Spirit Message of the Day – Celebrate Mabon 2011

AUTUMN EQUINOX RECIPES FOR MABON 2011
“Mabon, (pronounced MAY-bun, MAY-bone, MAH-boon, or MAH-bawn) is the Autumn Equinox. The Autumn Equinox divides the day and night equally, and we all take a moment to pay our respects to the impending dark. We also give thanks to the waning sunlight, as we store our harvest of this year’s crops. The Druids call this celebration, Mea’n Fo’mhair, and honor the The Green Man, the God of the Forest, by offering libations to trees. Offerings of ciders, wines, herbs and fertilizer are appropriate at this time. Wiccans celebrate the aging Goddess as she passes from Mother to Crone, and her consort the God as he prepares for death and re-birth.

At this festival it is appropriate to wear all of your finery and dine and celebrate in a lavish setting. It is the drawing to and of family as we prepare for the winding down of the year at Samhain. It is a time to finish old business as we ready for a period of rest, relaxation, and reflection.

Mabon is considered a time of the Mysteries. It is a time to honor Aging Deities and the Spirit World. Considered a time of balance, it is when we stop and relax and enjoy the fruits of our personal harvests, whether they be from toiling in our gardens, working at our jobs, raising our families, or just coping with the hussle-bussle of everyday life. May your  Mabon be memorable, and your hearts and spirits be filled to overflowing!” (Excerpts from http://www.wicca.com/celtic/akasha/mabon.htm)

DARK HONEY WHEAT BREAD
“At Mabon, we celebrate the goddess in her aspect as the crone, or the Dark Mother. She is Demeter, she is Hecate, she is the wise old woman wielding a scythe rather than a basket of blooming flowers. This honey wheat blend is a delicious way to celebrate the end of the harvest and say farewell to the fertile months of summer. Serve warm with herbed oils for dipping, or with a big scoop of Apple Butter. Make this either in your bread machine, or by kneading it by hand.”

  • 2 C. warm water
  • 1 Tbs. active dry yeast
  • 1/3 C. honey
  • 3 C. whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 C. vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 4 C. all purpose baking
    flour
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon

“Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add honey and mix well. Stir in the whole wheat flour, salt, cinnamon, vegetable oil, and butter and mix until a stiff dough has formed. Gradually work the all-purpose flour into the mix, one cup at a time. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured countertop, and knead for about fifteen minutes. When it reaches the point where it’s sort of elastic, shape it into a ball and place it into an oiled bowl. Cover with a warm, damp cloth, and allow to sit and rise until it’s doubled in size — usually about 45 minutes.

Punch the dough down and cut in half, so you can make two loaves of bread. Place each half in a greased loaf pan, and allow to rise. Once the dough has risen an inch or two above the top of the loaf pan, pop them in the oven. Bake at 375 for half an hour, or until golden brown at the top. When you remove the loaves from the oven, allow to cool for about fifteen minutes before removing from the pan. If you like, brush some melted butter over the top of the hot loaves, to add a pretty golden glaze to them.

Note – If you’re doing this in a bread machine, remember, the recipes makes two loaves. Halve everything if you’re allowing the machine to do the mixing. If you hand mix it, you can still drop the single-loaf balls of dough into the
machine to bake.”

APPLE BUTTER
Apple butter is a delicious treat all year long, and if you make it in the fall with fresh apple sauce, you can preserve it to eat later on. Enjoy this tasty spread on warm bread, or just straight from the jar! You’ll need basic canning supplies like Mason jars with lids, a pair of tongs, and a big pot to get started. This recipe should yield you about ten pints of apple butter.

  • 9 quarts of applesauce
  • 2 C. apple cider
  • 3 Tbs. ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbs, ground cloves
  • 1 Tbs. nutmeg
  • 3 C. sugar (more if you
    like really sweet apple butter)

You can make this recipe with homemade or store-bought applesauce. Homemade tastes far better, so if you’ve never made your own applesauce, check out the Applesauce recipe at our Family Crafts site. Fill a crock pot with as much applesauce as it takes to bring you about an inch from the top — this will NOT hold all of the applesauce, unless you have a REALLY big crock pot, but that’s okay. It should take about half the applesauce if you use a 5-quart crock.

Add 1 C. of the cider, half the cinnamon, half the cloves and nutmeg, and 1 1/2 C. of the sugar. Set the crock pot on Low, and cover. Allow the applesauce to cook on low setting for about 8 – 12 hours.  Around the 10-hour point, check the amount of applesauce in the pot. It should have reduced significantly by now, so add in the remaining quarts of applesauce, spices, cider and sugar. Mix thoroughly to blend with the applesauce that’s already in the pot, and allow to simmer for a few more hours, until the applesauce has reduced to a nice, thick brown apple butter.

Optional – use a hand-held mixer to blend the apple butter into a creamy, smooth texture. Finally, can the apple butter using the following steps: Home Canning Basics, so you’ll have apple butter that lasts for months in your pantry. Serve your apple butter with a loaf of warm, soft bread, or eat it straight from the jar! (Excerpts
taken from http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/maboncooking)

Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

  • 1 (2 to 3 pound) butternut squash, peeled and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • ½ teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • Pinch of Saffron
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cut squash into large chunks and roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until fork tender with an olive oil sprinkle. In large pot melt butter. Add onion and cook until translucent, then garlic. Add roasted squash and stock.
Bring to a simmer. Remove squash chunks with slotted spoon and place in a blender and puree. Return blended squash to pot. Stir and season with nutmeg, cinnamon, saffron, salt, and pepper. Serve with a splash of olive oil and bread. Enjoy!

