Mabon 2023 marks the beginning of the crisp and colorful autumn season. As the days gradually grow shorter, spiritual practitioners honor this sacred time of balance; where daylight and darkness are now equal.
Wiccans began using this name to celebrate the Autumn Equinox; similar to the holiday Ostara with Spring Equinox, but I’ll go into that below.
This special day in the pagan calendar celebrates the transition from summer to autumn by celebrating the season and honoring crops. Mabon’s meaning is deeply connected to Nature and the cycles of life. The season of the witch is close at hand!
Many Pagans, Witches, and those interested in Nature Spirituality celebrate the seasonal cycles. Sometimes referred to as the Wheel of the Year, and consisting of eight celebrations. Four of these festivals (Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh, and Samhain) are rooted in Celtic history and origins.
The other four (Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice, Autumn Equinox, and Winter Solstice) represent the sun’s location. I created a complete guide to each season, including history, traditions, symbols, correspondences, ritual ideas, and how you can celebrate.
Please note that I make every effort to ensure this information is correct and accurate through my own experiences and referencing sources throughout this article.
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Table of Contents
What is Mabon?
The holiday of Mabon represents a unique moment when light and darkness harmonize before cold winter days arrive. This is why Mabon 2023 symbolizes balance and deep gratitude for the abundance all around us right now.
Mabon (pronounced Mah-bon) is often confused with Samhain because of their close proximity during the Autumn season. However, Mabon marks the end of the summer harvest season, while Samhain ushers in the season of darkness and Winter.
Mabon is most often celebrated by Wiccans, although it is not exclusive to their practice. Many Pagans, witches, or spiritual practitioners simply celebrate the Autumn Equinox.
When is Mabon 2023?
In Latin, the word equinox translates to equal night. Mabon 2023 occurs on September 22nd, 2023, in the Northern Hemisphere. Mabon is the second of the three harvest festivals, along with Lughnasadh and Samhain.
What’s the Difference between Mabon and the Autumn Equinox?
Contrary to popular belief, the holiday name Mabon isn’t thousands of years old. It was popularized by Wiccan author, Aidan Kelly, in the 1970s.
He believed the solstice and equinox holidays should also have names like the ancient Celtic fire festivals (Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane, and Lughnasadh). Aidan Kelly researched many Greek, Hebrew, and Germanic myths looking for possible names they may have used to celebrate the Autumn Equinox; eventually deciding on the Welsh story of Mabon.
so I picked “Mabon” as the name for the holiday in my calender. It was not an arbitrary choice.Aidan Kelly – About Naming Ostara, Litha, and Mabon
However, historians do not believe ancient Pagans celebrated the equinoxes and solstices like we do today. For example, the ancient people who built Stonehenge obviously worshipped the sun and tracked its movements, but it’s unlikely they celebrated the Autumn Equinox. You can read about Stonehenge in more detail here.
Britannica further elaborates on the history of the deity Mabon.
He [Maponos] appears in medieval Welsh literature as Mabon, son of Modron (that is, of Matrona, “Divine Mother”), and he evidently figured in a myth of the infant god carried off from his mother when three nights old. His name survives in Arthurian romance under the forms Mabon, Mabuz, and Mabonagrain…
…He was the son of Dagda (or Daghda), chief god of the Irish, and of Boann, the personified sacred river of Irish tradition.Britannica – Celtic Religion
The Spiritual Meaning of Mabon 2023
During Mabon, the balance and harmony between the day and night are at a peak. The Autumn Equinox is a great time for self-reflection and gratitude for all the blessings in your life. Now is the time to enjoy the simple pleasures in life.
Since Mabon represents the second harvest, it’s sometimes referred to as the Witches Thanksgiving. A lot of celebrations honor the coming of the dark or an abundant harvest, but none are quite alike.
Many Pagans (not all) celebrate the Autumn Equinox, Druids celebrate Alban Elfed, Norse Pagans (Heathens) celebrate Winter Finding, Celtic Pagans celebrate the Feast of Avalon, and Hellenic Pagans celebrate Boedromion.
Mabon Celebration and Ritual Ideas
The rituals of Mabon often involve expressions of gratitude for earth’s abundance and the gifts Nature provides. With offerings of fruits, grains, and a celebration feast similar to Thanksgiving without the contentious history.
Mabon is widely known as a time of harvesting. Some pagans also conduct intentions or spells to focus on one particular outcome, while others celebrate the beauty of life itself! Many Pagans, witches, and spiritual practitioners also wish blessings for those who need them during this time.
Five Magic Elements
Incorporating the five magical elements – Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit – into a Mabon ritual or celebration can enhance depth and symbolism in your practice. Here are some creative ways to weave these elements into your Mabon 2023 observance:
Mabon is a time of harvest, so connecting with the Earth element is particularly fitting. Create an altar using items like colorful autumn leaves, acorns, pumpkins, or a small bowl of harvested fruits and vegetables. Incorporate stones and crystals like amber, citrine, or garnet to symbolize the Earth element’s stability and grounding energies.
