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Thoughts from the Editor…

Welcome to my very first newsletter!  As this is the introductory issue, be prepared to watch it develop over the next couple months.  This issue may very well be all wonky as I learn how to create the newsletter within an email system, and also due to my very broken finger that has kept me from being able to type well.  My classes starting earlier in the month have hindered my writing as well, but I’ve been working hard trying to get all the info in I wanted into this issue.

Things will change and rearrange until I find a great layout, and don’t be surprised if you find any misspellings or errors.  Just be patient with me! Some segments may be permanent, some may be fleeting.  The next few newsletters will be trial and error.  For my purposes now, all articles herein are written by me and all photos are mine unless marked otherwise – just not getting any submissions yet, unfortunately.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Lughnasadh.  For the first time I attempted a bread recipe that required yeast.  The extent of my bread making before had been a simple Banana Bread that required nothing more strenuous then mixing it all in a bowl and throwing it in the oven.  I’d never made bread that needed to rise before baking!  It was certainly an experience, but one well worth the effort.

I tried to concentrate on the idea of bread making as an honor to those farmers who plant, grow, and harvest the ingredients necessary for the task.  With so many intricate ablutions in the recipe, it’s hard to hang on to the imagery while trying to get everything right. Making a parallel between bread “building” and the farmer’s grain growing makes one appreciate all that goes into providing the general public with sustenance.  This is particularly wonderful for those of us who have never experienced the sense of pride that comes from growing our own food.

Many people rely on farming as their livelihood.  Though our world today has become prepackaged and vacuum sealed, and the normal Joe Schmoe no longer grows his own food, the farming community still persists.  They follow the same curve as our ancestors—bodies in tune with the land, the seasons, and the phases of the moon for purposes of existence, rather than faith.  It is these men and women from which all those boxes and cellophane wrapped foodstuffs in grocery stores come.

We are in the yearly cycle of harvesting, namely the second of the three harvests.   Where I tried to honor the farmers at Lammas with a beautiful loaf of bread, so should everyone move to honor them in the upcoming harvest festival of Mabon.

Heather

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Photo by Lady Moonkist, September 2009
Madisonville, TN


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Quote of the Month:

“I lose count of how many bottles of Sardinian wine we drink before Deborah introduces to the table the suggestion that we follow a nice American custom here tonight by joining hands–and each in turn–saying what we are most grateful for.  In three languages, then, this montage of gratitude comes forth, one testimony at a time.”

Elizabeth Gilbert
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Eat Pray Love
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BRAID BREAD

In a large bowl, combine:
2 1/4 c white flour     1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp sugar     2 pkgs dry yeast
Add and beat:
1/4 c softened butter
2 eggs slightly beaten
2 1/4 c very warm water
Then add 1 c white flour and beat at high speed for 2 minutes.
Divide dough into 3 equal parts in 3 big bowls.
In first bowl, add and beat 2 tbsp molasses and 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
In second bowl, add and beat 1 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
In third bowl, add and beat 1 1/4 cup white flour.  Knead all three for 5 min.
Grease all 3 bowls and place doughs inside. Cover with damp cloths and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about an hour).
Punch down on a lightly floured board.  Divide each dough in half and roll into a rope about 15 in long.  Braid together three different threads. Tuck ends under. Place in greased 9 x 14 loaf pans. Cover with damp cloths over wax paper, let rise 1 hour.  Bake 25-30 min in 350F.  Baste with 2 tbsp melted butter. Return to oven ten minutes.  Let cool half hour before slicing.
(I substituted white corn meal for yellow and used Hershey’s syrup in the plain white flour dough.  Delicious!)

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Did you know?….
The term “corn” in ancient text, such as those referring to Demeter as a Corn Goddess, does not mean “corn” as we know it – that of American “maize.”  Instead, it was used as an umbrella term to cover the largest staple crop grown in a specific area.  Meaning, corn in England would have been wheat, in Ireland oats, and in China, rice.

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Mabon, or the Autumn Equinox

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The heat of summer has begun to fade and the cool fingers of fall are creeping in at the edges of our awareness. After months of overbearing heat and sunshine, we are given a reprieve. The leaves are considering turning beautiful shades of brown, yellow, and red, lighting the branches of our trees into campfires in the blue sky. The bellowing calls of migrating birds herald the overhead arrival of beautiful V formations, the winged creatures calling good-bye as they head for warmer climates. Refreshing winds sweep past us and we dream of the crisp days ahead.

It’s time to start thinking about trading the shorts for blue jeans and the tank tops for sweaters. Now is a great time to go through last year’s Winter wardrobe and figure out what no longer fits. That sweater Aunt Hilda knitted for you that resembles the contents of a baby’s diaper? Give it to charity. Those blue jeans you’ve been clinging to since college, hoping to one day fit into once more? Goodwill can find a new home for them. Many people invest in a new coat each Winter, and if you do, why not give the old away? There are many people out there without money who could really benefit from your old clothing.

