Autumn Equinox, or Mabon, is the second harvest festival in the Wheel of the Year. Mabon, unlikes some other Sabbats, is not a continuation or recreation of a Celtic festival. However, it is possible that it was influenced by the Christian Michaelmas, which grew from a religious festival in the Middle Ages into a more generalized harvest festival in later times.
In Wicca, this Sabbat similar to the secular Thanksgiving holidays (which is less then a month away in Canada, but about two months away in the United States). Wiccans take time to appreciate the foods that are being harvested, and to honour the Lord, the male divine, who has given up His life so that we might be able to harvest these items. (There is another myth cycle that gives this Sabbat a different meaning, but I do not follow the Holly and Oak king cycle.)
In Southern Ontario, this is the time of the largest harvest, when there is an abundance of apples, tomatoes, and other produce. For many Ontarians, apples and tomatoes are synonymous with fall, as are the rituals of making spaghetti sauce and apple sauce. Tomatoes are grown in Southern Ontario year round–in fields during the summer and greenhouses in the winter. They were originally introduced to the province in the early 1900s, and have grown continually in popularity.
Some Wiccan traditions see this Sabbat as marking the beginning of the dark half of the year, rather than November Eve/Samhain.
- acorns and oak leaves
- fall flowers (mums, etc.)
- gourds and miniature pumpkins
- apples and knife
- paper or Book of Shadows
- list of “I believe” from Spring Equinox
Decorate your altar with the acorns, oak leaves, fall flowers, gourds, etc. If the leaves in your area have already begun to turn, include a basket of them as well. Arrange several apples on an attractive plate and place that on your altar as well. Keep your pen and paper (or Book of Shadows) nearby, along with your list of beliefs created during the Spring Equinox.
Begin your ritual with your usual Circle casting. Be sure to state why you are performing the Circle–for example “Today is the day I celebrate the Autumn Equinox I have cast my Circle so that I might celebrate with the Lord and Lady.”
Settle yourself before your altar in whatever manner is most comfortable. Recite the following, or something similar, while reflecting on the meaning of the season:
The leaves are falling and the days grow colder. The Lord has sailed to the West, taking the warmth of the Sun with Him. The Lady remained behind, preparing for His rebirth and watching over us, Her children.
Blessings on the Lord in His Western Land, who’s death has provided us with an ample harvest.
Blessings on the Lady in Her lonely home, for Her love will sustain us through the coming cold.
Take up one of the apples from you altar and hold it in both hands. Meditate on the personal meaning of this Sabbat, filling the apple with positive energy and the love you feel for the Lord and Lady. When ready, eat the apple. Set aside the seeds, if you wish, to be used during your next Spring Equinox ritual.
Next, take your pen and piece of paper and write our a list of all the things you believe. For example, “I believe that fairies exist.” You may also want to include a list of goals that you would like to accomplish before the Spring Equinox.
When you are done, bring out the list you wrote during the Spring Equinox ritual and compare it to what you have just written. If you don’t have a list, put away the list you have just created until the next Spring Equinox.
Close the ritual when you are ready, using your regular closing. Follow up with a meal of seasonal produce and a dessert made with the apples that we sitting on your altar. Seasonal produce in Southern Ontario includes:
- bell peppers
To recognize that the mirror of harvesting is planting, consider saving the seeds from your meal for planting in the spring.