Mabon Craft Projects

01
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Craft Projects to Celebrate Mabon

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Mabon is the time to mark the autumn equinox. BURGER / Getty Images

Autumn is a wonderful time to get crafty, thanks to the bright colors of the season. Make your own harvest candles, celebratory incense, and autumn God's Eyes to decorate your home for the coming Sabbat.

02
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Mabon Harvest Potpourri

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Make some harvest potpourri for Mabon!. Image by Adrienne Bresnahan/Moment Open/Getty Images

One of the most magical aspects of the Mabon season is the smells. From campfires to burning leaves to pumpkin spice, the aromas of fall tend to trigger warm and happy memories for many of us. You can mix up a batch of harvest potpourri to use during the autumn months, and let it simmer on your stove top or in an electric warmer.

Although you can buy commercially prepared potpourri, it’s easy to make your own – and it’s something people have been doing for a long time. According to the Herb Lady, “Potpourri,” from the French word for “rotten pot“ (“pot-” meaning “pot” and  “-pourri“ meaning “rotten“), is commonly used to describe “a collection of dried flower petals, leaves, herbs, and spices that is used to scent the air.” It was common practice for the French in the early 17th century to use these mixtures to scent their homes.”

However, people have been blending together herbs, spices and other goodies to make their homes smell good long before the French gave this practice a name. Keep in mind that our modern perception of fragrance is quite different from that of people in centuries past. Indoor plumbing and personal hygiene are relatively new in the grand scheme of things, and it didn’t take much for your home to start smelling pretty ripe before the advent of these inventions.

The emperors of ancient Rome were big advocates of scented products, both to anoint the body and to freshen a living space. In ancient Egypt, pharaohs used perfumed ointments and oils, and fragrant rushes and plants were strewn about in temples and homes to keep the air fresh.

By the time the Middle Ages rolled around, people were carrying nosegays – a cloth bundle full of scented herbs – with them to inhale when they were in an area that smelled less than pleasant. Being the Middle Ages, when there were a lot of unwashed people living in close quarters with poor ventilation, there were a lot of areas that didn’t smell good. People of this era also used herbs as “fumitories,” which was essentially a way of clearing the air out of a sickroom – it not only made the place smell a lot better, but it also was believed to keep away the noxious humors of disease. 

Eventually the French – remember, they’re the ones who came up with the name potpourri – discovered the idea of placing rose petals in a pot with a layer of salt. After the petals fermented and cured, the pots were placed around the home to keep the room smelling like (you guessed it!) roses.

In the fall, the rose bushes – and many other plants – are dying for the year, so it’s a good time to harvest them, hang them, and dry them for other uses. Making potpourri is an easy project, and a batch will last you a while. The recipes below make about 4 cups of potpourri each, but you can reduce or increase the measurements if you like – consider bagging your potpourri up, tying it with a ribbon or some raffia, and giving it away as a gift!

Before you make potpourri, take the time to go for a walk in the woods and pick up things that are interesting – bits of tree bark, dried berries and acorns, pinecones, that sort of thing. Gather them in a bag and bring them home, and mix them into your potpourri blend – you can use about a 1:1 ratio of woodsy mix to prepared potpourri. You don’t have to do this, but it adds a nice outdoorsy look to your potpourri, and will help to stretch it a bit farther as well.

HARVEST APPLE SPICE POTPOURRI

Ingredients

Directions

Blend all your ingredients together – the best way to get a good result from this is to use a mortar and pestle to grind them up a bit before you store them. This will help release the essential oils and fragrances. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle – or you don’t have one large enough to do this in – you can put the ingredients in a sealable bag, and run over it with a rolling pin a few times.

To use your potpourri, you can do a number of things with it. Place it out in pretty bowls to freshen a room, put it in a pot of water to simmer on the stovetop, or spoon it into individual sachets to spread around the house. The possibilities of potpourri are endless!

