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Celebrating Mabon With Children

Six Seasonal Foods For Spells and Rituals

Mabon is a harvest festival, a celebration of the abundance of late summer. Many know it is a pagan Thanksgiving, and a day to give thanks for all we’ve received. It takes place on the Autumn Equinox, a time when day and night are of equal lengths. It is a celebration of balance between light and dark, summer and winter, life and death. Mabon occurs when the leaves are changing color and the world starts to wind down in preparation for winter. We mark this day as sacred because it represents a key transition in our lives. After this day, we will begin to turn inward and stay indoors more, but on Mabon, we celebrate the last of our external bounty: friends and food. 

This year, Mabon takes place on Wednesday, September 22nd, 2021. 

Because this is a harvest-centric holiday, the best ways to celebrate Mabon all revolve around food and nature’s bounty. With each key fruit, vegetable, crop, or plant, we can create a ritual to celebrate the turning of the Wheel of the Year. Here are six foods to use for your Mabon celebrations, and six ritual activity ideas to do with kids.

© Little Witchery 2021

Apple

A key symbol of the bounty of Fall, apples are considered to be sacred and deeply magical by many cultures. In fact, they contain a hidden pentagram inside. They are associated with the underworld, the turning of the Wheel of the Year, and abundance in all forms. 

Activity: Go apple picking. If you’re able to pick your own apples, go to an orchard and gather your own! If not, apples from the grocery store or farmer’s market will do just fine. 

Perform an apple spell. Cut an apple in half horizontally to expose the concealed star inside. Remove the seeds and place them in a bag, which you can hang as a good luck charm. Eat the apple together, expressing gratitude for its sweetness (and for the love you share with each other). 

Corn:

As a crop that ripens in late summer and fall, in many cultures, corn is inextricably tied to the arrival of Autumn. It is hearty and nutritious, and has innumerable uses, both medicinally and magically.

Activity: Make a corn dolly. Corn husk dolls are a craft traditionally made in Autumn, originally made to represent the spirits of the corn and give these harvest deities a body to inhabit until the next harvest season. They are made from corn husks, twisted and tied into the shape of a body. Some corn dollies are very simple, while others made by artisans are intricate and complex. Here is a simple video tutorial for how to make one.

Pumpkin:

A warm, comforting, nutrient-dense fruit, Pumpkin is an ideal food to enjoy as we head into colder and darker days. The Jack-O-Lantern originates from the belief that carved pumpkins can ward off evil spirits on Halloween night. That being said, they can be used for this purpose at any point during the season.

Activity: Perform a pumpkin seed ritual. Cut open a pumpkin and scape out the insides, saving the seeds. Separate them from the stringy flesh and wash them. Lay them out on an oiled baking sheet. Sprinkle them with herbs and magical intentions to keep you warm and happy throughout the darker half of the year. Cinnamon for warmth, salt for protection, brown sugar for kindness. Bake them at 350°F for 25 minutes, stirring once or twice throughout the baking process. Save the seeds to nibble on when you are in need of comfort. 

What to do with the body of your pumpkin now? Try carving it with protective symbols or sigils, and lighting a candle in it during your Mabon dinner. Or, you can stuff it with yummy food like stuffing, vegetables, or meat, and bake it for a savory meal.

Maple:

When we think of leaves changing color, maple is usually one of the first that comes to mind. Maple trees are prominent in various folktales and are known to repel evil spirits. Also known as “the giving tree,” Maple generously offers us its sweet syrup, the “blood” of the tree. 

Activity: Go for a nature walk in an area where trees change color, taking in all the sensory details of Autumn. What does the crunch of the leaves sound and feel like beneath your feet? What color are the leaves on the trees? When they fall, is it slow or fast? Which trees change color first? Do any trees stay green all year long? Consider leaving an offering of water (or breath) for the trees, and thank them for all they provide.

If you can’t go for a nature walk or you want to work more directly with the magic of maple, try incorporating maple syrup in your spells. To connect with the spirit of the forest, simply eat a teaspoon of maple syrup while intending to take in the wisdom of the tree into your own body. If Kitchen Witchery is your style, you can achieve the same effect by intentionally adding maple syrup to food. You can also add a drop to any spell for protection, or trace some along your front door as a house blessing. 

Pomegranate:

A magical fruit associated with the underworld, Pomegranate is an Autumn symbol because of the legends tied to it. After the goddess Persephone was persuaded by Hades to eat six pomegranate seeds, she was forced to stay in the underworld for six months each year (the time period between equinoxes). At Mabon, we eat pomegranate seeds to honor the sacred darkness of the underworld and its associated powers of transformation. As we head into the winter, we know we will be changed by springtime. Thus goes the blessed cycle of life.

