Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Welcoming autumn.

This year’s autumn equinox fell on September 22, and I wanted to celebrate. I always intend to celebrate all the various seasonal festivals (equinoxes, solstices, you get the picture), but sometimes I forget. I’m a lazy blogger and a lazy vegan (and a super-lazy yogini), so it shouldn’t shock you to learn that I can be a lazy pagan as well!

Depending on your flavor of pagan, the autumn equinox may be known as Mabon (where my Wiccans at?) or “Witch’s Thanksgiving.” It’s a harvest festival, and while I would love to have a massive pagan harvest feast one year, this year wasn’t it. Since it fell on a Wednesday and we had to eat anyway, I decided the simplest way to celebrate would be with appropriately autumnal food. We had two acorn squashes from our CSA, so Red halved them and scooped out their guts (preparation for pumpkin carving!) and I roasted them. We ate them with Earth Balance and cinnamon, which I think is by far the best way to eat any winter squash. They were sweet and creamy and delicious.

Because no pagan festivities, no matter how low-key, are complete without some sort of libation, I mulled apple cider. This was more drama than it should have been, because we were about a month early for our hippie grocery to carry apple cider. In a fit of frustration, we bought local unfiltered apple juice and determined to make the best of it. (Once we got home, our best friend the Internet told us that unfiltered apple juice basically is apple cider, so my angst was for naught.) Our cider went into a pot with cinnamon sticks and a reusable muslin teabag (God, I’m such a damn hippie) filled with whatever spices Kristin Madden told me to use in her excellent book Mabon: Celebrating the Autumn Equinox. While the squash roasted, the cider simmered, and the kitchen started smelling homey and delicious.

Red and I ate our squash and sipped our cider while watching TV. Terribly reverent, I know. But before we did that, I whipped up a loaf of pumpkin bread (I veganize this recipe, and it hasn’t failed me yet, although I don’t know why it was necessary to name it Baked Pumpkin Bread; if you can tell me how to make bread without baking it, I’ll give you a dollar) and popped it in the oven for dessert. (We pagans like our dessert.) Clearly, I was determined to keep our house smelling like cinnamon and nutmeg all night. A storm was brewing, but we briefly went outside to have a few moments in nature (a.k.a. our deck), light a candle, and say what we were thankful for. After that, we escaped being struck by lightning and ducked back inside to our waiting pumpkin bread. It was a lovely celebration, very peaceful and comforting.

Whatever path you follow (or don’t), blessed be! Have you welcomed the harvest in your own life in any particular way?


  1. We went to a vegetarian potluck at a yoga studio and did 108 Sun Salutations and then had a discussion about the art of intention. We then all joined hands in a group meditation session. So I guess I'm right there with ya in this hippie celebration - haha!!!

  2. This all looks so delicious! I am inspired! I loved how you observed an honored your belief system! So cool and organic from where you were at that point in life -- let it be!

  3. Thank you, ladies! It was a great evening.

    Melissa, you are a warrior! One day I hope to be able to do 108 Sun Salutations.