Thursday, 10 August 2017

Mabon Activities,Crafts, Decor(ations)

I really like fall, the crispness and cool weather. It is my time of year. Also the first of four of the eight sabbats is in this season. Here is a list of different things you can do alone or with others for Mabon.


ACTIVITIES

You can make this day your Thanksgiving day. If your Solitary, have a small feast of your own or invitie a group of Pagan friends or friends who know you are Pagan over. Avoid asking for favors from your deities at this time.
Here is a sample of a prayer you can say:
Bountiful Mother Earth, whose dark
womb has brought forth this munificence
we/I see before us/me, we/I humbly thank you
for your gift of sustenance which
nourishes our bodies and minds.
Lord of the Harvest, wise and giving,
we/I praise your generosity in providing
this feast which gives us/me strength and endurance.
Lord and Lady, our/my blessings this year
have been many. We/I thank you for...

(Add Here your thanks to them. If A group, eveyone can take turns!)
...And for all these blessings and gifts
which in the hustle and bustle
of daily living we/I may have overlooked and taken
for granted, we/I most gratefully thank you now.
Blessed Lord and Lady, mighty and
powerful, tender and charitable, forever
may your praise be sung by your adoring and thankful children.
So mote it be!!!


Take the children apple picking. Apples are a symbol of magic and wisdom and can be used in rituals and food recipes. Remember not to pick more apples then your family will use.

Hold a food and clothing drive for you local food cupboard. In many areas, the food cupboards do not have enough food to help feed all of the families in need. Most food pantries also take donated clothing and other useful items as well. Have your children deliver the donations.

Go to the local pumpkin patch. Gather pumpkins you can use to decorate your home. You and your children can bake a homemade pumpkin seeds.

Give each of your children a basket and have them go outside and gather items do decorate your home and alter. They can gather colorful fallen foliage, pine cones and acorns.

gathering dried herbs, plants, seeds and seed pods, walking in the woods, scattering offerings in harvested fields, offering libations to trees, adorning burial sites with leaves, acorns, and pine cones to honor those who have passed over.

Lots of people like making wine for Mabon because it uses harvested foods and is symbolic of the fruits of the year. Plus a lot of it is probably going to be packed away and fermented, much like we are packing ourselves away and thinking over what has happened. Some like to call the spirits of their totem animals for help in inner searching. Meditation rituals are very common for Mabon.

At this festival it is appropriate to wear all of your finery and dine and celebrate in a lavish setting. It is the drawing to and of family as we prepare for the winding down of the year at Samhain. It is a time to finish old business as we ready for a period of rest, relaxation, and reflection.

Make popcorn

What's more cozy than snuggling under a blanket with a big bowl of buttered popcorn? Of course, you could always watch a movie, but why not take your treat outside to watch nature instead? Inhale that fragrant autumn air. Really take a few moments to appreciate the breathtaking hues of the trees. Watch the birds and squirrels as they prepare for winter. Simply take in the magnificence of the season. And if you're in a generous mood, leave a few un-buttered pieces of popcorn for the neighboring critters. They'll enjoy the crunchy snack!

Balance your chakras

Being the equinox, Mabon is a time to find balance in your life. But while we tend to immediately think of time constraints as a place to find balance (work versus family time, family time versus self-care), when was the last time you balanced your spiritual centers?

If you're not familiar, chakras are points of energy on the body that have spiritual as well as physical impact. When they are balanced, life is good. When they are imbalanced, we have unwanted manifestations, such as illness and financial troubles. The good news is balancing them is as simple as taking a few minutes for visualization! Like any visualization, chakra balancing gets easier with practice, so don't feel discouraged if you have trouble focusing during your first go around or two. A nice, simple chakra meditation can be found here on Youtube.

Get a blanket, find a quiet spot under a tree, and take some time to balance your chakras this Mabon! You'll be glad you did. Bonus points if you plant your feet in the soil and get your earthing on!

Have a pumpkin spice latte

Admittedly, this suggestion is a little self-benefiting. But what's autumn without a warm drink laced with cinnamon and nutmeg? You can certainly buy one at your favorite coffee shop, but why not make one? I'm betting you already have the ingredients on hand. Take the time to really savor the process. Inhale the nutty aroma of the coffee before you brew it. Watch as the creamer turns your drink into a rich caramel color. Savor the first sip without scarfing down the entire drink. Life is a lot more pleasurable when we take time to relish the things we enjoy. Sit outside with your homemade brew, breathe deep inhalations of that luscious autumn air, and simply BE.

