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Samhain Essay: Paying Respects - page 9 / 22

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Flowing Waters. If you wish, you may stop and drink of the waters, feeling them invigorate you to the core of your being. When you have finished, you continue your spiraling ascent and reach the Cavern of the Tap Root Forest. You breath in the cool, rich, earthy smell of the cavern, feeling yourself becoming grounded. You continue onwards and upwards and climb quickly, spiraling out of the Earth and soon come to the cave which leads to the Mouth of The Dragon. You follow the passageway down, coming to the Mouth of The Dragon, where you step into the warm, shining sun.

Now take a few deep breaths, and be here, in this place from whence you began your journey. Be here at this present time. When you are ready, open your eyes. Should you feel the need, you may return a portion of The Dragon's power to the Earth.

Random Acts of Druidry

By Gwyddion Realm, Eurisko Grove

I was driving home from the Autumn Moon Festival on Saturday night trying to figure out what to do with all the harvest decorations from our table. I didn't want to throw them away. Then it occurred to me. Why don't I make a harvest altar? Not only that, why don't I put it in one of the special places I like to stop when I go out for a walk. I have a special place by the water - a place where the water, earth, and sky all meet.

Imagine the sense of curiosity, wonderment, and possibly even magic when a passerby happens to come across it. If they're in the know on these things themselves, they may be even more happily surprised. I wonder if ancient Druids left altars like this in the forests. I wonder what would happen if more people started to leave such altars in places like city parks or down nature trails. What if people started doing this for every solstice, equinox, and other Pagan holidays?

Guidelines for a Nature Altar:

1. Use it to celebrate solstices, equinoxes, and other Pagan holidays.

2. Position the altar somewhere off the beaten path. Place it somewhere that is semi-public, but not heavily trafficked. You don't want it somewhere where it will be trampled or desecrated.

3. Make sure it's all natural and biodegradable. We don't want to litter the earth. Use plants, stones, and other items of the season: Fall/Harvest - pumpkins, gourds, autumn leaves, and acorns. Winter/Yule - evergreens, pine, holly, pinecones, and mistletoe. Spring - Ivy, flowers, and so on.

Summer - Oak branches, apples, and other plants, fruits, and flowers of the season.

4. Pass it on. Suggest to your friends and others that they do the same.

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Seasons of Food Samhain 2004 - Apples

By Oriana Lewallen, Sunset Proto-Grove

There are only a few fruits that I can call 'icons' of the fall season. These are the fruits that seem to be the last ones offered at the vegetable stand down the road before the winter season comes, and they take down their hand-painted OPEN signs. The other thing that creates a fall food icon for me is the smells that conjure images I can relate to, as summer becomes fall. Who can deny that when they think of fall they think of the smell of pumpkin pie spices, or my personal favorite apple cider mulling on the stove with cloves, oranges and cinnamon? These smells invite me to, slip on a chunky warm sweater, go for a brisk mitten and scarf laden walk in the crunchy fall foliage, light a log in the fireplace and afterward cuddle down for a long read, with a steaming cup. They also invite me to make and enjoy warm leisurely meals with my family, and to share the fruits of the harvest with my friends.

There are a thousand plus varieties of apples grown in the United States currently. (4cs.com) Apples are varied in size, flavor, shape and color and each person seems to have their own distinct variety as a favorite. (My personal favorites are the Jonagold and the Gala varieties.) Everyone seems to know the Granny Smith and the Red Delicious; here are some lesser- known varieties to try. Of course this is just a basic list-

Arkansas Black Baldwin Criterion Doctor Matthews Gold Coast Honey Crisp Idared Lady Moyers Prize Northern Spy Snow Apple Sweet Emma

(A master list of apple varieties can be found at www.bighorsecreekfarm)

The Apple goes back as far as written history allows and farther. Though no one knows for sure who cultivated the apple originally, the remnants of apple seeds have been found in Southern England during excavations, and have been attributed to the Neolithic era. It is assumed that the crab apple was a common part of the human diet at this time. (Originally the wild apple tree, malus pumila var mitris, produced a large quantity of small sour, mostly seed and core fruits.

Though in mythology there are many instances where apples are named, it was not until later that the variety of fruit we know today was named an 'apple'. Until this point in time, many fruits were classified as 'apples' including, "melons, avocados, cashews, cherimoyas, dates, eggplants, lemons, oranges, peaches, pineapples, pine nuts, pomegranates, potatoes, quinces, and tomatoes (vegparadise)...

The Health benefits of the Apple are great. Many nutrients and vitamins are present in the Apple. These cause the Apple to be one of great bene it to the consumer. Apples are high in fiber and contain pectin both of which aids in digestion and digestive tract health but also aids in reducing blood sugar and high cholesterol. Apples contain antioxidants that aid the immune system, and reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers. A grated apple, due to high water content, if served to a patient can greatly reduce their fever. "Steamed apples sweetened with

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