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© Storm Genevieve Black 2015. All Rights Reserved

First published in Townsville Soul Newsletter January 2015

Australia. Seen by many as a land of plenty. Not least as a result of the countries plentiful land mass, which is larger than the whole of the UK and Europe put together. However it is always at this time of year, that the plentiful land of Australia will shine in all it's glory. For it is now that we approach the Mabon, our second harvest festival. A time when the majority of the crops and livestock will be collected and prepared either for the table or the pantry. Here in Queensland we grow a third of Australia's produce. This can be difficult to imagine. Especially if you are anything like me and due to local water restrictions and the furnace like heat, have not yet managed to keep anything growing long enough to fruit. Yes, other than the mushrooms kindly given to us by our Earth elementals, which seem to pop up everywhere at this time of year, and we cannot take credit for achieving, nothing will grow at the covenstead. It is true none the less. I believe the higher table lands and the great dividing range, further away from the coastal regions must have something to do with the crop growth ability, but I'm no agriculture expert, and some folk still manage to grow seeds ridiculously well here in Townsville, even through the hottest driest months. As we approach the Mabon however, our attentions turn from growth to harvest. All greengrocers, market stalls and even supermarkets, will now be preparing to stock their shelves and tables with a plentiful supply of shiny bright red and green apples and russet succulent pears. In fact all across Australia at this time of year you will also find peaches, nectarines and plums, grapes, hops, prunes, melons and ginger, as well as scollops, prawns, new season zucchini, last seasons dried fruit, brussels sprouts, tomatoes, tobacco, blueberries, beans, broccoli, sugar, mangos, lycii, bananas, avocados  and even cotton. Most if not all of these have been imported to Australia from other countries, but the work that goes into their harvest is still worth celebrating, as they are all produced here in abundance today, and this selection should be enough to amply fill any horn of plenty. In the southern regions of the country farmers will be bringing livestock in as well, to be prepared for the winter. That which is not strong enough to survive the change in climate during the colder winter months will be sacrificed as has always been traditional at this time of year. Meat and fish will be salted or smoked, as it always would have been, using methods which are possibly as old and traditional as the craft we practice in the coven, but today we are also blessed with the availability of fridges and freezers to store our meat, fish and vegetables. Whether we are preparing to feast, or to preserve and save our own bountiful harvest we know that our efforts will not be anywhere near the abundant efforts made by our ancestors to achieve the same outcome. For us witches now is a time of sacrifice too. What better way to give thanks to our ancestors for their efforts in keeping humanity alive than to make them an offering of something we see as a valuable commodity. We can do this quite simply by using some of the jam from the spell below. Fresh bread can be made as well to offer it to the faeries on. If you have room you could leave a section of long grass in your garden. The Fae love to play in the wilderness.

This is the best time to begin making other plans for the winter. Plan to learn something new, a new skill or trade, something that will help you in the year ahead. Read up on things that you will be able to start doing when the spring returns. This is a time for stories, songs and poems. Literally the time of the bard. It is through tales and legends that our traditions are passed down for generations. Your favourite faerie tales are far older than you might think. Why not tell them to the next generation at this time of year. Become your own bard. Passing wisdom and knowledge of the tales and legends on as you do so. Encouraging the younger generation to use their own imaginations. To open their third eyes. To see the pictures of the beings who still exist in the other realm. Who wait for us to remember them. Faerie tales are not just for children, no matter what you have been lead to believe. If you haven't read any for a while now is an excellent time to start, and there is an abundance of tales to choose from.