Incorporate the Air element by using fragrant herbs associated with autumn, such as clove, pumpkin rosemary, or cinnamon. Try placing feathers or incense on your altar. As you light the incense, visualize the scent carrying your intentions and blessings out your window, into the breeze, and straight to the Universe.
Light candles in shades of red, orange, and yellow to honor the Fire element’s transformative energies. Have an evening bonfire as the final to your Mabon celebration; invite friends and loved ones to gather around and share stories as the flames dance.
Create a sacred water bowl or chalice on your altar, representing the element Water. Infuse water with herbs, petals, or crystals and charge it with your intentions. This water can be used for purification or as a symbol of emotional healing. Try using this later in a Full Moon Ritual or create Moon Water with it.
The fifth element, Spirit, can be honored by setting an intention or dedicating a portion of your ritual to acknowledging the spiritual significance of Mabon. This is a time for reflection, so consider meditating on your spiritual connection with the world around you; including the changing seasons and the cycle of life.
Ritual with All Five Elements
Craft a ritual involving all five elements. For example, start by lighting a candle to represent Fire and speak your ritual intentions into the flame. Then, pass a feather to symbolize Air over (not in) the flame to carry your intentions into the universe. Sprinkle a bit of salt or herbs representing Earth into a bowl of Water, and stir it clockwise to create a consecrated saltwater mixture. As you sprinkle this mixture around your space, invoke the energies of the elements and Spirit.
Remember, the beauty of pagan, witchcraft, and spiritual practices is they can be tailored to your personal beliefs and preferences. Feel free to get creative and experiment with these suggestions to create a meaningful Mabon celebration that resonates with you.
Plant Flower Bulbs
This is one of my favorite simple autumn rituals because daffodils and tulips bring me so much joy in Spring. Autumn is the perfect time to prep the garden for Spring while also accepting that Summer is coming to an end.
I can sometimes get a little sad, but this ritual helps remind me that the flowers will bloom again as the Wheel of the Year continues to turn. I also like to write down a wish or intention on a piece of paper and plant it with the bulb. Then watch as it blooms with the Spring season!
A sigil is a symbol created by you that connects with your subconscious mind to achieve your goals and magical purposes. Sigil magic allows you to focus and clarify your specific intentions.
Create a sigil summarizing your specific intentions for your Mabon ritual or celebration. This could be related to gratitude, balance, harvest, or any other theme that resonates with you. Make a sigil by combining meaningful symbols, letters, numbers, or elements that represent your intention. Charge and activate the sigil to infuse it with your energy and purpose.
As Winter approaches, it’s an excellent time to look for ways to protect your home and yourself. Try crafting your own protection sigil to place on your home or altar.
Dedicate a specific portion of your Mabon ritual celebration to divination. Light candles, cleanse your divination tools and create a sacred space. Center yourself, set your intention, and then perform the divination technique of your choice. Record your insights in a journal or grimoire afterward for future reference.
Here are a few divination ideas to get you started:
- Elder Futhark Norse Runes
- Smoke Divination
- Candle Wax Reading
- Oracle Deck
- Reading Tea Leaves
- Rune Stones
- Bone Casting
- Ouija Board
- Egg Cleanse
- Celtic Ogham Alphabet
- Pendulum Board
Candles are a wonderful practice to incorporate any spiritual celebration or holiday. They’re also useful tools for divination. Using candle magic to represent or symbolize your intentions is a simple, but powerful ritual.
Place candles around your home to encourage positive energy, or use them in rituals, spiritual intentions, or spells to enhance and spread your magical power.
Try lighting a candle during your Mabon ritual and focus on its flame. As you meditate, pose your question or intention and observe the flame’s behavior.
What better way to celebrate a harvest festival than by giving back to those who need it most? Such a great way to include your children and practice gratitude!
By giving back and donating to those in need, you amplify the spirit of gratitude and connectedness that defines the season of Autumn. These kind gestures enhance your spiritual practice and contribute to the well-being of the larger community, fostering a sense of unity and shared abundance.
Harvest Blessing Baskets
If you have a friend or family member who’s been going through hard times, try creating a harvest blessing basket for them. Fill it with fresh fruit, veggies, or non-perishable food items that represent the bountiful harvest. Write them a letter or note telling them how grateful you are for them.
Share Your Skills
Consider hosting a workshop or class as part of your Mabon celebration. Teach a skill or offer your expertise to others. Instead of charging a fee, encourage participants to make a donation to a charity of their choice in exchange for your guidance.
