The Autumn Equinox has arrived in the woods, and I awoke to a different realm. The sky is both sunny and then clouded, the house has a real chill in the air, and the woods are golden brown and filled with fruiting fungi. I went to the pine grove in the full moon’s light last night, as I feel it the best time to forage for fly agaric. This magickal fungi favors the pines, and the moonbeams above shining through is bewitching.
Fly agaric, or in my case “Amanita muscariavar. formosa” known as the yellow orange fly agaric, is a hallucinogenic and poisonous basidiomycete fungus of the genus Amanita, and my Midwest version from the classic European one differs in that it is bright yellow / orange, instead of the classic red. Volumes have written about fly agaric and it’s subtly infused Anglo Saxon culture. A magickal mushroom to find, and I’ve come across some with caps as big as my hand in diameter. I wrote a blog about some of the winter folklore of this fabulous mushroom, called “Shrooms, and the Shaman… Winter Folktales.”
I am drying some and making spore prints so that I may grow my own indoors as well. The fauna here loves them too, so it’s a first see first gets kinda situation. The red squirrel bitches at me every time he sees me enter the pine grove, so it might be sage to just grow my own. I make a mushroom essence of them by moonlight instead of sun, a tincture for healing, and detoxify some to consume their medicinal properties. So just as other baneful species, what can kill can also heal… I strung acorn bells to my two Azaleas (Rhododendrons) alongside my deck this Autumn Equinox morn. The azaleas are turning a beautiful blood red, and the bells chime in celebration of the balance in light and darkness, and the arrival of the dark season.
I have fall leaf garland wrapped around pine on my windows, with strands of acorns, cinnamon sticks, dried apples, fungi and pine cones. The house is scented with cloves, pine, and patchouli, and of Mabon bread and blackberry pie baking in the oven. There are two taper candles I made on the kitchen table, one of light the other dark, and the cornucopia is in the middle, full of the seasons abundance. Goldenrod and Black eyed Susan’s, ghost white pumpkins, acorns and fungi decorate my altar, and sunflowers that seem to have an eerie glow about them… the equinox is here.