How does your harvest go?
The year’s beginning its decline into winter dormancy, presaged by the autumnal equinox. For Pagans, it’s a time of celebrating harvests both natural and metaphorical– while plants go to seed and animals begin to prepare themselves for cooler weather, it’s a good time to look back on whatever “harvests of the soul” we’re enjoying.
I’m fortunate to have a lot of good to look back on. The last few years have been difficult (due in no small part to being diagnosed with a life-altering chronic illness), but I am reaping good things from what I’ve sown. I have a good-sized body of work as a freelance writer, a growing number of paintings to list in my shop, and this blog. I have an excellent relationship with a warm, caring, intelligent person. Even though I’m not exactly rolling in dough, I have a roof over my head and food in my pantry. The seeds of the past year have been able to grow and flourish, and my harvest is good.
I still have room to improve, of course. I’d love to get more freelancing work, paint more, and bring more visitors here. I’d love an apartment with a larger kitchen, maybe even a patio with more space for container gardening. There are plenty of new seeds to sow for next year.
This will also be the first time in a long while that I’ll be able to really celebrate the equinox. While my own plans are getting shuffled around a few days since my S.O.’s in class (and, to me, autumnal equinox food is more fun when shared!), I decided to piece together some resources for traditional foods, decor, and altar decorations for any of you that might be joining in the festivities this year.
First, The Domestic Witch wrote a pretty interesting post about why Mabon may not be the most appropriate name for the autumnal equinox. Even though it’s made its way into pretty much every Wiccan/Pagan calendar by now, it origins are…. er, surprising.
Like most holidays, food is kind of a big deal. Harvest foods like grains, apples, and squash are (probably unsurprisingly) just about omnipresent. If you’re still looking for ideas for your own autumnal equinox table, some of my favorites are:
- These addictive sweet potato goat cheese puffs.
- Some unique, tasty, and protein-packed spicy pumpkin hummus.
- A light, flavorful kale-apple slaw with poppy seed dressing.
- The easiest (and tastiest) peasant bread you’ll ever make.
- This hearty, creamy butternut squash soup.
- And, for dessert, these baked apples with salted caramel sauce.
Eating aside, this is also a good time for setting up autumnal decor. If you’re on top of things, your autumnal equinox altar, autumn centerpieces, and porch decorations are probably already set up. If (like me) you’re not, here are some ideas I’ve collected for cute, inexpensive ways to get into the season, like:
- Dollar tree Fall decor and craft ideas.
- 15 Fall Wreath Ideas from Pinterest.
- 10 Ways to Make Your Home Fall Cozy.
- Mabon Altar Decorations.
I also like to create the right atmosphere by simmering some herbs on my stove. The easiest way to do this is to add the appropriate ingredients, plenty of water, and let them heat over a low flame. For this time of year, try using:
- Apple slices. Or, even better, the leftover peels from apples you’ve used for cooking. Avoid using apple cores for this– the seeds contained within can release cyanide gas.
- Cinnamon sticks.
- Bits of ginger or ginger peel.
- Allspice berries.
- Star anise.
- Any other warming, spicy-smelling herbs or seasonal fruits native to your area.
Keep an eye on the pot while it simmers, and don’t allow it to go dry. When it’s done filling your home with the scent of spicy, seasonal deliciousness, either discard or pour the cooled contents of the pot onto a compost pile.