Take some time to reflect on the financial blessings you’ve received this year. Set aside an amount you’re comfortable donating to a charitable cause. As you offer your donation, infuse it with your intentions for abundance and assistance for others.
Random Acts of Kindness
Take some time to perform random acts of kindness during the season of Autumn. As part of your celebration, create a list of kind deeds you can carry out over the following weeks. These acts could include leaving uplifting notes in public spaces, paying for someone’s meal, or helping a neighbor with a task.
Stay in bed
Since the sun takes longer to rise each Autumn morning, follow its lead and allow yourself to wake up naturally. Bring the comforts of the season to your bed by enjoying a cup of warm coffee or herbal tea associated with autumn flavors, such as cinnamon, apple, or chamomile. As you sip, let the soothing drink symbolize the nurturing energies of Mabon.
If your loved ones are awake, chat in bed and discuss your plans for the day (or you can be like my husband and me and ask each other philosophical questions).
Dedicate your time in bed to a self-care ritual that incorporates relaxation techniques. Light soothing scented candles, play calming music, and indulge in activities like gentle stretching, meditation, deep breathing exercises, or reading an autumn-inspired book.
What’s a celebration without a feast? Food is a wonderful way to celebrate the harvest season and connect with the energies of abundance, gratitude, and community.
As a matter of fact, many believe Mabon to be a kind of Witches’ Thanksgiving after a bountiful summer harvest. Popular feast ideas include freshly baked bread (I love to put herbs from my garden in mine), mulled wine, potatoes, pumpkin, veggies, nuts, and any kind of comfort food.
Here are two creative ways to include a feast in your Mabon observance:
Organize a communal potluck with friends, family, or fellow spiritual practitioners. Encourage them to bring a dish that holds personal meaning to them or aligns with the themes of Mabon.
Before you start eating, take a few moments to appreciate the colors, textures, and aromas of the food. Raise your glass in a toast of gratitude before the feast. Acknowledge the blessings of the harvest, the changing seasons, and the company of those sharing the meal.
Each participant can take turns expressing their own words of thanks. As you savor each bite, reflect on the journey from seed to plate and the efforts of many that brought the meal to fruition.
Offerings to Deities
Set up a portion of your feast as offerings to deities or spirits you work with. Prepare a plate of food, wine, or other offering that’s symbolic of your gratitude and respect. During the ritual, invite these energies to join you in celebrating the harvest and the turning of the season.
By incorporating a feast into your Mabon ritual, you’re embracing the opportunity to nourish your body, spirit, and connections with loved ones. Whether you’re enjoying a simple meal or a more elaborate one, the act of feasting during this season highlights your gratitude and the abundance of Mabon and the Autumn season.
Keep it Local!
Many witches and spiritual practitioners make a commitment to shop locally and as eco-friendly as possible. This helps to align with themes of sustainability, community support, and honoring the Earth’s resources. (Remember, this is only if you have the privilege to choose where your food comes from. Please do not feel guilty if you’re unable to do this; there’s no wrong way to celebrate Autumn).
Stop by a local farmers market, orchard, or produce stand and make (or purchase) a home-baked treat. You could also check out any local U-pick farms and go apple picking! It’s a great way to start some new traditions!
When decorating your altar, try including items with minimal impact on the environment. Use natural materials like leaves, pinecones, and acorns, or opt for reusable decorations you can use in future rituals. If possible, seek out local artisans that prioritize sustainability and eco-friendly practices. This supports your local economy and promotes conscious consumption.
Take a Back Road
My husband and I are notorious backroad drivers; no matter the season! I can’t tell you how many cool things we’ve discovered in our own area. It’s a beautiful way to connect with the changing landscape, appreciate the natural world, and infuse yourself with the energy of the season.
Decide whether you want to experience the back road drive alone, with a partner, or as part of a group of fellow practitioners. If you have anyone with you, chat about your dreams and goals for the rest of the year or the Autumn season.
As you drive, take in the sights, sounds, and smells of nature around you. Notice the changing colors of the leaves, the way the sunlight filters through the trees, and any signs of animals or wildlife. Allow yourself to make spontaneous stops along the way. If you come across a particularly beautiful or meaningful spot, pull over and take a moment to soak in the energy.
Grimoire, Book of Shadows, or Journaling
Taking time to slow down and work with your Grimoire or Book of Shadows help you deepen your connection to the season, enhance your spiritual practice, and provide a space for reflection and intention-setting.
Here are a few ideas to integrate your Grimoire or Wiccan Book of Shadows into your Mabon celebration:
Try creating a dedicated section in your Grimoire specifically for Mabon. Reflect on the themes of the season, such as balance, gratitude, and harvest. Write down your thoughts, feelings, and insights about this time of year.
Create a page or spread in your Grimoire that outlines the correspondences associated with Mabon. For example, include information about the elements, colors, herbs, crystals, and symbols that align with the season. This reference is incredibly useful for future rituals and spellwork.
