October Lore — Apples

October Lore

Apples

This is the time of the apple harvest: winesaps, greenings, macintosh, red and yellow delicious, and the antique varieties of sops of wine, sheep nose and smokehouse.  There are apples to fill fruit bowls for immediate eating, apples that keep well for Winter storage, and apples that make the best pie ever.  The back porch smells of hot applesauce laced with cinnamon, which is canned by the case.

Apples have always been magically important.  The Celts “wassailed” their apple trees to insure a bountifull harvest in the coming year. Traditionally wassail was made of hard cider that was heated with spices and had apples floating on top.  These apples, when heated enough, would burst their skins, and the white flesh would form a froth on top of the wassail.  There is much reason to believe that wassailing was performed at Samhain or Halloween as it was at Yule. Samhain is the time of the apple harvest, and there are many traditions in which apples are very important.  Samhain was the New Year of the Celtic calendar, and probably several traditions got shifted to Yuletide when the calendar was changed.  Wassailing the apple trees, no doubt, was one of these.

Candy apples are a traditional trick or treat gift at Halloween. Another tradition is bobbing for apples, or “dooking,” as it is called in Scotland. (Description of how to dook…)  This game may have developed directly from the apples that floated on the wassail of earlier Halloweens.

Another traditional Halloween game is apple on a string. (Description) This game may have evolved from people playing a similar game while the apples still hung on the tree, and this may have been done in imitation of certain animals.  But it is more likely that these games developed in the spirit of fun and play that is the essence of Pagan celebration.

Apples also have a history of being used for healing (“An apple a day keeps the doctor away”), especially for curing warts.  The most typical method is to slice an apple in half and rub both halves over the wart or affliction to be cured. The put the two halves back together and bury them in the Earth while reciting an enchantment to the effect that as the apple wastes away, so will the wart or other affliction.

When an apple is sliced in half horizontally it reveals hidden within its core a five-pointed star.  When an apple is being cut in half for magical purposes it should be cut this way in order to take full advantage of the secret magical sign.  And of course it should be cut with the boline (magically charged white- handled knife).

The apple harvest can be celebrated on the day that it is completed with a meal that features apples, apple fritters, apple pie, or applesauce.  Select one tree to represent all of the apple trees in the orchard, whether it is the oldest, tallest, or most productive.  Draw and consecrate a Circle around the tree and stand within it facing the tree.  holding a cup of spiced cider or apple wine, anoint the tree by drawing a pentacle with a finger dipped in the cup of liquid. Draw the pentacle at eye level on the tree trunk or just below where all the branches begin.  Recite something such as:

Here’s to thee, Apple tree Flowers at Beltane Fruit at Samhain Apple tree, Blessed be!

Then drink a toast to the tree and pour a libation at its roots, and eat the food of the feast within the Circle.

Mabon Cooking (Yum!) – Flaming Apples

Mabon Comments & Graphics

Flaming Apples

Prepare one apple for each person. Use McIntosh or Winesap apples. Wash, core, and peel the skin down about ½ inches from the top. Fill the center with brown sugar and butter. Top with cinnamon. Place the apples in a baking dish with about 1 inch of water. Bake the apples for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Remove the apples to a warmed serving dish; pour heated cognac over each apple, ignite and serve flaming.

Daily Feng Shui Tip forJanuary 23 – ‘National Pie Day’

Here’s an interesting fact worth sharing on today’s ‘National Pie Day.’ Did you know that at one time pies were illegal? Englishman Oliver Cromwell banned all pies in the Commonwealth because he believed them to harbor mystical and magical energies. According to ancient lore, he might have been right. These legends say that round pies induce a connection to spirits while square pies promote prosperity. Pies topped with intricate latticework induce protective energies while apple pie offer healing and peace. And who doesn’t love a good peace of pie?

By Ellen Whitehurst for Astrology.com

A Taste of Autumn

A Taste of Autumn

Author: Lady Rain StarDragon (Teresa Garcia)

Over the past several days, I’ve watched the maple tree between the laundry room window and the Mountain. Slowly, the vibrant green has yellowed to gold, and today, the whole tree now blazes a brilliant vermilion. Other trees still wear their green, like our own maples, while yet others are changing into their yellow robes. Across the street and all through the neighborhood, those that have apple trees have the golden and scarlet fruits of the season.

