What is the Autumn Equinox?
The Autumn Equinox is a time of year where the day & night are equal, so what better time to celebrate the balances between light & dark. On this day, we have an opportunity to honour the earth and all it has provided for us. It's also a time to be mindful of how much energy we use up in our daily lives, and take steps to conserve through the impending winter.
Fall is in full swing, and the air has a crisp autumn scent. The leaves are changing colors, the sun sets early, and it's time to get ready for the festivals!
Known by many names to many people, this season has been celebrated in a variety of ways down through the ages from the Eleusinian Mysteries of Ancient Greece to modern Oktoberfests, Alban Elfed and the Mabon Harvest Festival.
What is Mabon
Mabon is the second harvest festival of the Wheel of the Year. Celebrated in late September, it marks the end of summer and beginning of fall. Mabon is a time to celebrate our accomplishments, give thanks for all we have accomplished, and prepare ourselves for winter's approach.
What is Alban Elfed
The name for the festival of the Autumn Equinox in Druidry is Alban Elfed, which means 'The Light of the Water'.
The Wheel turns and the time of balance returns. Alban Elfed marks the balance of day and night before the darkness overtakes the light. It is also the time of the second harvest, usually of the fruit which has stayed on the trees and plants that have ripened under the summer sun. It is this final harvest which can take the central theme of the Alban Elfed ceremony – thanking the Earth for the great harvest, as Autumn begins.
Symbols of the Autumn Equinox
The colours are changing in preparation for winter, trees are shedding their leaves while vines are creeping up them in search of sunlight. The air becomes crisper as evenings become shorter while mornings bring a sense of renewal. Mornings are cool but invigorating while evenings invite coziness into our lives. In honor of this special occasion, we will explore some symbols from different cultures around the world to get you ready for this auspicious event!
This is a time when we celebrate balance and equality, so it makes sense that this event has ties to Bacchus. Bacchus was an ancient Greek god who ruled over wine and fertility. In Ancient Rome, Bacchus was considered one of their most important deities during times like these because he had power over fertility as well as wine production- two things that were key to life during this time period. He also had connections with agriculture and harvest festivals because he was seen as a protector of crops from drought or frost damage during cold weather periods.
This time of year is a perfect opportunity for reflection and contemplation on what you've accomplished this year or goals that still need to be met before the end of the season. Dionysus was one such deity who was associated with rituals during times like these because he personified nature's natural cycle- death and rebirth. Dionysus is at peace with the change in seasons, as he had his own share of battles to fight back in ancient Greece
Osiris is a deity that represents this time of year in Ancient Egyptian culture. He's often depicted with green skin because he was the god of vegetation and agriculture. He was also seen as a protector of children, which is why it's traditional for parents to tell their kids scary stories during this season!
The symbol of the Crone embodies exactly what this day stands for: wisdom, knowledge, understanding, patience and experience. The Autumn Equinox is a time of harvest and death. The Crone, for example, symbolizes the waning light in winter while the Maiden represents new beginnings in spring.
Baba Yaga is often called "the Slavic witch" or "The Grandmother Who Swallows Children." However, she has many more meanings than just being a witch who eats children! She symbolizes death, rebirth, change and transition- two of which are very important during this season. The third meaning may be interpreted as her being an evil woman who captures children but it's also said that she can help those lost find their way home. In Slavic folklore, Baba Yaga is a being who appears as an old lady from the waist down and a bird or vulture from the waist up. She lives in a hut on chicken legs with one eye found somewhere outside her house. For those brave enough to enter her home, there's plenty to see - she keeps skulls on shelves and pots hanging from the ceiling so they can boil over. This symbolizes death in many cultures around the world - it's also known as Muhkoma in Finnish mythology meaning "midnight sun".
The Autumn Equinox is a celebration of this transition between seasons, but it has its roots in more than just nature. This is also the time of year when Persephone begins her winter in Hades' world. The Equinox represents Persephone's journey from being tied down by Hades as she was forced into marriage against her will, struggling with depression after spending six months away from her mother Demeter before finally accepting her fate. The goddess Persephone was kidnapped by Hades, who wanted her as his wife. Hades tricked Persephone into eating four pomegranate seeds while she was in his realm. Because of this act, Persepone had to return every six months for half of each year (beginning in autumn). Now, she rules over the underworld alongside Hades until spring arrives once again.
The word 'Hades' comes from Ancient Greek meaning "the unseen". In Greek mythology, Hades was the god of the underworld and he was also known for being ruler over vegetation and agriculture.
The history of this season dates back to ancient times where people celebrated the harvest by honoring Ceres (Roman Goddess of agriculture) in thanks for her gifts to humans through the earth's bounty. Today we still honor these traditions by celebrating in thanksgiving for her protection against evil spirits during this transitional period between seasons.