Focus on gratitude

With Mabon being a time of reflection and balance, what better way to celebrate than to make a list for all that you are thankful for? Take a notebook to the park and make a list of everything you appreciate—from big things, like your family or health, to small things, like hot cocoa and fuzzy slipper socks.

Bring in some nature

why not take a nature walk and collect whatever beautiful, natural treasures you stumble upon? Colored leaves. Acorns. Gnarled twigs. Pine cones. Cool rocks. Bring a bag and collect whatever catches your eye. Arrange it on a table or counter top when you get home, throw in a candle or two (maybe gold and red) and you've got yourself an instant natural Mabon altar! You can even leave your natural masterpiece up for a few weeks as a spectacular (and FREE!) fall decoration!



CRAFTS

Give your children pine cones, acorns, leaves and a few other materials and let them make a wreath to hang on the front door. The children can cut the centers out of paper plates and glue a layer of colorful leaves around the front of the paper ring. They can glue pine cones and acorns to the wreath as well.

Drill holes through some of the acorns and the children can use them to make a garland to hang around your front door frame. They can make a nice garland by stringing acorns, dried red berries and pine cones.

Have your children make handmade, thank you cards for friends and family. The children can use an apple that has been cut in half and some ink to make stamps for the cards. They can also use fall leaves and ink to make stamps.

Autumn Equinox is the second harvest festival of the year. There are many activities and crafts that children can do during this time of year. The best activities are those that will help others. Crafts that can be used as holiday decorations are fun to make.

Make a gratitude tree! Simply find a funky fallen twig that has lots of little branchy offshoots to hold your leaves. Place the twig (or twigs) in a pot of stones so it's standing upright, like a miniature dead tree. Collect fallen leaves or cut your own from construction paper. Write something you're grateful for on each leaf. Tape on a loop of string or thread, and hang the leaves from your twig!

Animal Brethren
Materials:
An apple, paring knife, lemon juice, whole cloves, pencil, jar, glove, felt scraps, glue.

Peel the apple and remove some of the core from the bottom. (Parents) To carve the animal's face, cut two holes for the eyes, slice two triangle flaps for the ears, cut a deep "X" for the nose and mouth, and some shallow slits for whiskers. Soak the apple in the lemon juice for about 15 minutes, then remove to a paper towel to dry. Insert cloves into the eye holes. Push the pencil into the bottom of the apple, and set it in a jar to dry. To hasten drying process, a food dehydrator works great! As the apple dries, lift the ears so they dry upright. When the head has dried, use the glove and felt scraps to make the body. Glue on markings and paws. Cut off the middle finger of the glove, and drop the pencil through it, with the head attached. Have the child grab the pencil with their 3 middle fingers, while using the thumb and pinkie for the animal's forelegs. ( Discuss the habits of different animals during the winter months. Explain why we leave bird food and other tidbits out for our winged and furry brothers.)

BeanBag Dolls
Materials:
That one glove in the bottom of the closet or drawer that lost its mate over the summer. A small ball, some dried grain, yarn, and a needle and thread, and 2 buttons.

Tuck the ring finger up inside the palm of the glove and stitch the hole closed. Fill the glove up to the stretch cuff with rice, beans, popcorn, etc, and tie it off with a piece of yarn. For the doll's head, place a small ball (ping-pong) in the cuff and sew the glove closed. For hair, wrap the yarn around your hand several times, tie the loops together at one end with a strand of yarn, and cut the other end. Stitch the tied end to the top of the doll's head. Finish the doll by stitching on some button eyes. (Explain to children that although we all look different on the outside, we are all the same inside. Tell how the God/dess made each of us with love and care.)

Begin Again Eggheads
Materials:
A couple of eggs per child, felt-tip markers or crayons, grass seed or bird seed, some soil, a nail, and some plastic wrap.