Mabon, the second harvest festival, falls at the Autumnal Equinox, generally September 21, give or take a few days depending on the year. It is commonly considered the Witch’s Thanksgiving, a time to realize how blessed we are and to honor our deities appropriately.  We are not only thankful for the harvest bounty, but for the plentiful blessings given us by the deities in other aspects of life – a new baby, a raise at work, a renovated home, new friends, the opportunity to do something we’ve always wanted to do…there are so many things for which we can be thankful.

The name “Mabon” is more of a modern term coined by modern witches and Wiccans.  There doesn’t seem to be a specific holiday upon which Mabon has it’s basis, but the idea of a harvest festival can be traced through the ages.  In the mid-1800s, the English celebrated Harvest Home.  The church adopted Michaelmas, a feast of Saint Michael around the time of harvest, meant to win pagans over to Christianity.  The last week of September marks the start of Oktoberfest, a yearly autumn event of feasting and drinking in Germany.  Even the American tradition of Thanksgiving, falling at the end of November, is considered a harvest festival – though in true American spirit, it falls a tad late on the harvest calendar!

At the time of the Autumn Equinox, day and night are perfectly balanced.  The sun rises at true east and sets at true west.  While we know the sun has been waning since Litha, it is only at the Equinox when we begin to notice the shortening days.  At this point on the wheel, we begin to turn inward, not only inside of ourselves, but inward to family and friends to chase away the chill of Autumn.

Mabon is the time of the god’s greatest sacrifice.  He returns to the womb of the goddess, giving of himself that we may reap the bounty of his harvest.  Honor his sacrifice, but also honor the harvest goddess who provides the land and growth without which we would starve.

Take the time to hop in your car and visit a local orchard.  In September, the orchard near my home has Apple Pickin’ Time, and October bleeds into Pumpkin’ Pickin’ Time.  Take your family along and make it a day’s excursion to be at one with nature.  Not only are you supporting local agriculture, but you can take your pickings home and feast, knowing exactly where it came from.

Lacking the time (or energy!) to get out and enjoy the change of weather, bring nature inside.  Create beautiful centerpieces for your dining table out of a large basket filled with autumn leaves, pinecones, gourds, etc.  Put up cornstalks outside your front door, drape your mantle and fireplace with ivy, and place fake bundles of grapes on surfaces.

As the leaves continue to fall, rake them into  giant pile and jump in! (No children necessary, it’s just as fun for grown-ups!)

September is usually the time of county and state fairs, or community harvest festivals.  Suit up for a day of games and fun!  My state fair falls a bit earlier, in August, and I await it’s arrival with bated breath each year.

Virgo rules from August 23 to September 22.  As such it is a good time to become more efficient.  Dive into your studies (school or religion), work hard, and harvest your own rewards.  At Mabon, decide what you will keep in your life and what you will discard.  Pick up a new hobby.  Attempt to do some kind of craft you’ve always wanted, but have kept putting off.

Libra picks up at September 23, the sign of balance – how right that it should fall on a day near to such magnificent balance.  Use it to bring harmony and balance into your life.

The colors of Mabon: Dark green, brown, and the russets of fall – fiery red, burnt orange, golden yellow.

Deities of Mabon: Dionysus, Bacchus, Demeter, Persephone, Green Man, Innana

Other symbols of Mabon: Acorns, Indian corn, wine, gourds, pine cones,
acorns, grains, grapes ,corn, apples, pine cones , pomegranates, vines
such as ivy, dried seeds, dried leaves,  dried flowers, fruits/veggies that grow on vines, and horns of plenty

Source: Autumn Equinox by Ellen Dugan


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A Mabon Thanksgiving Dinner

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American Thanksgiving in November has become a time of family, good food, and being thankful for the blessings with which we have been bestowed (not to mention a commercialized ploy meant to get shoppers out there spending money for the holiday season!)  As Mabon is commonly referred to as the Witch’s Thanksgiving, it makes sense then to celebrate with a ritual dinner like the American Thanksgiving with which so many of us grew up.
For those of you who are like me and love having particular tools of ritual, you can have a set of dishes solely for your annual Mabon dinner.  It used to be common for dishes, goblets, and silverware to be decorated with harvest fruits and grains.  You can find those kinds of dishes second hand, easily.  For the witch on a budget, peddler’s malls and flea markets are the best source for the things you want. I have found some gorgeous old four place settings of harvest themed dishes for 25 cents to a dollar each.
Your Mabon thanksgiving can be a solitary affair, however part of being thankful is being grateful to have people you love around you.  You could probably pull off a family dinner and never have to explain what holiday you are celebrating – just that it’s a family gathering to celebrate your blessings.  Everyone should wear their nicest clothes and you should lavishly decorate your dining room table in honor of the occasion.
Traditional Mabon foods should be served,  A sample menu could include:
Acorn squash (recipe below)
Bean or Harvest soup
Smoked sausage
Turkey or Ham
Corn on the Cob
Baked Apples
Cornbread
potatoes, carrots, onions
Pumpkin or Blackberry pie
Nuts
Grape based wines and juices
Set a place for everyone present, and an extra place setting for the sacrificial plate.  Before beginning, have everyone hold hands and say a quick meal blessing, such as:
Lord and Lady of the harvest and home
We join together this evening to celebrate
the bonds of friendship and love.
We are thankful for the bounty you have given
and will continue to give us.
Into this food, let your blessings rain,
that it may sustain our minds,
souls, and bodies.
Blessed be.
As everyone makes their plates, ask that each take a bit from their own plate and gives it to the sacrificial plate.  Once everyone is seated and ready to dig in, you can begin the blessings game.
Going clockwise around the table, beginning with the host, each person is to say something for which they are thankful in their lives – while you are dining.  After each, all will toast with a “blessed be” and take a sip of their wine or juice.  As you can imagine, the more times around the table you go, the more wine imbibed, the sillier everyone will get…that’s the point!  While Mabon does mark the self-sacrifice of the god, so is it also a celebration!  Be happy, be silly, tell everyone how thankful you are for TiVo and Baked Lay’s!
When the dinner is over, set the plate outside in offering.
Image is a Norman Rockwell painting

