earth but also accepting that the cold is coming and while there is an abundance of food from the crops they are about to turn brown and dormant. The warmth of the summer is ending and cold lies ahead.
There are several blessings that may be performed at this time. Most of them have to do with giving thanks. There are some Wiccans that pay their respects to the "Dark Mother" or the Crone goddess. The Crone is death and she controls the natural life cycle.
This was a fun one to do with the boys. First of all the whole idea of "real witches" was exciting albeit a bit confusing concept for them. I assured them that Wiccan witches do not turn children into mice like in the "The Witches" which we have just recently finished reading. Once we got over that, it was an easy holiday to explain. It was also a good time to discuss that the days will be getting shorter as we move towards winter. It was also fun because this holiday celebrates with fall foods and we were happy to warm up some cider to sip on while making our "God's eye." It was also nice to have another holiday focusing on being thankful for what we have.
The mythology of Demeter and Persephone came up on a few sites while I was researching. A good recap for those of you who may not be familiar with the story or have forgotten can read about it here. I read this to the boys because it went with the holiday and I've always been a fan of mythology.
As I mentioned above, for our craft we decided to make a "God's eye." The original source for the craft can be found here.
For each "God's eye" you will need two sticks of equal length. We used popsicle sticks but you can use anything. The website we found the craft on suggested cinnamon sticks or regular sticks.
We had 8 different colors of yarn to wrap around the sticks. The middle color I just kind of wrapped with no real plan except covering the stick. So I went around the sticks and over the middle.
When it came time for the next color I was more methodical. I wrapped the yarn around one of the sticks and then moved diagonal to the nearest clockwise stick. Did a full wrap around that stick and move diagonally onto the next stick- around and around until I achieved the look I liked and then changed to a new color.
Our food for Mabon was apple cake.
The recipe we were inspired by can be found here
- 6 apples (I know I only had four above but we snagged two more from the refridgerator)
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 5 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 cups flour, sifted
- 1 1/4 almond flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1 teaspoons vanilla
- 4 eggs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a bundt pan or tube pan. Peel, core and chop apples into chunks. Toss with cinnamon and sugar and set aside.
Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar and vanilla. Mix wet ingredients into the dry ones, then add eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.
Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Spread half of apples over it. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a tester comes out clean.
If you clicked on the link that sends you to smittenkitchen.com you see that we switched about half our flour to almond flour-this is pretty much an automatic substitution whenever I bake anything- I like the protein and how moist it makes everything. If you have a nut allergy just use regular all purpose flour. I also switched one of the cups of sugar to brown sugar because I'm kind of a brown sugar addict and it was super yummy!
I had to leave for "back to school night" so final baking was up to my husband. He and the boys watched the cake and it baked great. However, he couldn't get it out of the pan. I told him to snap a pick before it was eaten. So hopefully you can remove yours from the pan and it will look as good as it tastes. We devoured the cake in a 24 hour period. Even my oldest and husband, who often complain about fruit in dessert, ate it in record time and had seconds! My husband even skipped his ritual of evening ice cream for this cake. We will be making it again and I hope you do too!
If you choose to celebrate Mabon, give thanks for the things you have, and take time to reflect on or find balance within your own life.