21 September 2018

A Welcome to Autumn's Long Nights

Autumn's First Day

Autumn's first day comes quickly, like the running of a hound 
across the moorland. 
–Scottish Adage

Equinox literally means equal night.  We are told the autumnal equinox is a day of perfect equilibrium, a cycle split neatly into twelve hours of light and twelve hours of dark.  That's not exactly true.  In lands distant from the equator, the sun can take longer to rise and set; closer to the equator, the day lasts a little more than twelve hours. The real even split between day and night doesn't occur until later in the fall.  After the autumnal equinox, the nights will get longer and the days shorter until the Yule Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere.

Depending on your spiritual path, there are many different ways you can celebrate Mabon.  Typically, the focus is on either the harvest, or the balance between light and dark.

In Medieval Times, in Britain and Europe, small children were put to work as crow-scarers.  It was their chore to dash up and down the rows in the fields, clapping blocks of wood together to frighten away birds from the precious grain until harvest.  After the Black Plague, which killed millions, villages saw a shortage of children to serve this purpose, so instead they created faggots—false men—stuffing old clothes with straw to create a body, and place a neep (turnip) or a large gourd in the place of a head, and then mounted the figures in the field.  They quickly saw this worked rather well, and even today you will find scarecrows throughout the world.

In Scotland the celebration of Alban Elued —Light of the Water— is observed at this time.  Ancient ancestors believed the setting sun begins its decent into the deep water surrounding the isles.  The male king god is merging with the goddess Annis, and their son, Prince of Light, will be summoned at Yule.

One of the decorations you might see in homes this time of year, is the Clootie Tree.  Each ribbon has the name of a person and a special blessing on them.  This is much like the Clootie wells that are through out Britain, which are sacred springs ruled by Annis, one of the oldest Celtic deities, Goddess of the Water--likely the origins for the legend of the Lady in the Lake.  Wishing welcome came from Clootie wells.  Even today, you will see rags tied to trees beside ancient and sacred wells.  It is believed if you offer a token to the goddess, and she is pleased with it, she would grant you a wish.  The rags were bits of cloth from a person often ailing, and the wish was for good health

Autumn Mead

1 Gallon Water2 1/2 lbs Honey
1 Lemon1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1 pkg Ale or Champagne yeast

Boil the water and honey. Add lemon juice and the nutmeg. Boil, skimming the foam that rises to the surface, until it stops foaming.

Let cool to room temperature, then add the yeast.

Store and ferment for 18 days.  Then bottle.  Let it age another two weeks before imbibing
Store in refrigerator or you will be sorry!!

Tha an fhoghar a 'tighinn mar a tha an solas làn...

Autumn comes, as the light ebbs...

©  Deborah Macgillivray

September 21st 2018

1 comment:

Candy Thompson said...

My favorite season! I love the fall!!! I love your posts. They're always so interesting and this one is fantastic!!! I love all the pictures too. O.K...Now, I'm in the mood for fall...enough of this hot weather! Can't wait till the leaves start turning. Thanks for another wonderful post!!! :)