The air bites when I step out into the chill, sending a delicious shiver down my spine. I am constantly in a state of in between, my dragon self balances well with my human self, and so I can sense when my plumes stand up a little, and the shiver passes clear to the tip of my tail. When walking in this, the blasts of wind the town site was chosen for combs through my head and I can’t always resist the urge to spread my wings and revel in the feel.

Now is the time for hot apple pies heavy with cinnamon, and soon the pumpkins will be ready for harvest. Thoughts of warm pumpkin bread and persimmon cookies dance through my head. Sometime soon, I know that I will give in to the desire for pie, and indulge in the ecstasy that comes with baking, and then eating the fruits of my labors with loved ones.

The sky is gray, the clouds high and not touching the Mountain; yet again I’m sure the Mountain will wear a little more white. The wind and rain that caresses the land at night brings forth a purr from me, and inwardly I coil. Now is not the time to den though. This is the season of the harvest and the hunt.

Where Tia is, I know that she feels similar urges to mine. If I close my eyes, even during the day I can hear the short pant of her breath as we run through the forests in our dreams. Though we are different species, there are things that we share…

However, it is the waking world of physical form that I am in now, not the metaphysical one where not all is as it seems at first glance. Even in this waking world, I can practice my art. I can be One with Nature, draw it deeply into myself.

I have noticed that lately I have started wearing clothes that echo the changing leaves, a subconscious nod to the stately trees that teach me so much. The trees begin to draw their essence further inside of themselves, and I do as well.

The chill encourages this, this time of introspection and preparation. Now is a good time to finish things, and then I can have a little rest. The earth murmurs softly as the wind passes by, a reminder that change is the only constant.

The ranges around are still mostly green; various evergreens make up most of our forests here, despite the deciduous trees that are beginning their turning.

It is said that at this time, the veil between worlds is thin, and I’m inclined to believe it. I’ve always noticed that at this time of year, dreams become easier to recall and more vivid. It could be inspired by the weather, which inspired deep contemplation, but there is more to it.

The pendulum swings and the wheel turns, this is the way of my world. The voices grow louder, and sometimes even those that aren’t particularly open have interesting experiences.

It is also said that, in folklore and traditionally, anything left in the fields after the 31, must be left for the fey folk. Not only is it easier to pass between worlds, but they need food as well… It’s said that they blight anything left in the fields, I have sometimes wondered whether it’s because of the freeze possibility messing with the food, or whether it’s from them taking the essence… or some combination. At any rate, much of modern society doesn’t seem to follow this.

Perhaps it is a good idea to let the late stuff stay though… the nutrients return to the ground to nourish the earth, and animals have food to eat… The deer will not be quite so hungry, and the predators will benefit from this, but so will those prey animals that are fed upon. With the scat and vegetation turned under, the soil will be richer, and we will have a little less impact. But these are random thoughts as I let myself mingle with the season.

The waters grow colder with the temperature changes, and soon enough the lakes will begin to freeze. Ice will form over the rivers, though some larger ones will stay unfrozen. Small streams will sleep. But for now, we are between, and Summer mixes with Winter to make this Autumn.

Some traditions depict this time as a War between the two Kings of Summer and Winter. I’ve often thought of it more as the union of Summer and Winter, the blending and uniting of the two… male and female each season, yet neither sex as well. Two forces or essences swirling and merging, pressing into each other until at last… one gives with a last sleepy sigh and gentle nuzzle.

Summer sleeps then in the arms of Winter, and he/she covers them both with a mantle of snow as he/she watches the Beloved sleep and incubate the new life, resting for the next shifting in the Spring.

This is the Deep Magic, working with these forces that eternally shift and merge, draw apart and dance together again. This is what holds me trapped as I dance with Life and Death, Growth and Rest.

When people ask me what I think about the weather, I never know how to answer them in the moment. It is the weather, and the season, and I am a part of it, responding ever to the promptings. I’d like to share the ecstasy that a good gust of wind gives me as it passes by, leaves swirling giddily in its wake.

This is all that I can do… leave you with a taste and a touch, and let you hear the sighs of Summer and Winter in their Autumn Meeting.