A Reaping Blessing for the Earth

This past weekend, I had the privilege of presenting a workshop at Dayton Pagan Pride Day, which was one of the best PPD events I’ve ever attended. This year’s theme was Walking Our Earthen Path, and main ritual was hosted by Selena Fox of Circle Sanctuary. This was the first time I’ve met Selena in person, although I’ve been following her online for years, and she is an absolutely delightful human being.

Selena invited the presenters to participate in main ritual, and asked each of us to contribute an invocation or chant focusing on the theme of celebrating the earth. Since it’s nearly Mabon, the fall equinox, I wrote an invocation looking at the blessings of the earth during the reaping season. During ritual, I delivered a shorter, abridged version of this, because there were time constraints, but I wanted to share it with you in its entirety here, because it’s a solid way to mark the move into the harvest season as the land around us begins to die. It started off sort of loosely inspired by a prayer included in the Carmina Gadelica, but then took on a life of its own as I was writing it.

You’re welcome to use this in your personal rituals as you wish, and tweak if you need to – all I ask is that if you choose to share it on your own pages, that you include a link back to this page, as well as credit to me.

Image by Greyerbaby from CC0 via Canva
Reaping Blessing for the Earth

As the rise of the sun bursts bold and bright over the fields
And the corn and crops sway high in the morning light
I will go forth with my sickle and basket beneath my arm
And I will reap that which I have sown

As the sun moves higher in the morning sky
Burning and blazing across my back
I will move along the rows, cutting and threshing,
Grateful for the bounty of my fields

As the noonday sun glitters high and hot overhead
I will set my sickle down,
Counting my blessings as I fill my basket
And wiping the sweat from my brow

As the shadows begin to grow, gray and long,
The sun traveling nomadic from east to west,
The cool winds of the north move across my fields,
Towards the torrid heat of a far-off south

And I will give thanks to my gods
And to the Mother herself, for her blessings and her bounty,
Her beauty and abundance, and the graces and gifts she bestows upon me

And as my crops growing in the ground
Begin to darken and die in the deepening dusk,
I know that I have much gratitude to give

For each ridge and plain and field
For each sickle and scythe
For each ear in the basket
For each stalk in the sheaf

And I will rejoice in the earth’s blessings on each maiden and youth,
And I will rejoice in the earth’s blessings on each healer and warrior
And I will rejoice in the earth’s blessings on each crone and sage
And I will rejoice in the earth’s blessings on the living and the dead
As I bring my harvest home.

Mabon Apple Butter

Ok, I admit that I have a weird obsession with apple picking. Every fall, I go off to the local apple orchard and spent an hour or two finding the ABSOLUTE BESTEST APPLES EVER and dropping them in a basket, and before I know it I have like eight bushels of them and my kids kids are all NO MOM OMG PLEASE NO MORE APPLES.

Image by utraja0 by CC0 via Canva

I mean, really, you can only do so much with apples before everyone gets tired of seeing, eating, and smelling them. So, obviously, there’s some mason jar activity involved, but one of the things I love to make is apple butter. I like this because it uses up a lot of apples, and also IT’S FLIPPIN’ DELICIOUS Y’ALL. Basically, I make a ton of applesauce, and then turn it around and make the applesauce into apple butter.

Plus, the cool thing is that in many pantheons, the apple is a symbol of the Divine. Apple trees are representative of wisdom and guidance. You can use your crock pot to make apple butter – it’s a delicious treat all year long, and if you make it in the fall with fresh apple sauce, you can preserve it to eat later on. Enjoy this tasty spread on warm bread, or just straight from the jar!

Karen Samuels, over at Lehigh Valley History, has some fascinating insight on the history of apple butter. It’s not an ancient recipe by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s one that solved a problem that faced early American settlers: lack of refrigeration. Karen says, “Apple butter is an American invention and attributed to the Pennsylvania German settlers, dating as far back as the mid 1700s. Before they could rely on refrigeration, the local farmers had to sugar cure then smoke meat, pickle vegetables and dry fruit. The Pennsylvania Germans noted that applesauce became rancid before the end of winter. They found with a longer cooking process of the apples and cider they could produce a tasty condiment that could get them through the winter and longer… Some people claim that apple butter can last several years. The higher concentration of sugar gives apple butter a much longer shelf life than applesauce.”

A number of Midwestern towns and cities continue to celebrate their apple butter even to this day – places like Ohio’s historic Roscoe Village and Grand Rapids, as well as Missouri’s Kimmswick and Waterville PA all have annual apple butter festivals.

To make your own apple butter, you’ll need basic canning supplies like Mason jars with lids, a pair of tongs, and a big pot to get started. This recipe should yield you about ten pints of apple butter.

You’ll Need:
  • 9 quarts of applesauce
  • 2 C. apple cider
  • 3 Tbs. ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbs, ground cloves
  • 1 Tbs. nutmeg
  • 3 C. sugar (more if you like really sweet apple butter)

You can make this recipe with homemade or store-bought applesauce. Homemade tastes far better, so if you’ve never made your own applesauce, check out this Applesauce recipe.

Fill a crock pot with as much applesauce as it takes to bring you about an inch from the top — this will NOT hold all of the applesauce, unless you have a REALLY big crock pot, but that’s okay. It should take about half the applesauce if you use a 5-quart crock like I do.

Add 1 C. of the cider, half the cinnamon, half the cloves and nutmeg, and 1 1/2 C. of the sugar. Set the crock pot on Low, and cover. Allow the applesauce to cook on low setting for about 8 – 12 hours.

Around the 10-hour point, check the amount of applesauce in the pot. It should have reduced significantly by now, so add in the remaining quarts of applesauce, spices, cider and sugar. Mix thoroughly to blend with the applesauce that’s already in the pot, and allow to simmer for a few more hours, until the applesauce has reduced to a nice, thick brown apple butter.

Optional – use a hand-held mixer to blend the apple butter into a creamy, smooth texture.

Finally, can the apple butter using the following steps: Home Canning Basics, so you’ll have apple butter that lasts for months in your pantry.

Serve your apple butter with a loaf of warm, soft bread, or eat it straight from the jar!