Pagan Origins of Autumn Equinox

The Autumnal Equinox or Mabon is one of the four main quarterly festivals in the Wheel of the Year (Pagan calendar).  It takes place around the 21st/22nd September and marks the second of three harvest festivals, the other two being Lammas and Samhain. This is known as the first day of Autumn.

This festival is about bringing balance as the Equinox is when for a brief time there are the same amount of dark and light hours in the day. The Equinox happens just before the balance is tipped, we say goodbye to the long sunny days of summertime and we enter into the darker half of the year.

By the time we reach Mabon, the first few signs of Autumn will have made their appearance. The leaves turning yellow and red colours, which will slowly be falling into an amazing golden carpet on the floor. There’s a cold nip in the air, but is counteracted by the lovely, warm Autumn sun. Speaking of which, day by day the sun will now be making its descent and you will notice the sun will be sitting lower in the sky. The sun is setting earlier and earlier each day and the darkness is now engulfing the early evenings. Wheat, corn and squash you will now find in abundance and let’s not forget the yearly debut of the pumpkins.


Colours – 

Orange, red, yellow, gold and brown.

Herbs, Spices and Flowers –

Cinnamon, cloves, star anise, roses, lavender, sage, rosehips, honeysuckle, marigold, myrrh, frankincense, oranges, bay leaves, thistle, ferns, oak leaves, rue and sweetgrass.

Food – 

Apples, squash, corn, wheat, grains, bread, pumpkins, root vegetables, cider, beer and wine.

Crystals – 

Amethyst, Lapis Lazuli, yellow Topaz, Citrine, Sapphire, Tiger’s Eye, Orange Aventurine, Amber, Yellow Agate and Clear Quartz.

Decorations – 

Acorns, pine cones, wheat, lavender, cornucopia, scythes, leaves, vines, grapes, corn stalks and pumpkins.

Spell Work – 

Balance, prosperity, abundance, new beginnings, releasing negativity, releasing old traits, welcoming changes and protection.

Traditions and activities for Autumn Equinox

Decorate your altar or home. 

The best way to get in feeling with the new season, is to spend time decorating your home with this season’s symbols. Hang an Autumnal wreath from your door, go out collecting acorns, pine cones and leaves as they start to fall for decorations to use as table centerpieces or to use on garlands or mantelpieces.

This goes for your altar too. Place offerings on your altar, symbols like pumpkins, pine cones and leaves. Change your candle colours to those with a more Autumnal theme or display your Green Man decorations.

As the colder season comes, more hours will be spent indoors, inside your home and this is the perfect time to smudge your home. Out with the old, negative energy and start a fresh with a new vibe.


Changing from the warm season to the cold seasons, can really throw people off balance. They rhythm can be disrupted and lots of people can suffer from SAD at this time of the year. For those who have an interest for it, mediation can really help to restore balance and harmony not only to the body but the mind also.

For better use of meditation, place crystals around you to aid in the healing and restoration of balance.

Write a gratitude list. 

At this time of finding balance, it’s all about releasing the negative energy and celebrating the success.

The best way to do this is write a list of things you are grateful for. You can also write a list of your successes, achievements or even the new adventures you have tried during the Summer months. As this time of year is about planning ahead, it’s a good idea to write a list of things you want to try, achieve or succeed at during the colder months. It’s always good to have something to aim for.

This also works the other way. For those wanting to release anything that no longer serves you or to free all the negative energy. You can write down any negative feelings, or any situation you were not happy with, then throw the paper into a fire and visualise all the unhappiness and burder lifting from your shoulders.

Saying goodbye and releasing the old is just as important as welcoming in the new.

You could also make a gratitude tree. Finding an old branch with lots of twigs on, where you write down what you’re grateful for on a piece of paper and then hang that paper from a branch. You can decorate this branch with ribbons or cut out leaf shaped paper.

Apple picking. 

Apples are the most sacred fruit to Pagans, as when you cut open an apple you will find in the center seeds that are the shape of a Pentagram – the most sacred of symbols. Apples are a symbol of wisdom, guidance, renewal, life, healing, protection and divination.


This magical fruit is most associated with Autumn and Samhain. There is no better way than to celebrate the harvest by apple picking. With the apples, you could bake an apple pie, make cider or carve out the top center of the apple and place a tea light inside for your altar.


For me it’s never too early for carving pumpkins. All throughout September and October I have at least one carved pumpkin displayed at any given time. Pumpkins are the essence and the magical ingredient to Autumn. As soon as the first pumpkins have been picked in late August or early September, I bring them into my home. As pumpkins are a part of the squash family, they are the ultimate representation of the harvest.


You could carve your pumpkin and try to preserve it for as long as possible, or you could simply leave it as it is and display it on your altar, make a table centerpiece from it or leave it somewhere outdoors or on your porch as a welcoming symbol into your home.


Get outdoors. 

This has to be the most beautiful and colourful season, with so much to look at this makes it perfect to get outdoors.

There’s lots to see, lots to do. Take a walk around nature, see if you can find some leaves, acorns or pinecones to collect. You could also have a look for that perfect twig to make your gratitude tree from. Go apple or pumpkin picking, get into your garden dig up your vegetables if you have a veggie patch. There are lots of things outdoors, that you can bring indoors for this time of the year.

If you’re much like me – a night owl. The darker nights are perfect for a taking a walk in the cool, crisp air. The evenings are a much quieter and peaceful time, where you can look up at the stars and reflect on any issues that are troubling you. Getting outside at nighttime is also about honouring the darkness and welcoming the change of seasons.

Get into the kitchen. 

As Mabon is a harvest festival there is no better way to celebrate the harvest than to cook up a feast. Get baking bread, apple and blackberry pies, using lots of cinnamon or even boiling cinnamon, orange and cloves to give your house than Autumnal smell. Using your vegetables, you can make hearty stews, casseroles and soups, to warm you up on a cold day.

Keeping with the apple theme, cider is a much chosen tipple to celebrate this time of this year with. Of course this can make alcoholic or non-alcoholic.


Fire is important in the Pagan tradition, as it is a well-used and versatile tool, often a cleansing and purifying aid. Not only is it an aid but it’s also one of the five elements used at an altar and represented on the Pentagram.

As the nights are drawing in earlier now, it becomes darker at early times and this makes the evenings perfect for a bonfire. The warmth of the fire will keep you warm on a chilly evening, it also makes a great event to gather your loved ones around, serve up your food and cider by the fire.


Autumn Equinox is a celebration of the harvest, where the grains, fruits and vegetables are being stored for the upcoming darker, cold and barren days. This is a time of preservation, of offering up gifts for the bountiful harvest and a celebration of success.

Mabon is all about finding your own personal balance. Releasing anything that no longer serves you and welcoming in those changes that you’ve been meaning to make. It’s about your own goals, reflections and achievements. Acknowledge your hard work and celebrate your accomplishments. Now is the time to settle any unfinished business, with the upcoming darker half of the year, planning is key here.

Blessed Be )O(


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