Mabon Rituals and Spells
Record any Mabon rituals, spells, and practices that resonate with you. Write down step-by-step instructions as well as any variations you’ve crafted to make these rituals unique to you.
This section will help your Grimoire become a reflection of your spiritual journey and an endless source of inspiration and wisdom you can revisit and expand upon throughout your life.
Autumn Recipes and Brews
If you enjoy preparing seasonal foods or beverages, incorporate autumn-inspired recipes and brews into your Grimoire. For example, include symbolism and instructions for creating dishes that connect you with the flavors and energies of Mabon.
Try including artistic elements in your Grimoire to capture the essence of Mabon and add a touch of personal creativity. Sketch or paint seasonal scenes, create collages, or add pressed leaves and flowers as decorative elements.
Mabon 2023 Journal Prompts
Journal prompts can help you explore the deeper meanings of Mabon and encourage a thoughtful and introspective experience during your ritual or celebration. Here are a few ideas to help get you started!
- Describe the changes you observe in the natural world around you as autumn begins. How do these changes inspire you?
- Create a list of Mabon or Autumn-themed affirmations that promote rest, balance, and well-being. Softly repeat these affirmations to yourself, allowing their positive energy to fill you up.
- Reflect on the concept of balance in your life. How can you bring greater stability to different areas of your life during this season?
- Write about a personal harvest you’ve reaped this year. It could be a goal you’ve achieved, a lesson you’ve learned, or a personal transformation.
- Reflect and write about how old beliefs and folklores influence modern Autumn traditions today
- Write down any rituals you like to do or participate in for Mabon or the Autumn Equinox
- Do you have a Mabon or Autumn Equinox altar? What do you like to add? How do you decorate your home? What correspondences resonate with you and why?
- Describe a favorite autumn memory from your past. How can you infuse the energy of that memory into your Mabon celebration?
- Pick one new and meaningful way to practice self-care in the coming Winter months ahead that will fill you with joy. Why is this important to you? What steps can you take to make sure you prioritize it?
- Make a list of fun Autumn activities to awaken your inner child. How can you enjoy the Autumn magick during this season? Engage all 5 senses!
- What’s something you learned about yourself this year that makes you feel powerful moving forward? Did you overcome a challenge?
- Write down 3 words that best describe this time of year. Better yet, use them to write a poem or short story!
- Reflect on the concept of letting go. What beliefs, habits, or situations no longer serve you and can be released during this season?
10 More Journal Prompt Ideas
- Name a book or movie you’d like to read/watch before the year ends. Why?
- Write a letter to your future self, expressing your hopes and intentions for the coming months. Seal it and keep it as a reminder of your Mabon aspirations.
- What can you do to honor and respect the coming darkness? Consider the concept of “darkness” as a source of mystery and transformation. How can you embrace the symbolic darkness of the season to foster personal growth?
- Imagine yourself as a tree shedding leaves in preparation for winter. What aspects of your life would you willingly let go of, allowing new growth to come in spring? (Consider doing a cord-cutting ritual aligning with this prompt)
- Describe a dream or vision you have for your life. How can the energies of Mabon support you in manifesting this dream?
- Write down any recipes, infusions, or herbal creations you’d like to create with in-season herbs, flowers, or veggies.
- You didn’t reach your “harvest” goals all on your own; who helped you facilitate your wins and accomplishments? How can you honor and thank them? How can you share your bounty or help them with their harvest goals?
- Press any flowers, herbs, or leaves you may have from your garden or collected on a nature walk and put those in your book. You could also use them as a stamp by painting one side and pressing it onto the journal or grimoire page.
- Consider the balance between giving and receiving. How can you create a cycle of generosity that benefits both you and your community?
- What interests or hobbies do you have that can fuel your spirituality in creative ways? How can you keep the passion lit throughout the colder months?
Mabon 2023 Correspondences
Autumn Equinox correspondences and rituals often include honoring the ancestors and considering the changes of the turning year. Workings and offerings of abundance are often made at this time of year as well.
Mabon Spiritual Intentions
- Shadow Work
- Home protection
- Family and loved ones
- Preparations and goal setting
- Harvesting and agriculture
- Dark brown
- Burnt orange
- Deep green
- Dark red
- Golden yellow
- Earth tones
Autumn Equinox Botanicals and Herbs
- Bay Laurel
- Rose Hips
Mabon Recipe and Food Ideas
- Wheat / Bread
- Acorns / Nuts
- Root veggies
- Stew or chili
Crystals, Stones, and Metals
- Tiger’s Eye
Autumn Incense, Candles, and Scents
I hope you enjoy your Autumn Equinox and Mabon 2023! Lots of love to you, and remember, as always…