Posts Tagged With: Harvest Home

Celebrating 365 Days of Legends, Folklore & Spirituality for November 24th – Thanksgiving (approximately)

autumn witch

November 24th

Thanksgiving (approximately)


The American Thanksgiving Day began in Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts, in 1621, and celebrated the Pilgrims’ first year’s harvest. Originally set by president Abraham Lincoln as the last Thursday of November, the holiday was changed by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939 to the fourth Thursday of November.

Actually, days of thanksgiving are far older than our American can celebration, which is an adaption of Lammas (Loaf Mass Day). In Britain, it was celebrated on August 1, when the wheat crop was good. In fact, most agricultural peoples have special days set aside to celebrate a good crop and the end of the harvest-usually referred to as the Harvest Home. Our modern Thanksgiving is a combination of two very different customs: toms: the harvest home feast and a formal day of thanksgiving proclaimed by community leaders to celebrate a victory.

It was during the Revolutionary War that the need for national holidays, rather than local holidays, developed. It was George Washington that first declared November 1, as a national day of thanksgiving. But regional traditions were too strong and the day never caught on. With the Industrial Revolution and hundreds of immigrants pouring into America, the need for a national day of thanksgiving was once more addressed. It was finally during the Civil War that President Lincoln, in an effort to unite the country, declared the last Thursday of November as Thanksgiving Day. The holiday began with the usual morning ing church service, followed by a feast and then games.

Today we celebrate Thanksgiving with parades, the largest being Macy’s New York display, which began in 1927 with the appearance of Macy’s huge balloons designed by puppeteer Tony Sarg. The construction of the balloons is carefully executed by the Goodyear Aerospace Corporation, in Akron, Ohio. Preparations for the parade are year round, reaching a peak the day before Thanksgiving when the balloons arrive at 77th Street and Central Park West. They are removed from their crates and anchored with sand bags and giant nets. On Thanksgiving Day, more than 2000 of Macy’s employees arrive at 6 a.m. to march in the parade, which, 75 years later, is still the highlight of Thanksgiving Day.


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Celebrating Our Spirituality 365 Days A Year – Mabon, Sept. 20 – 23

September 20 – 23

Autumn Equinox/ Alban Elfed/Mabon

NamedAlban Elfed by the Druids and Mabon by the Welsh, the Autumn Equinox marks the completion of the harvest. Once again, day and night stand in balance with equal hours of light and darkness. As do most celebrations held around this time of the year, the Autumn Equinox focuses on the harvest, the waning sun, and the onset of Winter. In the rural countryside, those who work the land come together to cut the last stalk of corn and sheaf of wheat. Following the gathering in of the last sheaf is Harvest Home, a huge supper or feast of roast beef, chicken, a stew of harvest vegetables, home-baked bread and cheese, and plenty of ale and cider. In Scotland, and parts of England, the man who cuts down the last sheaf is honored as lord and master of the harvest. The young woman who plaited the sheaf would be seated next to him and regarded as his consort.

In Wicca, the Autumn Equinox marks the waning of the year when the Goddess descends into the Underworld. As she withdraws, we see the decline of Nature and the onset of Winter. Now is the time we count up our blessings, give thanks for our bounty, and look within. As the God’s shadowy presence begins to emerge, we remember what it took to achieve our goals and what is needed to maintain them.

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This is the Harvest Home and falls in a busy season. Agricultural work all
through the harvest season, from Lughnassadh to Samhain, should be done
communally and with simple rites, keeping the presence of the Gods in mind, and
accompanied by games and amusements where they can be fitted in. The Harvest
Queen with her chosen Lord preside at all these occasions, leading the work, the
dances and the feasting. Wagons coming in from the fields at Mabon form a
parade. There are garlands around the necks of the draft animals, and the
Harvest Queen rides in rustic splendor on the last wagon.


Many fruits and nuts full-ripe. Leaves turning. Harvest in full swing. Bird
migrations begin. Chill of winter anticipated. Farewell to Summer. Friendship
and family ties remembered.

Thesmophoria, the Eleusianian Mysteries and the Cerelia, all in honor of Demeter
or the Roman Ceres. Feast of Cernunnos and of Bacchus.

The myth of Dionysos: the young god is sacrificed or abducted as Winter begins.
Hy is restored to his mother in the spring. Dionysos (vegetable life) if the
offspring of Persephone (the seed corn) and Hades (the underworld, beneath the
surface of the earth).


Thanksgiving to the gods for the harvest. Magic for good weather and protection
of the winter food supply. Blessing the harvest fruits.


Gala processions to bring home the harvest. One or two fruits left on each tree,
no doubt originally meant as an offering to the spirit of the trees. Harvest
customs are too numerous to list here. Refer to The Golden Bough. They include
relics of purification rites and sacrifice of the God-King.


Colors: gold and sky-blue
Autumn leaves and berries
Fruits of harvest
Pine cones
Autumn flowers


Husing bees
Harvest parade
Barn dances
Harvest ball
Country fair
Canning and preserving parties


Takes place late afternoon of Mabon Day, in a field or garden, not in wild
woods. The Circle may be marked out with autumn braches. Altar in the west. A
sky-blue altar cloth makes a beautiful background for harvest-gold candles and
decorations of autumn foliage.

Make an image of the Goddess from a sheaf of grain, so that the ripe ears form a
crown. Place this image, decorated with seasonal flowers (chrysanthemums are
sacred to Her, being really marigolds) above the altar. It is a barbaric-looking
figure – no Praxiteles goddess. Have a jug of cider and a supply of cups or
glasses near the altar.

Build the central fire in the cauldron and wreathe the cauldron with autumn

Coveners may wear work clothes or white robes, or dress in ordinary clothing in
autumn colors. HPS and HP should wear crowns of autumn leaves and berries.
Everyone walks in a procession to the Circle, each carrying a sheaf of grain or
a basket or tray of apples, squashes, melons, nuts, etc. as they continue to
walk deosil within the Circle, HP and HPS take their burdens from them and stack
them around the altar.

Banish the Circle with sat water. In the prayer of intention, refer to absent
friends and relatives who are present in spirit and to the harvest offering. Bid
Summer farewell.

HP kindles the fire. HPS invokes the Goddess and charges the fire. Communion
materials are cider and Sabbat cakes.

The Ritual of Harvesting:

Have a fruit-bearing potted plant at the North. Reap the fruit and carry it
slowly, elevated at about eye-level on the Pentacle, on a tour of the Circle.
The fruit represents the benefits and results of our efforts during the year.
The elevation, with all eyes fixed on the fruit, represents our assessment and
evaluation of our results. The coveners’ individual messages, burned in the
fire, briefly detail these. The fruit itself is divided with the knife and eaten
by the coveners as a token that they accept the consequences of their actions.

Have a platter prepared for the Goddess, bearing some of each kind of food
provided for the feast. Using the knife, HPS buries this food before the altar,
inviting the Goddess to share in and bless the feast. HP pours a libation. Then
he pours cider all around and proposes a toast to the harvest.

HPS gives thanks to all the gods for the harvest. HPS asks the blessing. The
usual divinations and similar business follow, then feasting, dancing and games
and the rite ends as usual.

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