Fall Equinox: A Moment for a Modern (Mabon) Magical Ritual
Despite being in what’s described as a “tech-obsessed” society, Thursday Sept. 22nd is the Fall Equinox (also known as Mabon, pronounced May-bun), and no doubt blogs the world over will be posting about rituals and rites and traditions to be performed that day.
I had originally sat down to share one of my own rituals for this magical day, but then thought to myself “Who are you writing this for? Many people you know don’t have the time or the materials on hand (or the time to get the materials) to perform a ritual!”. Point taken. Even for myself, I’m busy from morning til night on a daily basis, between family and business and book obligations, as well as my own spiritual and magical practice, self-care, gardening, and numerous doggie walks (phew!).
Here’s the thing, though: We need ritual. We need the magical. We need moments where we can unhook from the pressures and the obligations and the fears and the bills and the work stuff, and be about something deeper, something richer, something untamed, something that is us and yet more than the daily “us”.
Taking time out to reconnect with ourselves, with the cycles and the rhythms of the earth, with nature, and with the greater meaning inherent in our lives, is important. It’s vital, because it nourishes our souls, and it creates a container for that which is mysterious and divine and universal inside of us to take shape and be a part of our experience.
Fully committing to a ritual, big or small, is a deeply healing act, because it brings us back to Source and back into our power. It also gives us the space and time to honor what is truly, deeply, on a soul level important to us. No matter how disconnected you might feel from yourself, from nature, from a meaningful existence, when you allow yourself to indulge in a ritual, that block or disconnect dissolves.
The thing I’ve always enjoyed specifically about Mabon is that it’s nature’s, and the witch’s, Thanksgiving. It’s a final reaping of the harvest and a time to celebrate its success. It’s also a time to mark the balance of things, and to greet the coming dark. It’s a time for preparation for the winter, and it’s a time out of time, when all things are equal, where it becomes easier to pass through the veils.
So how do we translate this into modern times? My response: Do we need to? Mabon is timeless. And we’re not so different now as we might think from the people of old times. We’re still impacted by the seasons, much of our food still comes from the land, the cycle of birth/death/rebirth still plays out in the stories of our lives, and maintaining balance is still a big issue for most of us, in one way or another.
So rather than spell out a ritual for some of you to follow step by step, I’ve made some suggestions below to create your own Equinox ritual.
DIY Mabon Ritual: Hobble together whatever appeals to you in order to form your own Equinox celebration.
- Have a feast! Include as much seasonal and local produce as you can.
- Drink wine, and make a toast to all that you are grateful for, AND, in acknowledgement of your successes this year. As a non-alc alternative, you can drink grape or pomegranate juice. I especially like the symbolism of the pomegranate in relation to the myth of Persephone, who’s consumption of six pomegranate seeds while in Hades ushered in the six fallow months of winter, followed by the six fecund months of summer.
- Write and send small notes of thanks to people who have supported you or enriched your life in the past year.
- Go to an orchard and pick your own apples.
- Make your own beer or wine, or bake a loaf of bread from scratch.
- Clean and declutter your home. Switch out your summer wardrobe with your fall/winter one in your closets. Make preparations for the colder months (for those of you in those climes). Sweep out the dust and detritus with a broom.
- Bake an apple pie.
- Take a walk in nature where you can observe the changes in foliage, in the land, and allow yourself to sense or connect to the shifting rhythms of nature. You can wear a piece of mookaite jasper as you do so.
- Sit with a journal while wearing a piece of black moonstone and white moonstone, and take stock of all of the places where you feel your life is out of balance, and of the ways you feel you can realistically and joyfully make changes. Promise yourself to make at least one of those changes within the coming week.
- Offer a libation of thanks to the land by pouring wine, juice, or milk onto the soil.
- Leave an offering of bread outside for the faeries.
- Spend in the evening in complete silence (yes, that means no phone/tv/laptop/music/tablet/Gameboy, whatever).
Here’s a simple formal ritual that I like to do at this time of year (ok, so I said I wasn’t going to offer one, but Spirit has guided me thus):
You will need: 1 brown and 1 yellow orange taper candle + holders (you can substitute white candles if needs be); seasonal produce (pumpkin, gourds, apples, corn, etc., or local seasonal fruits & veggies); bread or shafts of wheat; a glass of wine, beer, pomegranate or grape juice; pen and paper; matches; cinnamon or sweetgrass incense. Optional crystals: bloodstone, carnelian, citrine, ruby, and/or garnet.
Timing: Any time on Thursday the 22nd, but preferably at sundown.
- Wear one of the crystals. Create an altar on your kitchen table or counter with the two candles surrounded by your seasonal produce, with the bread, wine (or juice) and incense in the front.
- Light the incense.
- Write one list of all the things you are grateful for, read it out loud giving thanks, and then place it under the orange candle. Light the orange candle.
- Write one list of all the things you still desire to come to harvest in your life. Place the list under the brown candle. Light the candle and focus on all of the abundance in your life, and visualize now having all that which is on your list.
- Raise your glass, and thank the god of all harvests (Mabon, for whom this festival is named) for blessing your life.
- Eat the bread and drink the wine. Leave a little bit of both at the end, and place/pour them outside with your gratitude list, as a libation to the earth and the spirits of nature.
- Let the candles burn down completely, or snuff them out and re-light them each time you’re in your kitchen cooking. Eat a piece of your seasonal fruit each day. When done, place your harvest list somewhere sacred.
This Thursday, please make the time to celebrate your successes, your blessings, and for you to be magical, untamed, and timeless! )0(