Mabon, also known as the fall equinox, is the holiday on the Wheel of the Year that descends us into autumn. On this day, as with both equinoxes, light and dark find balance — we hover, suspended, at an even keel before tipping into more darkness.
When we fear darkness, this descent may feel scary. But intentionally working with the seasons and the Wheel of the Year can teach us the inherent goodness in every season, the necessity of each point in the year.
Without the fall and winter dying season, there can be no space for growth in spring and summer. Without the pruning and reevaluating of dying season, growth season brings overwhelm and lack of focus. Without the shadow work fall and winter invites in, spring and summer feel shallow — love and light with no substance.
Working with ritual is a beautiful way to honor this sabbat. Scroll down to explore some rituals to inspire your practice for this sacred day and season.
Often referred to as the Witches’ Thanksgiving, Mabon is thought of by some as a second harvest time. A time to reap what you have sowed, and enjoy the fruits of your energy with those you love.
This gratitude ritual is inspired by this aspect of Mabon. All you’ll need is a candle in a color that connects you to gratitude, a piece of paper and a pen. You can make this fancier if you’d like by rolling your candle in oil and herbs (here are a few gratitude herbs shared by Yoga International to check out), but it’s definitely not a requirement.
Ground yourself and spend some time reflecting on the question: what are you grateful for? Think back throughout this whole year, perhaps since the last fall equinox, and free-write everything you can think of on your paper.
Maybe there’s even enough time and space from some of the harder things of the past year to find some gratitude in them (or maybe not, and maybe there never will be, and all of that is okay, too!).
When you feel complete with your list, light your candle and start reading aloud everything you’re grateful for. Take a breath and pause with each item to really feel the gratitude move through your body, to consciously connect with this energy. Depending on how long your list is and how you’re feeling, you might read your list a few times.
Then, raise energy in a way that feels joyful to you – it could be dancing, shaking your whole body, laughing, or anything else that feels good to you! Let gratitude soak into your cells. Let it infuse your body with love.
When you’ve felt the energy shift, burn your gratitude list on your candle and offer up a little gratitude prayer that feels good to you — I like something simple like, “thank you, more please!” to share my gratitude and offer to the Universe that I’m open to receiving more things to be grateful for.
Let your candle burn out, or burn it for the next few days and sit in a short gratitude meditation each day while you do.
Make an Altar
Making a seasonal altar is a lovely and tactile way to honor any season. To make your altar, ask yourself: what textures, scents, images, archetypes, symbols, and items evoke a feeling of autumn for you?
Check out this video from our Instagram page for tips on resetting your altar for the seasons.
Here are some suggestions to inspire your practice, but I highly recommend letting your altar creation be intuitive:
- Sticks and/or leaves from the land near you
- The High Priestess tarot card, symbolizing Persephone’s descent into the underworld
- Local seasonal fruits and vegetables like apples, grains, and squash as offerings for ancestors
- Autumnal colored candles — brown, red, orange, and/or yellow
- Pomegranates, which also symbolize descent into the underworld
Try to be as present as possible while creating your altar to really sink into the space you’re creating. After you’ve set up your altar, try spending a few moments meditating on the themes of Mabon and intention of this holiday.
Ritual to Descend into Darkness
This ritual is to be done outside at sunset (if that’s possible for you, if not, you could change it to be inside and view the sunset through a window) on the fall equinox.
Set yourself up for a pleasurable and safe sunset viewing experience, whatever that means to you! If it’s chilly, maybe you need a sweater and thick socks. Maybe you like to have yummy snacks and a drink, or a journal to write a poem about the sunset beside you. It’s up to you!
Watch the sunset and try to be as present as possible. Notice how the sun’s energy makes you feel, and how that might shift as the sun continues to sink lower and the colors change across the sky. As the sun sets, offer gratitude to the sun for its life-giving energy.
Sink into the darkness, and try to be as present as possible with it, too. Notice how your energy and the sensations and feelings in your body shift with the darkness. Ask yourself: what are the gifts of this darkness? What’s the medicine, the magic? Notice what you hear, smell, see – maybe it’s bugs singing, the stars in the sky, a smoky scent of someone’s backyard fire pit.
Speak words of love and praise aloud to the darkness. Share what you love about it. What you’re ready for. What calls to you about the darkness. If you feel called, leave an intuitive offering out for the darkness — food, a poem, a painting, a flower, anything that feels good to you.
Close your ritual with a few deep breaths, and spend some time journaling after to process your experience.
Happy Mabon! Sending you lots of love and wishes for a nourishing fall season from team Zenned Out.
About Eryn Johnson
Eryn Johnson is a breathwork facilitator, tarot reader, and Reiki Master based in Fishtown, Philadelphia. She is also the host of the Living Open podcast for mystics and seekers, a storytelling tool here to help facilitate soul evolution. The foundation of her work is energetic and based on the belief that there's nothing wrong with you- we are simply programmed from a young age to forget the truth of who we are. She uses energy work, storytelling, and breathwork to guide you back to you - your heart, your power, your magic. Find her work at www.living-open.com and @erynj_ on Instagram.