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Acorn Squash Stuffed with Granny Smith Apples

by Monica R. Ashbaugh

Cut an acorn squash in half. Use your muscles and be careful because they are hard to cut. Scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff. Rinse well. Sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon and add a couple pieces of butter. Slice up a Granny Smith Apple (leave on skin). Cut the apple in slivers. Fill the acorn squash’s cavity with the apple and add a little more brown sugar, cinnamon and butter. Put in a greased baking dish and bake at 350 degrees F for about an hour (until tender.) It’s a very delicious side dish!

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Cornbread

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Mix in a large bowl:
2 cups cornmeal
1 cup flour
2 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar (add up to 1/4 cup more for sweeter cornbread)
Beat in another bowl:
2 cups milk
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp veggie oil
3 eggs
Add wet mixture to dry mixture, and 1 cup corn kernels, and stir until mixed (it will be lumpy).
Pour batter into a greased baking dish and bake for 25 minutes, until edges brown and top hardens gold.
You can make this without any sugar, if you’d prefer.  You can also play with the recipe, adding herbs like rosemary or thyme, or cheese and jalapenos.

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Roasted Herbed Potatoes

8 medium red potatoes
6 regular sized carrots
1/2 a Texas sweet onion
1 tbsp chopped rosemary
1 tbsp chopped sage
1 cup chicken broth
Olive oil
Coarse black pepper
Chop the potatoes into chunks, the carrots into rounds, and slice the onion.  Mix veggies and herbs in a big bowl, with a dollop of olive oil and pepper to taste.  Pour into a 9×14 baking dish with chicken broth.  Bake at 375 for an hour, stirring veggies every 15-20 minutes.

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The Mabon Altar
A quick view of what can be used to spice up your personal altar in honor of the Autumn Equinox.
*Candles/cloths in deep shades of yellow, orange, red, and brown
*Colorful fallen leaves
*Corn, sheaves of wheat, squash, and other root veggies
*Scythes, sickels, baskets
*Set of scales, yin/yang (rep. Balance)
*wine, vine, grape
*Apples, pomegranates, pumpkins,
*god’s Eyes
*Corn Dolls
*Seeds and nuts in their shells

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The Cornucopia

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The image is a familiar one, no matter what one’s faith or background.  A conical basket overflowing with fruits of the harvest–gourds, grapes, nuts, and vines.  The Cornucopia, also known as the Horn of Plenty, is a well known symbol of harvest and abundance.  It has also come to symbolize peace, bounty, and joy.
One myth that may have given the Horn of Plenty it’s origins is that of Amalthea and Zeus.  Amalthea was said to have been a She-goat, and maybe a Nymph, who nursed the infant Zeus.  Rhea, Zeus’ mother, saved Zeus from being eaten by his father Cronos by spiriting the infant to a mountain cave and into Amalthea’s care.  She then gave Cronos a rock wrapped to look like a baby, which he ate unknowing that his son still lived and would one day defeat him.
Amalthea nursed Zeus on her milk and raised him in her mountain cave.  One day while playing, Zeus accidentally broke off one of Amalthea’s horns.  To make it up to her and show his appreciation for all she had done for him, he magicked the horn to always be full of whatever the holder desired.
Roman goddesses Pax and Fortuna (peace and fortune) are often depicted holding horns of plenty, as are minor goddesses Copia and Abundantia.
While it would be nice to have a real Cornucopia to constantly supply us with all we could ever need, I think we could consider life to be our cornucopia.  Every thing that happens in our lives is by the grace of the god and goddess.  They hold a deep bottomed horn of plenty above us at all times, showering us with gifts we want, need, or maybe never even considered.  Let the cornucopia not only be symbolic of plenty, but symbolic of your relationship with deity.

Image: http://www.ancientcauldron.com/Ingredientsset/cornucopia.htm

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Making a Cornucopia

The Cornucopia I made a couple years ago! (Front)

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What you will need will vary depending on how exactly you want your cornucopia to appear.  Conical baskets can be found in a variety of craft stores such as Hobby Lobby or Michael’s.  If you look diligently, you may even find one hidden among the treasures of a peddler’s mall.
What you want to put into your cornucopia is up to you.  Items usually included are:

acorns, gourds, autumn leaves, nuts,
apples, grapes, vines, indian corn, pumpkins

All of these items are easily found in craft stores.  If you want to use real versions of them, you’ll have to remake the horn every year.  If you use fake decorations, you can make it once and enjoy it for years.
The instructions below are how I made my cornucopia, pictured above.  Depending on what all you add to yours, you can modify my directions to work for you!

