Thanksgiving falls within the three day window of November’s Full Moon this year, so a few of my magically inclined friends and I are concocting a magical cider to take advantage of its potent energies. This spell (recipe) requires a bit of preparation and will collect the energies of October’s full moon in Taurus (on October 24th) through the Scorpio New Moon of November 7 culminating in the Thanksgiving Full Moon in Gemini on the November 23rd. We will end up with a delicious and powerful treat to share at Thanksgiving… or to help recover from Black Friday. NOTE: this elixir will contain alcohol.
We start with cider, ideally, unpasteurized fresh cider. We’re making a batch of four gallons because we have a five gallon glass carboy. Feel free to scale smaller (or larger!) if the spirits move. You’ll get best results if you use a glass container that you sanitize with a small splash of bleach dissolved in water before rinsing completely and adding the cider. On the night of the October Full Moon, members of my circle will each bring an apple to the ritual which we will juice beforehand. I have recently discovered the WONDERS of fresh juice, which is another article in itself. After establishing a sacred space, each of us in in turn will add our juice to the large glass jar of cider, as a representation of who we are right now, standing on the edge of autumn’s transformation. The ritualist will add a package of yeast. My brewer friend recommends an Ale yeast to leave a little sweetness in the final cider, though any yeast should work, even a pinch of baking yeast. You might even opt not to add yeast at all. A miracle of nature is that a very good type of yeast for making hard cider is frequently present on many apples. Similarly, a good yeast for making wine is often already present on fresh grapes. At the end of the ritual, COVER THE BOTTLE LOOSELY — We want to keep unwanted particles from falling in and to allow carbon dioxide formed from fermentation to get out. Sealing the bottle too tightly will trap the gas with perhaps explosive results.
For the next two weeks, the yeast will transform the sweet cider into something different, just as in my area of the world, the winter breezes change the leaves to brilliant colors, before they drop away. Similarly, by the New Moon of November 8, the active fermentation in the cider will have subsided. Likely some of the dead yeast and apple particles will have settled to the bottom of the bottle. Our circle will again gather, cast a sacred space and reflect on the aspects of our lives that need to drop away– relationships, habits, dreams… These elements have served their purpose in our existence, and we can let them go graciously. We will then transfer the liquid at the top of this bottle to another sanitized carboy to represent letting go. (The discarded yeast and apple particles make a great addition to a compost, which itself is a lesson about the circle of Life energy.) We then will add a new ingredient to this bottle of fermented cider, just as we can choose to add to energies and friendships to our lives. We’ve chosen to use cherries since they are so widely available in Michigan. Feel free to use individually fresh frozen, defrosted, of course. These new fruits will mingle with the cider while the moon grows to full.
On the Full Moon in Gemini, we will strain away the cherry solids and decant the hard cider into containers for each of our circle. This cider will keep a week in the fridge, so share it freely with those whose energy you admire. This brew DOES contain alcohol so be sensitive around children and those in substance recovery. Its alcohol content should be roughly similar to beer. As you sip this completed elixir, notice that it doesn’t taste very much like fresh cider anymore. Much of the simple sweetness is gone and a more complex tartness of the apples is accented, especially when blended with the cherries. Autumn is a time for transformation, for setting aside some parts of our life even as we mature into other roles and dimensions.