Tomorrow, the 22nd of September is the Autumn Equinox, or Mabon on the wheel of the year. Though this equinox is the astronomical start of the autumn in the northern hemisphere, it is seen as the peak of the season on the wheel of the year. And personally, I go by the appearance of glossy, marbled conkers across the leaf strewn parks.
Mabon marks the second harvest, the harvest of fruit, and is a time to give thanks for the earth's bounty. It's also traditionally a time to rest after the intensity of summer and hard work of harvest time, and to reflect on the year so far.
I know very few of us have achieved what we hoped to at the beginning of 2020, but it has been an incredible year for change, learning and for gaining clarity on what really matters. both on a personal level, and globally.
Maybe the question this time is not what have you made of this year, but what has this year made of you?
Ways To Celebrate Mabon
Go for a walk and seek out the changing leaves, acorns and conkers. Take some art supplies and paint or sketch what you see. Let kids collect leaves and take rubbings of them and the bark of trees.
Make the most of the seasonal goods ready to be gathered - make natural cold remedies from rosehips, sloe gin, blackberry crumble, and apple cake (my favourite simple recipe below!).
Prepare your garden and plant bulbs ready for next spring.
Think hibernation. Organise your home, or your plans. Write them all down. Try to tie up loose ends and get things finished before starting on new ideas!
Super Simple Gluten Free Apple Cake
Ingredients for 7" loaf/18cm round tin:
Two large apples, peeled, cored and grated chunkily
Three large eggs
150g room temp butter
150g gluten free self raising flour
Pre-heat oven to 160ºc/180ºc fan/gas mark 4
Mix butter and sugar
Add eggs and sift in the flour slowly until fully combined
Add the grated apple
As Jamie Oliver would say, bosh it in the oven for 50-60 minutes.
This is a deliciously moist cake with a subtle apple flavour, so your cake tester/whatever you use as a cake tester may not come out completely clean even when the cake is baked through. Use your judgement as over-baking will dry it out.
What is the Wheel of The Year?
Most people are familiar with the spring and autumn equinoxes, and summer and winter solstices which mark the four quarter points of the wheel of the year. These are the solar festivals, marking the high points of the seasons, but there are four lesser known fire festivals (or cross quarters) which mark each season's beginning - Imbolc, Beltane, Lammas, and Samhain. So instead of dividing the year into 12 months, it is divided into eight sections - quarters and cross quarters.
People of different nature-based faiths celebrate the Wheel of the Year, including Pagans and Wiccans, and the festivals are influenced by folklore and ancient beliefs. I am not a religious person but have found following these celebrations a wonderful way to ground myself and a healthy reminder to change the way I work throughout the year.
I'd love to hear how you're celebrating this season? Do come say hi on Instagram!