Autumnal Equinox. Second Harvest. Mea’n Fo’mhair. Mabon. Whatever you call it, this day marks the changing of the seasons and it celebrates equality and planetary harmony on the earth. The Northern and Southern hemisphere rarely get the same thing at the same time. There are only two days that they see eye to eye when it comes to light and darkness, and Mabon is one of those days. During the Autumnal Equinox both hemispheres get exactly the same amount of light—and the same amount of darkness—due to the tilt of the Earth and the position of the sun. The seasons may still be reversed, but the lengths of the day and the night are exactly the same and that balance only happens one other time throughout the year. The harmony may not have anything to do with mankind at all, but man has celebrated it for centuries.
This second harvest holiday is a time for giving thanks, for pulling in the last of your crops, and for acknowledging that winter is on its way. Traditionally it has always been celebrated with feasting and festivals. Villages would host massive feasts and gatherings before the bitter cold of winter set in, so that everyone could get to know one another and learn how each crop had performed that year. This was valuable news for everyone, after all, in a long winter your neighbors may be the key to your survival. Many modern pagan communities still celebrate Mabon in the same way and they have block parties to meet their neighbors or food drives to feed those less fortunate as the colder weather and longer nights set in. It is also a time to reflect on the Mysteries. Wiccans honor the goddess as she passes from Mother to Crone for the year. The Druids made sure the middle harvest (Mea’n Fo’mhair/September) was also one of the last celebrations of the Green Man/the God of the Forest before the woods went bare. They offered libations to trees and concentrated on honoring the balance and equality of the day. This time of year is the perfect time to know your people and gather your tribes. Give thanks for all you have and get ready for the changes in the weather. It is an admission that you do reap what you sow, whether you’re a farmer or not. Today is a split second chance to marvel at the balance of the universe….before it goes back to being its normal misaligned self. It’s the perfect time to wander the forest to create a Fall wreath or to leave some whiskey for your favorite trees. These things and many, many more are all ways to celebrate this ancient holiday.
Autumnal nuts, fruits, and vegetables are symbols of Mabon – things like apples, squash, and gourds of all kinds are synonymous with the holiday as well. The pumpkin spice EVERYTHING phenomenon (candles, coffees, pies, etc) fits right into this seasonal celebration. Other symbols include acorns, pine cones, baskets, scythes, and other tools of the harvest. It is the time to enjoy some wine, honeyed or plain – and to make your own. Mabon’s message is to Eat, Drink, Be Merry, and Prepare. It is a great time to pick up a new hobby in the old tradition or to learn something that will occupy you in the colder weather to come.
So Happy Fall and Merry Mabon to all. My herb garden grew pretty well this year and a very wild dream came true – and I hope your crops and dreams did too – whatever they may be. Celebrate them and be merry because Autumn is here…but never forget, in true Stark fashion, that Winter Is Coming.