Autumnal Equinox: When is it and what does it mean?

Mabon is coming – here’s how to tag it (Image: Getty Images)

Ready for the Autumnal Equinox, AKA Mabon?

Don’t panic if your first reaction is something like “fall what?”

We’re here to help with your must-know guide to all things equinox, from what and when it actually is, to the best celebration.

By the way, you don’t need to fully engage in paganism for this occasion.


Consider this a time to reflect, refresh, and make the most of that “new school year” feeling.

What is the Autumnal Equinox?

The Autumnal Equinox, also known as Mabon, is a pagan festival that traces its origins to the Celts (think Asterix) who once populated Britain and much of north-west Europe before the Romans invaded.

Pumpkins in a forest

The Autumnal Equinox is also known as Mabon (Image: Getty Images)

This tree-loving, druid-led tribe celebrated nature and the passing of the seasons, dividing the year into eight segments at key turning points and establishing eight festivals.

The eight included the two solstices (midwinter and midsummer, when days are either shortest or longest), the two equinoxes (spring and autumn, or Mabon, when days and nights are of equal length), and the four cross-falling quarters seasonal peak periods (Imbolc, Beltain, Lammas and Samhain).

Celts and pagans used the autumnal equinox to thank nature/mother earth for a good harvest and to pray to their gods and goddesses that the harvest would continue throughout the winter. There would be feasts, fires, offerings and sacrifices.

Today it’s time to settle in (say hello to pumpkin spice lattes, s’mores, giant cardigans and not go out), focus on home and give thanks for your security in life and the wealth you’re having to share with those who do are less fortunate.

A group of people roasting marshmallows over an open fire

Mabon celebrations are very different these days (Image: Getty Images)

When is the Autumnal Equinox?

This year, in 2022, the Autumnal Equinox takes place Friday, 09/23

How to celebrate the Autumnal Equinox

At its core, the energy of this festival is about gratitude and gratitude for what has been harvested in the year so far, facing the rigors of winter and acknowledging a mental and physical adaptation needed for the darker, longer nights and tougher conditions ahead.

So how would you like to celebrate?

Everything about apples

A man carrying a basket of apples

Apple is the flavor of fall (Picture: Getty Images)

Apples are a very common symbol of this festival, so bring them into your home as fresh fruit, juice, delicious warm cakes and baked goods, home fragrances, candles and toiletries.

apple up!

Create a Mabon Altar

At the altar

It’s easy to make your own Mabon altar from home (Image: Getty Images)

Every baby heathen or witch knows that making an altar for yourself is 101 magick.

You can place your altar on your kitchen table, windowsill, dresser, fireplace – you name it.

It’s a good idea to add harvested fruits and vegetables to your altar (apples, leaves, pinecones, corn, pomegranate, squash, and root vegetables—well, a squash if you must).

Color wise look for gold, orange, red, bronze and rust. Fragrance wise you are looking for sage, cinnamon, orange and apple. Dark colored, green or brown crystals add a good vibe. Make it look inviting, pretty and festive. Halloween pre-decor.

Light an orange or yellow candle on your altar and give thanks for the security, happiness, benefits and blessings you have in your life right now.

You may want to do this starting with the full moon on September 20th, then again on the Mabon itself (September 22nd) and then finally on the new moon on October 6th.


Little boys raking autumn leaves

Spring isn’t the only season perfect for cleaning (Image: Getty Images)

Mabon is a great time (just like spring) to have some good old decluttering and tidying up at home.

After all, you’ll probably spend more time here in the fall and winter.

Finish lingering projects and clear emotional and physical clutter to make your home feel calm, relaxing, and peaceful.

Journal of Gratitude

A gratitude journal on a white desk

what are you thankful for (Image: Getty Images)

You know how you always get nice diaries from your friends but never use them? I bet you have a magazine drawer that they pile up in.

Get one out and start a gratitude journal and aim to fill it up by the end of winter.

Write down everything that happens that makes you happy, surprised, or grateful.

I guarantee this will help lighten your spirits and signal to the universe that you would like more of this, please.

Celebrate with friends

Two women sat on a bench and drank coffee

There’s no better time to host a meetup (Picture: Getty Images)

Any excuse right? Host a Mabon Harvest Dinner.

Get everyone to bring their favorite dish and drink and set up an attractive buffet table for everyone.

Show your altar. Encourage happy discussions about what you were thankful for in the past year.

Try to create a warm, cozy atmosphere before Thanksgiving (but more relaxed, less formal dining).

Invest in a charity

A volunteer collects discarded trash from a forest floor

It’s time to give (Picture: Getty Images)

Choose a cause or campaign that is close to your heart and give it some of your attention, time, energy or money.

Better yet, consider how you can provide ongoing support to a number of places, people, or organizations that you believe can provide something positive to those who need it most.

Kerry King, the Tarot Queen, uses tarot and zodiac wisdom to create inspirational ones Predictions and insights, with over 25 years of fortune telling experience and many satisfied customers around the world. You can book a personal written reading delivered as a beautifully illustrated booklet through Etsy, or join their new Tarot Club and receive weekly predictions and more for £5 a month.

MORE: You can now buy pumpkin spice cleaning spray to make your home smell like fall

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