THE FESTIVAL OF THE HARVEST
The SECOND HARVEST
by Yasmine Galenorn
(From Dancing With the Sun*)
The first rainstorms of the season, the scent of wood smoke fills the night air, a sudden gust as a brisk wind hurls leaves off the trees in a maelstrom of color, the last rush to harvest the garden before the frost sets in…it is the Autumnal Equinox, Mabon, and the year is winding down.
Mabon is the celebration of the Autumnal Equinox, when day and night are once again in balance. Once more the sun crosses the celestial equator and day and night equal one another.
Celebrated in late September, the actual date varies from year-to-year as with all astronomically-based holidays, but Mabon usually falls on September 21st or 22nd.
Named after the Welsh God Mabon, the festival is primarily one of harvest and thanksgiving and is a time of rejoicing in the bounty of the season as the Earth prepares to enter her long slumber. This is the time of last-minute details before the winter’s siege. It is considered the second harvest, or the harvest of fruits.
At this time, we celebrate the hard work of the growing season and the energy expended throughout the Waxing Year, when we see the results of our labors.
Mabon is a time of rest and relaxation, of good food and quiet introspection on all the blessings in our lives. We remember the warmth of summer as the days grow short and we prepare for the austere seasons ahead. It is a time of reflection, when we slowly let go of the bustle that always attends growth, and turn our attention to quieter pursuits.
With the days shortening, we fill our pantries with food and make our houses secure against the coming chill. We lay in wood and meat and provisions, and we silently eye the calendar, wondering what the season of darkness holds.
These are simple charms that you can keep year after year for your altar, (I put them in the cornucopia) or you can make new ones each year.
You will need tiny boxes (ring box sizes), one for each type of charm you are making. You can make them for the household, or if anyone has a particular wish, make personalized ones.
You will need a box, green wrapping paper, a quarter and a dime, 9 kernels of dried corn, 9 oats, a malachite bead and a peridot bead, Scotch tape, a pen with green ink.
Light a stick of sandalwood or cinnamon incense. Hold the box over the smoking incense to thoroughly saturate it with the scent.
Hold the money, the corn, oats and beads in your hands. Charge them with energy, focusing on an increase in wealth and prosperity. Visualize yourself harvesting the rewards towards which you’ve been working.
Put the ingredients into the box and close the lid. With the pen, draw prosperity runes on the box and then wrap in the green wrapping paper. Hold over the smoking incense again and say:
Summer’s sun is Autumn’s gold
In my life, wealth be foretold
Fortune increase, luck be mine
By harvest dreams and barley wine.
Lady, see my need for more
Send abundance to my door.
You will need a box, white wrapping paper, a sprig of rue, a holly leaf, a tiger’s eye bead, a piece of dragon’s blood resin, Scotch tape, a pen with red ink.
Light a stick of heather, sage, pine or cedar incense. Hold the box over the smoking incense to thoroughly saturate it with the scent.
Hold the herbs, bead and resin in your hands. Charge them with energy, focusing on protection and safety for all who dwell within your household. Visualize a web of protective light encasing your home.
Then put the ingredients into the box and close the lid. With the pen, draw protection runes on the box and wrap in the white wrapping paper. Hold over the smoking incense again and say:
Amidst the Autumn’s darkest nights
Our home be bound by brilliant light
A web of hope and joy and peace
Be woven now, all danger cease
By watchful eye, by lock and key,
Protect our home, so mote it be.
The Colors of Mabon
The colors of Mabon are vivid and brilliant. Just look at the burst of color that runs through the forests. The autumn leaves are thick with red, bronze, orange, yellow and rust. The night glows a deep indigo and the stars shine clear through the colder sky. During the day, the sun splashes the Earth with a soft golden wash–a far cry from the brilliance of Litha and Lughnasadh, this gold is still warm, but it is gentle and pale in comparison to the strength of summer. The fields lie fallow–stripped of their foliage, and we now can see the dark soil below.
