It’s one of those magickal times of the year when change is afoot as we move from summer into autumn. With a wonderful Fruit Full Moon (name from the Old English Tradition) to escort us this year as we arrive at the time of Equinox.

The name “equinox” is derived from the Latin aequus, which means equal, and nox, the term for night. So we should have 12 hours daylight and 12 hours of darkness. However the actual date when the timings are equal is known as the equilux, and falls a few days after the autumn equinox. It is the time when the two hemispheres swap over with us in the Northern hemisphere moving towards autumn & winter as we tilt away from our sun and the Southern Hemisphere towards spring and summer as they tilt towards the sun.

We consider this as the beginning of Autumn whereas the meteorological timing of Autumn is September 1st to 30th November. It is a time of harvest of hops, grapes, apples and blackberries and for many wonderful seasonal vegetables. It is a bountiful time and a time to feast from our earths gifts. It is also a time to think ahead to the coming winter and prepare food to see us through the times when fresh foods are in short supply making it a time to begin making preserves and pickles.

Traditional harvest festivals would take place on the Sunday nearest to the months full moon with people gathering in churches to bring produce to share and join together for blessings and giving thanks. Parishioners in churches enjoying singing harvest hymns that give thanks. Carts would be decorated with flowers and corn dollies carrying people to harvest suppers when ale and harvest foods would be plentiful over an evening of music and merriment.

An alternative name for this time time of the year is Mabon originating from welsh Celtic mythology, Madron was associated with light and was the son on Modron, the earth goddess. For some this signifies a festival time to thank Mother Earth and reflect on the past season. This association is considered relatively new dating as recently as the 1970’s although for many they believe it was an established name for this seasonal event.

Whatever your beliefs it really does feel a time for reflection and thanks, this year more so than ever as we are fortunate to be here for our harvest celebration. It often makes me feel wistful as our season changes with a feeling of loss of our summer. However it is equalled by a feeling of excitement of the coming of Autumn in all its glorious colours and the smell of fallen leaves in autumnal piles as the damp air and mists of this time mulches them to make fertiliser for the future growing seasons. I love seeing toadstools and mushrooms bring jewel like circles and patches to mist laden lawns and by long fallen branches.

It is a time to literally take stock . Make wonderful things to eat now and as preserves, create decorations for your home and celebrate this special time of the year. Autumn gives us time to prepare for winter by stocking up our pantry before we follow mother nature’s lead and hibernate a little. The slower living of winter approaches but not yet, for now be busy.

This year we have a wonderful crop of cooking apples and will be making Apple Butter Jam as well as crumbles and pies that will stock up our freezer.

We leave the many windfalls for our local wildlife and have seen our beautiful hares enjoying an early morning nibble. They become part of an essential late Autumn and early winter food supply for passing fieldfares and redwings as well as our wintering thrushes, blackbirds and jackdaws. We have lots to be thankful for.

It’s also the time that Talking Trees Books goes into busy mode as people buy our 2022 Country Wisdom and Folklore diary and wall calendar together with our Yuletide advent countdown calendar and seasonal cards. We are immensely thankful that so many of you help us in our endeavour to keep alive some of our old ways and celebrate the year. We have a bountiful crop of goodies in our shop on our website talkingtreesbooks.co.uk please do take a look.

blessings to you all at this time of change and may your harvest be bountiful - AML & RT x

#autumnequinox #autumn #mabon #harvest #fullmoon #equinox #magickal #tradition #preserves #pickles #nature



151 views4 comments

August 1st is known as Lammas Day or as the Gaelic festival period of Lughnasadh. Lammas origins lie in the Christian liturgical calendar, it’s name deriving from the Anglo-Saxon hlaf-mas meaning loaf-mass. It marked a time when the agricultural year and the Christian calendar came together. From Mediaeval times it marked the end of the hay harvest and the beginning of the grain. We have certainly seen that here at Talking Trees ‘headquarters’ as the hot spell in July resulted in fields being mown earlier than ever and grain crops ripening ahead of time. Traditionally a loaf is made from the first grain and blessed in the church. An Anglo-Saxon book of charms said that the Lammas bread should be broken into four parts, which were then to be placed at the four corners of the barn, to protect the garnered grain. In the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles this time of the year was known as the feast of fruits.


