Mabon, the ancient pagan celebration of the summer's last harvest and the first day of Autumn.
Happy Autumn Equinox!
In the northern hemisphere, the Fall Equinox usually occurs on the 21st or 22nd of September. The Sun crosses the celestial equator moving southward, as the Earth's axis begins to lean away from the sun, bringing the southern hemisphere closer to, and moving the northern hemisphere farther away, from our radiant solar orb. It marks one of only two days per year, that the amount of daylight and nighttime are equal in length.
In many cultures, Autumn signifies the end of a cycle and a time to glean (or gather). Aside from the harvesting of grains, fruits, and vegetables, it also bears an interchangeable spiritual significance. Esoterically, it symbolises death and endings. It is a respite from long hours of plowing and working in the fields and offers an opportunity to show gratitude for the abundance of Earth's gifts and those that came before us.
Mabon is observed with feasting, fellowship, myth, and tradition. Many harvest practices, superstitions, and folklore stem from the origins of Mabon and can even be found in modern farmers' almanacs to this day.
Mabon: A modern twist on an ancient festivity.
So how do we celebrate Mabon?
Mabon is a time of thanksgiving for all that we have received in the past year and an observance of our ancestral origins. It is a time for fun gatherings and enjoying the last days of warm weather. It denotes the beginning of nature's slumber into the cold, dark winter. It is a quiet time to turn inward, release what has passed, and set new intentions for the future.
Some traditional and fun ways to savour the first taste of Fall:
Clean your home, declutter and clear out stagnant and negative energy
Decorate your house for autumn, starting with your porch or entryway. Pumpkins make great, inexpensive, edible decor that you can recycle later to use in soups and in baking. Forage for pine cones, colourful dry leaves, and acorns and use them in your table settings.
Journal: Autumn is a time of introspection. Write about all the blessings you are grateful for this past year, what you wish to let go of, and your hopes for the future.
Host an outdoor bonfire dinner with friends or plan a potluck meal.
Go on an apple picking day at your local orchard
Bake, preserve and cook with apples, a symbol of immortality most celebrated during Mabon
Enjoy a glass of Beaujolais nouveau or any delicious red wine of your choice. For an alcohol-free version, enjoy a bunch of ripe grapes ( another Mabon symbol)
Take long walks in nature
Hug a tree
Traditional Mabon Staples &
Cornucopia (horn of plenty), acorns, seeds, pinecones, dried preserved oak or maple leaves
Colors: Red, orange, brown, yellow, dark green, black
Crystals & stones: Citrine, Tiger's eye, amber, jasper, aventurine, yellow calcite, ruby
Foods: Apples, grapes, pomegranate, black cherries, bearberry, corn, root vegetables, beans, pumpkin, squash, cauliflower, broccoli, cider, wine, ginger beer
Herbs: Rosemary, rosehips, sage, bloodroot, chickory, goldenseal, mugwort, yarrow, ginseng
Flowers: sunflowers, thistle, marigolds, dahlias, anemones, aster, celosia
Animal symbols: Stag, raven, salmon, owl, black cat, bats
In honour of one of my favorite holidays, I will share with you one of my treasured Mabon Recipes.
Autumn is a time of endings, so I'll start with dessert!
Vegan Mabon Apple Spice Cake:
Prep Time: 20 minutes Bake Time: 20 minutes Serves: 8-10 servings
Ingredients: Apple Spice Cake: 1 ¼ cup organic vanilla soy milk, room temperature 2 tsp organic apple cider vinegar 2 ½ cups organic all-purpose flour 1 tsp aluminum-free baking powder 1 tsp aluminum-free baking soda 2 tsp powdered organic cinnamon 1/4 tsp organic cardamom powder
1/4 tsp organic clove powder ½ tsp ginger ½ tsp sea salt 1 cup shredded organic Braeburn apple 1/3 cup organic vegan butter(softened at room temperature) 1 cup organic packed brown sugar ½ Tbsp Golden syrup 2 tsp organic vanilla extract ¾ cup organic walnuts, roughly chopped
Maple Buttercream Icing: 3 cups powdered sugar 8 Tbsp organic vegan butter or margarine, room temperature 6 tablespoons organic maple syrup
Pre-heat oven to 180°
In a small mixing bowl whisk together the soy milk and apple cider vinegar and set aside to curdle.
In a large mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger, and sea salt.
In a third bowl beat together coconut oil and brown sugar with a hand mixer until fluffy. Then beat in golden syrup, vanilla extract, and soymilk and vinegar mixture until smooth.
Add the liquid ingredients and shredded apple to the dry ingredients. Fold the batter until it’s just combined, do not to over mix it.
Lightly coat 2 x 18 cm cake tins with a vegan cooking spray or a bit of coconut oil.
Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans. Spread out the batter so it’s even and to the edge of the pan.
Bake for 18-20 minutes on the centre rack. When a toothpick comes out of the centre of the cake clean it is done!.
Transfer cakes out of the pans onto wire racks and cool completely before Icing.
To make the icing beat together vegan butter, powdered sugar, and maple syrup until fluffy and smooth.
Place one cake bottom side down on your serving plate and spread icing evenly with a spatula across the entire top of the cake. Place the other cake, bottom side down, on top of the icing. Use the remaining icing to cover the entire cake.
Using the palm of your hands gently press small handfuls of roughly chopped walnuts along the entire side of the cake until well coated. Enjoy!
However, you chose to celebrate nature's sweet cycles, do so with love, respect, and care for the earth. Mabon blessings!