Welcome to the second harvest!
Ahh, September, season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, and the season of the witch! We love it…Autumn colours, pumpkin spice everything! It’s the 12th of September as I sit to write this, and finally the weather has cooled down after that crazy hot week when the schools started back! It always gets a little hot again at that time, but this last week in the UK was ridiculous, and I for one am welcoming the cooler days. Already we can see the mornings and evenings getting darker. For many this is a melancholy time, people don’t like the nights drawing in, but if we develop a strong personal practice, we can fully step into this time with a feeling of excitement. This new season gives us the opportunity for fresh starts, a blank page, the ability to go within and create new practices, and definitely to count our blessings and gratitudes, which always makes us feel better.
This year, 2023, in the UK the Autumn Equinox Falls (see what I did there?) on Saturday 23rd September around 07.50am. Mabon refers to the period around this time..although for me and my witchy friends, as soon as we get to September 1st, we are in The Season!
So, what is in a name? Mabon, Fall, the Autumn Equinox…are they the same? It can get confusing when and what to celebrate. Lets delve into a little bit of info about the differences between the two.
Mabon and the autumn equinox are related but not exactly the same. They both mark important moments in the changing of seasons, particularly in the context of pagan and Wiccan traditions.
The autumn equinox, also known as the September equinox or fall equinox, is a natural event that occurs when the sun crosses the celestial equator from north to south. It usually happens around September 21st or 22nd in the Northern Hemisphere.
It marks the point at which day and night are roughly equal in length, signifying the transition from summer to autumn in the Northern Hemisphere and from winter to spring in the Southern Hemisphere.
The equinox is not a religious or spiritual holiday in itself; it’s an astronomical event observed by various cultures around the world.
Mabon is a modern pagan, witchy and Wiccan holiday that is celebrated around the time of the autumn equinox. It is one of the eight Sabbats, or seasonal festivals, observed by many neopagan and witchcraft traditions. (I have written about these sabbats and the wheel of the year in previous blogs) – The word Mabon comes from the God of Welsh mythology, Mabon. He is the Child of Light and the son of the Earth Mother Goddess, Modron.
At Mabon we give thanks for the harvest and the abundance of the Earth. It is often seen as a time of balance, similar to the equinox, but it has specific rituals and symbolism associated with it.
Celebrations of Mabon can include feasting, making offerings to deities or spirits, creating altars, and activities that focus on gratitude and reflection for the bounties of the season.
The equinox is an astronomical event that marks the changing of seasons, while Mabon is a neopagan and Wiccan celebration that takes place around the time of the equinox and is focused on giving thanks for the harvest and embracing the themes of balance and abundance. Mabon is a cultural and spiritual observance, while the equinox is a natural occurrence.
Ways to celebrate the Autumn Equinox or Mabon
Because we live in our fast paced world, dedicating a specific day when we have to celebrate is just not practical and adds pressure to our already pressured lives. Our practice should be fun, and fit in with our lifestyles. So, unless you specifically must celebrate exactly on the equinox, then just use any point between the 1st of September and Samhain on 31st October to feel grateful for all of your abundance…this is the second harvest after all! And just do what feels right, honouring the season can just be as simple as enjoying a quiet pumpkin spiced latte while you read your book!
If you fancy doing something a bit more (or as well as) that, here are some things you can do to celebrate the season;
Create an Altar (or two!): Set up an altar with symbols of the season, such as colourful leaves, acorns, pinecones, and apples. You can also include candles in autumnal colours – red, orange, and brown.
Have a Feast: Prepare a special meal using the fruits and vegetables of the season. Apples, squash, pumpkins, and root vegetables are all excellent choices. Consider making dishes like apple pie, roasted root vegetables, or a hearty soup.
Go Apple Picking: Visit a local orchard or park and pick your own apples. It’s a fun way to connect with nature and gather fresh produce for your equinox feast.
Take a Walk in Nature: Take a leisurely walk in the woods or a nearby park to appreciate the changing colours of the leaves and the fresher autumn air. Collect fallen leaves or pinecones to use in your altar.
Make Mulled Apple Cider: Using cider and or apple juice, add spices like cinnamon and cloves and gently warm.
Bake Bread: Baking bread is a great way to connect with the harvest season. Try making a loaf of hearty, whole-grain bread to enjoy with your meal.
Crafts and DIY: Get creative with autumn-themed crafts. You can make wreaths, decorate pumpkins, or create your own autumn-inspired artwork.
Give Thanks: Take a moment to express gratitude for the harvest and the abundance in your life. Reflect on the things you’re thankful for and consider ways to give back to your community or nature (I pick litter whenever I go out for a walk)
Share with Others: Share your harvest with friends, family, or neighbours. You can give away some of the apples you picked or share a portion of your feast with loved ones.
Light a Bonfire or Candles: Fire is a traditional element of many equinox celebrations. Light a bonfire in a safe location or simply light some candles on your altar to symbolise the warmth and light of the season.
Meditation and Reflection: Spend some quiet time in meditation or reflection. Consider your goals for the upcoming season and how you can align yourself with the changing energies of autumn. Ask where you can bring more balance into your life.
Rituals and Ceremonies: Connect with like minded friends and meet in nature to honour the elements and seasons – share food, drum, sing, do card readings.
Attend a Festival: Check if there are any local autumn festivals or events happening in your area. These can be a fun way to celebrate with the community.
Make Medicine for Winter: The hedgerows are bursting with berries, blackberries, sloes, rowan, hawthorn berries, and rose hips, all of which are filled with immune boosting vitamins and antioxidents. It’s easy to make a heart healing tea or tincture with hawthorn berries, or a delicious syrup with elderberries and rose hips. I have recipes on my other posts here with hawthorn and elderberries.
The autumn equinox is a time of balance, reflection and gratitude. It’s an opportunity to connect with the natural world and celebrate the changing of the seasons and the fullness you have in your life in a way that resonates with you.
However you choose to celebrate, I wish you much abundance, joy and blessings of the season,
Much love and green (and orange) blessings, Sam XXX