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Fall Equinox

From: Tryskelion

The Autumnal Equinox, the second of the Harvest Festivals, is the Pagan rite of Thanksgiving, also known as “Harvest Home.” It’s a Sabbat of celebration for the abundance of the harvest; a time meant for us to give thanks through song, dance, and feasts.

This is a time of balance, when day and night are equal once again. There may be a hint of sadness within us now, an inner sense of fear and trepidation, as the world begins to tilt toward the time of darkness. And so this Sabbat is also a time of meditation and introspection; a time to slow down the pace of our lives and to relax and recognize our own personal harvests during the year that is fast declining. It’s also a time to appreciate the connection we have with those around us, as well as those who have gone before us. While the name “Harvest Home” is often ascribed to the fact that the crops are being gathered, it also references the sense of “community” that this harvest festival fosters, for it’s through our kinship with those close to us that we endure through the long, dark, cold nights of winter.

Mabon is a Welsh name meaning “great son,” and refers to the Son of the Great Mother, The Divine Son of Light. Mythologically this festival celebrates the story of Modron, the Great Goddess of the Earth, and the birth of her son, Mabon. According to the mythology, Mabon disappears (or is kidnapped) three days after his birth (thus, the light goes into hiding). Mabon is veiled in mystery in the womb of the earth, here personified as his mother, the Great Protector and Guardian of the Otherworld. Though his whereabouts are a mystery, it is only here that he can once again renew his strength and gain new wisdom in order to be reborn to the Goddess as the Son of Light. This is accomplished at Yule (Winter Solstice), with the aid of the ancient and wise animals: Stag, Raven, Owl, Eagle and Salmon. One can readily see the connection of this myth to the natural events occuring during this time. It also speaks to us of the Wiccan Mysteries of Life, Death, and Rebirth, and the sacrificial nature of the God.

This season also brings to mind the mythology of Persephone and Demeter. Some groups choose to celebrate the Sabbat by enacting this story in their Sabbat Circles, emphasizing the Mystery contained within the cyclical faces of the ever-constant Goddess.

Other cultures also identified this season with their own mythologies. In ancient Rome, it was a celebration to Mercury or Apollo. Christian Britain replaced the Welsh Mabon with St Michael, to whom churches on many sacred Pagan sites were erected. The Autumnal Equinox became known as the Christian Feast of Michaelmas.

Beyond Michaelmas, Mabon, and Harvest Home, the Sabbat has also been known as the Festival of Dionysus, the Wine Harvest, Harvest of First Fruits, Cornucopia, the Feast of Avalon, Equinozio di Autunno (Strega), and Alban Elfed (Caledonii, or Druidic – which celebrates the Lord of the Mysteries). The Teutonic name for this season is Winter Finding, which begins on the Equinox itself and continues until Winter Night, October 15th, which is the Norse New Year.

Symbols of this Sabbat include grapes and vines, wine, garland, pine cones, acorns, dried leaves, Indian corn, gourds, wheat, rattles (especially those made of gourds), and horns of plenty.

Since Mabon is a celebration of fruits and wine, traditional Pagan activities include fermenting grapes. Apples and vine products are sacred at this season, so apple pie, as well as other apple foods, are common at Sabbat Feasts.

It’s also traditional to wander wild places and forests, gathering seed pods, nuts, and dried plants, both for decoration and for possible future magick.

Mabon Rituals

    Fall Equinox For Children
    A Solitaire’s Mabon
    Fall Equinox Ritual
    Mabon Ritual
    Autumn Equinox – Mabon Rite

Fall Equinox For ChildrenFall Equinox For Children

By Julia Phillips

A couple in our Morning Star Coven have four children, and at each of the Festivals, hold a special circle for them. Sometimes friends, and their parents, are invited along too. The children are aged between 10 months and 14 years, two boys, two girls.

At the Fall Equinox, our coven celebrated the transition of the God as he passed through the Gates of Death, to become Lord of the Otherworid. The children’s festival included the same kinds of themes, but in a much lighter way. Here follows the basic text:

Mum and Dad cast circle, with the two eldest children carrying around the elements to bless the space. Each child lights a candle in his or her quarter, and says: “here we do bring light and life in at the East” (North, West, South). As the 10 month-old isn’t quite up to that, Mum does hers for her 🙂 Mum then asks for the blessings of the Lord and Lidy, and invites them to be present in the circle.