Need:     Conical Basket
Wide, gold ribbon
Florists green styrofoam cone
Florists wire
Whatever “insides” you want
Hot glue gun
Cut the styrofoam to fit down inside the basket, where you can anchor the insides to it but it won’t be seen.  I spiraled the gold ribbon around the basket, hot gluing each end straight to the basket.
If you get the kind of gourds, pumpkins, and grapes that are soft and pliable, the florist wire will go through them.  I put loops in one end of the wire and shoved the other end all the way through the fruit, until the loop rested against the veggie.  Then, skewer the unlooped end into the florist’s styrofoam where you want it.
You can use a whole “bunch” of grapes (fake, obviously) by wrapping some florist wire around the central stem and anchoring both ends of the wire into the foam, allowing the grapes to drape down one side of the inside of the horn.  Add autumn leaves by doing a similar thing, wrapping an end of the florist wire around a central stem on a flag of leaves, then anchoring it into the foam.
To use hazelnuts or acorns, hot glue them to small pieces of styrofoam looped with wire – just be sure to make the styrofoam small enough to hide behind the nuts and leaves.
When finished, bless your new cornucopia and put it on display!

A Cornucopia Blessing
Lord of the Harvest, Lady of Grain
I ask for your blessings now and again.
God of the fields, Goddess of corn
Fill my life now as you fill this horn.
Bring abundance and truth, joy and mirth
Plentiful bounty grown from the earth.
As you provide for the good of all
I thank you both at the cusp of Fall.