Activity: Perform a pomegranate intention-setting spell. Write down six wishes or intentions that you’d like to bring with you into the winter. These can be for friendship, luck, prosperity, health, or whatever you want. Cut open a pomegranate. Pull out a seed as you read each intention, and then chew and swallow each one slowly, letting the sink into you. After you’ve eaten six seeds and read your six intentions, leave the pomegranate as an offering on your altar or at the base of a nearby tree. 

Wheat:

No grain is associated more with harvest festivals than wheat. Considered the most sacred of all grains, wheat has long been a staple of many western diets because of its high carbohydrate and protein content. Wheat can be stored for relatively long periods of time, making it an ideal food to stock up on before winter. Magically, it represents abundance in all its forms. 

Activity: Bake bread. Make any kind of bread you like, and try kneading it with magical intention. Carve a pentagram of magical symbol onto the top before baking. When finished, leave a small offering of flour on your altar as a symbol of gratitude for the bounty and richness of summer. Note: If gluten-free, substitute grains works well for this ritual too!

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Book Review: “C Is For Coven” By Andrea Stein

Want to introduce your children to the basic concepts of witchcraft and magic? C Is For Coven is a sweet primer for little pagans and witchlings. The perfect way to start ’em young, it introduces key magical concepts in a way that is accessible, positive, and altogether enchanting. An excellent conversation starter for magically curious kiddos, it introduces practices like “Drawing Down The Moon” and lesser-known words like “besom” in short, approachable sentences, making this an ideal entry point into the world of paganism. What elevates this book beyond a typical alphabet board book is the quality of the writing, which is poetic and luminous. This is a book that begs to be read aloud, re-read, and savored at bedtime.


The art is just as enchanting as the writing. The pastel illustrations convey the proper amount of wonder for the luminous world of magic that exists at our fingertips, for all of us to tap into. The illustrations depict a diversity of witches, a reflection of the broader witchcraft community. Witches of all stripes will see themselves in Stein’s empowered, strong witches. The book practically radiates with loving intention and light magic. Each page is a mini love spell of sorts: for kids and the magic they hold. This book is much a gift for children as it is for the adults who will share it with them. A wonderful gift for a witch of any age, C Is For Coven is a must-read for pagan parents and kids, or anyone who wants to tap into the wonder and magic of witchcraft. 

C Is For Coven is written by Andrea Stein, founder of Moondust Press, the imprint is dedicated to creating resources for children being raised in homes practicing alternative spiritualities, breaking down stereotypes about witchcraft and Pagan practices in children’s literature, and providing needed diverse representation. Check them out here.

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Book Review: “C Is For Coven” By Andrea Stein

Want to introduce your children to the basic concepts of witchcraft and magic? C Is For Coven is a sweet primer for little pagans and witchlings. The perfect way to start ’em young, it introduces key magical concepts in a way that is accessible, positive, and altogether enchanting. An excellent conversation starter for magically curious kiddos, it introduces practices like “Drawing Down The Moon” and lesser-known words like “besom” in short, approachable sentences, making this an ideal entry point into the world of paganism. What elevates this book beyond a typical alphabet board book is the quality of the writing, which is poetic and luminous. This is a book that begs to be read aloud, re-read, and savored at bedtime.


The art is just as enchanting as the writing. The pastel illustrations convey the proper amount of wonder for the luminous world of magic that exists at our fingertips, for all of us to tap into. The illustrations depict a diversity of witches, a reflection of the broader witchcraft community. Witches of all stripes will see themselves in Stein’s empowered, strong witches. The book practically radiates with loving intention and light magic. Each page is a mini love spell of sorts: for kids and the magic they hold. This book is much a gift for children as it is for the adults who will share it with them. A wonderful gift for a witch of any age, C Is For Coven is a must-read for pagan parents and kids, or anyone who wants to tap into the wonder and magic of witchcraft. 

C Is For Coven is written by Andrea Stein, founder of Moondust Press, the imprint is dedicated to creating resources for children being raised in homes practicing alternative spiritualities, breaking down stereotypes about witchcraft and Pagan practices in children’s literature, and providing needed diverse representation. Check them out here.