They then have a circle dance to John Barleycorn, to remind the children of what happened at Lammas.

Dad picks up a candle from the altar, and slowly makes his way towards the west, where a veil is hanging across the doorway. He leaves the circle, and stands behind the veil. The children can see the light behind the veil, which teaches them about the “death” of the sun as we pass into the dark times. Mum can say something appropriate as he leaves, if she likes. Then Mum says: “spring, summer, autumn, winter; all things pass, all things fade, all things die.”. As she says this, the children each extinguish their quarter candle, until only a single candle is left alight on the altar.

Mum places a wicker basket before the veil, and one by one, the children collect some food (fruit, bread, etc) from the altar, and then go and place it in the basket. This is to give thanks for the good things that the earth gives us, and also to acknowledge that there is nothing to fear from the Underworld or the Dark Lord; that both have their place within the scheme of things. That death and dying are a part of life and living. They can ask the Lord of the Otherworld a question, if they like.

Then Mum blesses some cakes and orange juice, and everyone thanks the Lord and Lady for their food and drink.

After the quarters have been thanked, and Mum says the blessing prayer, everyone leaves the circle. Then the food is brought in for the feast, and Dad rejoins them. (But the candle remains outside, to remind everyone of the fact that the Lord of the Underworld is in his kingdom).

The basket of goodies was then gift-wrapped, and taken along to a close family friend; an elderly lady, who lives alone, and who takes a very great interest in the children. She is actually an ex-Nun, and has been along to quite a few of the children’s circles, as well as the parents’ handfasting.

What was really interesting about this year was the way in which images of death were constantly recurring. A couple of days before the ritual, the eldest boy (14 years) was walking to school, and quite literally fell over a dead body. A man who had died of natural causes, and was laying in some scrub land that the boys crossed on their way to school. Other similar (though less dramatic) images of death abounded. The parents did not try to ignore, or diminish the deaths, but instead, tried to keep them in their proper perspective, and discussed them with the children within the context of the ritual and the time of year.

A Solitaire’s MabonA Solitaire’s Mabon

This is the second harvest Sabbat. The Goddess is entering into cronehood, and the dark of the year is beginning, so this is a time often associated with mysterious lore and wisdom.

The altar and circle should be decorated with autumn leaves, gourds, berries, pine and cypress cones, acorns, oak sprigs and other fruits of the season. New willow staves and wands were traditionally consecrated or empowered on this day, so if you’ve just recently cut one, you might want to bring it into the circle with you. You should also have a small basket filled with a variety of autumn leaves. The altar cloth shall be brown, and the altar candles shall be red. Light the incense and the altar candles, and cast the sacred circle. Then invoke the God and the Goddess. Pick up the basket of leaves and hold it in both hands. Spill the leaves slowly so that they cascade down to the ground within the circle as you say these words:

The days grow colder, and the leaves fall. Our Lord of the sun rides the winds westward, and the cool, misty night descends.

Fruits ripen, and the seeds drop. This is a time of balance, when night equals day, and though all seems dead or dying, I know that life continues.

Life is not possible without death, and the coming of winter is just another spoke in the great wheel.

Put the basket down, and say:

Oh great Goddess of the waning moon, keeper of the cauldron, of secret magics and forgotten lore,

teach me to be wise and peaceful in thought and deed.

Grant me your wisdom, and do not fear that it may be used unwisely,

or for purposes other than those which encourage peace and prosperity.

Works of magic or any seasonal activities may be performed now. After any such things have been taken care of, you may hold the simple feast, and then banish the sacred circle.

Fall Equinox RitualFall Equinox Ritual

By Julia Phillips

Firstly ours: being traditional Wiccans, this time of year is when the God departs to the Otherworld (or Underworld), and is one of the most profound moments of the male mysteries. In our cycle, the God takes his wasting wound at Midsummer, dimishing in his strength as the sun grows weaker. He begins to look within. Where his energies had previously been focused outwards towards physical growth, between Midsummer and the Autumn Equinox, he turns inwards, and begins his inner journey towards that greatest of all mysteries.

