Monday, 15 October 2018

Autumn Photos + Inspiration

Autumn is properly here! (Although we have had some warmer weather recently, and I did wear my flip flops a few days ago because I thought it might be the last time I'd get to wear them this year, lol). I'm always sad to see summer go but autumn is a beautiful time of year.

I thought I'd share some recent photos I took and also some links with ideas for celebrating autumn. (Doesn't seem that long since I shared spring pictures, but it's 6 months ago now and 3 since I posted some summer photos!).


Trees in Sompting


Monday, 24 September 2018

Madron 2018

Yesterday was Madron, also known as Mabon and the Autumn Equinox. Or Saturday depending on your time zone, as I mentioned in my Celebrating Madron and Autumn post, the actual equinox time and date in the UK was  2.54am on Sunday 23rd Sept, but in the US it was 9.54pm EST on Saturday the 22nd.

My main celebration was  baking a ginger spice cake. It was based on this spiced wacky cake recipe: https://www.thecountrycook.net/spiced-wacky-cake/

I'd had the recipe saved on Pinterest for a while so this was a good opportunity to use it! I didn't know what a wacky cake was, but on the site Brandie explains that they're also called Depression-era cakes because they were good to make if you didn't have many ingredients in such as eggs, butter and milk. This recipe uses white vinegar and vegetable oil.

The original recipe uses pumpkin spice. I'm not sure if that's widely available in the UK, but there might  be some places that do it.. I decided to use ginger and mixed spices instead though, so I put a tablespoon of ginger and mixed spice in (rather than 1TBSP pumpkin spice). The frosting for the spiced wacky cake is a vanilla buttercream one from the Food Network website, but the site itself isn't available in the UK (not sure why!) so I couldn't see the recipe. Rather than make another vanilla frosting I decided to use the cream cheese icing one from the frosted white chocolate Easter cake I've made a few times (most recently this Easter). You can see that recipe here: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/04/frosted-white-chocolate-easter-cake.html

I'd previously used the same icing for the ginger beer cake I baked for Madron 2016, so thought it would work. It did go well and the cake itself tastes quite nice. Nice flavour and the ginger and mixed spices aren't too overpowering. The sponge is a bit chewier than some cakes though, maybe because of the oil. Here are a couple of  pics:

The mark is just a hole in the icing!

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Celebrating Madron + Autumn


Madron, also known as Mabon and the Autumn Equinox, is coming up next weekend. This year it's Sunday 23rd September. Note: This may be different depending on your time zone, the actual equinox time and date in the UK is  2.54 am on Sunday 23rd Sept, but in the US it's 9.54 pm EST on Saturday the 22nd. So celebrate at the appropriate time for you. The energy of the sabbats is thought to be active for a couple of days either side anyway. :)

Last year I did a post on ways to celebrate. You can read it here: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/09/madronautumn-equinox-celebration-ideas.html

So for 2018 I thought I'd do one about celebrating both Madron and autumn in general, like my previous ones about Oestara and spring, and Litha and summer.

Note: If you're in the Southern Hemipshere it's time for Oestra/Ostara and spring. You might like this post: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/03/celebrating-oestara-spring.html


Update 20/9/18: Added a couple of extra links. :)


Madron Ideas

Madron (more commonly known as Mabon but I was first introduced to it as "Madron" in Kate West's books) and the Autumn Equinox is the time when day and night is equal. It's the opposite of the Spring Equinox. Since Litha/the Summer Solstice which was the longest day of the year, the days have been getting gradually shorter. I've only really noticed it in recent weeks, sunset is now around 7.15pm. After Madron days will continue to get shorter and nights longer, until Yule aka the Winter Solstice, just before Christmas. So Madron is a time of balance.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Getting Ready for Autumn


Last December I started a series of post about preparing for the coming seasons, the first post was Getting Ready for Winter. I followed that up with Getting Ready for Spring and Getting Ready for Summer, so now here is a post on getting ready for autumn, to complete the seasonal circle. :)

Note: If  spring is coming up where you are check out the spring post: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/03/getting-ready-for-spring.html


After what has felt like an especially long, hot summer, the weather has cooled down and autumn is coming. We seem to have had some weird weather in the UK this year, with snow storms in March and more snow than usual here in Sussex. Then in April we had hotter weather than usual for spring, and then a hot summer. I did enjoy the hotter weather, although I struggled a bit to adjust to the heat. In the past couple of weeks or so it's cooled down and now it's feeling more like autumn. The light shifts towards the end of August, mellows, and also now the shorter days (since Litha/the Summer Solstice they shorten by about a minute every 3 days and about 3 mins a day by Madron aka the Autumn Equinox) are becoming a bit more noticeable with sunset before 8pm instead of after 9 earlier in the summer.

It has actually warmed up these past couple of days and I'm planning to go to the beach tomorrow to make the most of the weather, before summer is officially over! But I'm also concentrating on moving into autumn.

As with the other seasons, there are two "official" starts to autumn- meteorological autumn which is 1st September, and astronomical autumn which is around 22nd September when the Autumn Equinox (Madron/Mabon) is. This year Madron is 23rd Sept. For more information read this post: https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/learning/seasons/autumn/when-does-autumn-start

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Late Summer

Last month I shared some summer photos. You can see the post here: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/07/summer-photos.html

Now we're coming to the end of summer. Almost a year ago I did an End of Summer post and it seems strange that we're already in mid-late August again. Doesn't seem that long since spring! Back in April we had some unusually hot weather, then it returned to more normal temperatures for the time of year. In July and earlier this month we had a heatwave and it was said to be the hottest summer for several years. It's cooled down now but but may heat up again at the end of the month.

Here are a few more pictures I've taken this summer:

Hove Park- July '18.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Lammas 2018

For Lammas last Wednesday I celebrated by making Cornish pasties and gingerbread. As I mentioned in my Celebrating Lammas post, I usually bake for this sabbat. I normally make gingerbread but I don't think I'd made a Cornish pasty (or rather Cornish style pasty since I'm not from Cornwall!) for it since 2014. The recipe is from Kate West's The Real Witches' Kitchen. I couldn't post the full recipe online for legal reasons, but linked to similar recipes in this post: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2014/08/lammas.html

 I had my pasty for lunch with some Bulmers cider. Here's a pic:



Sunday, 29 July 2018

Celebrating Lammas

 

Lammas, one of my favourite sabbats (along with Samhain) is coming up. It's this Wednesday 1st August (although some may celebrate it on 31st July, or start their celebrations from sunset on the 31st). Last year I did a post about Lammas celebration ideas which you can read here: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2017/07/lammas-celebration-ideas.html

This year I'll write some more about preparing for and celebrating Lammas. :)

Note: If you're in the Southern Hemisphere, Imbolg/Imbolc is coming up and you might like this post: https://livingseasonal.blogspot.com/2018/01/imbolg-celebration-ideas.html


Lammas (also known as Lughnasadh) is harvest time, the first of the 3 harvest festivals (the others are Madron/Mabon and Samhain). The God will be sacrificed for the land and then later reborn. The Goddess has now become the Mother and is pregnant with the new God, who she will give birth to at Yule aka the Winter Solstice. You can read more here: https://whisperingworlds.com/wiccan/lammas.php

Here are a couple more links about Lammas:

http://www.theseasonalsoul.com/lammas-meaning/

https://wiccanspells.info/wiccan-pagan-articles/how-to-celebrate-lughnasadh-lammas/