Incense, Herbs & Woods
Nutmeg, cloves, spice–these are the scents of Mabon. Sandalwood and myrrh, heather, pine and cedar also make good choices. Herbs commonly associated with this Sabbat are mace, cinnamon, cloves, cypress, juniper, oakmoss, marigold, ivy and sage. Kindle your fires with pine, apple and oak, and make your wands and runestaves from hazel at this time of year.
Harvest season means different things to different people. I write full-time so I don’t usually have the energy or the hours to devote to gardening or extensive home-making, but I still like to dabble in some of the arts I learned as I grew up–canning fruits and vegetables and baking bread are two activities that immediately come to mind when I think of September.
I find ways in which to satisfy these urges without expending more time than I can comfortably share. One way is by making herbal vinegars every year for my husband and friends. It is simple, quick and fun, and the results look beautiful sitting on the kitchen windowsill.
Herbal vinegars can be made out of just about any herb or spice. Here are two recipes that have proved to be favorites among family and friends.
1 quart white vinegar
Fresh dill stalks
2 Tbsp crushed black peppercorns
Pour vinegar into large stainless steel or enamel pan. Add peppercorns. Stuff a quart jar very loosely with clean dill stalks until it is full. Heat vinegar-pepper over low heat for thirty minutes, then pour over the dill. Cork and place in window (south would be best, magically speaking) for three weeks, shaking daily. Stores well. Use in cooking or on salads.
1 quart white vinegar
1 large lemon
1 Tbsp crushed black peppercorns
2 Tbsp sugar
Pour vinegar into large stainless steel or enamel pan. Add peppercorns and sugar. Scrub and slice lemon (do not peel) and put in clean quart jar. Heat vinegar-pepper over low heat for thirty minutes, then pour over lemon. Cork and place in window (west would be best, magically speaking) for three weeks, shaking daily. Remove lemon slices from jar. Stores well. Use in cooking or on salads.
Another way to share the harvest bounty is to make Rumtopf for Yule. You will want to start now. Make in a gallon jar and parcel out into smaller jars when you are done and ready to give as gifts.
- To each jar, add a layer of mixed strawberries and blueberries, a tablespoon of sugar and enough 151 proof dark rum to just cover berries. Cover loosely and store in dark place.
- The next week add a layer of peaches, another tablespoon of sugar and more rum to cover the fruit. Cover loosely and store in dark place.
- The third week add a layer of cherries, more sugar and rum and return to storage.
- The fourth week add a layer of pears, sugar and rum and store as above.
- The last week, add a layer of oranges, sugar, and then fill the remaining space in the jar with dark rum. Store for another month with loose-fitting lids.
- Tighten covers and decorate with pretty ribbons. The Rumtopf is ready to give as gifts. Serve over vanilla ice cream or pound cake.
Pomanders have long been used to cover unsightly odors (before the era of air freshener and Lysol), as well as for magickal and aesthetic purposes. Pomanders are useful long-term charms for your house. Make a fresh one each autumn to keep love and harmony alive in your home.
You will need: one large orange, round with no blemishes; whole cloves (lots); red ribbon, red netting, ¼ cup each (ground): cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg; 2 Tbsp orris root powder. Your thumb will probably hurt for a while after this spell, so have plenty of lotion around to soothe the tired digit!
Cast a circle and invoke the elements. Invoke the Goddess and/or God you feel most comfortable working with. Say:
Harmony and happiness do not roam
But stay instead within my home
Pour whole cloves in a bowl for easier access. Sit over a table or tray so no juice falls on your dress or shirt. Begin by pushing the cloves (long end first) into the orange to create the shape of a heart while focusing on love filling your home.
Next use the cloves to create this rune within the heart: Wunjo, the rune of Joy. Focus on happiness filling your home.
Then cover the entire orange with cloves, placing them as close together as possible. This will take some time and as I said, your thumb will probably hurt for awhile afterward. As you are pressing the cloves into the orange, focus on the joy and happiness and serenity you want your home to project.
After you have covered the orange with cloves, hold the orange in both hands and say:
Love and joy come to this place
Bring a smile to my face
Tears be gentle, words be kind
Though to faults we are not blind
Peace be with us as we strive
For success, let us thrive
By the power of three times three
As I will, so mote it be!