Lughnasadh is one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals the others being Samhain, Imbolc and Beltane. The festival is named after the god Lugh, who in one story is said to have seized the harvest for mankind from another god called Crom Dubh who had taken the harvest as his own. The period of celebration began with a solemn cutting of the first corn which was buried in offering and thanks for the coming harvest.

It was and is a time for handfasting, bonfires, visiting springs and wells and tying a token on clootie trees. It was also a time of food from the famine of the summer months where things were growing but not yet ready to be harvested and when a month of hard labour would begin to fetch in the harvest that would feed people for the rest of the year. Lammas Lands were used for growing early crops and were then open for common grazing until spring before the Enclosures Act put a stop to this practice which brought wealth to many but poverty to even more as they had relied on free feed for their animals. As a Celtic Quarter Day it was also a time when spirits were more likely to be walking amongst the living and also for divination that looked to the future.


A couple of days ago we visited our local spring/well which feeds the Halliwell or Holywell brook that runs through our hamlet to make a video of finding the source from which the 2022 Country Wisdom & Folklore Diary may have been created. The front cover of our new diary relates to the mass of folklore, traditions & superstitions that originate from watercourses. The Halliwell spring once had a wellhead fitted to it and locals would not only use this as a source of water but also a site of superstition where people once threw pins & nails as a protectorate against witches. The site was also where mediaeval fairs and wakes picnics once took place attracting people from far and wide.



We hope you like the harvest of our labour, with the Country Wisdom & Folklore collection now being available to buy in our shop at www.talkingtreesbooks.co.uk

As always we thank you for helping us keep the old ways alive & celebrate the year.

Wishing you a bountiful harvest in your life this Lammastide. x

#folklore #lammas #lughnasahd #august #harvest #oldways #diary #wheeloftheyear

47 views0 comments

‘Then following that beautiful season…Summer.

Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape lay as if newly created in all freshness of childhood.‘ Longfellow


At midsummer people made sunwheels which were generally large pitch covered hoops that were rolled down hill as part of festive gatherings. No one really knows the true significance or reasoning behind this tradition but it is thought to represent the declining sun as it now begins its journey to its winter sky position. After the Summer Solstice on Monday our sun has seemingly been still, giving us a maximum daylight hours here in the Northern Hemisphere, but as from today we lose a fragment of daylight until we reach the Winter Solstice.

Smaller sunwheels (shown in the photo) can be made as decoration but also to acknowledge our sun and celebrate its life giving power and its light giving joy that we enjoy during the summer months.

You could make spiral patterns, traditional sun shapes or circles by planting yellow and orange flowers or placing stones or shells in your garden or on the beach or even in a container in your home.

Bonfires were lit at this time and were known as ‘Aestival’ fires. Margaret Baker wrote in her book Folklore and Customs of rural Britain that ‘they are lit to honour and strengthen the sun…circled by dancers moving ever sunwise, their(the fires) smoke drifting over uneasy cattle penned nearby, wreathed in St John’s wort against the witches power at the solstice.’

in South Staffordshire it was believed that witches would hold a parliament at which they decided the fate of mortals on this day. The local custom was to hang St.Johns wort with other protective fliers and herbs on their houses and barns.

St John’s wort is very much the plant of the moment, it’s name deriving from its proximity to St.John’s feast day on 23rd (midsummer’s eve). it was carried in pockets and pinned on clothing as a protectorate against the evil eye, witches, demons, sprites, faeries and lightning.

It was believed that just smelling the leaves would stave off midsummer madness.

Its flowers heliotropic nature (sun following) meant people considered it magical and having healing properties.

Some people would put a sprig of the plant under their pillow to be ‘visited’ by St John as they slept and so bringing a blessing upon them. It was also associated with faeries and believed that an offering of the plant to the fey folk would mean they would grant you special favours.

Wishing you a merry midsummer and hoping you will in some way mark the day as our ancestors once did.


15 views0 comments
1
2