ADDITIONAL READING

If you’re interested in reading up on potpourri and the history of other aromas and scents, check out some of these resources:

  • Ann Tucker Fettner: Potpourri,Incenseand other Fragrant Concoctions. (NY: Workman, 1972)
  • Tania Bayard, Editor: A Medieval Home Companion: Housekeeping in the Fourteenth Century. (NY: HarperCollins, 1991)
  • Nicholas Culpeper: Culpeper's Complete Herbal and The English Physician.
  • Hildegarde of Bingen: Hildegard von Bingen's Physica: the Complete English Translation of Her Classic Work on Health and Healing. Translated by Patricia Throop. (Rochester, VT: Healing Arts, 1998).

 

03
of 06

Make Your Own Mabon Incense

Image by Studio Paggy/Dex Image/Getty Images

As the Wheel of the Year turns with each season, you may wish to use different types and scents of incense for your ceremonies and rituals. While incense isn't mandatory for a good ritual, it certainly can help to set the mood. To make your a blend of incense for Mabon, the autumn equinox, we'll be using scents that remind us of the fall season, and the second harvest of the year.

You can make incense with sticks and in cones, but the easiest kind uses loose ingredients, which are then burned on top of a charcoal disc or tossed into a fire. This recipe is for loose incense, but you can adapt it for stick or cone recipes if you wish.

As you mix and blend your incense, focus on the intent of your work. In this particular recipe, we’re creating an incense to use during Mabon. It’s a time to celebrate the season of balance and harmony, as well as the gratitude and thanksgiving of the harvest season.

You’ll need:

Add your ingredients to your mixing bowl one at a time. Measure carefully, and if the leaves or blossoms need to be crushed, use your mortar and pestle to do so. As you blend the herbs together, state your intent. You may find it helpful to charge your incense with an incantation, such as:

Mabon, a season of dark and light,
balance of day turning to night.
Counting my blessings in all I have and do,
love and harmony, and gratitude too.
Mabon herbs, bring balance to me,
As I will, so it shall be.

Store your incense in a tightly sealed jar. Make sure you label it with its intent and name, as well as the date you created it. Use within three months, so that it remains charged and fresh.

04
of 06

Magical Pokeberry Ink

Use your ink for magical purposes!. Image © Patti Wigington 2010

 

Pokeweed is a purplish-red berry found in many parts of North America. In the Midwest and most northern states, it blooms in early fall, typically around mid-September—just in time for Mabon. The poisonous red berries can be used to provide ink for writing - legend has it that the Declaration of Independence may have been drafted in pokeweed ink, although the final version that sits in the National Archives was done in iron-gall ink. Many letters written by soldiers during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, because it was something that was readily availably—pokeweed grows over many parts of the country. According to the Ohio State University, pokeweed berries get their name from a Native American word for blood, owing to the color of the juice. Legend holds that tribal shamans used pokeweed berries to rid the body of evil spirits - probably because ingestion led to copious vomiting and diarrhea.

With a little bit of work, you can make your own pokeweed ink to use in magical workings, particularly those used in banishing spells. The ink seems to be sensitive to sunlight and browns when exposed to UV rays, so if you're going to store it, use a dark-colored bottle or store it in a cabinet out of the light.

Warning: the entire plant is toxic to humans, so don't try to eat them!

You’ll need:

  • 2 Cups pokeweed berries
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • A glass jar or bottle

Mash the berries into a pulp in a small strainer over your jar. This will allow the juice to seep into the jar while the skins and seeds of the berries remain behind. Crush the berries as much as you can. Once you have the juice in the jar, add the vinegar and mix thoroughly. This will help thin the ink enough to use it in a fountain pen, as well as preventing spoilage.

Use a quill or calligraphy pen to write or inscribe spells and incantations during magical workings. The ink really does have the bright pinkish-purple shade that you see in the photos! Be sure to cap the jar when not in use.

*Note: Some people recommend adding a dash of salt to the ink, or boiling the juice, but so it's not always necessary. Experiment a little and see what you can do!