We symbolise this by having the God and his male counterpart (normally Father/Son) meeting in ritual combat. It is their realisation that Dark and Light are one and the same that initiates them into the mystery of their deepest Selves, and thus they pass beyond this mortal realm. In our tradition, we teach that each one of us is both male and female, and so this a very profound moment is shared by everyone present, male and female, as each of us is able to comprehend the mystery at this time.

The ritual that we wrote for this year is as follows:

Circle cast in usual manner, and Elemental Guardians invoked. Blessings of God and Goddess upon the Circle.

Old God (OG) and Young God (YG) stand in the centre of the circle, back to back. The coven circles around them, chanting an invocation to the Horned God. (We used the one which begins, “By the flame that burneth bright 0 Horned One…”) After the “Io Pan” chant, everyone stops, raises their arms, slowly brings them down again, and then lets go of their neighbours’ hands.

OG starts to slowly thread his way in and out of those forming the circle; as he moves, he is obviously old and wounded. The YG starts to shadow him, keeping always on the opposite side of the circle. The OG begins to be aware that he is being followed, and tries to see who follows, but the YG remains hidden. At last, the OG turns and confronts the YG:

      “Who is there!”

“It is I, your son and shadow”

“Why do you follow?”

“Because your time is past, old man, and I will now take your place.”

“Old I may be, but I am a better man than you shall ever be! Meet me if you dare, and I shall prove it to you!”This is not what was actually said: OG and YG spoke spontaneously, and their interchange was a highly charged, combative exchange, which had the hairs standing up on the back of my neck! This gives you some idea of the kind of thing that happened, though.

They meet in combat, and fight. After a period of fighting, they realise that fighting is not the way, and in a moment of true reconciliation, they join as one, and kill each other. This is the moment when the male mystery is revealed; the reconciliation of all those different aspects which have been explored individually throughout the passage of the Wheel of the Year. This is the culmination, and a moment of incredible sanctity.

A Priestess walks around the circle saying:

      Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter;all things pass; all things fade;

      all things die.

As she does, she extinguishes each of the Quarter candles, leaving only the two altar candles alight.

The HPS, wearing a black veil and robe, picks up the God candle, and stands in front of the altar. She extinguishes the candle and says:

      Farewell O Sun, ever returning light
      The hidden God who yet remains,
      Who now departs to the Land of Youth
      Through the gates of death,
      To dwell enthroned the judge of Gods and men
      The Horned Leader of the Hosts of Air

The two Gods stand silently, and move slowly and with dignity towards the west, where a veil hangs across a doorway. They part the veil, and leave the circle. Behind the veil, one holds a candle, to symbolise the passage of the sun to the Underworld. (In the ritual, in the almost-dark, this had the appearance of the etheric bodies rising from the dead, and silently moving to the veil – it was very effective!)

The HPS continues:

      Yet even as he stands unseen without the circle,
      So dwelleth he within the secret seed;
      The seed of newly-reaped grain, the seed of flesh;
      Hidden in earth, the marvellous seed of the stars.
      In him is Life, and Light is the Life of Man,
      That which was never born, and never dies,
      Therefore the Wicca weep not, but rejoice.”

The HPS replaces the now unlit candle upon the altar, and picks up the chalice of wine, and the dish of cakes. She moves to stand in front of the veil, and says:

    HPS: I bring to you an offering: wine from the fruit, and food of the earth.

She places both in front of the veil.

    HPS: And now I would ask of you a question.

OG: You may ask.

HPS now asks any question of the Lord of the Underworld.

OG replies to the question as he is inspired to do. This part is totally spontaneous, and assumes that the one playing the role of the OG is able to “channel” directly from the Gods, or is skilled in divination (which is probably one and the same thing!).

When OG finishes speaking, HPS thanks him, and takes a sip of wine, and a cake. She returns to her place, and each person in turn repeats her actions, beginning with the placement of an offering, and ending with the sip of wine, and taking a cake.

