Ritual, Tarot, Wheel of the Year, Witchcraft

Mabon, the Autumn Equinox

Autumn Equinox: Mabon

In the northern hemisphere, the 2023 Autumn Equinox will occur Saturday, September 23, at 02:50 A.M. EDT 

Mabon is the second harvest festival. A time to reap what you have sown, whether that means crops of food or metaphorically. Day and night hang in the balance as we begin our descent towards the cooler months, leaving the warmth behind us. We embrace the transition during this time of equal light and dark, of masculine and feminine, to find balance in all aspects of our lives.

A Time of Rest and Gratitude

Go outside and notice the shifts taking place. The leaves are beginning to change and the winds are shifting from warm breezes to cool gusts. Enjoy these last fleeting days of good weather. The humid heat is behind us and we can prepare to bring out the sweaters and wool socks soon. But for now we live in a liminal time. The weather now is the perfect compromise. I always feel relaxed and clear headed going into the Autumn season. It is my favorite time of year. It is a time to be thankful for all that surrounds you. To return gratitude to the earth in exchange for the bountiful nourishing fruits that she gives us so generously. We rest and reflect on what we have worked hard to bring to life, what inner gifts have blossomed since the Spring Equinox. While we also look towards the cool months of peace and rest with hope for new dormant seeds to be held in our hearts until springtime comes again.

baskets of ripe red raspberries in a farm field in the fall
Mabon is the second harvest, a time to gather berries and other fruit.

A Time to Harvest

During this second harvest time we gather raspberries, apples, and squash. I don’t have land for growing food but we do have many farms that offer pick your own apples. It is so much fun wandering the orchard together, picking out the juiciest looking fruit, and of course stopping in the barn for a slice of apple pie after the baskets are full. On forest walks you may find rose hips, elderberries and blackberries. Harvest if you wish, leave enough for the animals who live there and remember that the seed that is needed for new growth lives in the fruit. (Also don’t poison yourself!)

You may also want to prepare the medicine cabinet with your winter herbs and medicines. Drying your plants and getting your hands busy with preparing syrups and oxymels to nourish us for the long dark nights to come.

Mabon Ritual

A simple ritual to honor the Autumn Equinox is to build an altar for the season. Place golden leaves, sunflowers, apples, rose hips, elderberries, acorns, nuts, seeds and anything else that feels right to you on a tree stump outside. Add one black candle and one white to your altar, representing the balance of the equinox. Sit in front of your altar and light the black candle, visualizing something you would like to let go of. Light the white candle and visualize what you would like to manifest. Sit in front of your Mabon altar to meditate on the cooler months ahead. When you’re done, leave out the apples and nuts for the wildlife. Leave it as a shrine to nature. You can revisit and replenish as the wheel turns to Samhain. Giving gifts to the birds, deer and squirrels, and to the nature spirits.

Mabon Tarot Spread

  1. What do you have to be thankful for?
  2. What am I harvesting?
  3. The negative or dark side that is revealing itself this season?
  4. What good will been shined on during this transition?

About the Wheel of The Year

Wheel of the Year pagan watercolor (c) 2018 Tiana

The wheel of the year is a round of festivals that celebrate the cyclical nature of the Earth. The wheel of the year integrates festivals from many ancient cultures. Living your life in accordance with the seasons and rhythms of nature will help bring you into balance and leave you feeling in tune with your non linear, cyclical self. Learn about all the other festivals on the wheel of the year in the Learning Center.

Mabon the Autumn Equinox pin


  • Tiana

    Tiana writes about a wide range of esoteric practices, including earth-based spirituality, ritual and tarot.

What's on Your Mind?