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Back side of my Cornucopia
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The Tale of Mabon and Modron
abridged by Heather Adkins
There once was a woman and her name was Modron, the Great Mother.  She was beautiful and strong, and she loved her son Mabon, the Great Son, with everything she had.  When Mabon was only three days old, he was kidnapped in the dark of night from his sleeping mother’s arms.  Modron awoke to find him gone and no one could tell her where or why her child had been taken.
Many, many years flew by Modron as she continued to grieve for his absence and hope for his return.  One day, a King named Arthur sought out the Great Mother, accompanied by his renowned band of knights.  They were out to accomplish an impossible task – to hunt and kill a great and terrible boar called Twrch Trwyth.  No hunter could yet track this boar, so fast and strong it was.  A rumor filled the land that only the greatest of all huntsman would ever best Twrch Trywyth, and that maybe that huntsman was Mabon.  If the Great Son still lived, he could be the one to defeat the boar.  So, King Arthur found Modron, to ask if she knew where her son might be found.
“I only wish I could answer your question,” she laughed sorrowfully to King Arthur.  “You’ve traveled far to reach me, yet I can only tell you how far and wide I have searched for the same boy you seek.  You may as well as the blackbird what has happened to my son, for all the good I can do for you.”
As everyone knows, King Arthur was never a man to quit.  Having only Modron’s sad, bitter answer to go on, he searched out the Blackbird.  The old bird had long guarded the gateway into other realms, high among the branches of the tree of dawn.  “Wise Blackbird!” Arthur called to the black silhouette high in it’s branches.  “We seek Mabon, the son of Modron, who was taken from her at only three nights old.  Do you know his hiding place?”
Beads of obsidian glared down at Arthur, coolly assessing the group of men.  “Once, a smith’s anvil of iron sat at my feet,” the bird began, his croak of a voice piercing the dawn.  “Since my birth, I pecked and pecked at this anvil until it is nothing but the dust you now see beneath me.  That, good King, is how old I am.  Yet, I have not heard nor seen this Mabon of which you speak.”
The Blackbird shifted on his branch, claws scratching at wooden branches.  “But, I know of one who is even older than I.  I will take you to him.”
With sincere gratitude, Arthur and his knights fell into step behind the Blackbird, whose large, ebony wings led them to the Stag of the forest.  Midday sunlight glistened off the Stag’s tawny coat.  Arthur greeted the creature whose antler’s reached well above the King’s head.  “Great Stag, we seek Mabon, son of Modron, who was taken from the Great Mother only three days after his birth.  Do you know of his whereabouts?”
The Stag regarded Arthur with ancient, amber eyes full of a universe of wisdom.  “I am old enough to remember this Oak tree under which we stand in it’s first growth.  Barely a sapling it was upon my birth, and now it’s branches reach as far and wide as the prongs of my own antlers.”  The Stag seemed to puff with pride and stamped his two front hooves.  “That, good King, is how old I am.  Yet, I know not this Mabon of whom you speak.  But, I know another who is older than I am.  I will take you to her.”
With thanks, Arthur and his knights followed the Stag, who led them to the Owl.  Owl had watched the comings and goings of night for ages with her nightly eyes.  She looked on King Arthur kindly.  “Owl,” Arthur spoke up to her, “We seek Mabon, son of Modron.  As a babe, he was stolen from the Great Mother.  Do you know of him?”
The Owl rocked on her clawed feet to fully face Arthur and shook out her wings.  “I was born here, yet in  a different forest.  It was older, wilder than the one we now know.  I watched people come in, uproot it, and burn it to the ground before abandoning it.  a new forest grew from those ashes, yet I watched another people take it and twist it and destroy it.  This now is the third forest I’ve watched grow, good King.  I am old, so old, yet I have not heard of this Mabon of whom you speak.”
Arthur was beginning to worry that the end was near and Mabon would not be found.  But the Owl shook her feathers and continued, “I do know of one who is older than I, and I will take you to him.”
She led Arthur and his knights to the noble Eagle.  “Eagle,” Arthur called to the watchful predator.  “We seek Mabon, son of Modron, once stolen from her after his birth.  Do you know where he hides?”
Piercing eyes much wiser than any Arthur had seen before stared deeply into his.  “I am old, as you know,” the Eagle responded quietly.  “This tiny rock I hold in my talon?  It was once a standing stone that towered over every mountain.  Each night I would strike the sky from the apex of this standing stone, piercing the black of the sky and creating the stars.  I made every one of the numerous stars you see now.  Yet the elements, wind and rain and air and water, had their way with the standing stone in a cosmic dance, and it wore away until all that remained is this pebble here.  That, my friend, is how old I am.  Yet, I know not this Mabon.”
Arthur was fatigued of this search.  The journey was long and hard on his men, each of whose spirits were down and agitated.  Though his knights were loyal and would stick with him until the end, he knew he couldn’t drag the search out much more.
The Eagle saw Arthur’s hope fading, and spoke again, “In a pond not far from here is the Salmon of Wisdom, who upon an encounter once I’ve decided she must be a goddess.  She is older than myself and has lived on the hazelnuts that fall into her pool, gaining all the knowledge of the world. Surely she will know this Mabon and will be able to help you.  I can take you to her.”
An exhausted Arthur followed the Eagle across the land and to the side of a pond in a hazel grove.  He knelt at the water and spied a silver fish swimming lazily on the currents.  he called to her.  “Salmon of Wisdom!  I seek your help.  We have spoken to the Blackbird, the Stag, the Owl and the Eagle, none of whom could help us.  We search for Mabon, son of Modron, stolen from the Great Mother only days after his birth.  Do you know where he hides?”
“Did you ask his mother?” the Salmon asked sensibly from within the water.
“Well, yes!” Arthur answered, “she did not know.”
The Salmon was thoughtful.  “I leave this pond each year and travel the streams across the land to the Castle of Light.  There, it seems, I always hear someone full of great sorrow.”
“Do you think it could be Mabon, wise Salmon?”  Arthur asked hopefully, not daring to rejoice yet.
“I believe so.  I will take you to him, Arthur, but you must ride alone on my back as I can only carry two and there must be room for him, as well.”
So Arthur rode the Salmon to the Castle of Light, which was in fact not a castle of light at all, but a dark, forbidding place fallen into neglect.  Before he even broke through the castle gate, he could hear the sorrowing of a man from inside.  His sword speared the door and he found himself in a courtyard, face to face with a tearful, youthful man.
“Are you Mabon, son of Modron?” Arthur asked the man gently.
“That I am, sir,” Mabon answered.  “And I’ve been locked in here for ages.”
Arthur and Mabon climbed atop the Salmon’s back and rode the waters back to Arthur’s men.  The Salmon allowed all the water rushing by to clean Mabon of his dirt and filth, leaving him shiny, healthy, and strong again.
And that is how Mabon was returned to Modron, whose happiness to be reunited with her son brought light and warmth to all the land.

Source: http://meadowsweet-myrrh.blogspot.com/2009/09/tale-of-mabon-bedtime-story.html


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Why is the tale of Mabon and Modron connected to the Autumn Equinox?…
What a fantastic question!  However, it’s not one with a true answer.  At Mabon on the Wiccan Wheel, the god is aged and dying, while in myth, Mabon is forever youthful – a blatant difference.
If you read any version of the story, it usually ends kinda screwy.  Some say Mabon was in torment in his hiding place, some say he was happy because the place was his mother, Modron’s womb.  However, the infant was stolen from his mother three days after his birth, and the womb just doesn’t fit the story cyclically.  All mythological tales must not be taken literally, as they are meant to be interpreted metaphorically, but the story just doesn’t flow, in my opinion.
So while some people see Mabon’s tale as a different version of Demeter/Persephone, I don’t agree.  Persephone spends time in both worlds, creating the seasons and therefore giving the story it’s reason.  As Mabon is taken at 3 days old and then ages into a young man, there is no “cyclical” significance relating to the passage of the seasons or a “balance” as is the Equinox.
I’ve walked this path always accepting Mabon as the name for this Sabbat, and I’m not going to try to change what comes naturally.  But, really, there doesn’t appear to be justification for it.
Maybe I’ll come up with a new story one day.  Look for it in next year’s Mabon issue…

