The nights are growing chillier and the trees have lost their leaves. I can see into the woods, the tall, slender, silver trunks of birch trees, the craggy, blackened bark of old apple trees, and the few stubborn oaks who hold onto their leaves til the bitter end. The feeling is sometimes unsettling to many. Perhaps its the nakedness of the trees, or the death of summer's beauty. All the energy of the trees and plants are descending into the darkness and into their roots. And because we are intimately connected to nature, we too are pulled inward, back to the womb, back to the darkness where all life begins.
Today I'm making a cake honoring the dark goddesses. An Cailleach, Kali, Cerridwen, Isis - all the dark goddesses who, over the years, have ushered me away from the world of the patriarch and my "father's home", into the womb and into the cave of my soul reminding me of who I am. It's a journey we all must take if we're to undo the collective mindset and societal expectations that we've been born into.
The cake is going to be dark and earthy with nutty flours and grains, filled with the fruits of the earth - autumn olive berries, raspberries and hazelnuts. It's going to be drenched in honey and chocolate, the sweetness of life, and bare one single candle to symbolize the light found within the darkness.
I'm sharing this cake with friends this evening and also sharing this with the spirits of our land. Tomorrow, on All Souls Day, I'll hike up to our stone circle and leave a piece of cake on the stone altar honoring my ancestors, the ancestors of our land and the elemental beings. I'll carry a piece down the road to my friend, the white pine tree and place it among his roots.
These are the traditions, the seasonal celebrations and honoring of the earth that are as old as time. For me, honoring the seasons in this way has brought me inner peace. It's helped me to understand the seasons of my own life - changes that at one time in my life might have scared me or stressed me out, now, I experience as flow - an ending and a beginning - a death and a birth.
Whether its baking a cake or a biscuit or just lighting a single candle, I hope you can find time to pause, reflect, honor this time of year. And honor yourself for being part of the great wheel of life.
Blessings on your journey! (see cake recipe below)
This is a recipe from a wonderful website called Gather Victoria (https://gathervictoria.com)
I've substituted some of the ingredients with fruits and nuts we have on our land this fall.
2 & 1/2 cups of flour (spelt, oat, rye or wholewheat)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup of honey (little extra for drizzling)
1/2 cup roasted hazelnuts (roughly chopped)
1/2 cup chopped crabapple (or grated apple)
1/4 cup golden currants
1/4 cup of barberries or cranberries (lightly chopped)
1/4 cup of melted butter (or oil)
3 tablespoons dark cocoa
2 tablespoons of poppyseeds
a couple of teaspoons of your favourite spice (cinnamon, allspice, ginger etc. it’s up to you)
1/2 cup grated dark chocolate (or chocolate chips)
4 tablespoons of brandy (or your favourite spirits)
Combine flour and honey in a large bowl, mix well.
Adds eggs and combine.
Blend the rest of the ingredients into the batter and mix (you may need to use your hands) making sure it is well-blended.
Shape your dough into a “mound-like” form. If too wet add more flour until it holds its shape, if too dry add another splash of brandy!
Transfer your cake-mound onto a greased baking pan (or you can use a bundt pan)
Bake in a preheated oven at 325F for approximately 45 – 50 minutes. It could take shorter or longer depending on your ingredients, so test with a toothpick.
Serve with a drizzle of melted chocolate or dust w/icing sugar – or both!