Have children draw funny faces on their eggs with the markers or crayons. Take the nail and make a hole at the top of the egg, keep working on hole until about the size of a quarter. Drain and rinse inside of egg and spoon some soil into it. Put in some grass/bird seed, moisten soil, and wrap in plastic wrap. Set in a sunny spot to sprout. Once grass starts sprouting, remove the wrap and water daily. (Explain to children that although the egg is no longer what it was originally, it has gone through a death and a rebirth as something else living and part of Nature.)

Animal Guide Totems
Materials:
A sheet of construction paper, plastic spoon, small water-based paint set, markers, paper towel tube, and glue.

Fold the sheet of paper in half, and have the child drop spotsofpaint along the fold. Fold the paper, lay it flat, and gentely rub it. Re-open the paper and have the child tell you all about the animals, fish, and birds that they see in the paint blots. When the paint dries, help the child outline these creatures with the markers. Cut out and around the blot characters and glue to the paper towel tube to make the totem stand upright. (Discuss the different AnimalGuides, and the qualities we learn from them.)

Woodsy Flower Vase
Materials:
¼ inch diameter sticks, scissors, an empty plastic (p-butter) jar, 2 thick rubber bands, ribbon, glue, and pinecones.

Break or snip sticks to about 1in. longer than jar. Place rubber bands around jar, 1in. from top and 1in. from bottom. Tuck the sticks under the rubber bands, placing them together as close as possible. Once the jar is surrounded by sticks, push the rubberbands to the center of the jar and cover with autumn colored ribbon. Ribbon can be tied into a bow. Glue on a few pinecones and fill the vase with flowers. (While hiking and looking for sticks, explain why fallen sticks are more Earth friendly, but if live branches are needed, to take only what is needed and thank tree for gift.)

Harm None Paper Bouquets
Materials:
Autumn colored tissue paper, scissors, crayons, and pipe cleaners.

For each flower cut eight 3-1/2 in.squares. With side of crayon color down 2 opposite sides on each square. Lay on flat surface with colored sides at top and bottom. Start folding from the top, like a paper fan. Each pleat should be approx 1/2in wide. For the stems, bend a pipe cleaner 1-1/2in. from one end to form a hook. Place the pleated squares in a stack, and place the stack in the hook. Twist the hook around the stem. To open flower to full bloom, twist the petals a half-turn near the stem. (Thank children for beautiful vase of flowers that can be used on your alter for the Mabon ritual, and later a table center piece.)



Decoration Ideas
Colors: Mabon’s colors are those of autumn leaves: red, orange, yellow, and brown. The gold, blond, and russet tones of ripe grain comprise another set, as do the burgundy, maroon, and purple of wine and grapes. Mabon greens are forest, olive, and pine shades.

Flowers: For this holiday, autumn flowers are appropriate, especially chrysanthemums and marigolds which bloom in golds and reds. Zinnias, sunflowers, black-eyed Susans, and some wildflowers may still be blooming too.

Leaves: Garlands or wreaths of grape leaves are traditional for this holiday. Oak leaves are also good. Alternatively, use bunches of any leaf already turning color; maple, sweetgum, and saskatoon show beautiful hues. Grapevines, ivy, or other vines may be twined into wreaths — an excellent craft activity.

Incense: Many fragrances of this season evoke the forests including cedar, oakmoss, patchouli, pine, and sandalwood. Sage and sweetgrass bring up the bittersweet smell of an autumn meadow. Benzoin and myrrh are resins relating to age, memory, death, and preservation.

Music: Rattles and drums are popular Mabon instruments, along with horns for hunting. Ideally, choose handheld rattles made from gourds or anklet rattles made from deer toes. Consider seasonal tracks such as "Mabon" or "John Barleycorn (Must Die)" and the albums Barley Rigs, Chants: Ritual Music, or A Circle Is Cast.

Altar Tools: These primarily relate to harvest. There is the cornucopia, or “horn of plenty,” and the gathering basket. The scythe and bolline are cutting instruments for harvesting grains and herbs.

Grain and Nuts: Characteristic decorations of Mabon include cornstalk tipis and ears of Indian corn. Acorns and pine cones may be hung in bunches or piled in bowls. Gourds come in many colors and shapes, some of them suitable for making birdhouses, rattles, dippers, or other crafts — another fun Mabon activity.