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The Moons of September

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Last Quarter – September 1, 21:22
New Moon – September 8, 14:30
First Quarter – September 15, 09:50
Full Moon – September 23, 13:17
Image: http://www.spacew.com/gallery/image001685.html
Dates from: http://www.universetoday.com/20174/moon-phases-2010/

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Wine Moon

My homemade Autumn Equinox wreath

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Other names:
Grain, Fruit, Green Corn

The properties of September’s full moon correspond to that of Mabon, so one theme to remember is that of being thankful, as well as the idea of balance.
As September is the time of the grape harvest, so does that symbolize this moon.  Decorate your altar with herbs and fruits of the season.
Spells for the full moon of September could focus on clearing up mental clutter and spells for balance and harmony.
Colors: brown, green, yellow
Herbs:fennel, rye, valerian, skullcap
Flowers: narcissus, lily
Scents: gardenia, bergamot
source: Moon Magick by DJ Conway


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The Harvest Moon

The Harvest Moon is the moon that falls closest to the Autumnal Equinox, generally in the month of September (though it can sometimes fall in the month of October and thus why it gets a separate article.)  This year, the Full Moon happens to fall directly on the Equinox!  This auspicious happening will mingle the important energies of a full moon and the Equinox into a very powerful night.
This moon appears to rise at about the same time for each of it’s 3 nights (the day before, day of, and day after are all considered the moon’s monthly peak of power) because of the “time lapse” found at the balance of night and day.  Farmers are given more time under the moonlight in which to finish up the harvest.  The Harvest Moon is also famous for it’s orangey glow, which is a byproduct of the dust, pollen, and dirt in the atmosphere.  The moon on the horizon must pass it’s light through this bad air quality, giving it a reddish-orange color, but as it rises it passes into better air, fading it to pale orange, gold, yellow, and finally to it’s normal hue.
It also appears larger in the sky because of the colder, denser air of autumn.  Light bends as it beams through the atmosphere, and it bends more through dense fall air than it does through warm summer air.
Get out and witness this once a year phenomenon.  You won’t be sorry!
source: Autumn Equinox by Ellen Dugan

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A Harvest Moon Wine Ritual

Blessing a bottle of wine under the harvest moon to be used in Sabbat rituals.
You will need:
Bottles of Wine (however many you will bless)
God and Goddess candles on altar
Ribbons in Sabbat colors (whatever you’re using)
Cast your circle as usual.
Repeat the ritual below for each bottle, as needed.
Take the bottle to the Eastern quarter and raise it to the sky.  Say (emphasizing capitalized words):
To the raging Easterlies, the Kiss of a Breeze;
In the Name of the Hurricane,
The Power of the Tornado
And the Beauty of the birds in Flight.
I bless this wine with the energies of the
East and Air.

Take the bottle to the Southern quarter and raise it to the sky.  Say:
To the fearsome Fires, the Heat of a Brand;
In the Name of the Earth’s molten Core,
The Power of the Volcano
And the Candle’s captivating Flame.
I bless this wine with the energies of the
South and Fire.
Take the bottle to the Western quarter and raise it to the sky.  Say:
To the Ceaseless ocean Waves, the Caress of the Sea;
In the Name of the Freshness of a Summer Shower,
The Power of the Thunderstorm
And the Mysteries of the Deep.
I bless this wine with the energies of the
West and Water.
Take the bottle to the Northern quarter and raise it to the sky.  Say:
To the Fertile Land, the Healing Powers of Earth;
In the Name of the Green Grass,
The Power of the Landslide
and the Silky sands of the beach.
I bless this wine with the energies of the
North and Earth.
Return to the altar.  Raise bottle before god candle.  Say:
Lord of the Vine, God of the Grape Harvest
Imbue with your love and strength this bottle of wine.
When I drink of this liquid,
Let me be reminded of your presence.
Think for a moment on the God and his part in the Wheel of the Year.  Then raise the bottle before the goddess candle.  Say:
Lady of the Corn, Goddess of the Fall
Imbue with your love and comfort this bottle of wine.
When I drink of this liquid,
Let me be reminded of your presence.
If you are dedicating each bottle to a single Sabbat, take the appropriate colored ribbon and wrap it around the neck of the bottle, tying it tightly.  Say something pertinent to the Sabbat, such as: (for Mabon)
The Wheel turns on, the God gives of himself
So that we may live from his bounty.
The Goddess grieves, as do we,
Yet the blessings of the season are many.
May this wine be a symbol of his sacrifice,
and of Hers,
And always may I walk in the light of the Divine.
Store your wines until ready to use, leaving the ribbons on them to differentiate them.


