Happy Alban Elued, Mabon, the Autumn Equinox, a festival of abundance and of balancing gain and loss.


Happy Alban Elued, Mabon, the Autumn Equinox, a festival of abundance and of balancing gain and loss.

Autumn Equinox falls around the 22nd September each year, in the Northern hemisphere, or around 20th March in the Southern hemisphere.

Focus of the period: The completion of tasks, the fruition of long-term goals, for mending quarrels and forgiving yourself for past mistakes, for recovering money owed and tackling and overcoming debt problems, for assessing gain and loss, for family relationships adult children, brothers and sisters and friendships; for material security for the months ahead, for abundance in all aspects of your life, for issues of job security or the need to consolidate finances; all matters concerning the retirement and older people; the resolution or management of chronic heath problems.

Globally rituals concentrate on positive steps to ensure enough food, shelter and resources for vulnerable communities and individuals, relief of flood and famine, protection of endangered water creatures, dolphin, whales and fish whose death involves great suffering; also for peace especially where initiatives are already in motion.

Keywords: Reconciliation, assessment, storing assets

Animal: Salmon

Symbols: Copper coloured yellow or orange leaves, willow boughs, harvest fruits such as apples, berries and nuts. Use also as a focus knots of corn, wheat or barley from the earlier harvest and copper or bronze coins to ensure enough money and happy family relationships.

Tree: Apple, white poplar or hazel

Incenses, flower and herbs: Ferns, geranium, myrrh, pine, sandalwood and Solomon’s seal. Michelmas daisies and all small petal purple and blue flowers

Candle Colours: Blue and green

Crystals: Blue lace agate, chalcedony, Aqua aura, also rose quartz and all calcites

Festival Foods: The finest of the harvest, fruits, vegetables, jam, nuts, apple pies, geese sacred to St Michael whose festival falls on September 29, game, cider, barley wine and ale.

Angel: Rismuch, angel of agriculture and cultivated land, wearing every imaginable shade of brown, carrying a scythe and a hoe as symbol that he is conserver of the land and the crops. His symbols are sheaves of wheat and ears of corn, also dishes of seeds and nuts

Ways of Marking the Festival in the Modern world

Celtic Tradition

Ancient tales tell of the death of the old Horned God at the hands of his successor or by offering himself to the huntsmen.
Alban Elued means in Gaelic, light on the Water and so the sun is moving away over the water to shine on the Isles of the Blest, the Celtic Otherworld leaving the world with encroaching darkness.

The Goddess is now alone. In traditional celebrations a priestess would carry a wheat sheaf, fruit and vegetables and distribute them to the people.

A priest representing the slain God given the name of John Barleycorn would offer ale, made from the fermented barley cut down at Lughnassadh (early August).

The gathering of the second or green harvest of fruit, nuts and vegetables and the final grain harvest marked the storing of resources for the winter and barter for goods not available or scarce.

Feasts of abundance and the offering of the finest of the harvest to the deities was a practical as well as magical gesture, part of the bargain between humans and deities. Rotten fruit and vegetables were where possible fed to animals or discarded.

The Thanksgiving for the abundance of the harvest and in Christian times the harvest festival and Supper.

In traditional pagan celebrations a priestess and later a woman representing the Goddess would carry a wheat sheaf, fruit and vegetables and distribute them to the people. A priest or man representing the slain God given the name of John Barleycorn would offer ale, made from the fermented barley cut down at Lughnassadh.

Mabon is another name for the Divine child who in some myths was abducted at three days old from his mother Arianrhod and hidden in the Underworld or brought up by a magician till he returned to his mother in disguise to claim his name, sometimes at this festival, sometimes at the Spring Equinox. In other myths he was rescued by Arthur and the Spring equinox and so was the resurrected God.

Norse and Anglo Saxon Associations

The second harvest marked recognition that winter were not far away. The finest of the crop and, fruits and the first meat of the hunting season that began at this time, were offered in sacred feasts to be shared with the deities in a request for a gentle winter and enough food to last through the cold times.

The Anglo Saxons called this holy month.

The Autumn Equinox in many lands in the Northern hemisphere still signals the beginning of the hunting seasons in many lands and in Scandinavia huntsmen still leave the entrails of slain animals on rocks in the forest as a relic of the ancient offering of the first animals.

The harvest supper pre-dates Christianity but in Christian times God was thanked for the harvest, the finest of the fruits and vegetables and bread basked form the grain, would be set on the altar as an offering and distributed to the needy. As in pre Christian times prayers were made and a feast eaten to symbolized the belief that there would be enough food during the winter.

Michaelmas, the day of St Michael, the Archangel of the Sun was celebrated on September 29 with a feast centred on geese. Since St Michael was Patron Saint of high places and replaced the pagan Sun deities, he was an apt symbol for the last days of the summer sun. Goose fairs were held and workers in the fields often paid with slaughtered geese.


In Ancient Greece, the rites of the Greater Eleusinian mysteries took place at this time in honour of Kore/Persephone and her mother Demeter.

The harvested grain representing the divine child, union of Persephone and Hades or in earlier Mother Goddess worship Persephone herself reborn as the harvest, was placed in a basket and bread baked from this corn was eaten in honour of Demeter.

Candidates were initiated during the September rites. Initiates were led through dark subterranean regions, symbolic of Persephone lost in the Underworld, from which they were saved by the intervention of Demeter and so were reborn as the Divine Infant.

A sacred marriage between Zeus and Demeter was also re-enacted in some account of the Mysteries.

A Ritual for Autumn