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10 Ways To Celebrate Ostara With Children

Ostara is an ideal pagan holiday to celebrate with children. A pagan sabbat that takes place on the Spring Equinox, many of its key symbols and celebrations center around activities that kids love: things like egg decorating, exploring, planting seeds, and connecting with cute baby animals! Here are ten super fun Ostara activities for little witches:

  1. Learning About The Lore of Ostara: Most kids know about the Easter Bunny, but most are not familiar with the story of its pagan origins. Ostara (and Easter) derive their names from the Germanic goddess Eostre, who represented spring, the dawn, fertility, and new beginnings. It is said that when she came across a wounded bird whose wings were frozen by the snow, she took pity on him and turned him into a rabbit. She let him keep his ability to lay eggs, though, and so he decorated them and gave them to the goddess as a gift of gratitude for her kindness.
  1. Dyeing Eggs: Kids can celebrate and honor the goddess Eostre by dyeing and decorating their own colorful eggs. To infuse even more witchery into the practice, try painting or drawing sigils, pentagrams, and other magical symbols on them. You can use color magic to decide which hues to use, and you can even make your own natural dyes to color them with! 
  1. Go For A Spring Walk: Spring is an ideal time to go exploring. Signs of new life, like flowers and baby animals, are beginning to pop up everywhere. Make it a scavenger hunt and try to see how many different types of new flowers you can find, and you can even practice floromancy, or the art of using flowers for divination, with the flowers you come across! Many witches believe that each flower has special meanings, and when you see a particular flower at the beginning of spring, it can give you a sign of what is to come.
  1. Plant Seeds: Spring is the time to plant seeds, both physically and metaphorically. Gardening with kids teaches many potent lessons about how to nurture and be patient. Plus, it’s super fun to get your hands dirty and poke the seeds into new little holes in the ground. Make it a ritual and practice saying blessings or spells as you plant the seeds, infusing your witch’s garden with magic.
  1. Make An Ostara Altar: Spring altars are so easy and fun to make. Gather some fresh flowers together, or buy some from the grocery and arrange them on the altar. Try incorporating other Ostara symbols like eggs, rabbit and chick figurines, spring goddess representations, and seeds into the altar, and let the little witchlings continue to add to it as they come across new items that might be a good fit. Because Ostara happens in the spring, the season associated with the direction of East and the element of air, try incorporating these elements into your altar as well by positioning the altar to face East and adding symbols of air like incense, feathers, chimes, and bells. 
  1. Explore Rabbit Magic: Bunnies are one of the key symbols of Ostara because they are associated with fertility and abundance. Spring is a time when everything is starting to grow, and the prevalence of new baby bunnies running around only serves as a reminder of this. If you can, go to a wildlife area where rabbits live and see if you can watch some. Leave out an offering of some lettuce for rabbits, or if there are no physical buns nearby, leave it out for the rabbit spirit who can visit you wherever you live. Buy or make plush rabbits and other rabbit representations and place them around your house as reminders of prosperity, growth, and soft fuzzy bunny love.
  1. Bake Hot Cross Buns: A pagan tradition long before they were an Easter one, this delicious bread was inspired by the Sun Wheel, a symbol of perfect balance at the equinox. They are super delicious, fun to bake, and relatively simple to make…the perfect baking activity for kids! There are lots of different recipes, but we particularly love this recipe that includes little bunnies poking out from between the buns.
  1. Spring Cleaning: Because spring is a time of new beginnings, it makes sense that it’s a good time to do a good deep house cleaning! Go through your things and see what you no longer use or need, and practice offering gratitude for each item as you pass it along. Scrub those floors, and dust all of those long-neglected corners! In addition to doing a physical cleaning, try doing an energetic cleaning too. Burn cleansing herbs in your space and use your intention and imagination to visualize any stale or negative energy leaving your house. Try sprinkling some salt around the windows and doors, hang fresh protective herbs in your home, and plant herbs like rosemary or lavender at your front doorway. 
  1. Connect With The Fairies: Spring is a time when the fairy world becomes more active. The fae love greenery, flowers, and color, so it makes sense that they begin to appear more and more often as the natural world begins to swell and blossom. This is a great time to try making a fairy garden or house for nearby wee nature spirits. You can do this in the base of a potted plant, in your backyard, or at the base of a tree in a nearby park.
  1. Egg Hunt: This classic spring scavenger hunt activity does not have to be reserved only for Easter! Similar to the Easter Bunny, it also has pagan origins. You can infuse some magic into it by filling plastic eggs with fortunes, spells, and intentions instead! Alternately, you can leave trinkets like stones or figurines in them, or healthy snacks like nuts and seeds. 

Happy Vernal Equinox, little witches! We hope you have a most magical Ostara.

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Best Magical Children’s Book Releases of 2020

What a year, magical readers! 2020 brought with it many challenges, to put it mildly. Here at Little Witchery, we are grateful for the books that got us through this year, the silver linings that we will cherish and revisit, the books that reminded us of the magic in a world that felt like it was falling to pieces. From the stories that swept us away in fantasy to the poems that grounded us more firmly in the natural world, we don’t know what we would have done without these incredible reads. Thank you to all the authors, illustrators, and publishers who created these books, for understanding that we need magic more than ever right now, and that books are the ultimate magical portal.

