Our Spirituality Editor, Jen CK Jacobs, is guiding us through the eight primary holidays that make up The Wheel of the Year, all inspired by the earth and its natural cycles. Read her introduction to The Wheel of the Year here, and then celebrate Mabon with us below.
Light is such a beautiful metaphor for so many aspects of our existence. As many of us were able to experience a few weeks ago during the solar eclipse, sun and shadow can reverberate powerful energy anywhere we so choose to send that magic.
Summer is waning, and with it, the light. Our days are just beginning to shorten so that the day now equals the night and depending on where you live, you may notice a subtle shift in the air as well. Historically, this time of year marks the second harvest and in the Northern Hemisphere, on the evening of Friday, September 22nd, we will welcome the Autumn Equinox, also called Mabon.
While Samhain marks the New Year of the Wheel of the Year, we will begin our journey together with Mabon. Above all else, this is a celebration of gratitude and a time to seek balance in your life – like the now equal marriage of day to night. When people once relied solely on the harvest they brought in to nourish them throughout the winter, it was part of their ancient rituals to give thanks for such abundance. Today, unless we live completely off of the land, we can simply walk or drive to the nearest market to replenish our stores. But taking a moment to thank the Mother Earth, and those that tirelessly work her fields to bring us such bounty is important; not only for your spiritual health, but also because the light of kindness and gratitude will catch flame and burn bright in the world as a whole.
Ask yourself what are you most grateful for this fall. How do you celebrate or honor gratitude? Perhaps you meditate or journal, or perhaps you give service to your community. Take time to honor yourself and be grateful for the body, spirit and voice you were given to do good work in this world. And take time to honor those you love. (Ultimately, what we need in this world is simply more love.)
Invite friends and family to join you in a Day of Gratitude on September 22nd by sharing something with each other that you are thankful for. Perhaps it’s the way your daughter always kisses both of your cheeks when you say goodnight, or maybe it’s that a certain friend always seems to know when you need to hear her voice. If you have the means, gather your loved ones in an outdoor celebration that evening for a potluck feast. One of my favorite ways of showing people how much I love them is by cooking for them, nourishing them and giving them a place at my table to rest their weary bodies.
As we wander the orchards plucking apples from their branches this fall, keep the below recipes in mind as a way to say “thank you” at the end of your feast. Double the apple butter recipe and divide the leftovers between small jars as a parting gift for your friends.
ROSEMARY APPLE PIE
- 6-7 apples (I love organic Cortlands – they hold their shape beautifully), cored and sliced
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/4 cup demerara sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup Apple, Rosemary and Wine Apple Butter (see below)
- 3 tablespoon butter, cubed
- one pie crust (see below)
1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Place the apple slices in a large bowl.
3. Butter and lightly flour a tart or pie dish.
4. Roll out the pie dough (recipe below) and transfer to the pie dish.
5. In a small bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Then add to the apples. Mix well so that all the apples are evenly coated.
6. Add the apple, rosemary and wine butter (recipe below) to the apple bowl and again ensure everything is completely coated. I find it's easiest to use my hands as opposed to a utensil here.
7. Add the apples to the prepared pie dish. Fit them in tightly, so they are a bit snug. Dot the apples with about half of the butter cubes.
8. Use the remaining apples to create a fanned pattern on top of the pie; then, dot the top of the pie with the remaining butter. Place the pie on a baking sheet (just in case it bubbles over) and slide into the oven for 45-55 minutes. When done, the top should be golden and you should see the filling bubbling. Serve with laughter, light and gratitude!
APPLE, ROSEMARY & WINE BUTTER
This apple butter adds a perfect zing to the above pie, but it’s equally delicious when spread on toast, spooned into oatmeal or used in any other way you might use a fruit jam.
- 5 pounds of apples (again, I like organic Cortlands, and I don't peel mine, but you can if you wish)
- lemon juice
- 2 cups apple cider
- 1 cup sweet white wine
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- 1 tablespoon dry rosemary
1. In a large pot, combine the wine and cider over medium heat.
2. Mix the cinnamon, cloves and rosemary together, and add to the pot.
3. Core and chop up the apples and then add to the pot. Cover the pot partially and leave on medium to high heat until it begins to boil; squeeze the juice of 1/2 lemon into the pot (mind the seeds!) and a dash of salt then turn to simmer and leave it for at least two hours, stirring occasionally.
Note: You should learn to always taste as you're cooking – it helps train your palette and can save you from having to start over once finished. If it's not sweet enough for you, add a bit of honey; if the flavors lack a little depth, add a bit more cinnamon and touch of salt. Experiment a little – make it yours.
4. When it starts to look like a mushy, thick applesauce, pour it into a food processor and blend until you achieve your desired consistency. If you like really chunky apple butter, you can skip this step entirely and sort of mix and mash with a wooden spoon or spatula.
5. Once done, if not used in the above pie, pour the sauce into clean hot mason jars fresh from the dishwasher and seal them. (I'm no canning expert; moreover we eat ours too quickly to worry about storage. But if you want to save your apple butter for later, look into official canning rules.)
Every great pie deserves a great piecrust. And this is a great piecrust. I usually make several at the beginning of the season and freeze the discs. When you are ready to use them, let them thaw for a few hours at room temperature, and they will be ready to roll.
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 9 tablespoon organic salted butter (VERY cold and cubed)
- 3 tablespoon ice water
1. Add the flour, salt and butter to the bowl of a food processor. Cover the bowl and process.
2. Once the butter is fully incorporated, pour the water through the hole on the top of the lid.
3. Allow the processor to continue to run until the dough starts to form into a ball. Once it has, remove the dough and shape into a disc. This will yield one piecrust.
You can make as many crusts as you wish, but they need to be made one at a time. If you are making them to freeze, place them in individual freezer bags to store. If you want to use the crust right away, place in a plastic bag or wrap with saran and refrigerate for about 15 minutes.