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The Fast of Thoth
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In Alexandria, Egypt on the 19th of September, a day long fast is held to honor Thoth.  Even if you don’t follow the Egyptian pantheon, you can incorporate this idea into your own celebration this month.
Thoth is the god of knowledge, secrets, and writing.  He brought two highly important creations to his people, having been the creator of magick and the inventor of writing (hieroglyphics).  He was also a messenger of the gods and a divine record keeper and mediator.
Depicted with the body of a man and the head of an ibis, Thoth carries a scribe’s palette and stylus and often wears a crescent on his brow, representative in his role as a lunar deity.
It is said Thoth was self-created at the beginning of time alongside his consort, the goddess Maat (goddess of truth, order, balance, and law).  The souls of the dead were questioned by Thoth in the underworld before their hearts were weighed against the feather of Maat.
Thoth is also said to be the writer of the Book of the Dead.
Symbols of Thoth include papyrus, writing tools, bamboo, baboons, ibis.
Observe the day-long fast, whether on the 19th or another time, and culminate the day in a ritual to Thoth.  Students can ask for help with school, writers can beseech Thoth to act as muse for them, or you could just ask for the wisdom and knowledge to help you walk along your path.
source used: Moon Magick by D.J Conway
http://www.touregypt.net/godsofegypt/thoth.htm
image: http://www.crystalfantasyfla.com/store/popup_image.php?pID=819&osCsid=905759a3f5e3d4beb61f392358ace031

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Spell of the Month

I love the Autumn leaves.  Each year, I patiently await for the colors to turn and the leaves to grow crinkly, for the blanket to take over the land.  What better way to connect with the season than to use it’s symbols in your magick?
Pick a leaf of beautiful, Autumn color on a windy day.  Make sure it has fallen on it’s own, and that it is still waxy with life, not crumbly and dry.  Using a pin, etch into the wax of it’s leaf something you wish for, whatever that may be.
Raise the leaf by it’s stem and watch it blow in the wind.  Concentrate on your wish, on it coming to fruition.  When you feel ready, let the wind carry your leaf away.


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Stone of the Month
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CITRINE

The citrine is a type of quartz that can be anywhere from yellow to gold.  A darkly golden variety of the stone can be a cheaper substitution for topaz, the birthstone of November.
This stone can be referred to as the “stone of the mind.”  In color meanings, yellow is the color of communication, intellect, and logic.  The citrine can open your mind to new ideas and help promote clarity of thought.  Carry in your pocket when you must speak in public or in social situations requiring interaction with others.
Citrine can calm and soothe stressful situations.  It increases self-esteem and helps one to develop self-worth.  As such, it’s a great stone to use when you must get certain tasks done (like this newsletter!)
Ancient peoples believed placing a citrine on one’s forehead increased one’s psychic power.
This stone is the “merchant’s stone,” bringing wealth and luck to business owners.  It’s a great stone to be utilized by entrepreneurs.  Place one in the cash drawer of your small business and just wait for the effects to accumulate.
Citrine is a stone of light and sunshine.  It energizes, brings happiness, optimism, and joy.  Charge a citrine under the bright sunshine of summer and place in a velvet bag in a safe place.  Pull it out when needed in the dark cold of the year to dispel the gloom and remind you the sun shall return.
It is said to handle digestive issues, cleansing, purifying, and eliminating toxins in the system.  It is also linked to easing the ills of diabetes.
Supposedly, citrine is a stone which does NOT accumulate negative energy and therefore doesn’t necessarily need to be cleansed.
Citrine is found in Brazil, Bolivia, and parts of Africa and Russia.
Source used: gemstonegifts.com/stones/citrine.htm
Photo: http://crystal-cure.com/citrine-cluster.html

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Plant of the Month
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IVY

Ivy is an amazing plant.  It can grow anywhere and in any environment, even the most challenging.  Whether bright light or darkness, fertile or barren land, ivy will thrive, reaching through the smallest of places to get to sunshine.  In this way, it can be seen as symbolic of the human spirit.  We humans tend to persevere and push on with determination no matter what obstacles arrive.
This vine is also virtually indestructible.  Smother it, yank it away from it’s host, and it will return, another example of human heart, a determination to survive and succeed.  Homeowners who enjoy the aesthetic appeal of ivy on the sides of their homes can keep cutting it back, only to have to do it over and over again.
It interweaves when growing, so can be seen as a symbol of friendship.  As ivy twines around it’s own branches, so do we twine around our friends and from them take support and encouragement.
The darker nature of ivy can be found in the way it’s tiny, finger-like roots threaten the very foundation of homes and buildings.  It can also grow so thick as to smother and kill it’s host tree.
Ivy also symbolizes growth, renewal, connection to all, cooperation, and opportunity.  It can be woven into circlets and placed on the head to promote clarity of thought.  It grows in a spiral shape and has 5-pointed leaves, making it an ideal plant for the Wiccan faith.
Ivy was once carried by women for good luck and fertility.  It is said to heal muscles, and the berries were once considered medicinal, until the high toxicity of them was discovered.  Myth has it that ivy formed the crown upon the head of Bacchus, so it has been believed to wear a crown of ivy prevents intoxication.
Ivy corresponds with water.  It promotes faithfulness, protection, and good luck.  An empty vine is symbolic of a good harvest.

