Celebrating This Year’s Autumn Equinox

Harvesting Feild

During the autumn equinox, the earth is aligned directly with the sun, bringing the equator closer to the sun than it is all year. This means there are roughly the same hours of darkness as there are light.

This year, the autumn equinox falls on Wednesday, September 22, the day before the sun passes into Libra.

The September equinox was tracked and celebrated worldwide by civilizations like the Incas, the Greeks, and the pre-Celtic people in the British Isles, and it’s still celebrated by many today. September and the fall season are traditionally connected with the harvest, which involves reaping the benefits of hard work after tending crops all summer.

It’s a time to prepare for the coming winter. (Btw, the full moon during this time is called the Harvest Moon...and the Earth’s position is what makes it look so large!)

How to Celebrate

While most of us aren’t harvesting much these days, we can still celebrate the autumn equinox as a time of balance before the world slips into the death and darkness of winter. Mabon is the pagan name for the autumnal equinox celebration, and it focuses on balance as well: the balance between dark and light, feminine and masculine, and inner and outer.

Because the equinox kicks off Libra season, autumn can also be seen as a communal time. Libra is a sign associated with justice and harmony, so how we live and move and connect to those around us (including the earth) becomes especially apparent during this time.

Woman reading her book

Reflect & Look for Ways to Restore Balance to Your Life

Pause to reflect on the kind of transformative work you might want to engage in this season.

How can you prepare yourself for rest this winter? Where is death leading to new life for you personally? Paying attention to the seasons and what’s happening in nature can give you so much insight to what’s going on inside of you!

What do you want to keep with you from summer? What do you want to let go of as you pass into winter? What do you want to plant or manifest now so you can reap it later?

You can journal (these prompts are beautiful and helpful) to help you move deeper into your inner world, or sign up for a tarot workshop to learn more about performing your own tarot readings!

To empower your reflection, you can light a natural candle in a woodsy, grounding scent, or try cleansing yourself with a ritual bath.

This is also a great time to cleanse your space (without white sage); you can use Palo Santo incense, floral smudge wands, or Himalayan smudge sticks.

Mirror with fall decor around itPhoto by Annie Spratt

Build an Altar or Elements Bowl

The symbols of autumn are rich and meaningful. The cooler temperatures make it a gorgeous time to reconnect to nature, and you can look for meaningful talismans or autumn-themed natural items during your time outdoors.

For example, acorns represent the potential for growth, as those tiny little seeds transform into massive oak trees. Apples represent abundance, fertility, and feminine wisdom. Sunflowers represent light and the wisdom of following the sun.

You can collect natural items, but also things that feel sacred to you or represent important things in your life. Pictures or drawings of loved ones, for example, or colors that you feel drawn to. Crystals are also great to include!

Community Gathering

The autumn equinox is all about community and gratitude. Gather friends and family around an outdoor bonfire and share what you’re grateful for. Connect with your loved ones and let them know how you’re grateful for them.

Visiting farmer’s markets or farms, picking your own produce, or even just making your favorite fall recipe in your own kitchen can also be great ways to celebrate the autumn equinox, and of course all of these are more fun with others.

Happy autumn equinox!

Sarah Guerrero
Sarah Guerrero
Sarah Guerrero is a freelance writer and contributor to Slow North. She has a degree in international business from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, and writes about sustainable business practices and ethical living.