The Autumn Equinox - Celebrating Light and Dark on Witch's Mabon

Mabon Wheel of the Year

The Autumn Equinox has been observed for as long as humankind has watched the heavens - one of two earthly days where day and night are equal. We know from myths, legends and monoliths that the Ancients believed the Equinox to be a holy day. Cultures the world over observe this celestial event with deep belief in its magic. 

What is Mabon and Why Do Witches Celebrate it?

As one of the eight sabbats on the Wheel of the Year, Mabon today is widely celebrated among Neopagans and modern witches. Falling in line with the history of the Autumn Equinox, Mabon marks the second harvest - fields are reaped, the crops plucked bare… wait wait wait. Do you own a plow? Do you have a barn in which to stack a Winter’s worth of hay? If you are like me dear Witch, my guess is probably not. While the Wheel maintains an agricultural theme, many contemporary celebrants today don’t actually have any harvesting work to complete before the harsh winter months. 

Art via Pinterest, © Johanna Polle

It’s important to note that the Wheel is celebrated differently depending on if you are located in the Northern or Southern hemisphere. The Northern Hemisphere is heading into fall while Southern hemisphere witches are enjoying the first rays of Spring. The Spring Equinox (Ostara on the Witch’s Wheel) brings warmth, abundance and fertility in many forms - think of the Autumn Equinox as her darker sister. We are entering the shadow half of the year; time for reflection, gratitude and self-reliance. If Ostara is the maiden, Mabon is the Crone. 

Luckily for us there are still many ways to take part in the symbolic “harvest” of Mabon. Whether you work with specific deities or are a secular witch - Mabon friendly activities are endless. 

Crafting Mabon Celebrations, Recipes and Rituals (Ultimate Correspondence Breakdown) 

While we may not be physically preparing a homestead for Winter  - the energetic themes of harvest and death remain prevalent during this time. The leaves are turning brown, the animals are readying for the cold winter and the night darkness gets longer and longer. The time is ripe to celebrate the previous season by enjoying the summer harvest with delicious recipes, decorating our homes and altars with Nature’s gifts and of course observing a ritual or casting a spell (or two.)

Use the information* below to help craft your Mabon festivities. Keep reading for Mabon in a Mug: An Autumn Equinox Mini-Altar! 

Tarot: The Empress, The Hanged Man, Wheel of Fortune, The World 

Time: September 21-24 (Northern), March 20-23 (Southern)

Names: Mabon, Autumn Equinox, Witch’s Thanksgiving, Second Harvest

Themes: harvest, death, letting go, grief, giving back, aging, reflection, gratitude 

Symbols: pinecones, acorns, autumn leaves, apples, wine, cornucopia, wreaths, scythe

Colors: red, orange, gold, yellow, brown, green

Crystals: carnelian, amber, yellow agate, citrine, tiger’s eye

Plants: honeysuckle, marigold, pine, oak, cedar, ivy, hops

Incense: myrrh, cinnamon, patchouli, sage, frankincense 

Animals: owl, stag, wolf, salmon, goose, horse

Deities: the Horned God, Persephone, Demeter, Mabon, Thoth, Epona, Osun, Apollo, Thor

Foods: roasts, stews, apples, breads, gourds, grapes, beer, wine

Magical Workings: divination, spirit communication, protection, shadow work

Activities: baking, making preserves, canning, communal feasts, canned food drives, winter clothes drives, wreath-making, corn dollies, fall crafts, candle making, preparing homeopathic wintertime remedies 

*Remember that this list is a guide and is not exhaustive! Follow your intuition. 

Now let’s get to magic-making! 

Mabon in a Mug: An Autumn Equinox Mini Altar How-To Guide

Firstly I must shout out the Instagram account, @WitchyTips, for sharing the idea of a mini Mabon-altar-in-a-mug in 2019! As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to create my own version for Mabon this year. 

Using the above image as loose inspiration, let’s begin crafting! 

Step 1: Gather materials needed for the Mabon altar (use the above table of correspondence for ideas!) Here’s what I gathered: 

From my yard: pinecones, acorn, leaves, flower, other bits and bobs! The sand is from a (wet) sandbox along with my mug, an autumn leaf tea candle, some crystals (carnelian, yellow agate, red jasper and orange calcite) and cinnamon sticks.

Step 2: Fill cup with fire-safe material such as dirt, gravel, rocks or sand. Make sure to always use fire-safe practices!

Mug full of sand and rocks

Step 3: Decorate your altar with your chosen materials. This is the fun part! Be intentional and enjoy the process. 

Your altar is now ready for use! Ritual, spells, divination, it is yours to make magic. 

Personally, I felt pretty energetically bogged down this summer. I will use my Mabon altar in a release-and-let-go ritual this year. Whatever was growing on my spirit will die along with my summertime garden. I hope to see more Mabon Mug altars this year! If you are comfortable in posting, tag me I’d love to see it! 

Blessed Be witches, 


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