Sources used: http://www.whats-your-sign.com/celtic-meaning-ivy.html
http://www.novareinna.com/constellation/ivy.html
Photo: http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-4720175-ivy-leaves.php

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Herb of the Month
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MYRRH

Myrrh is a resinous material gathered from the sap of certain trees, dark reddish-brown in color.  It originated in several Middle Eastern countries and parts of Ethiopia.
Corresponds to the moon and to water, it is feminine, and it’s folk names include Gum Myrrh Tree, Karan, Mirra, and Balsam Odendron.
Its powers include protection, exorcism, healing, and spirituality.
Burned as an incense on charcoal blocks, myrrh promotes peace and purifies.  It can be used in consecration and to support meditation efforts.  Add myrh to another incense (like frankincense) and it will increase the other’s power.
Other uses include oils, tinctures, sachets, bath salts, etc.  It can be found copiously in manufactured incense sticks at occult stores.
Myrrh was once burned in Egyptian temples to honor Ra and also to honor Isis, as well as in embalming the dead.  In ancient Rome, myrrh was pricy and often used to burn at funerals to mask the odor of the deceased.
Ovid’s Metamorphoses chronicles the tale of Myrrha, who lusted so after her father, Cinyras, she decided to kill herself.  At the last minute, her nursemaid saved her from death and devised a plan for Myrrha to be with Cinyras.  While her mother was away, Myrrha went to her intoxicated father in the dark of several nights and slated her lust.
One night, Cinyras brought a lamp and upon seeing it was his daughter who had been visiting him, he flew into a rage and drew his sword on her.  Myrrha fled, wandering for nine months before coming to rest at Sabo, heavily pregnant with Cinyras’ child.  She prayed to neither live nor die, as she couldn’t face the living or the dead knowing her crime.  In response, the gods transformed her into the Myrrh tree.  When the baby was ready, Lucina (Roman goddess of childbirth) allowed the birth from the tree.  The child was Adonis, who bathed in the sap of the tree – the sap was considered to be Myrrh’s tears.
In recent times, myrrh has been studied for it’s anti-microbial properties.
*Altar Oil – add to an 1/8 cup base oil (like jojoba):
4 drops frankincense
2 drops myrrh
1 drop cedar
*Purification Oil: add to an 1/8 cup base oil:
4 drops frankincense
2 drops myrrh
1 drop sandalwood
*Circle Bath Salts (to be used before workings)
3 parts Epsom salt     2 parts baking soda
1 part table salt        3 parts rosemary oil
2 parts myrrh oil       2 parts sandalwood oil
1 part frankincense oil
Sources & Recipes: Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs
Cunningham’s Complete Book of Incense, Oils, and Brews
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myrrh
http://www.pantheon.org/articles/m/myrrha.html

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God of the Month
Dionysus/Bacchus

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picture from Wikipedia

God of wine, ecstasy, agriculture, vegetation, and the fertility of nature.  He is said to have discovered the grape vine and the particulars of wine making.  Dionysus is the patron god of the Greek stage.
Dionysus was conceived of Zeus and Semele, a mortal woman.  She was struck down by Zeus’ lightning while Dionysus was still in the womb, and Zeus rescued his son, sewing the infant into his own thigh until it was ready for birth.
Another story says he was the son of Zeus and Persephone, and a jealous Hera attempted to murder the child by the Titans.  The giants ate everything but Dionysus’ heart, and Zeus recreated him, putting Dionysus into his thigh until he was ready to be reborn.  This ties Dionysus to rebirth and regeneration.
While he represents the intoxication of wine, he also represents the social influences of imbibing.  He could free one from oneself, liberating you so that you may free your soul and benefit from it.  His divine mission was to bring an end to care and worry.
Sources: The Book of God and Goddesses by Eric Chaline
http://www.pantheon.org/articles/d/dionysus.html

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Goddess of the Month
Demeter/Ceres
Demeter.png
picture from Wikipedia

Goddess of vegetation and fruitfulness, she rules over crops, corn, the plow, renewal, rebirth, agriculture, civilization, and soil.  Known as “Earth Mother” and “Corn Goddess” she was a nature deity who would bless the crops of those she liked and blight the crops of those she didn’t.
She was often portrayed with beautiful blonde hair, a blue robe, and a sheaf of wheat, crowned by ears of corn and ribbons, and carrying a scepter.  To the Greeks, she was the creator and measurer of time.
At Eleusius, she taught mortals the mysteries that would bring them prosperity in life and a blessed afterlife.  She gave them seeds, taught them to cultivate, and make bread.  She is often linked to Egyptian Isis.
Demeter is also a protector of women, deity of marriage, motherhood, maternal love and fidelity.  She is also associated with initiation, law, and magickal philosophy.
Demeter is modernly most associated with the story of Persephone, her daughter.  Born of Zeus and Demeter, Persephone was abducted by Hades and taken to the Underworld.  Demeter wandered, searching for her, through which time the earth was barren and infertile.  (She is sometimes portrayed carrying a torch, a possible reference to this aspect of her, searching for Persephone.)  Zeus eventually ordered Hades to return Persephone, but the Lord of the Underworld tricked her into eating a pomegranate which bound her to spend 1/3 of the year in the Underworld with him.  As a consequence, Demeter will only allow the earth to bloom when Persephone is with her; the earth lies barren when she is with Hades.
Sources:
The Book of God and Goddesses by Eric Chaline
http://www.pantheon.org/articles/d/demeter.html


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