Mix the ground herbs and the orris root in a wide bowl and roll the orange in the spices so it is caked with them.
Set in dry place. Every day, roll the orange around the spices. Within three weeks, it should be dry. Shake off the excess herbs and wrap with a piece of red netting. Tie with a length of red ribbon and hang from the ceiling in your family room, living room or dining room. You can give pomanders to friends and family–they make lovely yet magickal gifts.
A Hazel Spell for Concentration
Whether you are in school or working, there are always going to be times when you need extra concentration to learn new skills or new information. This spell can help you focus your thoughts so you will retain more of what you are learning.
You will need: a hazel leaf; a piece of smoked salmon, two hazel nuts–one shelled, the other whole; a permanent marker; a small green pouch; a clear quartz crystal; a flat river rock; yellow thread.
This spell needs to be performed near a lake, large pond or the ocean. Ideally there would be a hazel tree growing over the water, but I think that’s asking too much from most areas.
Perform the spell on a windy morning, during the phase of the waxing moon.
Sit or stand next to the water. Cast a small circle around you and your immediate area and invoke the elements as you usually do. Then turn to the west and say:
Taliesin, ancient bard with silver tongue, hear my
call on the autumn winds and come through time to
charm my quest.
Close your eyes and imagine Taliesin striding through history and time. See Him approach from the west. Turn to the east and say:
Cerridwen, Mother of Taliesin, Goddess of the Cauldron
of Wisdom, hear my call on the autumn winds and come
through time to charm my quest.
Close your eyes and imagine Cerridwen flying in on the winds. See Her approach from the east.
Take the hazel leaf and write your name on it with the marker. Write your name on the unshelled nut as well.
Hold both leaf and nut between both hands and focus your energy into them, saying:
By nut and leaf of hazel tree
I ask for strength and clarity
To understand all that I see
To remember that which befalls me
To walk the path so truly mine
The Hazel’s power I now bind.
Drop the nut into the pouch. Hold the leaf up in the wind and say:
Spirits of Air, Spirits of Wind,
You who rule thought and intention
You who rule intellect and mind
Come to my aid, this spell now bind!
Using the yellow thread, tie the leaf to the rock. After it is tightly bound, hold it in both hands and turn to the water. Watch the waves or currents as they move. Draw the energy of that movement into your body as you breathe and focus it into the stone and leaf. After a few minutes, say:
Spirits of Water, Spirits of the Deep
You, who all things hidden keep,
Salmon who knows the ancient tongue
Dolphin who sings the ancient songs
Whale who keeps the ancient rules
Shark who guards the sacred pools
As I come to you, please come to me
Sharpen my wit and curiosity.
Throw the rock into the water as hard as you can throw. Immediately close your eyes so you don’t see where it lands. Now take the quartz crystal and dip it in the water, then hold it between your hands. Focus on the clarity, the crystalline structure of the quartz. Say:
Stone of clear intent I ask
Aid me in my mental tasks
Let me see what needs be seen
Make my vision clear and keen.
Put the quartz in the pouch with the hazel nut and tie shut. Take out the smoked salmon and shelled hazel nut. Hold the salmon up to the west and say:
Taliesin, bless this fish
that as I eat I gain my wish.
Eat the salmon of knowledge and silently thank the fish for its life. Take out the shelled nut and hold it up to the east and say:
Cerridwen bless this nut
that it strengthen my thought.
Eat the hazel of wisdom and silently thank the plant for its energy. When you have finished, sit quietly for awhile on the shore and think about what you want to accomplish intellectually over the coming months. Don’t limit yourself, but neither should you overextend your abilities. When you feel ready to leave say:
Taliesin, Cerridwen, Air and Water,
Thank you for attending my rites.
Go if You must, stay if You will
Hail, farewell and Blessed Be.
Keep the pouch in a place near your desk or your office when you go home. If you are stuck on a project, take out the crystal and meditate for a few minutes with it to clear your thoughts.
*Copyright Yasmine Galenorn 1999, and 2020
You may print this out but you do NOT have permission to post it on other websites, etc. Or to use it in your own writing.