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Autumn Equinox (Mabon): seeds of the harvest

Updated: Oct 19, 2019

Autumn Equinox_Mabon Spread

Happy equinox, friends! Today, the hours of day and night are balanced. The northern and southern hemispheres receive equal sunlight as the Sun traces directly over the equator, perpendicular to the Earth. This is a time of balance, of the harmony of light and dark, Sun and Moon, outer and inner. (There’s a reason that the Sun enters Libra, the cosmic equalizer, at the September equinox every year!)

After today, the days will lengthen in the southern hemisphere, giving way to the renewal of spring and summer. And here in the northern hemisphere, the night will stretch its veil across the hours as we move into waning months of fall and dormant months of winter. After today, we begin to tip ever more deeply into receptive, restful, healing darkness.

Today is also Mabon, the pagan mid-harvest festival that coincides with the autumn equinox every year. Traditionally, this was a time when orchards littered their fruits on the ground and crops yielded their abundance in the fields. With the waning hours of light, farmers hurried to reap their bounty of summer-grown crops in preparation for the winter, before the crops spoiled in the fields. The equinox was their signal to get movin’, and it carried a special boon, too: the Harvest Moon.

Coming up this Monday, the Harvest Moon is the closest full moon to the autumn equinox and has the special property of rising soon after sunset and staying in the sky for a long time, allowing farmers to stay up late gathering their crops by the moon’s ample light. This probably seemed a fortuitous bit of magick, lending a helping hand to the second half of the harvest.

So today, we celebrate the harmony of day and night, giving thanks for the summer’s bounty even as we prepare for the lean months of winter. This is a time to reap what we’ve sown so far in the year and to get ready for the coming cold and dark. It’s a time to recognize where we have abundance in our lives—even if we may not feel very abundant right now—and to reflect with gratitude on the gifts of the summer.

Remember that those gifts may come in the form of lessons rather than triumphs, wisdom rather than wealth, growth rather than gains. Maybe you’re toting in a sweet fruit haul right now, getting ready to press some cider with your surplus, or maybe you feel like all you’re harvesting is bitter herbs. If that’s the case, remember that while the juiciest fruit may be delicious, those bitter herbs are far more medicinal.

This spread is inspired by the apple, a sacred fruit of the harvest season that, if you cut it width-wise, reveals a five-pointed star in its seeds. The pentagram is a symbol of wholeness and balance, encapsulating the five elements (including spirit). The seeds of the apple are both a product of the summer’s fruit and a promise of new growth to come. I made the spread a simple one, for reflecting on the summer with gratitude as we prepare for winter, and I hope its seeds bring you the abundance of spirit to sustain you through the coming months! Happy Mabon, friends.

Autumn Equinox_Mabon Spread closeup


For the harvest. For giving thanks. For recognizing abundance. For sustaining. For the waning months.

The Seeds:

  1. What gifts of summer are you harvesting now?

  2. Where you have abundance, or how to find it.

  3. How to sustain yourself over the coming months.

  4. How to give thanks to the light.

  5. How to welcome the dark.


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