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Spirit Message of the Day – Summon Strength of Warrior’s Heart

OHN GORSE – PASSION AND STRENGTH
Symbolism and Lore: “A young couple of warriors are sparring amongst the blooming gorse in the warm sun. Oblivious to the couple, bees work steadily toward their own goals. What started off as a playful training session soon escalates into a passionate battle, each feeling like they have something to prove to the other – their skill, talent, and strength are all under scrutiny by their partner. In the heat of battle, amongst the fragrance of the gorse flowers, a moment passed into being that changed everything; their skills evenly matched, the strength of battle changed into other passions evenly matched as well. Their eyes lock, and something that had been brewing in both of them comes to fruition. The success of a people depends upon their ability to protect and defend as well as to love.”

“Gorse, sometimes called furze, is a fascinating plant that grows in a mass of deep yellow blooms. It is strongly scented and has been compared with coconut and vanilla; it is said that when gorse is in bloom, it is the season for kissing. Gorse blooms almost continuously, so there is always time for love! This also secured gorse’s place as a symbol of fertility. Gorse attracts many bees and is a symbol of achievement through hard work, as well as a signifier of honey production, which means there will be honey for making mead.”

“Gorse was very important to the Celts, especially the health dwellers, who used it as fuel for fires when trees were scarce. Gorse was also the best laundry line around; its spiny thorns thorns didn’t let the clothes blow away, and the blooms left the clothing smelling fresh. In the early spring, farmers often burn fields of gorse to clear the woody stems and spines, encouraging new soft, green growth that cattle and sheep love to feed on. The yellow blossoms covering the hillsides are also associated with the sun and often with Lugh, the sun god, further adding to its associations with fertility, creative energy, and vitality. Gorse is also known as a protective plant against dark magic or curses, protecting happiness and well-being.”

CELTIC DIVINING CHARM
“The strength of a warrior’s passions abound
Or the gentlest of work and the heart is shall pound
Whether fierceness in battle or passion for love
Your strength of the heart you are not bereft of”

MESSAGE FOR YOU
“The strength and passion of a warrior and that of a lover are not actually that different; after all, the saying goes that all is fair in love and war. This card represents the dichotomy of both. We may be spiritual beings, but we live in the material realm, and you may be feeling the need to express that in physical ways. Celebrate your being; your life force and vitality are high, and combining forces with another can bring great rewards. Don’t give up; express your lust for life. There may be a passionate and physical love affair that features prominently. The promise of a bright, warm future and rewards for hard work are assured.”

“Otherwise, if you get too wrapped up in your passion, you may forget to watch out for the thorns! Are you having a good time, or are  you taking too many risks and endangering your heart or your well-being? You may be heading toward a sticky entanglement that you would do best to avoid.”

FIELD GUIDE
“Common gorse (Ulex Europaeus) is native to Europe, although it has many close relatives found in Europe and parts of Africa and Iberia. Gorse is found in the United States, where it was introduced as an ornamental plant in the middle to late 1800’s and is now considered an invasive species due to its aggressive nature.”

“Gorse thrives in sunny, sandy areas and grows in abundance on the heaths. It grows to around eight to sixteen feet tall. When left to grow, its stems can become woody and light-colored, with a yellowish-green tint. Its bark is think and flaky. Young leaves are thin and divided into three leaflets growing off a main stem; as the plant ages, its leaves become small spines. Its tender shoots also become modified into spines. Gorse has a very long blooming season, while the height of its blooms occurs in spring. Its flowers are lipped and pollinated by bees. Once pollinated, a seed pod forms, which loudly pops open in the heat of the sun or by the disturbance of passing bees and livestock, shooting its seeds out. If this sounds familiar, you are correct: gorse is a cousin of broom. Gorse is still used as cattle fodder; in addition, its flowers are edible and are used in salads, as well as for making gorse flower wine.”

Today’s guidance is from Voice of the Trees: A Celtic Divination Oracle by Mickie Mueller.

RECIPE FOR GORSE WINE

  • 12 cups of gorse flowers
  • 7 pints of water
  • 2 pounds sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups seedless white raisins
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 lemons (or 1/4 oz. citric acid)
  • 1/8 teaspoon grape tannin
  • 1 teaspoon yeast nutrient
  • 1 pkg Lalvin EC-1118 yeast

“Put the flowers into primary immediately. Boil half the water, half the sugar and the chopped raisins  together for 1 to 2 minutes, then pour over flowers. Thinly peel the rind from the oranges and the lemons and  add rind (no pith) to primary. Squeeze out the juice and add that too, but not the pulp. Add the tannin and  stir thoroughly. Add cold water to bring total to 1 gallon. When water cools to 90 degrees F, or less, add  the activated yeast and yeast nutrient, stir well and cover. Ferment 3 days, stirring twice daily, then add  remaining sugar and stir to dissolve. Recover primary and continue stirring twice daily until fermentation  subsides or s.g. drops below 1.020.  Strain through a sieve or cloth and transfer to a gallon secondary.  Fit  airlock and set in warm place. Rack after 30 days and again when clear, wait a month and rack again.  Stabilize,  wait 30 days, and sweeten to 1.004-1.006.  Wait additional 30 days, rack into bottles and age 6 months before  tasting it.

Common gorse flowers most strongly in spring, though it bears some flowers year round. The flowers have  a very distinctive strong coconut scent. Western gorse and Dwarf gorse differ in being almost entirely late  summer flowering (August-September in Britain), and also have somewhat darker yellow flowers than Common  gorse. Picking the flowers can be a chore, as the spines seem relentless.  But the reward is a wine that is most  enjoyable.”

Excerpt taken from: http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/request223.asp

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