November and the Pumpkin

Andrea Maldonado | Gourmet Witch

This year in my first outdoor garden, I planted all manner of pumpkin and squash from the summer varieties to the winter and have watched them grow from seeds, to seedlings, to tiny plants and then… Boom. Vines for days! They grew and took over their garden bed, climbed the trellis, even tried to get into the neighbor’s yard!

As a very green urban farmer I was overwhelmed with the beauty of the blossoms, the leaves that multiplied quickly and their various sizes that seemed to changed overnight. I thought of Cinderella’s pumpkin coach, jack-o-lanterns and how I would have squash blossoms to stuff and eat till my heart’s content. I thought of magical herb baths, healing medicines, all manner of witchy things, then I got over that part. They were growing out of hand and I didn’t know what to do!

Gathering my thoughts and wits, I began to reap what I had sown. I was able to give away some of the summer varieties, cooking what I kept, freezing what I couldn’t use at the time. Worked with the plants by including them in spell work and dried what I could use at another time, ready and patiently waiting for the fall/winter varieties.

All things pumpkin roll in with the fall. They are partners, brought together with the season and our love for pumpkin spice everything. From Mabon till Thanksgiving we can never get enough and then just like that, it’s gone. This is just how nature works. We wave goodbye with a heavy heart and keep hope alive that next year isn’t too long a wait.

Although pumpkins are used throughout Halloween and Samhain for carving and warding off unwanted spirits, Thanksgiving gives the pumpkin a platform to really shine. Thanksgiving dinner = Turkey and pumpkin pie (unless you’re at my Mother’s where the turkey is surrounded by ham, roast pork and the pumpkin pie is now a flan ::enter sad face::)

I learned many lessons from this plant. It taught me about persistence, the will to live and thrive, abundance and commitment. Some magical properties of the pumpkin include protection work/ warding, banishing, divination, prosperity, fertility, love, abundance, wealth ($) and healing. Naturally this all made perfect sense as I sit to look back on this journey.

The tiny tendrils that stretch out and grab on to themselves, other neighboring plants, the fencing, exposed not a weakness but a willingness to seek help. To allow its surroundings a chance to hold up the plant and survive. The blossoms grow under the shade of the larger leaves so that the sun will not burn the flowers until it is time for them to bloom. My greatest joy came from watching them in the early morning as the sun rose and the birds chirped all around, they stood up, and opened themselves. Bursting with color and not a care in the world. In a magnificent sun salutation, a thank you, they bloomed and opened themselves to receive as well as to give. Insects that needed shelter, a rest or carried pollen were able to find relief with the plant.

The recipes I’m sharing are for Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin- Chocolate Brownies and Pumpkin Cheesecake Egg rolls easily prepared for any Thanksgiving gathering, potluck, or pre-winter meal. While you measure, mix and decorate, think on all the things you are thankful for, the people who will partake of your dish and the special place they hold in your life.

The pumpkin grows, flourishes and bears fruit if it is fed, kept hydrated, pruned when needed and given access to the sun. We too can be like the pumpkin. Fight to survive, to be better, to be stronger. Don’t be afraid to let others help you. Don’t be afraid to help those in need.  give them comfort, food, support or a couch to lay on. Above all else, continue to be the best you that you can be. Spread love, joy and give thanks for the simple things in life and for the scary over growing one’s too!

Witchy Tip : If you have pumpkins or squash growing in your yard, pick some of the small leaves and lay out to dry. Grind it to powder and anoint candles for spells concerning abundance, financial wealth and healing (depression/stress).

 

 

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