Blessed Mabon 2021

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram:  @thewandcarver

Wishing all my dear readers a happy and blessed Mabon 2021.

It is finally Autumn Equinox! My favourite season, next to Yule/Winter Solstice, obvs.  I have always loved this time of year when it begins to get very dark, very early.  My parents weren’t fans because it was too dark to send me out until an hour before bedtime! Still, I was a good child [ahem!] and always found a good book to read or busied myself drawing fashion designs.  No, I never made good on that old dream. 

The Autumn Equinox [also called Alban Elfed],and also called Mabon, is a Pagan celebration, originating from the Celts, who once [and still] populated Britain and much of Northwest Europe before the march of the Romans.

This tree-loving, Druid-led tribe celebrated nature and the progression of the seasons by dividing the year into eight segments, at key turning points, creating eight festivals.  Because Druids and Pagans love a good festival!

I doubt I need to explain how the quarterly and half-year Sabbats were divided and why they were, so I shall leave you with this , the “Wheel of the Year”, which has been so-called since the advent of Wicca. It’s a good name so we use it.  Besides, I don’t recall what the old Pagans would have called it.

wheel of the year
by unpublishedzine.com

How will you celebrate Mabon?

Think second  harvest.  As you know, the first harvest was Lughnassadh, the wheat/grain harvest.  During Medieval times, Christianised European peasants celebrated the Autumn Equinox as the Feast of the Archangel Michael [also known as Michaelmas].which actually falls later on 29 September. In the lunar cycle, September marks the Wine Moon, which is the time for harvesting grapes. On the back of this we use the last harvest for other fruits like apples. So, now you have your bread from the first harvest and now you have your wine and cider from your second harvest.  You are set for a long winter!

Considering this, wine and cider should be served if you feel comfortable hosting a Mabon celebration with friends and family.  And obviously, bread and pastry should be served if you want to follow the old one’s ways.  Lots of different kinds of nuts would also likely be served and savoury meat pies!  I’m getting a bit peckish writing about it!

Decorating can be as lavish or as simple as you like.  Making bowls full of potpourri from dried fruit skins, ginger, and other fresh spices will fill the air with that Autumnal feeling.  The scent of freshly baked breads will go a long way in making your mini-festival feel cosy and warm.  If you have left-over “corn dollies” from Lughnassadh, these will look very nice hanging about the house.  And, of course, the dining room sideboard can be decked out a bit like a Mabon altar.

Whatever you choose to do for Mabon, I hope you and those you celebrate with, enjoy.  Please do stay safe.  Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x

The Magick of Aspen

Originally posted on 26/10/2017 via speakingofwitchwands.net

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram: @thewandcarver

aspen tree
from aspentreeservices.co.uk

A friend on Twitter mentioned Quaking Aspen some months back and I said I should blog about it soon. So, today we’ll consider the magickal side of the Aspen tree, a British native, but far more common in the US and Scotland. Much smaller in stature than the White Poplar, slender in growth on a tall, slim trunk, they spread easily by means of underground shoots and so are often found growing close together in little groves. The roundish toothed leaves sprout on flattened stalks, each one unusually long and flexible. These are a soft, rusty colour in spring before maturing to a uniform mid-green. Aspens seem continually on the move which gives the tree its nickname of the ‘Quaking Aspen’ or ‘Shivering tree’.  The Aspen, being closely related to the White Poplar, often the names of the two trees are used interchangeably.

Now, you know, Darren 😊

Also called the “Whispering Tree”, the Aspen is representative of the Autumn Equinox, 21st September and is the fourth vowel of the Ogham alphabet – Eadhadh, and it is the 19th Ogham of the alphabet.  The Aspen is not a Celtic Birth Tree Calendar tree, therefore there isn’t an “Aspen zodiac” reading. However, the Ogham itself has meaning and if you were born on the Autumn Equinox, it would be a special Ogham for you, in addition to your birth tree for your place in that month.

Lore and legend is associated with these quivering Aspen leaves, and it’s no wonder. When you have the first opportunity, observe the aspen leaves in action – loosen your body and mind and really watch these amazing trees. Their stark, white bodies ascending to their shimmery leaves will keep you spellbound.  It is, as many trees are, quite sacred to the Druids.

Folklore

The Aspen is felt to be a tree of rebirth.  It is also thought of as a tree of overcoming death. The writer, Nigel Pennick in Magical Alphabets sees the Aspen as a resistor of inhospitable conditions.  On the other hand, the Aspen is also seen as dark and evil as per its role in the Bible as the betrayer of Christ.  In France, it was a religious belief that the leaves shook with fear because Christ’s cross was made from Aspen wood.  In Germany, it was legend that the Aspen was the only tree that refused to acknowledge him, so Jesus had placed a curse on the Aspen – which caused the tree to tremble in fear. Any way you look at Aspen, it has a connection with death.

Early folk healers in England would tell a palsy patient to pin a lock of her hair to an Aspen tree and repeat:

Aspen tree, Aspen tree

I prithee shiver and shake

Instead of me.

They were to walk home in silence from there [or they risk breaking the spell, and the cure would fail]

Medicine

The bark of the Aspen tree contains an analgesic and early Native American women would brew a tea of the bark and leaves to relieve menstrual cramps, and other pains.

Magick

Burn incense made of powdered Aspen bark on a charcoal disc at Samhain to protect you from unwanted spirits and to help you release old fears as you move forward into the next new year. Plant an Aspen tree on your property to prevent thieves from robbing your home.

Correspondences

Planet: Mercury

Element: Air

Symbolism: Ascent, Protection, Overcoming fear.

Stone: Black Opal

Birds: Mourning Dove, Swan

Colour: Grey

Deity: Persephone, Hades

Sabbat: Mabon, Autumn Equinox

Folk Name: European Aspen

“And the wind full of wantonness

Woos like a lover

The young Aspen trees

Till they tremble all over.”

~Thomas Moore, Lalla Rookh, Light of the Harem

Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x

Sources:

Magical Alphabets, by Nigel Pennick

Druidry.org

Wikipedia