As I write this, we're officially in Autumnal Equinox (Mabon) season -- the actual day being Sept. 22. I thought I'd post this now because in the face of natural disasters and other difficulties so many of us are now facing, it's good to be reminded that Nature does in its own way move towards balance, and we can too.
Mabon is a recent (20th century) neo-pagan name given by Aidan Kelly, American founder of the New Reformed Orthodox Order of the Golden Dawn, to the seasonal holy day of the Autumnal Equinox. The name has stuck for many followers of the Wiccan path and other neo-pagans. It is not a shamanic designation for the equinox.
The name itself is taken from Welsh mythology, and refers to a member of King Arthur's warriors. Some references note Mabon as a deity or descended from deities. Read the Wikipedia entry for a succinct history of this reference.
So why celebrate Mabon or the Equinox?
Well, one reason is based more in the Nature-based spiritualities. We know the Winter and Summer Solstices were held as extremely important times of the year, and correspond to the directions of north (winter) and south (summer). The two equinoxes balance out the spatial orientation as representing east (spring) and west (autumn). In shamanic practices, these directions form the basic medicine wheel.
Celebration of the Autumnal Equinox, then, is a way of incorporating another level or type of wholeness into spiritual practice. It helps us align with the natural movements and rhythms of the energies of the universe. And given that it falls in the midst of harvests, celebrations also honor the miraculous cycles abundance and sacrifice of life-giving resources, and preparation for mysteries of the dark months.
How to Celebrate as a Busy Solitary
There are many online sources on how to celebrate the Pagan holy days, and none of them are necessarily more "right" than the others. Still, certain alignments and correspondences are fairly traditional for logical reasons. The seasonal colors of Nature give an obvious guide for indoor decorations, celebration clothing, and even what crystals and candles to employ.
It not too early to start using those colors now, especially if golds, yellows, browns, dark blues and dark reds are normally in your personal preference palette.
Autumn is an agricultural harvest season, and with the equinox being in the middle of that season, apples, grapes /wine and squashes are logical celebration foods. Apple crisp and latkes mit apfelmus for everyone! :)
As always, your best way to know how to honor the energies of this Turning of the Wheel is to tune in to the energies running through you, and follow where they point. After all, a Pagan spiritual path is all about listening to your own guides -- including the guides of your own intuition -- and then using the tools and practices that align personal energies to those of Nature.