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Lost in Lindsey

The Thoughts and Adventures of a Lincolnshire Polytheist

Month

September 2016

Summer’s End; what shall we call it?

Afternoon, faithful but often disappointed by my lack of content, readers.

I’ve just got back from my weekly sewing group and we’ve started on the Christmas crafting. Yep it’s that time of year again when thoughts turn to gluttony and gifts. Before that we have Halloween though and of course in the pagan community it’s ‘Mabon’in a week. 

I do not celebrate Mabon; the name ‘Mabon’ has never been associated with the autumn equinox, it is the name of quite an obscure god appropriated by early members of the witchcraft tradtions as a festival name in the 40’s and 50’s. There is no reference to celebrations for the autumn solistice in any survivng Anglo-Saxon or Continental Iron Age literature, that I kniow of. That being said, September is called ‘Haligmonath’, christianised to ‘Harvestmonath’, by Bede in his Ecclisiastical History. It’s a holy harvest month; the grain harvest is long over, what we’re bringing in now is the fruit – apples and pears, blackberries, rosehips and sloes. The fruit of the orchard and hedgerow. The stuff that stored, pickled, made in to jams and steeped in alcohol provided a source of fruit through the winter. 

Next weekend I’ll be celebrating that harvest, thankful for the fruit that my ancestors survived on and thankful for the free food I find as I take the dogs out for a walk, or go for a stroll myself. I’ll be with a bunch of druids and pagans who have a different religious calender to me; we each will find different meaning in the same celebration, each as valid as the other.

If I don’t call Mabon ‘Mabon’, what do I call the autumn equinox? 

Nothing. Well, the autumn equinox, I suppose. But as a celebration? To me it doesn’t have a name. Haligmonath is the name of the month, a time to celebrate the fruits and last harvests. I might choose to celebrate it all month or I might choose to celebrate on a specific day, or I might do both. Joining other pagans in a festival is a bonus and I’ll take a different meaning from it than my friends who are druids or who are exclectic pagans, or who are Christo-Pagans. 

There’s room enough for us all to find our own meaning’s and to use whatever name fits.

My weekend ‘to do’ list:

  • Forage cooking apples, eating apples, brambles (if there are any left), sloes.
  • Learn how to make use of rosehips; forage rosehips.
  • Collect firewood if the rain stops long enough for them to dry out.

Best be off.

Rose

Apple pies and fire wood.

And now September, the holy month is here,

With the harvest almost in (there’s apples still hanging about out there), 

And the nights getting colder,

A fire with friends, a glass (or three) of mead,

And gratitude, 

At last,the bloody kids will be back at school next week.
Evening all,

How’s the summer treat you? It’s been lovely to me, my milk bottle legs are now an old bruise yellow colour, but my arms are as tanned as they get. France was fabulous, I groped some gods in the Louvre and ate the worlds best quiche, against which all other quiches shall hence forth be measured.


Now that it’s getting into September the apple tree down the road (literally, it’s on the road verge, not even in the hedge) is heavy with fruit and I like apple pie. I need to send the nephew up the tree to get more of them. I could only knock a few out with a stick. 

Do you know how to see if an apple is ready to pick? It’s simple, cup the apple in your hand and twist gently. It’ll come away easily if it’s ready but don’t try to force it. Or, hit the branch with a stick, any ripe apples will fall off. 

Now I’ve got a dozen apples I’m stewing the with two plums, cut up, a bit of water and some sugar. Cooked until some is pulp but some is still holding together, or whatever texture you prefer. 

While that’s bubbling away – on of my favourite smells – make the pastry. It’s a basic shortcrust pastry.

Pastry: 

200g plain flour

100g butter (or your preferred alternative)

Pinch salt

1tbsp sugar

A little cold water
Breadcrumb the flour and butter, add the salt and sugar and stir in.

Add a little water and form a stiff dough.

Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.
Roll out, make pie.
The actual reason I went out this afternoon was to collect windfall wood for a fire this evening. A friend is coming round with a bottle of mead she bought on her holiday. We will be sampling. The local woodland was a waterlogged field fifteen years ago dotted with a few mature horse chestnuts and some much younger rowens. The Woodland Trust planted it as part of their millennium community woodland scheme. It has since been extended, and in fifteen years I expect we’ll have a more substantial woodland. As it is, the smaller, original woodland is maturing nicely and there’s plenty of wood on the ground, no doubt helped along by the local children playing in the trees. I’ve had two 15 minute foraging sessions this week and I’ve got a couple of bags of wood to burn. 
Can’t think of a better way to spend a Friday evening, good company, home made food, mead and a fire.
Have a good weekend.

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