05
of 06

Make a God's Eye for Mabon

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Patti Wigington

God's eyes are one of the easiest crafts you can make, and they're versatile because you can create them in any color. For a harvest celebration like Mabon, make them in fall colors—yellows and browns and reds and oranges. At Yule, the winter solstice, you can make them in reds and greens. You can also try doing one in black and silver to celebrate moon magic. If you'd like to make one for your household altar, you can make it in colors that correspond to your family's deities and traditions. You'll need two sticks of equal length—I like to use long cinnamon sticks, but you can use a dowel rod, popsicle stick, or just branches you've found on the ground. You'll also need yarn or ribbon in different colors. If you like, you can include decorative items like shells, feathers, beads, crystals, etc.

By using alternating colors of thread or yarn, the finished result looks like an eye. In some traditions, you might associate the four points of the cross with the four classical elements, or the directions on the compass. You could even see them as representative of the four major Sabbats—the solstices and the equinoxes. One great thing to do while making god's eyes is to use them as a spell working in themselves—visualize your intent while wrapping the yarn, whether it's protection for your home and family, to bring love your way, or even a prosperity talisman.

To begin, hold your two sticks together in a cross. If you're doing this with children, it's a good idea to put a small dab of glue on here to prevent slipping.

Wrap a length of yarn one or two times around the top arm of the cross, right where the two sticks meet, going counterclockwise (be sure to hold the loose tail in place and wrap the yarn over it to keep it from unraveling later). As you come around on the left side of the upper arm, cross down and over to the bottom side of the right arm. Bring the yarn out behind the top of the right arm, and cross over to the left side of the bottom arm. Finally, bring the yarn from the right side of the bottom arm across to the top side of the left arm.

This is actually easier than it sounds—follow the excellent diagram on Aunt Annie's Page to see how it works. Continue wrapping the sticks in the same order until you have a good amount of the color you're working in. Then switch to a new color, and continue the process until you want to change again. Finish it off with a length of yarn tied in a loop, so you can hang your god's eye.

Finally, you can decorate the ends of the sticks with feathers, ribbons, beads, or crystals, whatever you prefer. Hang your god's eye on a wall, or use it on your altar for Sabbat celebrations.

06
of 06

Mabon Prosperity Candles

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Use a green candle, or one in a harvest color, for prosperity magic. Image by cstar55/E+/Getty Images

Mabon is a time to be thankful for all the things we have—a garden full of crops to pick, full apple trees in the orchards, and the bread we've been baking with the grain already harvested. Although this is a time of balance, it's also a time to look at what you have and be grateful for it. Celebrate the abundance of the harvest season by inviting prosperity into your life. These simple candles can be given as gifts, burned on your altar, or placed around the house to bring abundance your way.

You'll need the following items on your workspace before you begin:

  • An unscented candle in a harvest color— yellow, orange, brown, or in green to symbolize cash in hand
  • Your choice of Money Oil or essential oil of cinnamon, orange, or ginger
  • Something to inscribe the candle with—a pencil, stylus, etc.
  • A pinch of dried basil, sage or dill

If you normally cast a circle or invoke Deity before a working, do so now. Using the stylus or pencil, inscribe your intent upon the candle. For example, if you need money to pay the bills, carve that on there. If you just want extra fun money, write that on the candle too. If you're not sure how much you need, you can use symbols of money such as the $ dollar sign or a runic symbol. In traditional runes, Fehu is the sign of prosperity.

Once you've completed your inscription, anoint the candle with the Money Oil. If you don't have Money Oil, use another essential oil that brings prosperity—cinnamon, orange or ginger are all good to use. Focus your intent into the candle, drawing abundance to you. Rub a small amount of the dried basil, sage or dill -- all herbs connected with money—into the oil. As you do, clearly visualize how you will be using the money that comes your way. Will you use it to pay off debt? Buy a new car? Take a class for personal growth?

Light the candle, and meditate on the flame. Continue focusing on your intent, and imagine it building, first as a small spark, and then growing into a large ball of light. Maintain this image as long as you can, and then release it into the candle flame. Make sure the candle is in a safe place so as not to be a fire hazard (a bowl of sand is perfect for this) and allow the candle to burn out on its own.