When all have visited, and spoken with, the Lord of the Underworld, the HPS stands before the veil once more:

    HPS: My love, I cannot see you.

OG: Nor I you – but come to me, for I am lonely for you.

HPS: I cannot! For I fear….

OG: Find me – seek for me – I yearn for you, and your love

HPS: No, they need me, I cannot leave them

OG: No, they do not need you, but I do – come to me!

HPS: I cannot.


    Now is not your time, but soon, soon you will make the journey, and then you and I shall meet, and love again.
    But this time, deeper and more lovingly than we have ever known before.

(Again, this was not quite as we spoke it, but is the gist of the exchange. To say there was nary a dry eye in the house would be an understatement. This incredibly emotional and moving moment is almost impossible to describe.)

HPS thanks Quarter Guardians, and finishes with the Blessing Prayer. All leave the Temple.

Mabon RitualMabon Ritual

For this ritual you will need an apple and a chalice of wine or juice. Grape or apple juices are excellent choices if you cannot drink alcohol. If it is at all possible, this ritual should take place in a secluded cemetery. If this isn’t possible, you should try to visit a cemetery where your loved ones are buried and leave apples to wish them a quick rebirth.

When you are ready to begin, cast your circle, and invite your deities.


Blessed be this season of Mabon, time of the second harvest, the harvest of fruit and wine.
Tonight all things are in balance: Goddess and God, Life and Death, Light and Dark.
Tonight the darkness will conquer the light, leading us deeper into the waning year.

If you are not at the cemetery of your loved ones, visualize if you can their resting places. Take the apple and hold it in front of you at heart level.


Ancient symbol of life, death and rebirth, take away my mourning.

Help me to be assured that death is not a permanent parting,

but a new and joyful beginning.

If you are in the cemetery place the apple in front of the grave of a loved one. The apple symbolizes reincarnation. If you aren’t at the cemetery, you should save the apple to bury in the Earth later to symbolize your hope for rebirth to all life. With the somber part of the ritual over now, you should turn yourself to gladness and honor the God of wine and the aging Crone Goddess. Take the chalice of wine and hold it upward.


Blessed Crone, thank you for bringing me safely to this season.

God of wine, thank you for your gift of the grape.

Now you can make a toast to whomever or what ever you like. Make as many as you toasts as you want and make them as silly as you want!!

When you are finished, say:

Blessed be Mabon, season of bounty.

Now spend some time in your circle meditating or communing with the spirits that may surround you. Then close the circle however you wish.

Autumn Equinox – Mabon RiteAutumn Equinox – Mabon Rite

You will need a dish on the altar containing a single sheaf of wheat or an ear of corn or some wheat covered with a cloth.

Decorate altar and circle with ping cones, grains, acorns, red poppies, autumnal flower fruits and leaves.


Now is the time of balance, when night and day face each other as equals.

Yet at this season the night is waxing and the light is waning;

for nothing ever remains without change, in the tides of earth and sky.

Whatever rises must also set, and whatsoever sets must also rise.

In token of which, I will dance the dance of going and returning!

Dance going slowly widdershins in an inward spiral until you are in the center of the circle.

Sit in front of the dish and remove the cloth, and say:

Behold the mystery:
in silence is the seed of wisdom gained.

Meditate silently.

When ready, rise and go to the east candle, facing the west and say:

Farewell, O sun, ever-returning light,
The hidden god who ever yet remains
He now departs to the land of youth
Through the gates of death
To dwell enthroned, the judge of gods and men,
The horned leader of the hosts of air.
Yet, as He stands unseen without the circle
So dwelleth He within the secret seed
The seed of new-reaped grain, the seed of flesh;
Hidden in the earth, the marvelous seed of the stars.
In Him is life, and life is the light of man,
That which was never born, and never dies.
Therefore the wise ones weep not, but rejoice.

Raise hands high in blessing.

Return to the center of the circle and dance slowy doesil in an outward spiral.

Replace dish on the altar.

All original material by Lady Shyra may be freely copied and added to your website, BOS, or personal collection as long as the work is not altered, proper citation is given, no monies are charged, and a link is given back to the site if possible.

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