When the world shifts from lush greens to vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges, it’s hard not to sense some magic in the air. The Autumnal Equinox, also known as Mabon, is the Spring Equinox’s cousin: an astrological phenomenon where the Sun balances over the Equator and night and day are the same length. This year, the equinox will occur on September 24th in the Western Hemisphere.
Cultures around the world have celebrated the Autumnal Equinox for millennia. The Eleusinian Mysteries, observed by the Ancient Greek cult of Demeter and Persephone, celebrated the change of seasons associated with Persephone’s descent to become Queen of the Underworld during the fall and winter months. The Autumnal Equinox also roughly corresponds to the Jewish High Holidays, the Chinese Moon Festival, the Persian holiday of Mehregan, Bavarian Oktoberfest, and the Christian feast of Michaelmas.
Modern celebrations of the Autumnal Equinox owe a lot to Celtic traditions. Co-opted by contemporary Paganism in the 1970s, the Celtic hero Mabon ap Modron lends his name to the sabbat Mabon, celebrated on the equinox. Similar to the Greek myth of Persephone, Mabon is the son of the Earth Mother, Modron, who is imprisoned in the underworld. He is eventually rescued by a different hero, Culhwch, who needs Mabon’s help on a quest for true love and justice.
What is the Spiritual Meaning of the Autumnal Equinox?
Mabon corresponds to the second harvest in the farming calendar (the first occurs on August 1st, the festival of Lammas/Lughandash). It is a time for celebration but also for preparation. Whereas the Spring Equinox marks the beginning of the Earth’s bounty, the Autumnal Equinox foreshadows the cycle’s end. At the Autumnal Equinox, we offer our gratitude for what we have received, recognize the sacrifices we have to make to survive, and prepare to set new intentions at Samhain.
Mabon is when you finish collecting your harvest and “reap what you sow.” Historically, our ancestors saw whether they had yielded enough crops to sustain their families throughout the winter. In a more modern context, the Autumnal Equinox is a time to see how the intentions we set throughout the year have developed and manifested. It is also a stage for taking responsibility for everything we have done—both good and bad—and making amends if necessary.
Since the Autumnal Equinox represents the completion of nature’s cycles, it is also a time for finishing projects and letting go of things which no longer serve you. As we near the cold of winter, we cannot hang on to any negativity. For our ancestors, anything that held them back during the harshest period of the year could jeopardize their chances of survival. Apples, which are abundant around Mabon, are important symbols of these natural patterns. They represent the ever-renewing cycle of life and death as well as health and wholeness.
Because the day and night are of equal length, Mabon also symbolizes balance. In Wicca, the masculine and feminine energies both come to different zeniths at the Autumnal Equinox: the God makes the ultimate sacrifice, giving himself through the harvest, and the Goddess reaches her full power as a Harvest Queen while transitioning from Mother to Crone.
Crystals for the Autumnal Equinox
Amber’s warm golden hues provide the perfect bridge between summer and fall. As a stone of both prosperity and protection, it captures the duality of Mabon. Amber resonates very strongly with Earth’s natural cycles to provide the support, positivity, and patience necessary to evaluate your year and prepare for the coming winter.
Aventurine channels the universe’s compassionate energy. This crystal represents the balanced sun, and it promotes mental, emotional, and spiritual alignment. When you achieve this mindset, Aventurine gives you the strength and clarity to conquer any challenge.
If you are a summer child, Citrine helps you keep the sun with you all year long. This crystal’s infinite positivity promotes a mindset that inspires creativity and allows you to receive abundance. Citrine’s yellow energy keeps you motivated and happy.
Hematite helps you reflect clearly on everything you’ve done since the Winter Solstice and set new intentions for the year to come. It encourages you to release negativity, but it also helps you acknowledge your own faults. This crystal imparts the dedication necessary to keep working hard all year round but especially as the days get shorter and shorter. Hematite’s strong connection to the Earth also provides extra protection against the cold of winter.
Just as fall’s apple harvest symbolizes wholeness, Jasper represents the successful completion of the Earth’s cycles. This crystal is known as the “supreme nurturer,” and it shields you from all negativity. Secure in this knowledge, Jasper helps you find a perfect balance and profound peace.
Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche famously said that “Autumn is the season of the soul,” and Lapis Lazuli perfectly encapsulates Mabon’s powerful spirituality. This introspective crystal encourages reflection and balance, but it also channels divine inspiration. It is the perfect stone to help you plan for both a restful winter and a dynamic new year.
Moqui Marbles come in pairs, and they encapsulate the dichotomy of the Autumnal Equinox. These crystals promote balance and courage. Traditionally, Moqui Marbles are also gateways to the spiritual realm. They encourage you to contemplate your strengths and weaknesses as well as your place in the universe.
Another profoundly spiritual stone, Smoky Quartz helps you accept and move past your failures. If you find yourself needing to make amends this Mabon, this crystal will help you find the courage to mend your broken relationships but also release the anxieties and negativity that are holding you back. Smoky Quartz reminds you that mistakes are learning opportunities first and foremost, not something to beat yourself up about.
Tiger’s Eye embodies the practicality of the second harvest. It helps you address everything you need to at this point in your life through introspection and strong decision-making skills. With the clarity and protection that Tiger’s Eye provides, you can make it through any hardship.
This Autumnal Equinox, make space for the balance between celebration and reflection. Work with these crystals, and see how they enhance the fall’s natural beauty and gifts!