The day is full of symbolism and rituals, including honoring Hekate through offerings or processions. Her symbols are apples and pomegranates to represent fertility and abundance. These autumnal fruits were once symbolic of her role as goddess of crossroads, childbirth and nourishment.
Symbols of this time of year are often associated with the earth's natural cycles, harvest, and preparation for new beginnings. One such symbol is Lilith. This ancient Mesopotamian goddess was seen as both the goddess of sex and death, but also as a guardian to children in their transitions into adulthood. She has become more popular recently due to her association with feminism and women's power.
Kalima celebrates the autumnal equinox with symbols of leaves, food, cooking utensils, books and more.
The Morrigan is an Irish goddess who has been associated with war and death. But she also represents change and new beginnings as well! Morrigan often took part in battles alongside her husband The Dagda with crow's feathers on her head. She has three sisters: Macha, Badb and Nemain, all goddesses of war as well. Her color is red which symbolizes blood spilled in battle and victory over enemies - both things she embodies perfectly!
Wreaths & Garlands
There are many symbols of the Autumn Equinox, but two of the most popular ones are wreaths and garlands. These decorations make your home feel warm and inviting for guests to come inside. They also bring meaning to this delicate time of year; they signify death, rebirth, change, completion. As we enjoy apples, pumpkins, and squash from our gardens for autumn food, we can also decorate with wreaths and garlands to celebrate the harvest.
Cornucopia (Horn of Plenty)
The most important symbol is in the form of a cornucopia - which stands for plenty and abundance.
Colours of the Autumnal Equinox
Red, Orange, Yellow, Brown, Green & Purple
Autumn Equinox Rituals
There are a number of ways that you can celebrate the season so feel free to use the suggestions that resonate with you, and that work best with your traditions & practices.
The season is a time to celebrate hearth & home. Many people associate cleaning house with springtime, but autumn is also a good time to clean & prepare for the winter. Do your cleaning process mindfully, count each blessing and give thanks for all that you have as you clean. Open windows to clear out any stale air and wash the windows & doors. As you deep-clean your space, consider how you can share your abundance. You may wish to set aside and donate unused items to a shelter or a charity.
Honour the Darkness
Shadow work, Book of Shadows, Book of Mirrors
The Druids celebrated this day by lighting fires to symbolize the sun's strength as it starts to wane in its power.
The Eleusinian Mysteries
Demeter & Persephone. Each fall Persephone descends to rule the underworld beside her husband Hades. Her mother Demeter is the Goddess of Agriculture, while she mourns the loss of her daughter the earth becomes cold and barren.
Black & Gold for Demeter. Apples or Bread, which are the fruits of life
Black & Red for Persephone. Pomegranate, which is the fruit of death
Alban Elfed Solo Rituals
Foods of the Autumn Equinox
As a time of harvest, the Autumnal Equinox is linked to abundance and prosperity. Farmers are reaping grain and picking the bountiful fall fruits. Throughout history there were many different foods used by people celebrating this holiday including grapes, pomegranates, apples, pine cones, walnuts and figs among others; all representing fertility and abundance.
Celebrate the season by preparing foods of the season, or host a feast/potluck.
Locally Harvested Foods
The best foods for the first harvest festival is of course freshly harvested from your local area, and will vary by region.
Wine & Grape Juice
Honor Bacchus & Dionysus
Berries, Syrups, Jams & Jellies
Raspberry, Blackberry & Elderberry
Apples & Cider
Bread, Wheat, Corn & Soybeans
Nuts & Seeds
Walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, nutbread, pecan pie, roasted chestnuts
The fruit of death
A lot of people eat pumpkins or carving them as a symbol, which represents fertility and new beginnings. Gourds are also used as decoration and they represent prosperity because they were often traded during ancient times.
Autumn Equinox Recipes
Make Wine or Grape Juice
Make Grape or Apple Preserves
Bake an Apple Pie
Autumn Equinox Crafts
Use Grape Leaves & Vines to craft Garlands or Wreaths
Corn stalks are another popular symbol because they represent harvest time when everyone would gather together to celebrate the end of summer before winter came along.
Autumn Equinox Gifts
Whether you're looking for gifts or just want to celebrate with friends over food--here are some ideas for the season
Give someone an experience they'll never forget: Go on a wine tasting trip with your favorite person (or pet) at a nearby vineyard or orchard.
Gift someone who loves cooking: Spice up their kitchen collection by giving them a new cookbook filled with recipes
We have a beautiful set of wine glasses with images of the eight sabbats on them, perfect for your Autumn Equinox celebration. Just in time to welcome in fall and many more years to come!