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Archive for the ‘nature’ Category

Autumn is here

Autumn is finally here. Mabon has come and gone. Many mark the Equinox as the first day of autumn I disagree. Mabon marks an important point in the sun’s passage through our lives and it does herald the coming changes. As humans we like orderly things that arrived at their appointed times. It’s all a part of our effort to control the universe around us. It’s a drive that was built into us. I myself am guilty of it it makes it understandable. For me however the truth is the universe is vastly greater than us. There are too many happenings in variables for us to claim we can control something.

Autumn arrives when autumn arrives. All we can do is watch for signs of its approach and appreciate the changes. Here now in my area of the Blue Ridge I call home. The winter the days are noticeably shorter. The air is chilling. The maples and dogwoods are showing their red hues. The tulip trees, ash, and black walnuts are yellow and blowing on the wind. The black walnuts, hickories, and oak trees give their nuts to the earth. In the shady dark of the hollows the paw paws bear their fruit. The earth mother prepares to sleep after a hard year.

I’ve been busy myself preparing for the coming winter. Firewood must be collected to stave off the cold on the darkened days to come Harvesting black walnuts, apples, and paw paws.

Collecting and processing black walnuts is a chore in itself. The outer husk does not break open revealing the inner shell. You have to mash, smash, or otherwise pull the husk off. The husk is known for making a rich dark stain. One that if your not careful will dye your skin.

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...see what I mean...

Wonderful to harvest in itself for henna like tattooing but not if its unintentional. After smashing bits of hull and juice still cling to the shells. The second part of hull removal is emerging about a half a bucket full of nuts in water then get a sturdy stick and churn the hell out of them. Drain and replenish the water about a dozen times and you’ll get most of the whole off of the shell. Be careful where you drain the water the holes contain a natural herbicide to eliminate competition for the tree. Then let the nuts air dry for a couple of weeks and they’re good to eat.

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Drying by the stove

Paw-paws have an extremely short season and an even shorter shelf life.

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I only know of one preserve them remove the seeds and skin and freeze the pulp.  However they are are quite a sweet treat.  I have in the works two articles about black walnuts and paw paws that will go much more in depth about their practical, magical, and spiritual value as far as I’m concerned.

I have also been harvesting apples. They are either dried or processed for hard “cider”  unfortunately I cannot press these so I have to cook them down, hence the quotations.

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I am southernfriedwiccan. I am 36 and have been a pagan for over 20 years. When I began on this path I was more or less wiccan, like so many of us. Today I don’t call myself wiccan at all, but I kept the name because I think it describes me and my outlook pretty good. For me spirituality is reflected in life and life is reflected in spirituality. I live in the blue ridge moutains, a part of the magical appalachians. I work for a living, I AM not middle class. I am by no means wealthy, most of the time one bill or another is late. I have a small piece of land nestled deep among the crooked roads and forgotten hollows of these ancient mountains. I am deeply connected to the earth and the cycles of life and death. I consider myself a hillbilly. I make do if I can’t afford it (which is a lot) and prefer to make it or find it.

I’m a tinker and wild crafter in my heart. I see the beauty, feel the magic, and admire the naturally graced human ingenuity in old and new technology. I love going out into the wild country. Seeking out local plants animals and minerals that are seldom documented about in modern magic and paganism and finding their power within.

My family originally came from these mountains and left them for other opportunities before I was born.

While I was not raised in the mountains, the mountains were raised in me. I grew up in many of the traditions and ideals of the mountains, simplicity, making do, resolution. I also grew up with many of the negative aspects of the region as well, ignorance, intolerance, abuse. I saw the world beyond that and that is not to say “I saw the light” because the world beyond the mountains is not all good. All this has shaped my paganism and has lead me farther and farther away from wicca.

But from all of that I became who I am.

So nearly a decade ago I moved back to the mountains. I feel a magical connection with the appalachians. I began wanting to know more about the magical history and culture of these mountains and incorporate that not only into my practices by MY life. Thats what this blog is about. Its a blog about a simple poor man, living appalachian magic with the intent of those that came before. Its for other pagans who are not middle class (and I believe there are a lot of us) just trying to make do. Its for understanding the ways and whys of appalachian magicians that came before and how those ideas are used now. You won’t find orderly polished posts here. I’m rough and rambling and write as I think and speak.

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