Girl enjoying the autumnal sunset in a forest

Mabon: The Autumnal Equinox

Mabon is a time of homecoming and thanksgiving

Mabon is the Autumnal Equinox, and the second of the three harvest festivals. This is a time of homecoming, of joyful thanksgivings and celebrating what has been harvested. It is also a time of great activity as well.

This is the time to start serious preparations for the upcoming winter. Mabon is a holiday of home and hearth, and really represents the whole season between Lammas and Samhain. The young and not-so-young are back in school, and there is football, state fairs, Renaissance Festivals, homecomings, and other celebrations to keep us happy as we watch the light slowly fade from the sky.

The God is dead, sacrificed at Lammas to ensure our prosperous harvest. We were not sad then, because his sacrifice was freely given, and we know we will see him again soon. The Goddess begins to assume her role as Crone, reflecting the slow death and hibernation of the land that has already begun.

We are not sad now, because we know that within her the God waits, ready to be reborn again at the proper time. Our harvest celebrations may be bittersweet, but there is always the hope of the return of the God and the light to look forward to.

Be thankful and relflect on your goals

Mabon is a time of thanksgiving for all that has been sacrificed to ensure we can prosper. What will you be thankful for this year? What will you be harvesting? What time-honored traditions will you be performing to honor the home and the harvest?

Autumnal decorations, leaves, tea and apples
Decorate altars with newly turned leaves, with acorns, and with apples | Getty Images

This day is to celebrate with family and friends, for these are among the things we should be most thankful for. Ritually speaking, it is also a time to look back on your goals for the year. What will you be harvesting from those plans made at Imbolc, planted at Ostara, and nurtured through the months that followed?

What will you be able to store with you, as lessons learned, through the cold months between Samhain and Yule? How will you apply these lessons to the new seeds you will plant the following Ostara? Although this turn of the wheel may be drawing to a close, the circle never really ends. Even as we celebrate the harvests and the ending of the cycle, we look towards the beginning to come.

Decorate altars with newly turned leaves, with acorns, and with apples. Fill chalices with apple cider and mulled wine. Dig out that old wicker cornucopia that you normally use as the Thanksgiving table centerpiece. Use a swath of velvet for your altar cloth, in a deep jewel-toned red. If you are working with a group, perhaps you will want to go around the Circle and talk about what you are each most thankful for this year.

You could write those things on paper leaves and hang them up to decorate your sacred space, if you like. There are a lot of possibilities for creativity. Take time this Mabon to enjoy the last warm days and the fading light. Happy Mabon!