The Fall Equinox (around September 21 in the Northern Hemisphere) marks the turn from the expansive energy of Summer into the contemplative energy of Fall. Winter is approaching, and in many places there is a chill to the air in the early mornings and in the evenings. Trees begin to lose their leaves and display their vibrant colors, fields are ready for harvest, animals begin preparing for winter. Even if you live in a temperate climate where Fall and Winter aren’t all that much different than Summer and Spring, you can sense the change of season as plants complete their grown seasons and days begin to be noticeably shorter.
Called Mabon, after the Celtic child-god Mabon or Mordred ap Mabon (“Son of the Great Mother”), the Fall Equinox is a time to bring in our year’s harvest. This harvest might include the physical harvest of our gardens and fields. It also includes the results of the plans we put in motion and the goals we set earlier in the year. Our harvest is all that we have grown, nurtured, and brought to fruition, as well as the unexpected gifts and windfalls that have come our way over the last turning of the Wheel of the Year.
This is also the season of gratitude. It’s no coincidence that many cultures marked harvest season with rituals and feasts of thanksgiving! The Fall Equinox calls you to reap your harvest, express gratitude for your bounty, and begin to plan what you will plant when Spring returns. It is also a time to share your bounty with others and to take stock of what you have, what you need, and what you can release. Taking time to cultivate a gratitude practice, whether by keeping a gratitude journal, stopping for a moment to give thanks to the plants and animals that have given their lives for your meal, engaging in charitable giving or volunteerism as a way to give back a portion of your blessings, or simply being conscious of moving through your day with a thankful heart, is a powerful way to connect with the energy of the harvest and the Equinox.
In Goddess traditions, Mabon or the Fall Equinox marks the descent of Persephone into the Underworld, where she will reign for the six cold months of Winter, until she returns at the Spring Equinox. During Persephone’s time in the Underworld, her mother Demeter wanders the earth, grieving for her lost daughter. As the Goddess of the Grain, Demeter presides over the growth of the fields; while she seeks Persephone, the fields wither and lie fallow for the season. Marking Persephone’s journey to the Underworld, and Demeter’s season of grief, reminds us the harvest season is about gathering in our bounty and giving thanks for all of our blessings, but that this season is also about mourning our losses, letting go of that which no longer serves us, and allowing the old to pass away so that new growth can sprout from the newly tilled soil.
Want to learn more about Mabon and ideas to celebrate? Join my online course: Magickal Mabon – Getting to Know the Fall Equinox
Also available – Sacred Samhain – Getting to Know the Sabbat