The Lost Spells by Robert MacFarlane: The oldest and most powerful spells are written into nature. As humans become more removed from the natural world, this deep magic becomes lost. The Lost Spells is a lyrical reclamation of the magical language of flora and fauna. A beautifully illustrated collection of poems inspired by the mysterious wonders of the wild, this book completely stunned me with its elegance.

Brina: A Pagan Picture Book by Andrea Stein: This book makes my witchy inner child’s heart so happy! It’s about a magical little witch who questions her magical path and asks: what kind of which should she be? What follows is an enchanting journey that explores a variety of bewitching possibilities, while introducing basic pagan concepts like altars, moon phases, healing crystals, and hedge witchery. This gentle, rhyming story is an empowering must-read for any little witchling who is curious about their own magic.

The Hand-Me-Down Magic Series by Corey Ann Haydu: A sweet chapter book series about everyday enchantment and the magic of friendship, these books are emotionally complex and thought-provoking, but accessible and easy to read. They feature a multiracial and multigenerational Latinx family, with Spanish words interspersed throughout. With chapters that alternate between two relatable and engaging protagonists, they are sure to be a winner with young readers who like realistic stories with a touch of magic thrown in.

Ghost Squad by Claribel Ortega: A spooky and fun middle grade thriller about two best friends who cast a spell that accidentally invokes evil spirits, this one is packed with 80’s pop culture references, lots of humor, and a lovely storyline about family and remembering those we’ve lost. More please!

Unfamiliar Familiars by Megan Lynn Kott: This book is pure fun. A perfectly light and humorous read for animal lovers, young and old, this book will help you to figure out which animal is best suited to be your familiar spirit. 

Seance Tea Party by Reimena Yee: This book is such a gift! A cozy graphic novel about a girl who doesn’t want to grow up, this book will appeal to anyone who prefers the magic and imaginative fantasy of childhood over adult reality. It gracefully tackles the topics of loss and letting go, while retaining a colorful and fun storyline throughout.

Echo Mountain by Lauren Wolk: A deeply moving and beautifully written middle grade historical novel set during the Great Depression, Echo Mountain features a wise old hag, untamed wilderness, and a lovable protagonist. A coming-of-age story that celebrates folk medicine and the beauty of the natural world, this book is for kids who want to learn to listen to their own inner voice and retain a sense of wildness. An atmospheric, tender triumph!

Snapdragon by Kat Leyh: An endearing story full of lovable outsider characters, this graphic novel contains a perfect balance of realism and magic. In this book, appearances are not what they seem: the evil witch may or not be a sweet and eccentric old lady, and Snap herself may be more magical than she ever thought. I love the diversity and inclusivity in this book: the characters are so fully dimensional, and the themes of acceptance and friendship left me with all of the warm and fuzzy feelings I could hope for. 

Secrets Of The Witch: An Initiation Into Our History and Our Wisdom by Elsa Whyte and Julie Légère: Oh my goddess, the pure gorgeousness of this book! From the elegant and detailed writing to the luminous illustrations, to the red ribbon that ties the physical book shut. A wonderful introduction to witchcraft for children and young adults, it’s jam-packed with information. The perfect gift for a young feminist witch! 

Witches of Brooklyn by Sophie Escabasse: A charming graphic novel about a family of urban witches, Witches of Brooklyn beautifully balances enchantment and everyday reality, humor and seriousness, and sweetness and spookiness. The art is super cute and the writing is sharp! I loved how gracefully this story handled some difficult topics like separating art from the artist, how to handle major loss, and accepting one’s emotions without shame.  Overall, it was a fantastic series opener and I’m eagerly awaiting the next book!

On These Magic Shores by Yamile Saied Méndez: This magical #ownvoices novel for middle graders is about a girl who must protect her siblings when her mother goes missing. It fuses the story of Peter Pan with themes of immigration, poverty, and privilege. Timely, accessible, and incredibly moving!

Season of the Witch: A Spellbinding History of Witches and Other Magical Folkby Matt Ralphs: A comprehensive survey of witches across history, this YA nonfiction book explores real witches, fictional sorceresses, and magical women in folklore and myth. Its large format and cute illustrations make it appealing to a wide age range. This would make a great gift for any magically curious child!

The Little Witch’s Book of Spells by Ariel Kusby: Written by Little Witchery owner Ariel Kusby, this book is our hands-on children’s grimoire full of spells, rituals, and activities to guide kids (and inner children) along the enchanted path of magic. Hope you love it, magical ones!


Ariel Kusby is a writer, children’s bookseller, and practicing witch based in Portland, OR. She is the author of The Little Witch’s Book of Spells (Chronicle Books, August 2020), a magical handbook for children 8 to 12 years old and the owner of Little Witchery, a magical community for children and adults.