- Also known as: Autumnal Equinox, Fall Equinox, September Equinox, Harvest Tide, Harvest Home, Harvest Festival, Wine Harvest.
- Mabon (pronounced MAY-bun, MAH-bun, MAY-vhon, or MAH-bawn) note – the naming of this celebration as Mabon outside of specific contexts can be problematic. I have a number of Welsh friends that get *very* upset by it. For some thoughts you can visit my friend Cymraes’ blog Mabon?
- 21st to 24th September (Northern Hemisphere)
- 20th to 22nd March (Southern Hemisphere_
- 0 degrees Libra
Don’t let the UK weather fool you. The dog days of summer have come to an end and the Wheel has turned to the Autumn Equinox. Partner to the Spring Equinox the hours of daylight and night have become balanced but rather being the herald of light and life darkness and death is all that awaits us now.
The night sky encroaches on our day earlier and earlier, casting long and delicately painted skies of pinks, reds and purples over a land which is slowly retreating. The deciduous trees are slowly beginning to lose their green hues in favour of rich tones of yellow, orange and red whilst other plants begin to die back in readiness for winter. Animals who winter in Britain are beginning to pick dens and hibernation sites and stockpile food for the winter months ahead.
The Equinox marks the second of the three harvest season, and having brought in the crop of grain we turn to the trees and bushes for their wealth and this is the perfect time to make jams and preserves which can be safely stored for the darker months. Mundane preparations for the winter begin in earnest as well, and now is the time to finish of those pesky DIY projects which will make the house safe and warm in the coming cold.
Now is the time to share our good fortune and food wealth with the people around us and our thoughts turn to our friends and family with us in this life, just as we will dwell on the ancestors during Samhain. The developing and maintaining of harmony between people upon which we rely, like friends and family, should be at the forefront of our minds, and this theme is reinforced by the fact that the Autumn Equinox times according to the Sun’s entry in to the star sign Libra.
Light and darkness, life and death, harmony and balance are are the centre of the celebration but there is no doubt that the balance is shifting towards death at this point in the turn of the Wheel. The God ages rapidly and his increasing weakness is evidenced by the weakening of the sun. The Goddess also ages even as the new God grows within her. Some interpret the slowing of growth and the preparation of animal as a sign of her sad realisation that her Lord will soon die and she will be forced to rule alone until his rebirth. The earth prepares itself to lie fallow through the winter months ahead of spring renewal and this in turn represents the Goddess preparing to marshal her energy for the gestation of the new God ahead of his birth come Yule/Imbolc.
Given that the equinox is a time of balance this is a perfect time to take a moment to meditate on the subject of balance within your life. The hurly burly of the summer is past and now is a time to centre oneself and prepare for the cooler months ahead. You can turn this inward reflection out into your own home and look at the balance you have with your family members at the same time. Rituals to draw people close together and to generate harmony can be performed at this time, as well as the establishment of wards and protections around people and the home.
A lot of my own craft focuses around this time are around the hearth and home. Just as spring is a time of repair and recuperation in preparation for the summer ahead the autumn is a time to prepare for the lean times ahead. I like to celebrate the changing seasons by gathering in nature’s bounty. Living in an urban environment that means blackberries, rosehip, rowan berries and the like. I’ve got half an idea where there may be some blackthorn growing locally and one of these days I’m going to go looking for it.
This means that we are tramping through growing places and encountering the changing leaves and falling nuts and we often find things to do with the things we find. I’m am inspired with the leaf art that I see photos of around this time of the year and whilst we have created collages in the past my favourite thing is to make altar displays such as the one pictured below.
These are definitely things that children can get involved with but if you want to make autumn decorations which will last then get yourself down to your local haberdashery and craft store and grab some mod podge.
Leaf Mask (this link doesn’t actually use mod podge in its method but if you wrap a plastic mask form with cling film and form the mask around that mod podge is the way to go.