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We celebrate the Autumn Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere in September. This was a sacred shifting of the seasons for our ancestors. And it remains culturally important to modern mystics in many of the same ways.
Mabon marks the official start of the harvest season, and the end of the summer growing season. Harvesting takes a long time. It’s an entire process that cannot be rushed or done in a single day, or even over a few days.
This is precisely why our ancestors didn’t observe one specific day as the start of the harvest. Rather, they rejoiced, feasted, and gave thanks when their crops were ready.
They didn’t harvest their bounty, then wait until the Equinox to be grateful and enjoy it. They enjoyed the entire harvest season.
We may not be hyper-focused on harvesting crops like our ancestors were. But the Autumn Equinox is an excellent season for taking stock of your entire life.
What worked? What didn’t? What will you do differently? How have your goals changed? How will you use the last of the beautiful weather to your advantage?
Autumn Equinox Meaning
The Equinox happens on a specific day, but we often celebrate Mabon during a range of days. Or a range of weeks. The entire fall season is one of preparation and reflection. We cannot prepare for the year ahead in just one day.
That being said, the specific day of the Equinox is magical in its own right! It triggers massive shifts in nature and with ourselves. We know change is here and we are meant to move in flow with it.
An Equinox happens when the Earth’s equator passes through the center of the Sun, twice a year, creating equal day and night. Slowly, the Earth’s tilt will bring colder weather and shorter days.
“Mabon” is a modern term, but the celebration of the Autumn Equinox goes back almost as far as recorded history can take us. Our ancestors recognized the importance of this time of year, both culturally and spiritually.
Culturally, this was when winter preparations began. The success of the growing season was becoming apparent, depending on how much food there was to harvest.
During this time, people took stock of what they needed to consume now, or put away for the winter months. Everyone in the community likely helped each other as best they could, to ensure each family had the best chance of surviving the winter.
Fall Equinox Spiritual Meaning
Spiritually, this was a time of remembering the gods that died and sacrificed themselves for the sake of their people. Religions all over the world have tales of gods giving up their lives, only to be resurrected at a later time in order to restore vitality to the people and the Earth.
Our ancestors, and indeed many modern mystics as well, use Mabon to spiritually explore the concept of sacrifice, death, grief, and community. We’re starting to turn our energy inwards for introspection and reflection.
At Mabon, we’re guided to reflect on all that we’ve accomplished this year. Both within our inner world and our outer world. It’s a time to be eternally grateful and relentlessly proud.
How we act over the next few weeks will drastically affect how winter unfolds. For our ancestors, their choices were a matter of life or death. For us, our choices are more about personal success and fulfillment.
Mabon, or the Autumn Equinox, is a time for planning and preparations. We’re laying the foundations for the future–specifically next spring.
Out in the garden, a lot of prep work is happening. We’re planting bulbs, gathering seeds, pruning branches, harvesting crops, and clearing away what we cannot bring into winter with us. All the while holding gratitude in our hearts.
We are literally witnessing the fruits of our labor, seeing what we can do when we work together with nature. It’s good for the soul to recognize this powerful connection so we can be even more successful next year.
How to Celebrate Mabon
Mabon is a time of gratitude, community, planning, success, reflection, sharing, and grounding. It has the nickname “witch’s Thanksgiving” for a good reason!
Here are some fun and easy ways to enjoy the beautiful energy of Mabon:
- Start a gratitude journal. Write at least one thing you’re happy to have in your life every day until the Winter Solstice (Yule) in December.
- Prep and preserve food from your garden or local farmer’s market. Seal the taste of summer to enjoy in the middle of winter.
- Consume your crops fresh from the garden. Don’t wait to enjoy your bounty! Eat a feast every night if you can. Share what food you cannot consume on your own with your neighbors.
- Get out in the garden. There is still plenty to do and enjoy outside. Decorate with fall crops (pumpkins, mums, corn stalks, etc.). Then plant seeds/bulbs that will bloom in the spring.
- Soak up the sun. As the days are growing shorter, the sunlight is becoming more precious. Get your fill in now before the days outlast the nights.
- Volunteer or donate. Especially charities that are related to food in some way. Making an impact in your local community feels good, but also brings us closer to our ancestors, who looked out for each other as best they could.
- Refresh your altar. Use fall colors like yellow, red, brown, green, and gold. Bring pieces of the outside indoors, like acorns, branches, leaves, bouquets, crops, etc. Use grounding crystals like pyrite, mookaite, tourmaline, citrine, aventurine, and even Himalayan salt.
- Journal about what worked and what didn’t work this summer. How did you get closer to your goals? How have your goals changed? What do you want to leave behind in the previous year? Create a plan about how to instill these changes so you can be even more successful next year.
- Do spells to help change your outer world. Something to help ease the transition from fall to winter. Or something to offer the Earth (and Earth deities) as thanks for a bountiful season, encouraging yet another bountiful season next year.
- Do rituals to help change your inner world. Something that can bring problems or issues to the surface so you can deal with them. Or something that can give you guidance on what direction might be best for you next year.
Mabon Gods and Goddesses
As I already mentioned, we associate stories of gods dying and resurrecting with Mabon. From Jesus Christ to Persephone, and countless others from around the world, there is some element of loss in Mabon.
This brings about feelings of grief, which will eventually lead to healing. But for now, the world (and its inhabitants) go dark and turn inwards to cope with the loss.
And if you’ve ever lost something or someone dear to you, then you already understand the importance of expressing gratitude towards them. Being grateful while you’re experiencing it, and being grateful for having experienced it are equally important.
The season of introspection and deep inner healing is just beginning at Mabon. It’s time to ease yourself in and slowly acclimate yourself.
Soon we will shift our focus to exploring our inner worlds–which isn’t the type of thing you want to do blindly.
Autumn is such a beloved season! The weather is still beautiful, the sun is still shining, and nature is still thriving. There’s such a wonderful feeling of success, joy, and gratitude in the crisp air.
And there’s so much more to love than just pumpkin flavored goodies or brilliant leaf colors.
We know in our souls that the Earth is about to go dark and cold for the sake of all life living upon it. We are being presented with an opportunity to appreciate what we have and explore what we’ve avoided before.
The next major celebration on the Wheel of the Year is Samhain. Also known as Halloween! Use the coming weeks before Samhain to live in alignment with the seasonal energies of the Earth.
So when Samhain arrives, you’ll be ready to embrace the thinning veil and all the magic waiting for you on the other side of it.